Plastic Dry Boxes as Good as Metal ? :confused:


May 10, 2007, 04:46 PM
I have begun to hoard ammunition and I need some fellow THR stockpiling advice. :D

At the moment, my rather small supply of .45 ACP (1200 rounds), is sitting in stacks of factory boxes in my closet. :uhoh: I figure this is as good a place as any, in terms of heat and humidity. I have always wanted to get my mitts on some ammo cans, but most of the ones I found at my local Gander Mountain are extremely rusty. More so than just ďlovingly usedĒ too, unless they were used by Navy SEAL Scuba Attack teams. :scrutiny:

Anyways they do have plastic dry boxes however. They seem pretty nice, but are they as able as the military ammo cans at keeping out moisture and heat? They do have a rubber seal. Only downside I see is they donít stack as well as the military ones.

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May 10, 2007, 04:55 PM
Most plastics are not as airtight as metal or glass. That said, they should work fine.

May 10, 2007, 05:03 PM
I think plastic is more pourous than metal (our race fuel comes in metal drums as I've heard plastic cans can lose octane and absorb moisture). Just throw a couple packets of dessicant in the plastic boxes and they should be fine. Make sure they are sturdy and have durable handles/latches, ammo is heavy.

You can get the metal cans online although the shipping charges seem to make them a last resort option.

May 10, 2007, 05:04 PM
I probably want airtight, as I think I may move my ammo to the basement, so that I have room in my closet for urm... clothes.

Any idea where I can find ammo cans? I guess I can always wait till my next gun show.

Edit: I figured online shipping would be out there. I'll wait for a gun show. Thanks!

May 10, 2007, 05:07 PM
Pick up some surplus ammo cans online, they are fairly cheap ($20 per).

I grabbed some 20mm cans when I was in the Navy, I couldn't let them toss them. They are good. They stack ok (flat top and bottom), not interlocking or anything like that. They have a seal. The only down side is they are tall and narrow, you can put a lot in there it's just hard to remember what all is in it. If you are as crazy anal-retentive as I am and don't have a whole bunch of a lot ( ie. in my 9mm can-10 boxes of JHP 20 boxes of FMJ, 8 boxes of ball) it's hard to organize. The .40 and .223 are easier to sort because I have more.

May 10, 2007, 05:10 PM
Surely, there has to be an Army/Navy store in a town as big as Pittsburgh. That would be the best place to find ammo cans in good condition. I can regularly find 50 cal surplus cans in perfect condition for $5-$7. Bigger ones go in the $10-$20 range (not rusty, great shape). Then, just get some of the SMALL silica gel packs (usually $4-$6 each at Gander Mountain, should be located near the gun safes), and throw one in each can. The same system (ammo can/silica gel) keeps the surplus ammo in good shape for decades in warehouses, so it ought to keep ammo in your house (68-78 degrees F) stable for the next century!!!

May 10, 2007, 05:14 PM
P.S. Those "81mm" cans on that Coleman's website are NOT air/water tight!! Those 20 mm ones look pretty good, though, and will hold quite a bit of ammo>

May 10, 2007, 06:59 PM
The MTM "dry boxes" are NOT waterproof.

May 10, 2007, 07:53 PM
There has to be a pawn shop that sells them. Around here they can go for about four dollars. I dont know sizes but i imagine its a good deal.

Dave Markowitz
May 10, 2007, 08:34 PM
Surplus USGI ammo cans will be more rugged and cheaper. I've had good luck with the ones I've bought from MidwayUSA -- they've been clean with good seals.

May 10, 2007, 08:50 PM
MidwayUSA has a sale on ammo cans thru the end of the month.

May 10, 2007, 09:48 PM
Keep your ammo in the closet - it's temp and humidity controlled. Oh, and you have too many clothes!

May 10, 2007, 09:48 PM
I have always thought that the metal boxes would be better. The short 50 cal boxes are the best size. Larger ones are very heavy when full. You will not have a problem with the weight but others in your family might.

Plastic will "creep" over time from the clamping force and the weight of the contents. This will cause the sealing force to be diminished and potentially leak.

A dry area in your basement would be a good spot to maintain the proper temperature range. Excessive heat/cold can be just as damaging as moisture.

Hope this helps you.

May 10, 2007, 10:14 PM
I use all metal. I have been buying mine from Widenerís (|616). Taking into account S&H for online and tax for local purchases, buying the 9-packs from Widenerís is the best deal for me. I called the local PX store and was not impressed with their price. I buy grade A, which always have a little rust, and occasionally a ding or two. I have a mixture of short and tall 50 calís. Mixing can making stacking difficult, but mine are going on shelves. Having a few of the tall 50 calís can come in handy. Packed, the tall 50 calís can be heavy, but that is relative to the person moving them.

May 10, 2007, 10:47 PM
I think plastic is more pourous than metal (our race fuel comes in metal drums as I've heard plastic cans can lose octane and absorb moisture)

Exactly, which is why when I worked for an auto parts store, I recommended people buy Octane booster that was in metal containers and not plastic ones.

May 11, 2007, 12:22 PM
If you're talking long term storage of centerfire ammo anything more than keeping the stuff out of the rain is probably overkill. As long as the crimp is good, and the primer in tight (maybe seal with some nail polish) tossing it in a bucket in a closet will suffice to keep it good for a 100 or so years (lots of folk - many here I'd guess I have fired 50 year or older centerfire smokeless cartridges and some as old as 100 years).

