Cheap Ammo cans - why not 5 gallon buckets?


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leadcounsel
December 5, 2012, 03:36 AM
So, the days of cheap ammo cans seem to be over. They used to be under $5. Now I see the larger ones at $10 or more.

I got to thinking that 5 gallon buckets and lids for under $5 may be the answer for longer term storage. The only drawback may be the handle may not be strong enough or designed for the weight full of ammo. But for a stationary storage solution, that may work well.

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rondog
December 5, 2012, 03:58 AM
You talking about 5 gal. buckets full of loose rounds? You go right ahead, tell us how it works out. Jeeze, my back hurts just thinking about it. A .50 cal. can full of ANY kind of loose ammo is more than plenty heavy enough for me. But I shoot and reload over a dozen calibers, and have thousands upon thousands of rounds stored up. For storing cleaned & polished brass, I use new 2 gallon paint buckets from Home Depot, and one of those full of just empty cases is pretty damned heavy. I don't look forward to schlepping ANYTHING heavy up and down my basement stairs, thank you.

Steel USGI ammo cans are God's gift to us for ammo storage. You just need to find a cheaper source, sniff around on Craigslist, surplus stores and pawn shops. Nab every one you find. The "fat .50's", or SAW cans, are my current favorite, they're just perfect.

jim243
December 5, 2012, 04:07 AM
why not 5 gallon buckets?

You must be related to Superman if you can even move one of those full of rounds.

(LOL)
Jim

evan price
December 5, 2012, 05:43 AM
Because the buckets break down in UV light, the handles break when I have 150# of wheel weights in them, they don't stack as efficiently as the flat sided ammo cans, they will soften in heat, they will melt if they get too hot, they will crush or break if dropped or handled roughly.

If you want to put some boxed ammo in there and then nitrogen purge them and seal them up and put them in the basement for secure cache storage, probably would be a pretty good idea. But for actual use and work, the GI ammo can is the best all around contender.

M-Cameron
December 5, 2012, 07:17 AM
Because the buckets break down in UV light, the handles break when I have 150# of wheel weights in them, they don't stack as efficiently as the flat sided ammo cans, they will soften in heat, they will melt if they get too hot, they will crush or break if dropped or handled roughly.

thats all a tad of a stretch....

1) just about any container will break if you fill it with 150# of lead ( if you can even lift it)

2) they stack pretty easily on top of each other....that being said, with a 5 gal capacity, you shouldnt need more than one at a time.

3) they are rated to 240*F working temperatures, if you are in a location that hot, you have bigger problems....so they arent going to 'melt' or 'soften'

4) anything will crush or break if dropped or roughed up enough....hell, i can most likely crush a standard Ammo can with my boot if i was determined to do so....

OilyPablo
December 5, 2012, 07:32 AM
I mean it would work, but either not so mobile or tons of headspace.

I do have a lot steel ammo cans, and a few Cabela's polymer cans (not really recommended) - but I just buy the larger MTM polymer cans whenever there is a "twofer" sale. Sturdy, perfect size. I probably should test the seal though.

ShamboPyro
December 5, 2012, 07:39 AM
I like to use empty tea tins for small amounts of ammo, although I do put the ammo in a plastic bag inside the tea tin. One tin fits a brick of 22lr.

Lex Luthier
December 5, 2012, 08:43 AM
The large buckets with good rubber seals are best for dehydrated provisions, paper products, and anything that won't require a wheel dolly to move. They do stack well, but I get a little tired of seeing all that orange.

In an emergency, lighter loads are smarter. One might consider a bucket with some ammo, maybe some homemade c-rat packs, bottles of water, matches. More of a Line 2 arrangement. The TEOTWAWKI lunch pail.

Sav .250
December 5, 2012, 09:15 AM
Configuration is the key............

M2 Carbine
December 5, 2012, 11:04 AM
Along with a lot of steel ammo cans I have been using those plastic buckets for many years.
The better ones are stout enough to pick them up when loaded with Bulk Pack 22LR, brass, powder, etc.
And the good ones have air tight seals.

