Birdsong Finishes

Aries64

Deep Behind Enemy Lines in IsWokestan!
Full Member
Minuteman
Mar 12, 2007
2,561
327
Los Angeles, California
Fellow Hiders' -

As is common on the web, certain questions and requests are posed over and over. Two that come to mind on firearms-related sites are <span style="font-style: italic">"What is the best coating?"</span>, or <span style="font-style: italic">"What should I coat gun in?"</span> Obviously, which coating you chose is dependent upon what your objective is concerning the coating. Is your interest cosmetic-only, or are you looking for wear and corrosion-resistance? What about lubricity? Are you interested in coating the whole weapon, or just the contact areas?

Some coatings are great for corrosion resistance, some for wear resistance, and others for lubricity. Few excel at everything. NP3 / NiCorr are great for internal parts, but you don't coat the whole gun in it, do you? If you want something that you can coat the entire weapon in - inside and out, you want a Birdsong "T"-finish.

So what is "Birdsong", and what is so good about? <span style="font-weight: bold"><span style="font-style: italic">Birdsong Black-T</span></span> was developed by the late Walter E. Birdsong more than 30 years ago. Walter died last year, but his son Wally has been at the helm of <span style="font-weight: bold"><span style="font-style: italic">W.E. Birdsong & Associates</span></span> since Walter's passing.

Birdsong "T"-finishes are proprietary, meaning that Birdsong - <span style="font-style: italic">and only Birdsong</span>, applies Birdsong finishes. The various formulations and application procedure are highly secret, which is why only Birdsong applies their coatings. Anyone who claims to apply Birdsong other than the Birdsong shop is FOS, period. Shops have to send in firearms, tools, ect. for coating just like anyone else.

The U.S. government has been after Birdsong's formula for decades, but Birdsong has always steadfastly refused to disclose their formula and application procedures.

The downside to Birdsong coating is the leadtime - as Birdsong (rightly) gives priority to Military / Special Teams, and LEO. Since Birdsong holds a lot of goverment contracts, civilian coating jobs can be pushed back when large contracts come in. However, Birdsong finishes are well worth the wait.

<span style="font-weight: bold"><span style="font-style: italic">Black-T</span></span>, the original formulation, has been in use for more than 30 years and is the choice of many Federal and municipal agencies - Birdsong is used exclusively by Tac Ops, and Tac Ops alone has supplied roughly six hundred (600) agencies worldwide, including the Los Angeles branch of a certain alphabet agency that protects the POTUS. It is in use by elite teams such as the U.S.N. SEALs'.

<span style="font-weight: bold"><span style="font-style: italic">Black-T</span></span> is applied very thin - only .0002-.0003 thick (about 1/10th of the thickness of most other teflon/polymer finishes). It bonds very well, can be applied to both ferrous and non-ferrous metals, and is extremely resistant to salt spray and chemicals as well as being very slick. Birdsong actually recommends that no lubricant is used on Birdsong-coated parts.

Because Birdsong finishes are so thin, slick, and stick so well they are applied to every part, both inside and out. Even the tiniest springs and screws are coated, further helping to prevent corrosion. Birdsong finishing includes complete disassembly, prep, coating, and re-assembly. And you can trust Birdsong implicitly with your valuable firearms.

Other Birdsong formulations include two types of Green-T (<span style="font-style: italic">"Tac Ops OD" Green-T</span> and <span style="font-style: italic">"Naval Special Warfare" Green-T</span>), plus <span style="font-style: italic">Tan-T</span> and <span style="font-style: italic">Brown-T</span>. The original Green-T is very OD in color and is now known as <span style="font-weight: bold"><span style="font-style: italic">Tac Ops OD</span></span>. "Tac Ops OD" Green-T used to be available to the public but is now exclusive to Tac Ops customers.

The newer <span style="font-style: italic">"Naval Special Warfare"</span> Green-T is what is applied to non-Tac Ops work that is sent in for Green-T coating. <span style="font-style: italic">"Naval Special Warfare"</span> Green-T was developed specifically for the U.S.N. and has some brown is it's formulation, but it appears quite green by itself. However, when viewed alongside Tac Ops OD Green-T it appears more brownish.

I said "appears" because, like everything - the color and appearance of Birdsong finishes is affected by light. Light intensity and color, perspective, and backlight all affect what the eye "sees". And even if a photo is representative of what the color seen in person is, <span style="font-weight: bold"><span style="font-style: italic">it is only valid for that particular lighting condition</span></span>.

