Opening An Ammo Spam Can w/o Opener?


March 15, 2010, 02:54 AM
I've been considering purchasing some surplus ammo recently, but don't have enough money at the moment to get both cases and the free spam can opener. Anyone have any tricks for getting one open, or better yet, know where to buy the can opener? I've heard the chisel and tin snips method is probably best, but thought I'd ask.
Oh, and if anyone has any recommendations regarding surplus 7.62x54R, 8mm Mauser (excluding 50's Yugo, heard there were some case head separation issues with it), and 7.62x39, let me know. Was thinking Russian, Bulgarian, Yugo, or Polish light ball for x54R, Romanian 8mm, and Yugo x39, but I'm open to suggestions.
Thanks. Just wanted to say I've been a long time lurker and this forum is great.

If you enjoyed reading about "Opening An Ammo Spam Can w/o Opener?" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
fireman 9731
March 15, 2010, 03:17 AM
Well, don't get too excited about the thing they send with a case of ammo to open the cans. It has been useless in my experiences. I have had my best luck with a dremel tool and a cut-off wheel. That metal is pretty tough though, you will probably go through a few wheels. The chisel and tin snips work pretty well too, a sharp chisel goes a long way.

I feel sorry for the poor Russian fool that would have had to open all those cans when WWIII started.

March 15, 2010, 03:24 AM
hammer and screwdriver

March 15, 2010, 03:35 AM
tin snips, crowbar, pliers perseverance :D

March 15, 2010, 08:30 AM
Angle grinder is better than a Dremel tool for things that don't require much detail. Get one and it will soon become your favorite tool. Until you get a band saw, at least.

March 15, 2010, 08:51 AM
A kabar knife if you have one. Use a hammer to drive it through. Chisel and hammer is fine but dont pierce too deep.

March 15, 2010, 09:03 AM
I always found the opener to work great, don't know why some people rag on them... you can usually find them for $2 at gunshows, for what it's worth.

March 15, 2010, 09:28 AM
I just used my multi-tool to hack it open.

Ohio Gun Guy
March 15, 2010, 09:31 AM
It's all about the motivation. - Put in your favorite WW2 movie, hit play & Crank the sound). :D

The screwdriver method looks fairly straight forward as shown above^

March 15, 2010, 09:49 AM
Swiss army knives have the old style can openers.
If it has the strip around thbe sides use needle nose pliers.

Dain Bramage
March 15, 2010, 10:57 AM
Hammer and sickle.

March 15, 2010, 11:52 AM
I drill a hole in the corner (use a stop on the bit so it only penetrates about 1/16" or so), then zip the top off with a pneumatic sheet metal nibbler. Takes about 30 seconds.

March 15, 2010, 03:42 PM
Once the top lid is removed, the empty can be handy to soak your smaller gun parts, boltheads , bolts and springs from all the gunk after each range session .

March 15, 2010, 04:43 PM
I'll second the Kabar recommendation.

March 15, 2010, 04:45 PM
A grizzly bear

March 15, 2010, 04:49 PM
Medium to large size metal snips. Worked pretty good, and safe. The included can opener broke after the first cut :(

March 15, 2010, 06:28 PM
I have always had good luck with a hammer and chisel. If you line the chisel up so that about 2/3 of the leading edge of the blade is on the metal, with the following end hanging off over the cut, it takes two or three raps with a hammer to break through, and then you repeat until the lid is off. It took me about 10 minutes, and the lid still looked enough to hang on the wall in my recording studio with my other gun-related memorabilia.

March 15, 2010, 06:37 PM
Give it to my three-year-old nephew. That little disaster will have ammo all over the room in fifteen minutes, and by some method unknown to science will have mamaged to do it without injuring himself even the slightest. He'll likely have a few of the bullets pulled and be sprinkling gunpowder on the cats.

And entirely without tools. Kid ain't normal, I tell ya.
(He ain't allowed in my house no more, either---supervised or otherwise):what:


March 15, 2010, 06:41 PM
I endorse hammer and chisel.

I use angle grinder, farmer that I am ;), but grinder and wheel will set you back maybe 30$, and you can use that $ to buy more ammo.

March 15, 2010, 07:20 PM
Phaser .......

