Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Gear Review -- Camo-Form Self-Clinging Camouflage Wrap

On my recent hunting trip, I decided to try Camo-Form self-clinging camouflage wrap. Basically, it is the self-clinging bandages printed in a camouflage pattern. The package indicates that the wrap comes in several patterns, including Army digital, MARPAT desert, MARPAT woodland, standard desert, standard woodland, and snow. The pattern that I tested was the Army digital.

I was using a bolt-action rifle. While the stock was not what I would describe as "high gloss," I thought it might not hurt to put something over it to cut down on reflection and break up the pattern of the rifle. However, I also wanted something that I could easily remove.

The wrap actually clings to itself very well. In fact, you want to avoid "rolling" the edges of the wrap, because it is almost impossible to tear apart. (I had once section that I finally just had to cut off and throw away). The first thing I noticed with the wrap on was that it was tacky and provided an excellent grip. While I didn't shoot the rifle with the wrap on it, I suspect that the wrap would grab the skin on the cheek during recoil. Also, I would avoid putting it wrapping the barrel of a weapon where you will have a high volume of fire--I think the wrap would probably melt.

However, while applying the wrap, I immediately noted a significant flaw to my overall plan--you can't wrap around the bolt and action. The picture on the package shows the wrap applied to an AR style rifle, and this is probably where it would be best--a short actioned rifle with a matte finish on the receiver. Nevertheless, I was still able to wrap the barrel and fore-stock, and the rear stock, which would still break up the overall shape of the rifle.

Later in the day, it started raining. Since I didn't know how the wrap would work in the wet, and I didn't want it holding the moisture in close to the metal and wood, I took the wrapping off. Except for the issues noted above on "rolling" the edges, it came off fairly easily.

As a side-note, I would note that the Army digital pattern is terrible camouflage. I was in typical high-mountain forest, with a variety of pine, and a sprinkling of aspen and other deciduous undergrowth, the dominant colors were green and brown. The Army digital pattern was the wrong kind of green to mix into the forest, and the overall scheme has too much light coloration, making it too bright. However, after we reached the peak of the particular mountain on which were hunting, and I laid the rifle down to take off some of my gear, I discovered what the Army digital matches. I had stopped to take a break at a weathered granite outcropping, covered with greenish-grey lichen, and the grey and black splotches of old lichen. The camouflage blended right in.

To sum up, the camouflage pattern aside, the wrap seemed to work well for what it was intended. It is relatively easy to apply and remove, and allows you to easily change a camouflage pattern on rifles. Its best use would be on a rifle that already has a matte or flat finish. It would also be most effective with a rifle or long arm with a short action where you can get maximum coverage with the least interference with the mechanical workings of the weapon, such as an AR or break-action shotgun. I think it would have limited application on an AK style rifle because the realistic coverage area is so small. It would be almost useless on the HK G3/91 or similar system because you would not be able to wrap the barrel, the fore-stock, or receiver.

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