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Thread: .50 Cal Ammo Cans

  1. #1
    Boolit Master

    alamogunr's Avatar
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    .50 Cal Ammo Cans

    Palmetto State Armory has 50 cal ammo cans at a pretty good price. Does anyone know if they are the equal to military surplus? I need some storage containers and wouldn't mind if these were slightly below military quality(ignoring paint defects). I just don't know if anyone makes ammo cans for any purpose other than military.

    I would call but don't want to invest an hour + on hold.
    John
    W.TN

  2. #2
    Boolit Master

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    I purchased a bunch of 40mm milsurp cans a while back from a local person. A lot bigger than the 50s (maybe 3-4x more volume) and cheap enough at $10/can.

    At $90/12 with free shipping, that's not too bad at all. I don't know how they compare to military surplus, maybe a little lighter construction. Just guessing based upon what I've seen in cans from walmart and academy.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master


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    Even if lighter materials, they are new and to mil spec Remember the Mil Serp has already served it's full intended purpose.
    These should serve us as dry storage for many years. It's not like we're going to ship them, under the worst conditions, half way around the world, and depend on the contents, for our lives with every round. Especially with WWII ammo.
    Mil Spec is some tough stuff.
    Information not shared. is wasted.

  4. #4
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    Harbor freight sells a "China made" 50 cal ammo can replica (for the commercial market).
    So I suspect others may be selling the China cans???
    I've never handled one, but the review and Torture Test in this youtube video makes them look pretty good.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UVpvF_s-wCg

  5. #5
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    They don't list can specs. I won't buy unless they list country of origin. Bought a few cases of Blackhawk cans awhile back. They're made in the US and seem to be the exact same thing as the military cans. I tested about half of them and they all kept water out. Figured that was enough to consider them good to go.

    I can also get actual military cans that are on good shape cheap. Have to really pick through the 50s because they are always in worse shape.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by JonB_in_Glencoe View Post
    Harbor freight sells a "China made" 50 cal ammo can replica (for the commercial market).
    So I suspect others may be selling the China cans???
    I've never handled one, but the review and Torture Test in this youtube video makes them look pretty good.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UVpvF_s-wCg
    I suspect that is what I've ordered. If so, I'll live with it. I've got several mil-spec cans that I can use if I need something super durable. They are full right now but can be emptied for other uses if necessary.
    John
    W.TN

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by dragon813gt View Post
    They don't list can specs. I won't buy unless they list country of origin. Bought a few cases of Blackhawk cans awhile back. They're made in the US and seem to be the exact same thing as the military cans. I tested about half of them and they all kept water out. Figured that was enough to consider them good to go.

    I can also get actual military cans that are on good shape cheap. Have to really pick through the 50s because they are always in worse shape.
    When you put the PSA cans in a cart they mention that they are Blackhawk brand cans.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimB.. View Post
    When you put the PSA cans in a cart they mention that they are Blackhawk brand cans.
    Guess I was on the wrong ones because they said they were sold out. The Blackhawk cans are good to go IMO.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master 308Jeff's Avatar
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    Ordered a dozen of them a couple nights ago. Don't need 'em, but the deal was too good to pass up.

    Already shipped and should be getting them on next Thursday.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    Midway had a sale a wile ago on surplus grade 3 cans...with shipping about 7 buck each. Seals were all good, spray paint minor dents and dirt was the norm on all 10 I bought. Good serviceable condition

  11. #11
    Boolit Master

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    My Wife thought I was crazy when I bought 2 pallets full of 50 caliber cans about 20 years ago. I think they were 50 cents each, or maybe a dollar. Most of them have something in them now, but I still have a few emptys. Several of them had a bunch of red dirt in them. Fort Benning, maybe? I spunged them out and sprayed the gaskets with silicon spray. Wish I had a few 20mm cans.

  12. #12
    I saw the cans on the PSA website too. Ill be following this thread, I think that they said something about being built to Mil Spec specs???

  13. #13
    Boolit Master

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    Thanks for the heads up. Just ordered me a dozen.

  14. #14
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    I just thought I'd pass this on as it relates to "ammo cans". A number of years ago - probably 30 years at least, I bought a couple of the 30 cal cans and one of the 50 cal cans at a gun show. They were great for tools, etc.

