Cal. .30M1 Ammunition Box

I know next to nothing about US ammo cans and have a question about this one. What is the function of the side latch (or whatever its correct name is) on the can?

I misread the title of this thread.It is a 30-06 can,isn’t it?


I know less than Phil about ammo boxes, but here is another example of that side latch. I think it is something to secure the box with a tie, it is too flimsy to use as a carrying handle.

According to me this handle make storage of these cans easier

When you have some of these cans aligned side by side you can take off them from the bracket or the shelf where they were stored by using that handle

I have no experience with vehicle mounts for the .30 Machine Gun, but I note that the can originally had ammunition belted for the Browning machine guns. I think that side handle, and the odd long flat piece with the horizontal slot in it, below the end opening/closing latch for the box, may have something to do with locking the box onto a stationary mount, like the pedestal or ring mounts found on vehicles, or may even the “high” tripod of the 1Model 1917 water-cooled Browning MG.

All I ever used was the Browning M1919A4 and A6, and we set the boxes on the ground next to the “low” tripod for that gun (or in the case of the A6, which had a muzzle-mounted bipod, next to the gun).

I have a couple of “CAL 30 M1 A1 BOXES” marked for MG belted ammo, and it has the same little handle, but a much more sophisticated locking mechanism below the opening/closing latch on the end. The majority of the boxes we saw did not have these latches and handles, and were not marked with the Model of the Metal Box itself on the side. I don’t even recall the model designation of those later boxes, even though I have a lot of them filled with ammo, etc.

I could be wrong about the use of those extra handles and locks. As I said, I have no experience with vehicle or other fixed MG mounts.

I think John has it right.
I had forgotten that the Office of the Chief of Ordnance publication

That type can is of the WWII era, and was intended for use with the M1917 30 caliber Browing machine gun’s tripod. The lip on the end of the can attaches to the tripod. These cans more or less replaced the WWI era wood M1917 ammo boxes.
Cans of this type are not rare, but they are getting rather hard to find now-a-days.