Also, <span style="font-weight: bold"><span style="font-style: italic">Birdsong finishes</span></span> never stop hardening, and they tend to darken a bit as they age and continue to harden. That said, below are a few photos of Birdsong Tac Ops Green-T and Birdsong Naval Special Warfare Green-T. I currently do not have any photos of Tan-T (closest to FDE) or Brown-T.

<span style="font-weight: bold">Sig P228 in <span style="font-style: italic"><span style="text-decoration: underline">Naval Special Warfare Green-T</span></span> w/Black-T controls. Same gun as below, but in different light:</span>
BlackGreen-T228LS8x6.jpg


<span style="font-weight: bold">Sig P228 in <span style="font-style: italic"><span style="text-decoration: underline">Naval Special Warfare Green-T</span></span> w/Black-T controls. Same gun as above, but in different light:</span>
BlackGreen-T228LSOpen-8x6.jpg


<span style="font-weight: bold">Leupold Mark 4 Rings in <span style="font-style: italic"><span style="text-decoration: underline">Naval Special Warfare Green-T</span></span> w/Black-T Nuts. Notice how the slightly different angle of the light hitting the ring on the right causes a perceived color change. Both are exactly the same color, but the ring on the right looks slightly more green:</span>
NWGreen-T34mmMark4Highs-8x6.jpg


<span style="font-weight: bold">Side-by-side photo of Leupold Mark 4 Rings in <span style="font-style: italic"><span style="text-decoration: underline">Naval Special Warfare Green-T</span></span> (on LEFT), and <span style="font-style: italic"><span style="text-decoration: underline">Tac Ops OD Green-T</span></span> (on RIGHT). Both w/Black-T Nuts.
34mmNWTOGreen-TMark4RingsC8x6.jpg


Side-by-side photos in <span style="font-style: italic"><span style="text-decoration: underline">Naval Special Warfare Green-T</span></span> (on LEFT), and <span style="font-style: italic"><span style="text-decoration: underline">Tac Ops OD Green-T</span></span> (on RIGHT). Both w/Black-T Nuts. Both pairs of rings "match" their respective mate's color because the rings were set parallel to each other in the photos below:</span>
34mmNWTOGreen-TMark4RingsPadFS8x6.jpg

34mmNWTOGreen-TMark4RingsPadSS8x6.jpg


<span style="font-weight: bold"><span style="font-style: italic">Tac Ops X-Ray 51</span> receiver and Leupold Mark 4 Rings in <span style="text-decoration: underline"><span style="font-style: italic">"Naval Special Warfare" Green-T</span></span> w/S & B PMII 5-25X & 40 MOA Tac Ops Base:</span>
NWMark4Rings40MOATacOpsBaseRSCloseu.jpg


<span style="font-weight: bold"><span style="font-style: italic">Tac Ops X-Ray 51</span> and Leupold Mark 4 Rings in <span style="text-decoration: underline"><span style="font-style: italic">"Tac Ops OD" Green-T</span></span> w/S & B PMII 5-25X & 40 MOA Tac Ops Base:</span>
ODMark4Rings40MOATacOpsBaseRSCloseup8x6.jpg


<span style="font-weight: bold">Profile of approximately 5" of muzzle end of Tac Ops Heavy Contour barrel with thread protector installed. (<span style="font-style: italic">finished in "Tac Ops OD" Green-T</span>):</span>
ODTacOpsHBRSCloseup8x6.jpg


<span style="font-weight: bold">Tac Ops X-Ray 51 in "<span style="font-style: italic">Tac Ops OD</span>" Green-T & Black-T w/Mark 4 Highs, Tac Ops Two-Piece 40 MOA base, and PMII 5-25X + USO ARD:</span>
X-Ray51CBwODRingsRS45Angle28x6.jpg



Keith
 

shooterman_zero17

WTB: The OG Shoutbox
Full Member
Minuteman
  • Aug 16, 2007
    340
    2
    The Dirty South
    Re: Birdsong Finishes

    very informative and great side-by-side comparisons. i can actually tell what the difference between the 2 greens is now.
     

    Aries64

    Deep Behind Enemy Lines in IsWokestan!
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Mar 12, 2007
    2,561
    327
    Los Angeles, California
    Re: Birdsong Finishes

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Savage110</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Good post Keith. </div></div>
    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Skunkworks</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Great Post....Thanks for taking the time Keith.... </div></div>
    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: shooterman017</div><div class="ubbcode-body">very informative and great side-by-side comparisons. i can actually tell what the difference between the 2 greens is now. </div></div>
    Thanks for the kudos guys - glad you like the post. Hopefully people will see it and find useful too.

