I think it's great to experiment! However, in this case, I have no idea what or how it would come out.
For touch ups, I use cold blue. It is okay only if the original park is black, if it is the green/grey/black one, the cold blue contrasts too much. Using this, I have experimented on small parts and in very insignificant areas... after achieving the finish I wanted, I now know what I can and cannot cold blue.
If the finish on the op rod is totally gone, then you might want to try or have it parkerized. Being in the mainland you can order the stuff quite easily. If it gets to be a hassle, our very own Hawk parkerizes parts and does a really nice job with a dark grey color which match most of my parts quite well....
As has been said above, spend a few dollars more and get the real deal done. You'll be money ahead in the long run!
Brownell's spray on finishes are great, long wearing stuff (I've had great luck with the non oven cured finishes, like Aluma Hyde) but on any surface that's subjected to constant friction and metal to metal contact (like your op-rod) even the oven baked stuff will go bye-bye real quick.
I haven't tried the gunkote yet but I have been using their teflon/moly spray for a couple years on pistols.It is a long wearing finish. I have a colt commander that I have shot about 5000 rounds through and the only wear to the finish is on the frame rails.
It is easy to use if you can find an over to bake it in that wont upset your wife. Like any other paint the darker the shade the more imperfections will show up in either the surface prep. or your spraying technique.
I only use it for pistols and small parts so I can bake it in a toaster oven in the garage so it wont stink up the house. It is perfect for and does a fine job on stainless parts like gas cylinders for M14s and Garands.
I had been studying up on the gunkote finishes and they actualy recommend a park type finnish under the coating. I am in the process of building another m-14 for my son and I plan on using the OD gunkote on it. It will be christmas or so before I get to that stage but I will sure post some pics. BTW a freshly beadblasted surface with BC super blue is a real close second to the look of a true park job. It even works on stainless parts like gas cyl. Something to consider if the budget is tight.
m14dan: Yup, When I sent one of my rifles back to SA for rebarreling & refurbisment they reparked it & then applied their "Armory Kote" spray-on/bake-on moly finish. That was according to Dale Rader, anyways.
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