1. The Topic of the Month for October is "Make this the Perfect Bugout Location". Please join the discussion in the TOTM forum.

Plastic vs Metal Ammo Cans

Discussion in 'Firearms' started by STANGF150, Aug 9, 2010.

  1. STANGF150

    STANGF150 Knowledge Seeker

    I have a few big plastic ammo cans I picked up at Academy. They seem just as good as the metal ones I have. Got the foam sealing ring around the lid as well. Also don't seem to hurt the foot as bad as the metal ones when you accidentally kick them barefooted. Still bruise yer toes though. So are they as good as the metal ammo cans?
  2. tacmotusn

    tacmotusn Mosquito Sailor

    It depends on a number of things. Insufficient data provided. Plastic is what it is. It depends on many things. Some plastics are uv resistant, some aren't. Temperature can play a big role. Cold temperature make some plastics downright fragile. Age has little effect on the metal cans except minor rust depending where you store them, but again some plastics become brittle. I have ammo storage boxes in plastic over 30 years old by a well known manufacturer. Most have held up fine, some the lid hinge broke...? Go figure. I'll stick with Metal for my larger storage ammo boxes.
  3. dragonfly

    dragonfly Monkey+++

    The only advantage I can see besides weight, and dropping one on the feet, is the ability to not be able to be detected easily, ( depending on contents!)
    I agree with Tac, about the fragilemess according to the cold weather.
    Not sure about the effects of UV on these, but that can be a real problem!
  4. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    I have a couple plastic "dry boxes" from Cabelas, came a couple months ago. I'll evaluate them after I beat one of them up with use over the next few months, but as a starter, they are too big to stuff full of ammo and still be old man portable.

    I also have a Sterilite tub that is just went into "long" term dry storage that will see temperature extremes. I'll try to remember to report on that sometime in a year or two.
  5. bnmb

    bnmb On Hiatus Banned

    Can't cook or heat in plastic boxes...
  6. UGRev

    UGRev Get on with it!

    the one thing I don't like about plastic cans is that like anything plastic, they can deteriorate when they come in long term contact with oils. This affects their durability. Over time, some plastics can actually dry out and become brittle.

    I'll stick to metal.
  7. kckndrgn

    kckndrgn Moderator Moderator Founding Member

    I have a couple of the plastic "cans" and a few of the metal cans. Both have advantages & disadvantages.

    Weight - not the weight of the can itself, but the contents. I have one plastic can that is full of loose 5.56 ammo, approx 1k rounds (I think). I feel that is at the max weight the plastic ones can handle, just my opinion. If you want to store more in your cans, use metal.

    Both my metal & plastic cans have a rubber seal, both seal well, no complaints there.

    My plastic one have a nice setup for adding a lock, my metal ones don't. Unfortunately, it's plastic, about 5 min with a saw and the plastic is defeated. It does allow me to "lockup" things away from my kids though, at least for now.

    I keep my first aid kit in a plastic can. I like this setup because there is a storage compartment in the lid for small items (small bandaids, antibiotic cream, a small supply of pain meds, etc.). In the main compartment there is a pull out tray, more of the "everyday use" items are on the tray. Under the tray is the gauze, tape, gloves, splints, etc. (items that are in a kit, but not needed as often).

    The last think I like about the plastic cans is their ability to be opened very quietly. Every metal can that I have requires a sharp snap to get the lid opened. Makes for a great seal but almost always the there some metal to metal "pinging" going on. Not really that big of a deal, except when I'm trying to leave early and I don't want to wake the wife.

    All in all, I keep ammo in both. My first aid kit in a plastic one. I'll continue using both, but I will more than likely be transferring all ammo to metal ones as I get them.

    Anybody have any options for locking a metal can? Found this:
    ZAA-030 - Ammo Box Lock FIts US Military Ammo Cans Double O-Ring Seals Water Resistant Lock

  8. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

  9. Hispeedal2

    Hispeedal2 Nay Sayer

    If they are the plastic cans I am thinking of, I got some with some bulk ammo from Cabela's. I wasn't too impressed. Mostly because the seal started flattening and the lid was rattling in no time. The problems was the open-cell foam seal. What a crap material for a seal. Compare that to a USGI can with a rubber seal that lasts a good century and there is no comparison. My vote is USGI. Don't pay the surplus store price either. Scout Craigslist, flea markets, and gun shows for the best prices. They can easily be had around $5-7.
  10. Condition1

    Condition1 Monkey+

    I use plastic cans for my cleaning kits and range gear. Steel cans I store ammunition for long term. I think the steel stack easier and don't deform after long periods of time stacked with ammo like the plastic can have done to me.
  11. kckndrgn

    kckndrgn Moderator Moderator Founding Member

    I haven't noticed my plastic ones deforming at all. I keep .223/5.56 1k plus rounds in one and 12Ga in another. I have a 3rd smaller one that I keep misc ammo in (44mag, .25-20, .38S&W). All three are stacked on top of each other, and they have been for over a year. Now, these are kept in the bedroom closet, so it is a controlled environment.
    I also find the plastic stack easier than the metal cans.
  12. Condition1

    Condition1 Monkey+

    My problem is the lids stop fitting well and the sides bloat out. As a light loaded can the plastic do well.
  13. happyhunter42

    happyhunter42 Monkey++

    All I have ever owned are the metal ones. As long as I don't fill them to full they're not to bad to tote around.
  14. jorgealarcon

    jorgealarcon Monkey+

    Plastic or Metal Amo

    I think both offer a number of advantages; it's probably depends on what your requirements are.
  15. Hispeedal2

    Hispeedal2 Nay Sayer

    To add to this thread.....

    A fella that I met at work needed to do some reloading. Since he has no room to set up his equipment at his current place, I offered my equipment. In return, he gave me some Hornandy 75 grainers. The ends of the box were a bit singed. The full story was interesting. He had a house fire a while back. All his components and ammo were stored in military metal cans. All the ammo, primers, and powder ended up cooking off. Anything else stored in those cans were unharmed. The bullets show no issues at all.

    I would like to pose another question. What ammo storage boxes fit best in a 50 cal ammo can? I was about to drop some cash on a few Dillon boxes. They seem to have the best price. If there is one that fits better in an ammo can, I would contemplate them (.223 is the cases in question- preferably 50 rd cases or more).
  16. NVBeav

    NVBeav Monkey+++

    If you have the opportunity to post some pictures of the "cook off", it would be greatly appreciated! -- I know it may not be possible if your co-worker didn't take any. My little brain just can't fathom the results... Did the metal can "puff out"? Did the bullets separate from the brass? Did the lead melt in the bullets?

  17. Shem Rock

    Shem Rock Monkey

    I have used plastic ammo cans but i experienced metal ammo cans are better then plastic ammo cans. It keeps my ammunition safe and dry for a long time.
survivalmonkey SSL seal        survivalmonkey.com warrant canary