    Keith
     

    longebow

    Sergeant
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Dec 31, 2006
    250
    58
    Florida
    Re: Birdsong Finishes

    Thanks for the update on the Birdsong finishes! I have been a fan for over 15 years, and all of my rifles finished in Black-T have done very well. They are easy to clean, resist corrosion, durable (can take an impact and not chip or flake off) and can be applied to any metal. The fact that internal surfaces are treated gives one great peace of mind. This is one of the best finishes around. Mr. Birdsong was a great American, and a quiet professional. Wally has expanded the business, so turn-around has improved (one of the biggest gripes about getting a gun finished by Birdsong). Black-T has my highest, unqualified recommendation.
     

    Ares

    Sergeant
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Apr 16, 2007
    131
    0
    42
    Czech Republic
    Re: Birdsong Finishes

    Very nice

    And logical question is: "where one can buy this, to make his own work on weapon"?
     

    Aries64

    Deep Behind Enemy Lines in IsWokestan!
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Mar 12, 2007
    2,561
    327
    Los Angeles, California
    Re: Birdsong Finishes

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: 467</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Anyone have any idea if birdsong is taking any new orders now?
    Also how about turnaround time. </div></div>
    Birdsong is always "taking-in" work - but because Birdsong is so popular and they do a lot of large contracts smaller jobs and non-military / non-L.E. work is pushed back at times.

    Turnaround time varies, but typically somewhere between 6-8 weeks (unless your work is pushed back). Birdsong also applies finishes in batches, so a small single job could sit for a bit before being coated. I just got the Tac Ops OD Green-T Mark 4 rings pictured in my original post back from Tac Ops Thursday morning, but of course the rings were sent as part of a much larger order. Turnaround was about six weeks including transit time. And IIRC, when I had the P228 pictured in my OP coated turnaround was around 8 weeks.

    Keith
     

    Aries64

    Deep Behind Enemy Lines in IsWokestan!
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Mar 12, 2007
    2,561
    327
    Los Angeles, California
    Re: Birdsong Finishes

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Ares</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Very nice</div></div>
    Thank you.

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Ares</div><div class="ubbcode-body">
    And logical question is: "where one can buy this, to make his own work on weapon"? </div></div>
    <span style="font-weight: bold">Birdsong finishes are not available for sale "off-the-shelf" sale and application.</span> <span style="font-style: italic">See my original post, second paragraph:</span>
    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Aries64</div><div class="ubbcode-body">...Birdsong "T"-finishes are proprietary, meaning that Birdsong - <span style="font-style: italic">and only Birdsong</span>, apply Birdsong finishes. The various formulations and application procedure are highly secret, which is why only Birdsong applies their coatings. Anyone who claims to apply Birdsong other than the Birdsong shop is FOS, period. Shops have to send in firearms, tools, ect. for coating just like anyone else. ...</div></div>

    <span style="font-weight: bold"><span style="text-decoration: underline">Contact info:</span></span>

    <span style="font-weight: bold"><span style="font-style: italic">W.E. Birdsong & Associates, Inc.</span> <-- LINK
    1435 Monterey Road
    Florence, MS 39073

    Phone: 601 939-7448
    Fax: 601 936-3081</span>

    <span style="font-weight: bold"><span style="text-decoration: underline">Email:</span></span>

    susan@black-t.com
    wally@black-t.com
    tyler@black-t.com
    frank@black-t.com


    Keith
     

    rsilvers

    Gunny Sergeant
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Jan 16, 2005
    1,035
    3
    Re: Birdsong Finishes

    I have always wondered how it compares to GunKote / MolyResin. And Cerakote, DuraCoat, etc. I tend to like Moly Resin GRAYISH-BLACK Flat.
     

    wnroscoe

    Gunny Sergeant
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Jun 12, 2006
    3,908
    54
    NW Louisiana
    Re: Birdsong Finishes

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: rsilvers</div><div class="ubbcode-body">I have always wondered how it compares to GunKote / MolyResin. And Cerakote, DuraCoat, etc. I tend to like Moly Resin GRAYISH-BLACK Flat. </div></div>

    Several months prior to Walters’s death I visited with him for over an hour. We talked about a lot of things but the main question I asked that stands out in my mind was this, "If you weren’t using your Birdsong finish and needed a rifle coated which one would you use?" His response was this, "Any of the Thermal Cure Coatings on the market"

    I asked again but this time specifically about KG Gun Kote. He said as far as he could tell there was no real advantage using one over the other. In his mind they were all same/same.

