Ammo cans - crazy prices


Does anyone have any idea why all of the sudden (last 12 months) .50cal ammo cans are running up around $15.00 a can?! I know that sounds ridiculous, but if you haven’t checked lately, go to your local surplus store and see. You can’t even find good .50cal ammo cans online much for less than $10.00 per - if at all, which is still expensive. My local surplus store has pallets of them for $15.00 per, and he wont budge on price. It seems like 3 years ago and prior to that, .50 cal ammo cans were always $5.00 per can (or less), and then I started to notice an ever rising price, until the past 6 months has just been crazy… I know one guy online who has them for $6.00 per can, but then factor in shipping and it gets up there.


Chairman Zero?


Of course! I should have known… I can envision his thinking now… “Ban their ammo cans, and they’ll have no place to put their ammo…in 20 years it should all be corroded and useless… Muhuahahahaha!”


Is it a supply and demand thing? they are not the right size to take CDs or something like that are they? When I used to buy surplus 7.62 ammo they used to give you the case as well but now they take it out and give it to you loose in the cardboard cartons or the plastic sleeves… Presumably they sell the metal cases elsewhere.


There are several reasons.

#1. People are panic-buying ammunition and hoarding it. They want G.I. ammo cans to store it in for a long time…

#2. Surplus sellers are cashing in on reason #1.

Back during the Clinton era, there was a panic because Hillary wanted to ban the sale of ammo cans to civilians. There may be a lingering effect from this on the official supply of these cans into the surplus market. I’ve seen brand new (2009) ammo cans bought by the pallet and seen these same new cans for sale at gun shows. Usually the quantities are limited and prices high… On the other hand, I know several guys in the Army National Guard. Used to be you could get the occasional ammo can off of these guys, but now they have to account for every last can, link, and empty case at the range…



Some cans are being demilled. One long time supplier showed me several pallets of cans from Govt. surplus with the sides crushed in. Crazy!


demilled? really? How odd. Are we going to see demilled govt surplus paper clips now? …Unfolded into a straight piece of wire??



I have heard through my work “unexploded ordnance tech” now I havent seen any documentation yet but all ammo cans, casings, everything will be crushed or demilled in someway so that the public cant get ahold of it for personal use im guessing to store ammo


On the subject of demilling, here’s an interesting official report on how military .50 caliber ammunition, including armor-piercing and armor-piercing incendiary ammunition, becomes available for civilian purchase in the US.

It’s funny to read that the primer is removed and discarded. The projectile is then separated from the brass casing.



Earlier this year there was an actual government directive to do exactly that. But it’s my understanding that it has been withdrawn.




Ray and others, the issue of damaging or destroying brass and other salvage items from small arms ranges was addressed last summer by companies like Georgia Arms who depend on these sources and all of this was at the height of the Obama ammo crunch and the economic plunge. The decision was over turned and the flow of surplus stuff resummed. However, according to my direct sources, there has been a tightening of regulations regarding ‘the proper disposal’ of stuff. Ranges and commands with ranges must collect brass, cans, etc and turn them into a DOD disposal yard, not dispose of them locally. Its very difficult, nearly impossible, for people who work at ranges to carry anything home with them now. These include Homeland Secuirty facilities as well as military.

I saw 50cal cans recently at a gunshow priced at $25 each and they were flowing out of the door!


I don’t see what is so unique about ex-mil ammo boxes that it would prevent people from hoarding ammunition by restricting their sale. There are loads of alternatives, just look at the MTM range of products for a start.

Every hardware outlet sells plastic tool boxes that will do at least as well, probably better.

Also, if my limited reading on the subject is anything to go by, what they should be looking out for is people buying plastic drainpipe. Thats the recommended way of stashing ammunition (and guns). Buy a length of pipe about 6" diameter. Cut it into suitable lengths. Cement a blanking cap on one end, fill with ammunition then cement another cap on the other end. Bury it somewhere only you are likely to dig it up again, not your back yard.


I had thought my recent purchase of 25 for $9 each was a bit high, but I feel a little better now about it. I store my collection of singles and boxes in these cans. They were $8 at our local gun show just a couple of months ago; I should have bought them then.


The best thing currently going seems to be this guy: he has a never ending supply, and keeps listing the auction with a buy-it-now price of $24.00, (though he could probably get away with a higher price). Shipping to me in Maine was $12.00 for 4 cans, so $36.00 makes it $9.00 per. All of the cans are excellent condition, but they do have a big white sticker on the side. I just re-spray paint them in O.D. green anyway.