Now days I'm also using gallon and half gallon pickle jars for storage. They also have good air tight seals.


http://i1183.photobucket.com/albums/x464/Bell-helicopter-407/reloadsinjars.jpg

303tom
December 5, 2012, 11:10 AM
So, the days of cheap ammo cans seem to be over. They used to be under $5. Now I see the larger ones at $10 or more.

I got to thinking that 5 gallon buckets and lids for under $5 may be the answer for longer term storage. The only drawback may be the handle may not be strong enough or designed for the weight full of ammo. But for a stationary storage solution, that may work well.
Yep, works for me...............

Trent
December 5, 2012, 12:07 PM
I had a 5 gal bucket filled to the top with 9mm brass for a long time (decade+?). By the time I got towards the bottom of it reloading, brass was noticeably "out of round." Might not affect loaded ammo as much because it's supported both at the rim and the neck (by the projectile), but something to keep in mind.

Same thing with a bucket full of 9mm cast lead bullets. The ones on the bottom were smooshed and had to be run through a sizing die again to get them back in round (cast from wheel weights, fairly hard stuff).

Tinpig
December 5, 2012, 12:11 PM
For what it's worth, my experience with the aftermarket Gamma "air-tight" screw-on lid assemblies for five-gallon buckets, is that they are not even watertight let alone airtight.

Tinpig

oneounceload
December 5, 2012, 12:31 PM
You might try going to your local home improvement store and getting 1 gallon paint cans - the lids stay on tight and do not leak or spill or allow moisture in, they'll be light enough to easily carry, they stack well enough; they look innocent on a shelf in the garage or shop

Uncle Richard
December 5, 2012, 01:13 PM
Try baby formula containers. Work great for me. With baby number 2 on the way, I'll have plenty more containers to fill up.

fallout mike
December 5, 2012, 01:17 PM
Too heavy for me.

homatok
December 5, 2012, 02:08 PM
Talk to the manager in your local fast food resturant and see if they have any old plastic buckets from bulk Salsa, pie filling, etc. these buckets are usually about 1 to 2 gallon sizes. I use a lot of them for all kinds of long or short term storage!

Double Naught Spy
December 5, 2012, 02:36 PM
At a match held at my place, JohnKSa used a used 5 gallonish-sized kitty litter plastic container for both an ammo can and range bag. It was all the rage. PM him about it. It was undoubtedly one of his prouder moments and he is happy to share with you the untold benefits of kitty litter containers!

rcmodel
December 5, 2012, 02:43 PM
Go to any bakery and ask about frosting buckets & lids.

Just are the right size ( 3 gal), & they stack nicely.

They are usually free, or no more then a buck ea. at most.

http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j219/rcmodel/KTOG/Shop8.jpg

I still prefer ammo cans for loaded ammo just for the fire protection angle.
They will retain all the flying brass & primers if your house catches on fire.

rc

22-rimfire
December 5, 2012, 06:40 PM
Those frosting buckets (containers) look like a good approach. They are squared off so you may be able to work with storing stuff in their original boxes. Powdered detergent containers may work also. I use one of these as my "trash can" in my vehicle.

5-gallon buckets.... sounds like buckets of fun. But they are fairly inexpensive.

P5 Guy
December 5, 2012, 07:02 PM
oneounceload, beat me to this but to repeat paint cans would get my vote.

Warp
December 5, 2012, 07:09 PM
So, the days of cheap ammo cans seem to be over. They used to be under $5. Now I see the larger ones at $10 or more.

I got to thinking that 5 gallon buckets and lids for under $5 may be the answer for longer term storage. The only drawback may be the handle may not be strong enough or designed for the weight full of ammo. But for a stationary storage solution, that may work well.

5 gallon buckets are way too big. They take up too WAY too much space for most loaded ammo uses.

My LGS still has .30 cans for $6.99.

What 5 gallon buckets ARE good for is empty/spent brass.

orionengnr
December 5, 2012, 07:14 PM
Those frosting containers look interesting.
The only think I have against the 5-gallon buckets (beside the weight!) is that the round shape is a space waster. Square or rectangular objects snuggle up and sit tight together...more efficient use of space.

