Plastic vs Metal

Discussion in 'Shooting Gear and Storage' started by Jethro1200, Jun 28, 2022.

  1. Jethro1200

    Jethro1200 Member

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    Do any members have an opinion about the various plastic cans vs mil. surplus cans for ammo storage? If surplus cans are no longer available, which of the alternatives are best in your opinion? Have any of you tried the Horror Freight and various other Chinese metal cans and have any opinion about long term practicality for ammo storage?
     
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  2. CapnMac

    CapnMac Member

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    The plastic cans are cheap and light.
    They are very much not water tight.
    And they will not stack deep at all.

    The metal cans can be spendy.
    They can require maintenance to get them in service.
    The seals are not replaceable (neatly) and want early attention.
    Ammo may need repacking to storage in GI cans.
    Loaded GI can get very heavy very quickly..

    For all that GI metal cans are 10X better than the plastic ones.
     
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  3. Jethro1200

    Jethro1200 Member

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    Good points CapnMac. The metal is obviously the better idea. How about the metal Chinese copies, since I am not seeing the quantity or quality of even a short while ago in mil surplus. The only ones I am seeing offered are either foreign mil or in sad shape. Did .gov quit selling them to the civilian market, or maybe covid is being blamed?
     
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  4. CapnMac

    CapnMac Member

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    Short answer is: Yes.
    The status of the metal cans was changed in the DRMO process (that's Defense Resource Mobilization Organization, which handles all military excess). Ammo cans changed from Dispose at Will, to Retrain if Servicable. Part of that is the slimming down of Mil contracting, there's not enough margin to let your subs make long over-runs, and just dump the excess. Mil has adopted the "use the cans for everything" model ans well, too.

    It's been decades, but the days of being able to go to the Ft Polk, or Ft Hood Surplus Sales and go get a truckload of stuff in bulk have long faded. That's how history goes.

    The dumb part is that, "cans are local." Because they are both heavy and bulky, nobody wants to shift them unless there's a serious profit in doing so (current fuel & shipping issues have not improved that at all). Let's say a person stumbled on a trove of say, a hundred. Ever stacked a hundred ammo cans in a trailer or the back of a truck? It's not intellectually taxing work. But, who ever wants them gone, wants them gone now, not later.

    So, you now have a hundred ammo cans. Ok, you got them for the trouble of loading them up and taking them away. So, maybe $5 each is fair. But, if shipping is $8, what is the fair price then? Or when shipping four cans is not $32 but $45 as it's a oversize/bulky, what then?

    tl;dr--it means here, there may be none. There, there may be plenty, but they are almost as spendy.

    Guy I know has been in the surplus biz a long time, a lifetime. He knows a guy, from when he was young who has a barn or "warehouse" in the Belton/Killeen area not that far from Ft Hood, who is holding onto thousands of cans in crates and cardboard boxes, that the old coot was unwilling to shift, back when labor was $2/hr. So, all the folks in the surplus biz know the cat, and they are all waiting for when he goes to the Great Beyond, as, when the stash is found and broken up, it will depress the ammo can market, for probably all of about 4 weeks :)
     
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  5. Hartkopf

    Hartkopf Member

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    I’m strongly opinionated on buying American made when possible and MTM cans are made in the USA. Can in a can to save shipping(in stock at Midway) and they’re pretty darn strong. WAY better than plano Chinese made stuff. 4BB03DFD-61C1-4EB8-B130-E922FA83EE2D.jpeg
     
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  6. sevt_chevelle

    sevt_chevelle Member

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    I can tell you for a fact, the horrible fright plastic cans don't seal up tight and the metal cans don't stack as nice as USGI.
     
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  7. Buzznrose

    Buzznrose Member

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    Defense Reutilization Marketing Office
     
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  8. Buzznrose

    Buzznrose Member

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    AAE1922F-E548-4938-B0C7-6EBDF52D000E.png

    I use both. Lots of plastic MTM and real GI ammo cans.

    if you go with ammo cans, I really like the MTM 3 can trays. They stack great!