    About 15 to 18 years ago or so, we had one of our dogs get to the point that he had to be put down so I had him cremated. Normally, we have always buried our pets in the yard (we lived on a farm) so they were close and could "watch over" the house. This one was special though and my wife wanted me to put him in her favorite flower bed. I didn't want to just bury the container of the remains as it came back to us and I spotted one of my 30 cal cans on the shelf in the garage. I put the container of the cremains in the 30 cal box (I figured it was water proof) and then buried the can in her flower bed Fast forward . . . .

    this year we sold our house and moved in to a condo (the first part of June). I remember the 30 cal box was in the flower bed and I didn't want the new owners to dig it up at some time so my wife and I decided we would dig it up and spread the ashes around the big pin tree in the yard where I had spread the ashes of another of one of our favorite dogs. We dug the can up and I expected it to be completely rusted through as the flower bed always got a lot of water from the hose and the rain. When I dug th e box up, the outside had some rust on it but I was surprised to see that the paint had held up very well after all those years of being buried in the ground. I had to take a screwdriver to flip up the fold down portion of the bail fastener but the box opened up easily, the seal was still good and the inside of the box was completely dry and just as it was the day I buried it. Seeing that convinced me of just how secure and waterproof these ammo cans are and how durable they would be, even buried for many years.

    Now, I buy the plastic ammo cans that Harbor Freight sells when they are on "special". They probably aren't as durable as the mil spec cans but they work well for storing primers, percussion caps, loaded ammo, etc. and seems keep the moisture/humidity/etc. away fro whatever is inside. My 1# containers of powder I store in "coolers" that have tight fitting lids.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master

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    Wow! Thats a real testimony to their durability. I knew they were tough, but!

  16. #16
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    .50 Cal Ammo Cans

    I've never had so many problems placing an online order. Happened on both my phone and laptop. The "proceed to checkout" button didn't want to appear. Once it did I'd go through the menus, enter my CC info and it would take me back to the shopping cart where the proceed button wasn't present. I entered the info at least ten times over thirty minutes before I was able to finally place an order for two cases. Wish they were 30cal cans but I'm not passing up that price.

  17. #17
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    I've bought some of the commercial "Mil Spec" cans... they don't stack correctly when placed on US surplus cans.. the dimensions on the bottom (and top?) are slightly different... pretty sure they're made in China... they're fine cans for storing on a shelf, but don't expect them to stack even one layer without being tipsy...

  18. #18
    Boolit Master 308Jeff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by StratsMan View Post
    I've bought some of the commercial "Mil Spec" cans... they don't stack correctly when placed on US surplus cans.. the dimensions on the bottom (and top?) are slightly different... pretty sure they're made in China... they're fine cans for storing on a shelf, but don't expect them to stack even one layer without being tipsy...
    Hope that isn't the case, but we'll see soon enough.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master

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    +1 If they don't stack, I can live with it.
    John
    W.TN

  20. #20
    Boolit Master

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    I know this is off topic a bit, but I have a similar story about ammo cans.

    Some years back I helped a guy locate and dig up an ammo can buried in the Oregon woods. It was a USGI gray Navy ammo can, the type with six latches around the lid (no hinges). I have a very similar one that originally help 30-06 ammo, but this one was longer for rocket ammo or something. Anyhow, he had a couple SKS rifles in it (dismantled) and some ammo. It had been buried ten years earlier. No special preservative at all, other than a little gun oil on the metal.

    The can was inserted, along with a couple sealed Chinese tins of ammo, into a open-top plastic drum (threaded lid) that was buried underground on a wooded hillside in backwoods Oregon. It took quite some time to find even using a metal detector because the woods had been logged over in the intervening decade. We found it and dug it up. We got the lid off the drum only to find that it had leaked and filled full of water. The outside of the can and ammo tins was a bit rusty and corroded, but not terribly so.

    I was surprised when we opened the can. The rifles looked as shiny and clean as the day they were put in. We opened one of the sealed tins of Chinese ammo and it was all shiny new and pristine. All I can say is those gray Navy cans are amazing, as are the Chinese hermetically sealed ammo tins. On another note I wish I had bought those two Chinese SKSs. He sold them cheap after digging them up. I did get the ammo though.

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