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jeremythegenius

A Low Cost Camouflage for your Sniper Rifle for Under £10

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I have an L96 Warrior MB-01, it looks great, straight out of the box (although I bought mine second-hand from a pawn shop), but it needs a little something extra – I know lets ghillie it up. In this article I will tell you how I cheaply, but effectively camouflaged my rifle using a range of items that are found on the high street, and for low price from the internet. Firstly, don’t spray paint your rifle or use a fancy stencil, it will probably work the once, but adding layer after layer of paint will over time have a negative effect on your rifle – it is ABS plastic after all. You have probably seen the film Shooter with Mark Wahlberg – and he does some pretty neat stencilling to camo his rifle, but that is just a film and not real life.

 

Few if any snipers take shots at great distance, most shots are quite close, which is why camouflage and cover is so important. OK this is my review on how to source and then use low price materials to effectively camouflage a rifle, cheaply, sustainably and most importantly, so that it is effective in the field. There are a few tutorials (I use this term loosely) on youtube that cover this, the best one I have seen is by this German chap who pretty much knew everything about sniping and concealment, he was so good at it that I wouldn’t be surprised if he was hiding in my back garden!

 

The current problem is that any place that sells hunting supplies has a vast variety of camouflage paraphernalia, which they will charge you premium for – usually there is a 500-1000% markup! So you will usually end up paying £45 for something that someone else has made for £4. I haven’t got this sort of money lying around, at the end of the day to quote Mark Twain ‘times is hard’, and money is in short supply, and I am also very tight-fisted. I have seen ghillie rifle wraps on the internet that cost around £30. A friend of mine procured one of these, but you have to do an awful lot of work to it in order to make it look as good as the one in the picture. Netting costs money and camo fabrics cost money, and before you know it, this all ends up costing £75-£80, which is almost as much as the rifle itself! Essentially what I have learned is that there are an abundance of freely available materials that can be used as camouflage but only cost 10% of the price.

 

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Most people don't understand that the meaning of sniping, is to be quiet and hidden. Back in WW2 snipers would simply take an old burlap bag and wrapped it around the rifle and scope. The 'idea' then as it is now is purely to break up the straight lines of the scope and rifle and mix in with local colours. Using burlap strands with random knots tied successfully did both these jobs and added a 3D effect to the camouflage. My method uses simple burlap, camo tape and rubber bands that are used for attaching natural materials – this is also eco-friendly and I want something that blends in well. In battle theater around the world, real snipers will pretty much make their own camouflage and even ghillie suits with the materials found around a patrol base or operating region. Again, why buy off the shelf? When you can make it yourself, save money and learn some traditional skills.

 

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Anyway, I had a budget for this small venture and I decided to splash out the princely sum of £8.50 – as the tight-fisted git that I am. First, I bought some light brown fabric-based (scappa-brand), camo tape 50m worth, off ebay, from a seller up north. This cost me £4.20, it was the cheapest price for quality tape, and it only took two days to arrive right to my door! This camo tape is great in that it sticks to the rifle really well but when peeled off it doesn’t leave any sticky residue, unlike duct tape. See the image of my rifle before and after the taping process. I tried wrapping my suppressor with the stuff first of all and it looked so great that this reinforced my notion to do the whole rifle.

 

I first disassembled the rifle and then started with the stock, then the barrel, chin rest, followed by the scope and then finally the bipod. Some parts of the rifle can be tricky, especially around the butt end where there are many complex geometries. That is why it is a good idea to first disassemble the rifle, cover it with tape and then reassemble it again as you can hide any messy ends under the different parts. What I also do is add a bit of kiwi boot polish which soaks into the fabric of the camo tape and darkens it – Special Forces use this trick.

 

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Apply the tape firmly to the surface of the rifle and it will bond well to the plastic, to itself and also to metal, also ensure that any surface is clean and free from any grease. Some advice on using camo tape, just remember:

 

· Be patient – it takes time to do it right – the L96 took me a good four hours to do a proper good job;

· Put extra tape over the areas where you grip – this will be more wear resistant;

· Avoid covering moving parts;

· Keep the edges as clean and with a neat straight cut;

· Try to be neat and avoid folds when putting the tape on.