    MTM MAC50 Metal Ammo Can Tray (50 Cal.)
    https://a.co/5mvPRbj
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2022
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  9. twofewscrews

    twofewscrews Member

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    The Horror Freight metal cans have worked well for me although as someone else already mentioned they don't stack quite as well as more expensive/mil surp cans. I sealed up a Horror Freight ammo can about 6 months ago with a reusable desiccant package. I've checked the desiccant once a month and have yet to have to recharge it. YMMV

    The Horror Freight plastics are not worth the cash unless your using them to transport ammo/accessories to and from the range.
     
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  10. Jethro1200

    Jethro1200 Member

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    Thanks for the replies, it is good to get facts and opinions from knowledgeable people.
    I just found .30 cans at theammocanman.com for
    3 x 30 Cal Ammo Can Used Grade 2
    $26.85 plus $5,75 shipping
    I was happy with the price.
     
  11. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    You have to be very careful about air/water tightness of various "ammo cans".

    I have bought several of the Rural King and Harbor Freight steel cans because they come with lid gaskets. I checked air tightness on the first three by letting two sit in the sun until they got hot to the touch and then sealed them and set them with the third in air conditioning. Once they cooled I opened them. The change in pressure from hot to cool made the ones that had been in the sun difficult to open. Good sign.

    I have also spent the money on the MTM polymer cases and they are air tight as well and very sturdy.

    I've inspected many different plastic ammo cases and decided not to buy since they didn't include gaskets.
     
  12. BigBlue 94

    BigBlue 94 Member

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    Visit your local surplus store. Mine always has 30 and 50 cal cans in stock as well as various 20 and 40mm cans. Ive seen them there as recent as a couple months ago.

    The plastic ones are crap.

    Try finding a can for an M139 20mm Autocannon... Sure is a neat can though. I had one burn in a shop fire, the replacement was nearly $100!
    Vintage-US-Military-20mm-Ammo-Can-Box-for-M139.jpg
     
  13. CapnMac

    CapnMac Member

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    Sadly, the internet is killing those faster than radio killed the video stars.
     
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  14. BigBlue 94

    BigBlue 94 Member

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    Sure is sad ain't it. Our local one is tiny but CRAMMED full of camping supplies and such. Been there for over 100 years! They still repair tent poles too.
     
  15. CapnMac

    CapnMac Member

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    It is indeed.
    I've been to the half-dozen remaining in DFW.
    Which sounds benign.
    This is DFW:
    11&ccb=1-7&_nc_sid=8bfeb9&_nc_ohc=Y32c0b8qgl0AX-NOX4s&tn=bl2pfGc1Ua82K3_n&_nc_ht=scontent-dfw5-1.jpg
    The amount of difference between them any more is tiny.

    The last remaining "bigs" all have paid-for warehousing out in nowhereland; and they either have internet access, or are traveling the show circuit (or, more typically, both).

    Back in the 70s, a far-away part of the Beforetimes, over off Harry Hines, there had been a huge (circa 40,000sf) surplus joint. Same family still has a store on Harry Hines, but, it's several blocks away and is maybe 3000sf.

    Sigh, the days of the bigs, Woodhaven, Kaufman's, even Col Bubbies, are long gone.
     
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  16. BigBlue 94

    BigBlue 94 Member

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    Lol our local one is smaller than Bannerman's personal office bathroom... Maximum of 1000 sqft of showroom.
     
  17. sevt_chevelle

    sevt_chevelle Member

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    My local guy was selling cans for about twice the price versus internet.

    I just bought 6 30 cal cans grade 1 from ammocanman, those things looked brand new!

    The plastic ammo boxes I got from HF just store my magazines
     
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  18. doubleh

    doubleh Member

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    I have several of the small Horrible Fright cans and they are adequate. Wait for a sale on them and grab then in a hurry. They sell out quickly, at least in this area. MTM cans are better. Moisture is NOT a problem in my area. Both keep the ammo contained and that is all I need.
     
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