Refinishing ammo cans?


December 25, 2011, 01:14 AM
I saw the other thread about cans, and it started into a couple posts about rust and such, and I figure I'll just make a new thread.
I've got a few cans that have rust on them, and I would like to get them cleaned up. One has some fairly deep rust. How do you guys refinish them? I'm thinking of just sanding then spraying with some of the DuraCoat I have. Thoughts? Is sanding really necessary? Input is appreciated.

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December 25, 2011, 01:21 AM
Well, I'm lucky in that I have a bead blast cabinet in the shop. If I didn't, I'd use a Scotchbrite wheel to remove the rust as best I could, treat it with a rust converter, a few coats of a decent sandable primer then paint as desired. I have one that I did this with, spray painted it with an OD green then laid a few leaves on it and fogged flat black around the edges.

December 25, 2011, 02:59 AM
I have one I got from a Gunner's mate buddy in the navy, and it was pretty rusty at the bottome. Wire wheeled it and primered it, then painted the whole thing black. Some of the rust came back after a while, but it isn't getting worse since being off the ship. Gonna try that canned bedliner stuff and hopefully that will take care of it for good.

December 25, 2011, 07:45 AM
I had a rusty one about 10 years ago. I scuffed it with sandpaper and hit it with some flat black rustoleum. Still looks brand new.

December 25, 2011, 09:53 AM
Just buy cans in good conditiion. They are everywhere. I have some cans that I have had for 40 years and the insides are spotless.....Use the rusted cans for something else.....chris3

T Bran
December 25, 2011, 10:07 AM
It does take some looking but you can find them in great condition. I have about ten nice ones. Once you have rust in the corners the only good way to save them is sand blasting. Follow this up immediately with a coat of Rustoleum rusty metal primer. After this paint with whatever you want they will last a really long time.
I also read about the bed liner coating sounds like a winner to me as long as you prep them well before it is applied.

December 25, 2011, 10:57 AM
And just to add a bit to the thread, an ammo can makes a very good faraday cage.

December 25, 2011, 12:28 PM
A bit spendy, but BRAND NEW.

dozen 50 cal cans - new (

December 25, 2011, 08:58 PM
I found Rustoleum Self-Etching Primer to be maybe the best spray primer out there, and it dries a kind of dark OD green. I've tested it on stainless, aluminum, zinc chromate and plain steel and it wears better than anything else I've tried. That being said, I'd rather buy decent ammo cans than invest too much time in repainting them.

December 25, 2011, 09:13 PM
I think some people can't bear to "waste" a can.

Sort of like how "The coyote redoubles his effort after he has lost sight of his objective."

I can relate - even if I can't rationalize.

December 25, 2011, 09:17 PM
I will spend twice as much to redo something the way that I want it than it would have cost new, more than likely.

December 25, 2011, 09:27 PM
a rusty ammo can would be a good application for naval jelly if you dont have a blaster that is

December 26, 2011, 12:29 AM
I think some people can't bear to "waste" a can.

hehe... I actually bought one that was still wrapped up in "Evidence" tape! :D

...stuff was a bear to get off...

December 26, 2011, 04:24 AM
Thanks for the suggestions guys.

December 26, 2011, 05:06 AM
I bought a .50 can one time that was a little bit rusty. It was the only .50 can they had left at the store, and it was the only place in town to buy them. I used a DeWalt rotary cutter-the kind that uses those cut-off wheels that are made out of fiberglass, and put a wire brush cup attachment on it. I took off all the paint and resprayed it with some OD green rustoleum. It looks brand new now.

December 26, 2011, 09:25 AM
Hit em with a scotch brite pad & shoot em with what ever color Krylon you wish, works for me...........

December 26, 2011, 11:17 AM

December 26, 2011, 01:38 PM
Just make absolutely positively certain the paint is dry before you close the lid.

I mean, like, leave out in the noonday sun for two or more days to dry, dry.

Personal experience.

<off topic>
Interesting idea about the Faraday cage. As a skyintifical 'sperimink once, I tried to isolate my cell phone from the "pinging" the cell towers do so its response wouldn't get into my TV reception and other things. I stuck the thing in a cookie can with a metal lid and that worked.

Did the same thing with my atomic watch (receives 60 kHZ correcting time signals from WWV up in Fort Collins, about 60 miles away) just to see if it would reset itself in the cookie can. In that case, it didn't work (it still reset), so I stuck the cookie can in the oven to further shield it and that worked.

Science marches on.
</off topic>

Terry, 230RN

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