I too bought a bunch of ammo cans when they were $4 each. Then some more when they were $5 each...and some more when they were $6 each. "Dollar cost averaging" for the ammo guy. :)

firesky101
December 5, 2012, 07:45 PM
if you know anyone who works in the asphault grinding industry the teeth for the grinders come in neat ammo can sized conainers with a handle. I got hundreds for free as they were just tossing them.

RustHunter87
December 5, 2012, 07:55 PM
2 words Gamma Sea (http://www.cheaperthandirt.net/product/CAMP-304?utm_source=GoogleShopping&utm_medium=organic).
I use these and the seal is good but you get a kinda square peg round hole arrangement when storing boxed ammo.:(

Walkalong
December 5, 2012, 08:00 PM
The square buckets work great for storing brass. I have 3 & 5 gallon ones. I put 9MM brass in the small ones because the weight is hard on the sides of the big ones. Bulges them out bad. I use ammo cans for ammo.

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=163001&d=1334834801

evan price
December 6, 2012, 07:48 AM
I use the kitty litter buckets for storing brass. Rectangular, they stack well and we always have them around. Sorting, storing, transporting, etc. I get about 40 pounds of brass in a kitty litter bucket. I have dozens of them.

I can pick up a 150# 5-gallon bucket of lead by the handle, they will hold if carefully lifted, the bottoms don't blow out, it's just that's a lot of weight to be hanging on a piece of bent 1/8" rod stuck in holes in the plastic rim and I certainly don't put my feet under them.

I've had 5-gal buckets stored outside disintegrate from UV- the plastic goes brittle and they disintegrate if bumped or struck. I've had black buckets stored outside soften enough that they bulged and split.

I prefer the 2.5 gallon size that Quickrete patching compound and other things come in. Nice size to carry, you can get 30# of lead each in them comfortably if you are scavenging at the outdoor range berm, which is as much as you want to carry from the 100-yard range to your truck without a hernia.

Wildbillz
December 6, 2012, 08:41 AM
I have been using Starlight (I think thats the brand name?) boxs from WallMart. There about two bucks each but they stack nice and hold plenty of brass. You can get them in differant sizes and with locking lids. The shoe box size ones fit the shelfs around the reloading bench best.

WB

rbernie
December 6, 2012, 08:43 AM
I store brass this way, and over time the lids collapse and break around the perimeter. The lids aren't strong enough to hold much weight, and the contents themselves have to become load-bearing to help support the stack.

Ratshooter
December 6, 2012, 12:53 PM
if you know anyone who works in the asphault grinding industry the teeth for the grinders come in neat ammo can sized conainers with a handle. I got hundreds for free as they were just tossing them.

Firesky I can't beleive that someone else uses these too. My buddy drives a truck for a company that grinds up the old road to resurface and picks up these containers. I have several stored in my attic now.

I used to work in my dads machine shop when I was a kid and we used 5 gallon metal buckets for parts containers. Ever so often a handle would pull out of the attachment point on the side of the bucket. When the bucket fell it would pull the wire handle through your hand and would tear up your fingers and palm. Be careful lifting overloaded buckets. You don't want to have this happen to you.

RFMan
December 6, 2012, 01:12 PM
I store brass in empty Maxwell House coffee cans from work - the blue ones. They have a handle, and a full can is not too heavy. Sorted by caliber.

ol' scratch
December 6, 2012, 03:18 PM
I use ammo cans because they are tried and true, cheap for what they are and plentiful. I have ammo from 1943 that is as fresh as the day it was made. It is in the original WWII ammo can. Ammo cans are hard to beat. If you pick up ammo at the CMP, they are typically free. I picked up a WWII can this year at a garage sale for $1. Just keep your eyes peeled.

Hit_Factor
December 6, 2012, 03:21 PM
Ammo cans for loaded ammo, 5 gallon buckets for brass cases waiting to be reloaded. I don't think moving a 5 gallon bucket full of ammo would be something I enjoy.

Justin
December 6, 2012, 04:44 PM
Hit factor, I take the same approach.

