Ammo Boxes – Metal or Plastic?

Discussion in 'Caliber Zone' started by Maverick, Oct 15, 2007.

  1. Maverick

    Maverick Guest

    Military Surplus Ammo Cans or New Plastic Dry Boxes, which is the best?
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    That depends on whom you ask… Hopefully this will point out the pros and cons of each, so you can make a better decision on what to store you’re ammo in.


    In this comparison we have a Flambeau Plastic Dry Box, which you can pickup at your local Wal-Mart for around $10 in the camping section. Then we have a .50Cal Steel Military Ammo Can that run around $5-$7* at your local Military Surplus store.

    *-Prices are on the rise for military ammo boxes. Here is what Cheaperthandirt has listed on their site.
    "Original Military Ammo Cans. The U.S. Military has begun destroying ammo cans making them very scarce."

    http://www.cheaperthandirt.com/ZAA095-566-1375.html


    There are some myths about steel conducting moisture and plastic does not. Truth is neither will “conduct†moisture. Steel will conduct heat more so than plastic and will take longer to heat up or cool down. Both will condense (sweat) moisture if they are moved from one temperature extreme to another. However if the seals are good it can’t condense more moisture than what’s already present inside the box to begin with. To combat moisture you can add some desiccant packs to your boxes for extra protection.
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    As you can see the Flambeau is a little bigger, and even comes with a removable tray.
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    The Flambeau also has a rubber gasket for a seal. This is a good thing as some plastic boxes only have a thin flimsy piece of weather stripping for a seal. You want to stay away from the later, as it will not provide good long-term protection for your ammo.
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    The latch on the Flambeau is all plastic. Because of this it can’t provide the clamping power of the steel military latches. The greater pressure that can be applied the better the seal.
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    When picking out a Military Surplus Box. Take a second to check the seals. Make sure they are in good condition with no cracks or massive amounts a globed on paint. They can usually be cleaned up with a little Armor All like this one.
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    So how good are the seals? - Enter the WATER TEST!


    This is a very extreme test, as you will not be storing your ammo at the bottom of a lake. It is only a test to compare the seals of the two boxes.

    Both boxes will be filled with clumping kitty litter (fresh) and if any water does get in the box. The litter should be a tell tell sign.

    First here are the two boxes and the litter that will be used. I have also enlisted the help of an assistant who is not only an expert on kitty litter; he hates water more than our ammo!
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    First I filled the plastic box with litter.
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    Then it takes the plunge. I had to add some extra weight to get it to sink.
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    It wasn’t in the water long before I noticed little bubbles coming from the rear hinge of the box. I pulled it from the water, check the litter and found nothing. So I put it back in the tub for a little longer an ignored the bubbles.
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    Ten minutes later I pull the box out of the water and this time I could see where some water did get in. Not a lot, but a little did make it in.
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    Next it was time for the Military Ammo Can. Luckily it was heavy enough to sink all on its own.
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    I let it stay submerged for 30minutes. When I pulled it out there was no sign that any water got in.
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    Conclusion:
    Truth is either box should provide adequate protection. It’s really more of a personal preference to what you use. I attribute the steel military can doing better in the water test simply due to the amount of pressure the latch clamps down with.
     
  2. Mumbles

    Mumbles Guest

    Very informative! Now if I can round up enough money to fill one with ammo :lol:
     

  3. neothespian

    neothespian Well-Known Member

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    As a side note: Many suppliers are upping their prices on the metal ammo cans due to the US and EU militaries moving towards lighter materials out of which to fabricate their cases....or at least that's the scuttlebutt going around (anyone in Armed Forces supply able to back this up?)

    Boxes that used to go for $5 to $7 have bumped up to at least $10.99 up here, and keep going up. So if steel is your flavour, then perhaps you should move on stocking up while the prices are good if there is any weight to this rumor.
     
  4. Stryker1

    Stryker1 Well-Known Member

    I used to have a good line at the ASP to get almost any size ammo box for free!!!!!! I need to go back and get a resupply lol. I will see what I can do to get some up on the "Pay It Forward" thread.