    Walter was an Engineer that developed several things, the Birdsong Finish was just one of them. Very smart man he was.
     

    Tactical30

    Gunny Sergeant
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    May 5, 2009
    1,098
    3
    42
    Eastern Ohio
    Re: Birdsong Finishes

    Heres a color Swatch birdsong Sent me: I tried to get decent lighting when taking this but you get the idea. This was one color swatch, colors were on both sides.

    new006.jpg


    new007.jpg


    The lightest Tan in this pic (far left)is pretty much identical (color wise) to Cerakkote FDE and Cerakote Tan but closer to the FDE.

    Im going with the Lightest Birdsong Tan (Tan-T) for the metal on a build to go with a Mcmillan desert camo A-5 stock.
     

    sudnit5

    Sergeant
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Jan 31, 2010
    203
    1
    65
    FL
    Re: Birdsong Finishes

    I didn't know they had pink too, not that I would get it or anything...
     
    H

    harleymann02

    Guest
    Re: Birdsong Finishes

    How does Birdsong's dirability compare to some of the other brands out there, Cerakote, Duracoat, KG Guncoat ect. I've heard Birdsong's beats all the others in every category but never seen a side by side comparison, just curious.
     

    BAT_Boy

    critter_bill
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Sep 1, 2005
    387
    17
    Williamston, SC
    Re: Birdsong Finishes

    Walter did a custom 700 in Black T for me in 1999. When I sold it some years later with 2500 rounds fired, the bolt showed less wear than any of the Cerakote jobs show at 250 rounds. It was the most durable finish that I have encountered thus far.
     

    JRose

    Gunny Sergeant
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Jul 10, 2007
    3,299
    5
    44
    Back in BHam!!!
    Re: Birdsong Finishes

    I love you're posts... You take so much time to make them helpful and informative...
     

    cvuxton

    Sergeant
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Oct 30, 2008
    108
    1
    70
    Warrenton, VA
    Re: Birdsong Finishes

    Keith,

    Thanks for the post. I met Walter back in the 80's and he did a .45 frame for me. After several years of knocking around it still looks like new. I don't know what this stuff is but its worth it.
     

    hrt4me

    Sergeant
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Nov 6, 2001
    987
    1
    Dallas, Texas
    Re: Birdsong Finishes

    Fifteen years ago, I got 3 Novak Colts and 2 Novak BHPs finished with Birdsong's Black-T, and they are as slick and good looking as ever.
     

    Aries64

    Deep Behind Enemy Lines in IsWokestan!
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Mar 12, 2007
    2,561
    327
    Los Angeles, California
    Re: Birdsong Finishes

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: SNIPERS4DUMMIES</div><div class="ubbcode-body">TAGGED </div></div>
    What is the purpose of "tagging" a thread? Is it just to bump the thread to keep it "fresh", or are you trying to bookmark it? If you want to bookmark a thread just click-on the <span style="font-style: italic">"Topic Options"</span> tab at the upper left of the subheading, and choose <span style="font-style: italic">"Watch this topic"</span>.

    Then, anytime you want to view the thread you sign-in, click-on <span style="font-style: italic">"My Stuff"</span>, select <span style="font-style: italic">"Watch List"</span>, <span style="font-style: italic">"Watched Topics"</span>, and select the thread from your <span style="font-style: italic">"Watched Topics"</span> list.

    Keith
     

    Aries64

    Deep Behind Enemy Lines in IsWokestan!
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Mar 12, 2007
    2,561
    327
    Los Angeles, California
    Re: Birdsong Finishes

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: dmg308</div><div class="ubbcode-body">It lets you find it again very easily by looking at your own posts. </div></div>
    OK, I get that. However, I prefer to just add the topic to my Watch List. That way, I'm not adding useless <span style="font-style: italic">"TAG"</span> or <span style="font-style: italic">"TAGGED"</span> posts to the thread.

    I don't know if it was his intention (I believe it was), but <span style="font-weight: bold"><span style="font-style: italic">JRose</span></span> nailed it with his reply to <span style="font-weight: bold"><span style="font-style: italic">SNIPERS4DUMMIES</span></span>. <span style="font-style: italic">I quote:</span>
    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: SNIPERS4DUMMIES</div><div class="ubbcode-body">TAGGEDI</div></div>
    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: JRose</div><div class="ubbcode-body">I love you're posts... You take so much time to make them helpful and informative... </div></div>

    Now, back to the topic.