Sent from my Samsung Galaxy S3 using Tapatalk. Hence all the misspellings and goofy word choices.

MICHAEL T
December 7, 2012, 08:51 PM
The gallon plastic IceCream Containers. Buy eat the contents clean and use . I think I will need lots more icecream

MachIVshooter
December 8, 2012, 12:02 AM
We used to use heavy duty 5 gallon buckets to collect the shavings from the brake lathe. I could lift and carry them, but not very high and not very far (it was about 100 feet to the dumpster). Granted, one filled with densly packed iron dust is going to be heavier than one filled with ammo, but still-I'd bet a 5 gallon full of 9mm is probably pushing 120-130 lbs. Any of us in decent shape can lift that much, but do you really want to lug that around to the range and back? And in 9mm, we're probably talking 6,000 or 7,000 rounds, maybe more; Are you going to shoot that much in a session?

I'll stick with .30 and .50 cans, and the small cardboard boxes I'll often just put a few handfuls in out of my larger containers for a range trip.

StrutStopper
December 8, 2012, 02:36 AM
I store brass in empty Maxwell House coffee cans from work - the blue ones. They have a handle, and a full can is not too heavy. Sorted by caliber.
This.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v172/RIStrutStopper/Snapbucket/622792FC-orig.jpg

rondog
December 8, 2012, 03:01 AM
New 2 gal. paint buckets from Home Depot for brass storage, ammo cans for storing loaded and boxed ammo. This is about half the stash. Old photos too.

http://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b150/rinselman/guns/ammo%20and%20reloading/DSCN3116.jpg

http://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b150/rinselman/guns/ammo%20and%20reloading/DSCN3126.jpg

rcmodel
December 8, 2012, 03:15 AM
Geeze Dude!

You are six ammo cans and nine paint buckets crazier then I am!!! :D

rc

Saakee
December 8, 2012, 04:27 AM
I always thought a Honeybucket would make a great storage space for a truck's--or car with big enough trunk--survival kit or camping gear. it can hold the lightweight stuff while being bungied to a backpack if some brackets are bonded to it and can be used for it's normal purpose when you're where you need to be. And a quick google search shows someone else had this idea too.

When i was management at a fast food place a few friends would ask me for empty buckets and other larger containers for storing their ammo and stuff. Sadly I saved none for myself since back then I owned no weapons.

MachIVshooter
December 8, 2012, 04:47 AM
New 2 gal. paint buckets from Home Depot for brass storage, ammo cans for storing loaded and boxed ammo. This is about half the stash. Old photos too.

I like clear tupperware for brass storage. Easy to take a quick look and guestimate quantity:

http://i110.photobucket.com/albums/n117/Hunter2506/101_1150.jpg

I do keep larger quantities of 7.62 and 5.56 NATO in buckets, though.

Ex-MA Hole
December 8, 2012, 07:19 AM
I'm another coffee can user....sm, med and large....sm ones for empty brass at a range trip...med and larger for storage of brass....

Ky Larry
December 8, 2012, 03:17 PM
I also use Maxwell House coffee cans for loaded ammo storage. I use a majic marker to mark the can with info like caliber, load, date loaded, and number of rounds. I use red Folgers coffee cans to hold brass that is cleaned, belled, and primed. I use 5 gal. buckets for cleaned brass.

Lex Luthier
December 8, 2012, 06:06 PM
The square cat litter buckets are square and generally pretty thick.

Most people just pry that paint can lid off any way they can, but you can pry gently around the edges, wash the can out after you're finished and reuse the can. Talk about hiding something in plain sight.

W.E.G.
December 8, 2012, 06:21 PM
One "fifty caliber" ammo can holds about 400 rounds of 7.62 NATO.

These days, that much ammo is worth about $300.
The value can go higher if smaller calibers, and premium ammo are stored.

Even at the inflated prices we are seeing on ammo cans these days, a RE-USABLE $15 ammo can still seems like worthy investment over some sort of improvised plastic-bucket or pickle-jar system.

Walkalong
December 8, 2012, 07:09 PM
That is a good way to look at it.

