Camping & Survival

Ammo Boxes Galore!

Ammo cans have a million uses. I have a closet full of these things holding everything from gun cleaning supplies to old family photos. The boxes are typically made of metal, plastic, or wood. They usually come labeled with the caliber, quantity, and manufacturing date or lot number. The tradition of collecting ammo cans is largely a NATO tradition. Warsaw pact countries typically shipped their ammo in one-use “SPAM” cans that did not reseal once opened. During the Second World War, soldiers resealed ammo cans with duct tape. Most ammo cans have a rubber gasket around the mouth of the box to assist in keeping out moisture for long-term storage. Players of the geocaching hobby often use ammo cans to bury their items for others to find.

The most practical ammo cans are the heavy-duty plastic models. They hold up to abuse and to a superior job of keeping out all kinds of moisture and contaminants. These are probably your best option for long-term storage of actual ammunition. They hold up to 30 pounds and can last a lifetime. In addition to being stackable, most people find that storing MRE’s and food items in this can is preferable to storing them in metal containers, since these can easily be cleaned with a bleach and water solution.

My favorite ammo cans though, are the old school metal ones. Not only do they look cooler, but they also have that awesome old school OD green army color that puts just the right accent into any SHTF storage closet. I use a metal ammo can in the back of my truck to store chains, it keeps them from getting too rusty, and if you put them in the can correctly, they won’t knot up. With these metal cans, I’ve seen all kinds of projects on the internet. People have used them for building custom computer cases, burn boxes, sinks, furniture, and tackle boxes, anything you can think of. These guys have more uses than water, and I cant’ get enough of them. Other uses for ammo box include:

  • First Aid Kit
  • Tire Chalks
  • Field Repair Kits
  • Toilet (when lined with plastic)
  • Flotation Device
  • Flat Tire Kit
  • Nail Box, since they won’t rust or poke through
  • Lunch Box

For the real antique shopper, the wooden ammo boxes are harder to find, but no less cool. Some of these boxes have rope handles on the sides for easy carrying. When full, they can be quite heavy, despite their size. They tend to hold older European rounds, such as 8mm Mauser ammunition, and collectors seek them out for various purposes. Since these types of boxes do not seal, it would be better to use these for aesthetic purposes.

There is no shortage out there of ammo boxes, and there is no shortage of what you can do with them. What other uses for these little guys can you come up with?

The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (3)

  1. I have a small ammo box that is filled with range ammo. When I go to the range it weighs about fifty pounds, it is much lighter when I come home. A second ammo box is a .50 cal box that holds my cleaning and lube kit. Finally I have another .50 cal box that I stash my “tools and accessories” in (I think I may have the worlds largest assortment of allen wrenches that come one or two at a time with accessories).

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