 

Then one rainy, dark and cold Friday afternoon in December I headed off to the town in search of some materials that can be used for camouflage. There are a surprising number of shops on the high street that sell materials that can be used to camouflage a rifle. My local Wilkinson store sells a range innocent materials, which to the trained eye can be used for camouflage i.e. a sad old green cushion that grandma sits on – yep I will have that as a camo wrap, and some black rubber bands from the stationary section – well they will be perfect for attaching foliage etc.

 

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Then I picked up an old British Army camouflage jacket (to make the first part of a ghillie suit) from my local British Red Cross charity store. I got this for the kingly sum of one pound; they originally wanted five pounds for it – like hell! Essentially, I told the old biddy behind the counter that the jacket was in poor condition and I needed it for a school project, and I had a single pound of pocket money (sic) left in my back pocket. Out of the corner of my eye, in the backroom I noticed some old-school burlap sacks (bingo), I just demanded that she give me these, and she did. With a burlap scrim added over the scope, this reduces glare, this is very important as this is the most likely way to get seen. OK, so I merrily exited the store with a lot of camo-based materials that I needed, but for only a pound – gives the term pound shop a whole new meaning. At the end of the day sometimes you have to be a son of a bitch. OK these charity places can be full of sad Jeffs and they smell funny, but at the end of the day, a bargain is a bargain – use them.

 

OK, with the first and most difficult stage of camo taping the rifle and collecting the materials from civvy-street complete then I headed to the forestry to use some natural materials to ghillie the rifle and make my ghillie suit. It is not like old PC plod are going to arrest me for taking a few bits and bobs, and even if they try then I can always hide from them.

 

In my next posting I will carry on, starting with making burlap strips and then proceed to taking it out into the field and adding the all important natural camouflage.

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Why not just buy some Hessien and OD or Brown colour dye (Both for less than £10 combined) and make it from that? That way you wont leave any sticky residue on your rifle when you remove the tape.

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Not a criticism, just an alternative.

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Why mess around with tape when you can do a simple 2 layer paint job? I believe it's a fiver for a can of spray paint from Halford's- get a can of OD or dark green and a can of dark brown/black, give the weapon a base layer of green and add some diagonal stripes of black or brown. I understand this is permanent and removal might result in damage, but if it does you've bought a very poorly made rifle.

 

Assuming we're starting off with a RIF, another way would be to get some dark coloured elastic bands or silicone wrist bands (job lot of 10 for £4.99) wrap them around various parts of the rifle and add site specific foliage which can come off at the end of the day. I think this way may be better in cases, since different sites across the UK will have different seasonal colours within the local flora.

 

For example, you could be at a site populated with beech trees one week and need to camo up with the silvery twigs, but come the next and you could be at a site covered with fir trees and have the option to use them, instead of having 1 tone of camo tape or burlap (which may work for your 'home' site but might not for skirmish sites further afield).

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^ Not only at different sites, but even at the same site if you're doing it properly, you'll change your camo as you move to reflect your new position. Granted this isn't really practical in an average fast paced skirmish, but IMHO neither is sniping. I think that really comes into it's own in weekenders or milsims where you can recce for your team.

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Ithey originally wanted five pounds for it – like hell! Essentially, I told the old biddy behind the counter that the jacket was in poor condition and I needed it for a school project, and I had a single pound of pocket money (sic) left in my back pocket. Out of the corner of my eye, in the backroom I noticed some old-school burlap sacks (bingo), I just demanded that she give me these, and she did

 

That was nice!

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Scrim netting and hessian strips=ghillie cover for rifle.

Scrim netting is good enough on it's own and can then have vegetation added.

Hessian is also good on it's own.

I would trust hessian more than camo tapes as it breaks up the silhouette of the gun, especially if you leave bits sticking out.

It's all personal preference really, hessian looks scruffy (thats how it works as camo), some people prefer their toys not to look scruffy.

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