V-fib
December 8, 2012, 07:15 PM
i have my ammo stored in plastic ammo cans inside an old nonworking chest freezer out in a locked secure storage building. have about 25,000+ rounds in there. i use one of those silica moisture grabbers that you can renew in your oven when it turns pink from blue. the freezer also has a locking top.

wgaynor
December 8, 2012, 09:02 PM
I still buy my ammo cans for $3-$5 locally. Just picked some up a few weeks ago. Just have to know where to look and who to ask.

oldcelt
December 8, 2012, 09:18 PM
I found the 5 gal. bucket to be just what I needed for crow shooting as well as hunting water fowl . Mine had a cushion lid for a seat, plenty of room for ammo, lunch, rain gear or what ever you choose.

Reefinmike
December 8, 2012, 09:34 PM
New 2 gal. paint buckets from Home Depot for brass storage, ammo cans for storing loaded and boxed ammo. This is about half the stash. Old photos too.

http://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b150/rinselman/guns/ammo%20and%20reloading/DSCN3116.jpg

http://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b150/rinselman/guns/ammo%20and%20reloading/DSCN3126.jpg
Im glad to see there are people out there with more ammo on hand than I have! I ended up moving my ammo into a closet away from my reloading bench. That was a while ago when my brother made a comment about me having "too much" ammo and only had 4 cans full, now I have 8 lol. when you shoot 300+ rounds a week at the range, that stash doesnt last more than 6 months.

JohnBT
December 8, 2012, 09:55 PM
I've always hated spending money on ammo cans. So years ago I started buying Georgia Arms ammo at the gun show - 500 rounds and a FREE ammo can. I know, I know, but it works for me.

Now I need shelving.

John

Certaindeaf
December 9, 2012, 01:53 AM
There's no denying ammo cans rock. Everybody can always use another ammo can. If I was smart I'd get some more (I only have a few or so). I use all kinds of stuff.. milk crates, re-purposed foodstuff containers, cigar boxes, big steel boxes, tupperware, Sterlite boxes, baggies, pie tins and probably a shoe.. heck, I used a sock to transport my range ammo to the range for a while there. I keep different brass in five gallon buckets though.

Twiki357
December 10, 2012, 12:35 AM
Now if you want a good laugh. I was in my local Goodwill store today. They had a standard 50 Cal ammo can available at the ridiculously low price of $17.99. I wonder how long it will be there.

Cast of One
December 10, 2012, 07:29 AM
I saved several coffee cans and wooden cigar boxes in Afghanistan and shipped them home in my gear. I felt silly doing it, but I store brass and ammo in them so it works out.

OilyPablo
December 10, 2012, 04:19 PM
The other ammo/other boxes are food grade "Lock and Lock" boxes from the Kitchen Store at the outlet mall. Great prices for the multipack. Variety of sizes, colors, etc - the seals work GREAT (there maybe different wall thicknesses and such):

http://www.locknlockplace.com/food-container/lunch-set/plastic-lunch-set/lock-and-lock-bpa-free-airtight-container-14piece-set-7containers-blue.html

ThatGuyHank
December 10, 2012, 04:28 PM
In addition to the frosting buckets from bake shops, if you have a deli around you ask if you can have the leftover pickle buckets or containers from premade chicken salads and whatnot. They're decent sized and have good handles on them.

Ken451
December 10, 2012, 08:04 PM
Are we talking about storing loose reloaded ammo, or purchased ammo in boxes?

I rarely have enough reloaded ammo of one type to make it worthwhile to use surplus ammo boxes. I just store mine in freezer bags (100 rounds/bag) and put a bunch of those into plastic parts bins or small 4 quart tubs. The way I reload, I may have 200 rounds of SWC, 500 of FMJ, etc.

While I can see storing loose reloaded ammo that way, I haven't understood the need/desire to store purchased ammo in cases like that. Can someone educate me?

wgaynor
December 10, 2012, 09:07 PM
I store my reloaded ammo in discarded ammo boxes scrounged at the range. These go into ammo cans.

I store factory ammo in ammo cans.

I store cast bullets in food containers.

I store brass in styrofoam coolers that my wife brings home free from the Animal Hospital she works at.