    Keith
     

    JRose

    Gunny Sergeant
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Jul 10, 2007
    3,299
    5
    44
    Back in BHam!!!
    Re: Birdsong Finishes

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Aries64</div><div class="ubbcode-body"><div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: dmg308</div><div class="ubbcode-body">It lets you find it again very easily by looking at your own posts. </div></div>
    OK, I get that. However, I prefer to just add the topic to my Watch List. That way, I'm not adding useless <span style="font-style: italic">"TAG"</span> or <span style="font-style: italic">"TAGGED"</span> posts to the thread.

    I don't know if it was his intention (I believe it was), but <span style="font-weight: bold"><span style="font-style: italic">JRose</span></span> nailed it with his reply to <span style="font-weight: bold"><span style="font-style: italic">SNIPERS4DUMMIES</span></span>. <span style="font-style: italic">I quote:</span>
    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: SNIPERS4DUMMIES</div><div class="ubbcode-body">TAGGEDI</div></div>
    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: JRose</div><div class="ubbcode-body">I love you're posts... You take so much time to make them helpful and informative... </div></div>

    Keith </div></div>

    Actually, that comment was directed toward your posts Keith. It just replied to S4D b/c he was last to post...
     

    Aries64

    Deep Behind Enemy Lines in IsWokestan!
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Mar 12, 2007
    2,561
    327
    Los Angeles, California
    Re: Birdsong Finishes

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: JRose</div><div class="ubbcode-body"><div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Aries64</div><div class="ubbcode-body"><div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: dmg308</div><div class="ubbcode-body">It lets you find it again very easily by looking at your own posts. </div></div>
    OK, I get that. However, I prefer to just add the topic to my Watch List. That way, I'm not adding useless <span style="font-style: italic">"TAG"</span> or <span style="font-style: italic">"TAGGED"</span> posts to the thread.

    I don't know if it was his intention (I believe it was), but <span style="font-weight: bold"><span style="font-style: italic">JRose</span></span> nailed it with his reply to <span style="font-weight: bold"><span style="font-style: italic">SNIPERS4DUMMIES</span></span>. <span style="font-style: italic">I quote:</span>
    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: SNIPERS4DUMMIES</div><div class="ubbcode-body">TAGGEDI</div></div>
    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: JRose</div><div class="ubbcode-body">I love you're posts... You take so much time to make them helpful and informative... </div></div>

    Keith </div></div>

    Actually, that comment was directed toward your posts Keith. It just replied to S4D b/c he was last to post... </div></div>
    Oh, OK. Thanks you for your kind words. I try.

    Keith
     

    rsilvers

    Gunny Sergeant
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Jan 16, 2005
    1,035
    3
    Re: Birdsong Finishes

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: harleymann02</div><div class="ubbcode-body">How does Birdsong's dirability compare to some of the other brands out there, Cerakote, Duracoat, KG Guncoat ect. I've heard Birdsong's beats all the others in every category but never seen a side by side comparison, just curious. </div></div>

    Maybe get some samples of steel coated with each of them - and then throw them in a brass tumbler with a set of keys and see which has the least damage. A lot of it will be prep work. Spraying over phosphate helps.
     

    110len

    Sergeant
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Nov 4, 2008
    295
    38
    weatogue,CT
    Re: Birdsong Finishes

    As noted above, the finish is very thin overall as it supposedly binds/sinks into the porous metal. Very close tolerances are able to be held after application of the finish so you can do all fitting/machining and then send it all off for finish.
     

    Aries64

    Deep Behind Enemy Lines in IsWokestan!
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Mar 12, 2007
    2,561
    327
    Los Angeles, California
    Re: Birdsong Finishes

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: DFOOSKING</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Question: do you thread the barrel for a can and then send it away to be coated or do you coat and then thread? I would think the coating would mess with the mating of the can to the rifle...I would be installing a brake when not suppressed. </div></div>
    All machining including barrel threading is completed prior to coating. Birdsong is applied very thin (.0002-.0003) - <span style="font-style: italic">thats' 2-3 10,000ths</span>, so the tighter tolerances of Class 3 threads are not adversly affected by Birdsong coatings. As Birdsong does not hinder the mating of Class 3 threads, it will definitely not affect the mating of Class 1 and Class 2 threads, which have much looser tolerances.

    <span style="font-weight: bold"><span style="font-style: italic">Class 3A threads on Tac Ops barrel:</span></span>
    ClassIIIThreads8x6.jpg


    <span style="font-weight: bold"><span style="font-style: italic">Class 3B threads on Tac Ops thread protector (also used on Tac Ops suppressors):</span></span>
    TOThreadProtector8x6.jpg



    Keith