I’ve always been a tinkerer. I think that’s why bowhunting appeals to me so much. There is always something to adjust, test, or play around with when it comes to archery and bowhunting. Most recently, this “playing around” included altering the camo pattern on my bow.
While the previous camo was fine, I wanted to create something that would blend in better with my surroundings. I also wanted something that no one else had - a UA Ridge Reaper Mathews NOCAM HTR bow. So, I gathered a few items and began to lay out the framework for how I would accomplish my goal.
The UA Ridge Reaper Barren Ground pattern I choose for this project required several different colors and shades.
Now, before I go any further, it should be noted that I am no expert when it comes to adding a custom paint job to a bow. Also, I understand that these alterations have voided the warranty on my Mathews. Honestly, though, I’ve been shooting Mathews bows since 92’ and have yet to need the warranty. Consequently, the enthusiasm to alter the look of my new bow never faltered. However, if you choose to follow in my footsteps, you should be aware of the same consequences regardless of what bow brand you may shoot.
Obviously, paint is at the top of the list when it comes to items needed to complete this project. I choose “flat” paint (for all colors) to cut down on the glare factor. The last thing I want is a shiny paint job that will draw attention when the sun hits it.
One word of advice - get the good stuff. The cheaper versions peel off too easily, which will result in paint going where you don’t want it to go.
This will make the precision cuts necessary to make the camo pattern cutouts.
Rubbing alcohol will be used to clean the bow of any oils that may be on it, which will cause issues with the paint adhering to the bow.
A black Sharpie will be used to draw the camo patterns.
This will protect the paint job from scratching and chipping.
Before painting my bow, I wiped it down thoroughly with rubbing alcohol. Next, I had 2 choices: disassemble the bow and paint the parts individually or tape the sections I didn’t want to be painted and paint the bow as it was (fully assembled). I choose the latter, opting to tape the parts of the bow I didn’t want to be painted and paint the rest of it.
First, I taped up the cams and strings with my blue painter's tape making sure that I covered the cam axles and roller guard wheels so that no paint would reach them. See the above image.
After the tapping process was completed, it was time to apply the first coat of paint. The first color should be the base color for your overall paint scheme. Trying to imitating the UA Ridge Reaper Barren Ground design as closely as possible, I choose a light Khaki as the base.
After tapping the bow, I then moved on to adding the base color. The base color was applied to the entire bow. See the above images.
The UA Ridge Reaper Barren Ground camo carries various colors, so I progressed from the lightest to the darkest. The key here is designing the “pattern” of the camo. The UA camo is unlike other patterns in that it is designed using a technology called coincidental disruption. In other words, the pattern looks like a variety of different shapes and colors. Trying to copy that look is time-consuming, especially when I only have a sharpie and some blue painter's tape to work with.
Nonetheless, the procedure is as follows:
Place a piece of blue painter's tape on a hard surface that I do not mind scratching or cutting and draw the camo pattern of my choice.
Using my X-Acto knife, cut the camo pattern out and peel the tape off of the cutting surface.
Place the tape in the area I want the camo pattern to appear, making sure to tape all other areas I do not wish to paint. Be very aware of overspray. For this example, I used an arrow rest I am doing in the UA Snow Reaper design.
Wait for the paint to dry and peel the tape to reveal my pattern.
As you can see in this image, each different pattern and color had to be individually done over the entire surface of the bow. Patience might be your greatest asset when attempting this project.
Basically, I would choose my color, cut out all of the camo patterns, place them on the bow, cover all areas that did not have a pattern on them, and spray over the pattern cutouts. That’s it. The hard part was repeating this process for every color scheme in the UA Ridge Reaper pattern.
For example, all of the light green patterns were cut out and placed on the bow and then painted, making sure all of the other “non-pattern” areas were covered with tape to prevent overspray. Then the dark green paint was done the same way, then the brown, dark brown, etc. You get the idea. It was very time-consuming and exhausting but worth the effort.
After working my way through all of the different colors, I let the bow sit for a few days to dry. Next, I applied several coats of flat, non-yellowing clear coat to the bow’s finish. This helps prevent chips and scratches in the new paint job. Once the clear coat dried, I peeled off all of the blue painter's tape to reveal the finished product. I then added all of the accessories to the bow.
Here is the finished UA Ridge Reaper Barren Ground bow, complete with all the accessories painted in the same fashion.
And lastly, here is my next project done in UA Snow Reaper.
If you decide to try this project for yourself, my advice would be to start with a stabilizer, sights, or arrow rest. If things don’t go well, you can always remove the paint with some denatured alcohol and try it again. No harm done to your bow.
As far as performance goes, this procedure did not affect my bow's accuracy. In fact, the Mathews NOCAM is still sniper accurate and, in my opinion, looks better than ever.
I would love to hear your thoughts. What do you think? And would you do this to your bow?
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