I use to store my ammo in 5 gallon buckets, but it was too cumbersome.

Shadow 7D
December 10, 2012, 10:32 PM
Nothing like trying to scoot the 150 pound bucket of 9mm out of the way to get to the 60 pounds of 45

Oh and the buckets aren't full
and the little wire handle....

Yeah, I'll use a better purpose built container
I mean, they are not bad to toss rounds in when you are cranking em out, but a little bucket is more my size, a pail gets full about the time it starts getting really heavy.
Course I take that as a clue to go watch TV and fill ammo boxes.

rondog
December 10, 2012, 10:56 PM
Myself, I buy the generic white ammo boxes with the styrofoam inserts from Midway. There's like, 6 sizes or so, and each size will work for several different types of cartridges. I then make labels on my PC to put on the boxes that tell me the caliber, bullet, powder, all the load data. And then I store those boxes in USGI ammo cans with a label on the can the same as what's on the ammo boxes. So I can look at the ammo cans on my shelves and find what I want right away.

See post #38, and you can see the labels on a lot of those cans. Tells me what's in 'em and what the load is right away.

Shadow 7D
December 11, 2012, 02:17 AM
Ron, I just dumpster dive at the range, there is never a shortage of empty boxes.

Fishslayer
December 11, 2012, 04:43 AM
Try baby formula containers. Work great for me. With baby number 2 on the way, I'll have plenty more containers to fill up.

Just don't go storing your primers in 'em.:uhoh:

EDIT: OOPS. I was thinking baby food jars.

bigfatdave
December 11, 2012, 10:41 AM
While I can see storing loose reloaded ammo that way, I haven't understood the need/desire to store purchased ammo in cases like that. Can someone educate me? lousy humidity control in rented housing, for one.
Organization is easier when the boxes are labeled and stacked neatly.

Ammo cans are probably overkill for my factory ammo storage needs, but what's the cheap solution? I've been reading this thread as it goes along to look for cheap storage ideas, moving (across town) my ammo in cans last week was brutal and I'd like to find something better.

JustinJ
December 11, 2012, 10:46 AM
Large ziplock bags inside of cardboard boxes work. So do plastics storage containers. Its not complicated.

Shadow 7D
December 12, 2012, 06:37 PM
Dave, ammo is heavy, no two ways about it
hand carts is about it
and things that are easy to pick up

bigfatdave
December 12, 2012, 08:09 PM
Hand carts are great, until you're on the 3rd floor and the turns in the stairway don't let your handcart through. All the damn ammo came up in small batches and I was appalled at how much there was to get out all in one afternoon.

I ended up lowering the cans off the balcony on a strap, using an old sea-bag as a sling - the Mrs* de-bagged the cans at the bottom and stacked them up. It worked surprisingly well, I ran some of the lighter cans first to figure out the method and then I was able to load/lower them pretty much nonstop until I ran out of ammo cans.
I nearly have enough cans to make a throne out of, seeing them all stacked up on the sidewalk made that obvious in a way you just don't see when they're in a closet.

*(which meant I had to download some cans for ease of lifting, making 2 milk-crate loads of non-canned ammo or so)

1 old 0311-1
December 12, 2012, 09:37 PM
Ammo cans all the way!

http://i1136.photobucket.com/albums/n489/kcq1/P1030208.jpg

ApacheCoTodd
December 12, 2012, 11:19 PM
These:
http://www.homedepot.com/Paint-Paint-Accessories-Apparel/h_d1/N-5yc1vZboao/R-100038785/h_d2/ProductDisplay?catalogId=10053&langId=-1&storeId=10051#.UMlIXI7FWTc

They seal, roll, stack, are easy to carry, non conspicuous and only $4.98 but I've bought them on sale for a little over half that as well.

xfyrfiter
December 12, 2012, 11:49 PM
The 20mm ammo cans are almost too heavy when full of 22lr and shotgun ammo is almost as bad. 50cal cans are just rite and my local surplus store is still pretty reasonable.

If you enjoyed reading about "Cheap Ammo cans - why not 5 gallon buckets?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!