    The 30mm Boxes are great for lots of ammo!!!!
     
  5. billybybose

    billybybose Guest

    Cool post man thanks.Iwas looking at 9mm on cabellas site.300rds and it comes in a plastic case.Anybody know anything about that?
     
  6. Cool post! I like the looks of the plastic "cans" better but I feel the price and, as mentioned, clamp load on the steel cans would be tough to beat. I hadn't heard the steel cans are going up in price but it sounds like a perfectly good reason to go to the local ANSS and get some more before it is too late.

    I'd like to try the test like this one but I don't trust kitty litter. Anyone have a cat I could borrow instead? :lol:
     
  7. neothespian

    neothespian Well-Known Member

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    Dear god please take my cat..... the downside of co-habbitating with another person who had a cat.

    I won't say anything, and will leave the front door unlocked with a $100 bill in an envelop. What happens afterwards is none of my buisness.

    Yes. I really h;]Cool post! I like the looks of the plastic "cans" better but I feel the price and, as mentioned, clamp load on the steel cans would be tough to beat. I hadn't heard the steel cans are going up in price but it sounds like a perfectly good reason to go to the local ANSS and get some more before it is too late.

    I'd like to try the test like this one but I don't trust kitty litter. Anyone have a cat I could borrow instead? :lol:[/quote]

    Dear god please take my cat..... the downside of co-habbitating with another person who had a cat.

    I won't say anything, and will leave the front door unlocked with a $100 bill in an envelop. What happens afterwards is none of my buisness.

    Yes. I really hate that cat.
     
  8. PrimalSeal

    PrimalSeal Well-Known Member

    Maverick, what a post! Excellent information and great pics. Thanks buddy!
     
  9. unclerob

    unclerob Member

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    30 cal cans $2.95

    Item#ACan30

    http://www.aimsurpl;]As a side note...tem#ACan30 [url]http://www.aimsurplus.com/
     
  10. Shooter87

    Shooter87 Member

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  11. Maverick

    Maverick Guest

    Thanks guys.

    I went back and added a * and a note about the price increases of the military ammo boxes. Luckily the Military Surplus store where I get my .50Cal boxes still has them for $6ea.
     
  12. Huggy

    Huggy Member

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    SEPA
    I found a few of the ones like unclerob posted at a flea market for $3 each. CAL.30 T291. They both had some light rust on the outside, and one on the inside, the other one looked brand new inside. Sanded and painted both, so no more markings, but great boxes! to give an idea of size, I can fit 6 boxes of 50 count Win .45 ACP with a little space left for a couple teabag sized desicant packs.
     
  13. ab4ka

    ab4ka Guest

    At first I thought you were going to put the cat in the box. That got me interested :lol:
     
  14. neothespian

    neothespian Well-Known Member

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    I neglected to mention that is one smartly written article! Ever thought about doing any technical writing beyond just the occ;]Thanks guys.

    I went back and added a * and a note about the price increases of the military ammo boxes. Luckily the Military Surplus store where I get my .50Cal boxes still has them for $6ea.[/quote]

    I neglected to mention that is one smartly written article! Ever thought about doing any technical writing beyond just the occasional post?
     
  15. unclerob

    unclerob Member

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    +1
     
  16. Ridge

    Ridge Well-Known Member

  17. SamW

    SamW Well-Known Member

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    Md
    I've got some of both. I like the metal military cans the best but if I was going to have one out in the weather a lot, I'd go with the plastic ones with the rubber seal.
     
  18. 8andsand

    8andsand Well-Known Member

    I got one of those plastic cans from Cabelas with some 7.62x39 ammo. It is pretty sturdy but i never checked it for being water tight. Good info. The metal cans are like a 1911 they are just a classic.
     
  19. neothespian

    neothespian Well-Known Member

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    Another good point for a good condition metal ammo box: If you use electronics in the field, these are great! I know quite a few sound engineer guys and cameramen I know store light meters, cable testers, and multi-meters in these things. They swear by them for their durability and water-tight nature.