But if you really want to make sure centerfire ammo keeps here's a good method.

1. Wrap each cartridge box tightly in aluminum foil (non porous to air). If you're really anal apply superglue to the folded edges (prior to folding of course) to completely seal.

2. Put as many boxes as reasonable in a vacuum seal bag and then vacuum seal.

3. Take that package and an appropriate number of silica gel packs and store in any decent ammo can with a rubber gasket - though a standard .50 Cal can will work just as good (I don't remember if they've got a gasket or not).

Ammo stored like that should/will last a 100 years - probably more.

4. If you're really, really anal ;) - wrap the ammo can tightly in aluminum foil, place in suitable vacuum sealable bag and vacuum seal it. You could probably bury that and if some archaeologist digs it up a 1000 years from now all he'd need to use the ammo would be a gun to shoot it.

May 11, 2007, 06:17 PM
These have never steered me wrong...

May 11, 2007, 06:21 PM
maybe I missed it.... but there HAS to be a way to buy new military grade ammo cans.... rather than surplus. Surely the military buys them from somewhere, so..... where?

Or am I wrong and they manufacture them?

May 11, 2007, 06:51 PM
a mil surplus store here always has ammo cans reasonbly priced. I gave up trying to pick out a few of the best ones, all of them were like new. Priced from $2 to $5 to $7. I bought several and they work great. Tested them with the hose and no leaks.
Gotta be a surplus store somewhere near you

Baba Louie
May 11, 2007, 08:22 PM

Wonder how much .22 you could stuff into one of those M7-120mm ammo boxes?

May 11, 2007, 09:40 PM
How to save a ton of money on sicilla gel....

Guess what they use in baby diapers?

$25 for a case, a pair of scissors and you are good to go.

May 11, 2007, 09:59 PM
maybe I missed it.... but there HAS to be a way to buy new military grade ammo cans.... rather than surplus. Surely the military buys them from somewhere, so..... where?

Or am I wrong and they manufacture them?

B-Way Corp manufacturers them for the DOD: (and yes I've seen the operation. BTW, it hasn't changed much since WWII.)

All the DOD spec ammo cans are made at the Homerville, GA Plant. I can answer this: No, we do not sell them to the public, unless you want to buy a couple dozen truckloads and even then that might not be allowed unless you're a government (we also sell to Isreal and several South American countries). We do however sell "seconds" to a distributor who then resells them. I don't know who he is or who he sells to. You don't want the seconds as they are the "leakers" (all the cans are water and pressure tested, any leakers that cannot be rewelded or otherwise fixed/repaired get sold as seconds or scrapped.) Get the ones that have DOD markings (in yellow paint) on them. Those were "good" ones at least at some point in time. Within the last year we did have to pay a fine because some cans that we made between sometime between WWII and the Korea were found to have either started leaking or rusting. I can't remember what the exact complaint was, but we paid the fine and replaced the defective cans. I've heard that DOD gets either a 100 year or "forever and ever, amen" guarantee on our cans, never really bother to find out the truth.

At the gun shows here around Chicago the "small" 7.62mm cans go for $3-5 and the "large" 5.56mm and/or .50cal cans go for $4-7 depending on condition. If you're thinking about getting the 20mm and larger size cans, just remember that bigger ammo cans=more ammo=more weight="Hello, Hernia Doc ??" ;) Remember that ammo is useless unles you can get it to the firearm that needs it. Sometimes less is more. Army/Navy Surplus stores should have them also, but expect to pay more and some of those might be the "seconds" rather then DOD surplus sold through DRMO.

Also do a search here for "kitty litter" as a dessicant. I use it in the cut off legs of the wife's old nylon pantyhose and it works great, both in ammo cans and the gun safe: cut off the legs and make 4-6 inch "salami's" of kitty litter dessicant. Every couple of months (when the wife's not around). Fire up the oven to 180-200 degree and toss them on a baking sheet for couple of hours to 're-genrate' or just make some new ones.

May 11, 2007, 10:10 PM
How about some mil-surp ammo cans, and to aid in moisture control, how about putting some rice in some small bags made of womens hose.

' Hey Baby, are you finished with thsese on the garter belt, (Note: Fishnet stockings will not work. !!! '

May 11, 2007, 10:16 PM
I like the diaper idea, I'll have to try/test that.

May 11, 2007, 10:50 PM
I've been using hi-quality plastic boxes.
+1 on tossing a bit of dissicant.
Some people also use a bit of dry ice (as it evaporates/ sublimates, it forces out a lot of the O2/H2O-carrying air, replacing it with CO2 vapor).

Also make sure you have a good seal, maybe even slather some cosmo on the rubber seals to ensure an airtight seal.

"Where I live, TJ hooker has nothing whatsoever to do with William Shatner."

"Pray for peace, but keep your powder dry."

"You may be half the man you used to be, but you're still twice the man your wife thinks you are."

"I have always believed that a true gentleman provides covering fire while a lady is reloading."

"We do three kinds of work: good, fast, and cheap. Choose any two:
If you want it good and fast, it won't be cheap.
If you want it good and cheap, it won't be fast.
If you want it fast and cheap, it won't be good."

May 11, 2007, 10:57 PM
i use mostly 30 cal ammo cans. I get them at gun shows from the surplus dealers. rarely more than$4-5. 50 cal cans are a few bucks more.

May 22, 2007, 08:59 PM
Can you think of something other than cosmoline ???

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