March 15, 2010, 07:23 PM
Its all about motivation! If you had some BFVS's rolling up the pass you would have those cans open in about .30 seconds.:D

The screw driver and hammer method looks like the one to use.

March 15, 2010, 08:26 PM
Alright, thanks for all the responses! I think I'll go with the screwdriver or chisel and hammer, and then use some tin snips.

March 15, 2010, 08:52 PM
Hammer, wide chisel, pliers, patience and be sure to wear gloves, those edges are sharp. I've opened many spam that way.

March 15, 2010, 09:30 PM
Tanto? {grin}

March 15, 2010, 09:48 PM
There are two authorized ways to do this under Soviet doctrine. One, the entire squad just jabs at it with Mosins and bayonets afixed until you end up with loose ammo. The other is the smash it with a rock... err tool until it's open :)

Red Tornado
March 15, 2010, 10:03 PM
Just grab one corner and peel it back diagonally. :evil:

navyretired 1
March 16, 2010, 12:42 AM
For many years I've ignored the tuna strip around the cans, I take a sharp heavy knife and score arould top of can. the I drive knife into scoreing and pull up. when I have a portion up I lock Vice-Grips on portion and pull hard and the tin splits right along score line easy ase can be.

March 16, 2010, 01:11 AM
Just push it out the cargo door of an aircraft at speed.

The sound of the impact should wake up the drunk Russians, the sudden deceleration makes it self-opening, and at least some of the ammo should still be usable.

March 16, 2010, 02:01 AM
a little mild use of a thermic lance or gas axe could be just the ticket.

March 16, 2010, 11:58 AM
I have opened literally hundreds of Romanian spam cans with the supplied opener. In fact I am using the same one for about the last 60 cans.
Amazing you say- well it is and there is a secret- wrap the handle with rubber, foam or other wise and duct tape it down tight, make it wide and round-
Far superior to hacking and banging around it with a chisel or screwdriver- takes me a little under 2 minutes- Only better way is a nibbler. cut off tool works great too-
foret the dremel- make a handle its faster and cheaper than wheels-

Guns and more
March 16, 2010, 07:37 PM
Hammer and sickle.
Hold all calls, we have a winner!

Jim K
March 16, 2010, 07:44 PM
I thought that is what bayonets were made for.


March 16, 2010, 08:01 PM
I just used a large screwdriver, hammer, and a pair of vise-grips. Add in some swearing, and a friend on the sidewalk in front of his house, and viola! 440 rounds ready to go!

Though I just picked up an angle grinder the other day, and will probably use that in the future. As for the lid, it may have been mangled, but I took it into the shop, and used a hydraulic press to mash it back to flat.

Ky Larry
March 16, 2010, 09:28 PM
Bulldozer and C-4. Seriously, does anybody make a large P-38 type can opener? Would a 6"-8" P-38 work? Wonder why the Russians didn't come up with an American style ammo can? Any ideas?

March 16, 2010, 10:04 PM
I used an air hammer. worked great and very fast.

Also. The polish LSP light ball i have works great from my M44. I have only had one so far not fire at all and only a very maybe 2 more requiring a second strike. I only wish I had bought a warehouse full when I bough my last can of 7.62x54 r for 29.99 / 440 rounds just a few short years ago.

March 17, 2010, 12:08 PM
Cold Chisel to make the hole and tin snips to open it up.

murdoc rose
March 17, 2010, 12:55 PM
lol @^

March 17, 2010, 02:03 PM
Just send me your addy and I will send you my spare.

March 17, 2010, 08:04 PM
just shoot it

Not really

but no really you should get a grinder and start working on the thing.

March 17, 2010, 09:20 PM
The openers that come with the spam cans work just like the GI can opener (P38). They're just a lot bigger! Anyway, the easiest method I've found is to use the issue opener to get it started and then switch to the tin snips. No risk of damaging contents from dremel, little risk of cutting hand. Relatively little work, and the results, with a little practice, aren't (necessarily) too jagged.

I justified the purchase of the tin snips on the basis that they're bound to come in handy for something else some day. Not that that's happened yet ... but they're great for those cans, really they are.

March 17, 2010, 10:41 PM
Tin snips really are handy all the time, surplusfan, just the other day we were making paintball riot shields...

If you enjoyed reading about "Opening An Ammo Spam Can w/o Opener?" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!