FAT 50 ammo can print variations - smoke grenades

At my ammo store - Downeast Ammo, I get plenty of case boxes and ammo cans in. I order the FAT 50 cans to resell, and they are the most popular size of can that I have as well. Most all of them have the typical linked ammo type of stenciling, or maybe blank printing, but one rare one came in today for the M83 TA smoke grenades. It held 9 of them, and this was a repainted can where they paint black over the old stenciling and paint the new text in white. I assume this is because they do so few of these that they don’t devote fixed numbers of cans for automated printing from the manufacturer in this type? It also had a random black square sticker on the end of the can, tilted like a diamond symbol - maybe for easy ID of this odd can when they are stored in a way which side is not visible? Can collecting like this is endless and I know little about it.

Matt, here the data on the grenade.


I do not believe that is for ID purposes, because when the cans are stacked sid-by-side, the opening latch and small pull handle is always stacked on the outside, so it might be pulled from the stack, or, at least that was how the Army did it, (and the few Marine units that I ended up “interacting” with).
Might just be something under it that simply needed an expedient obscuration?

Use of cans with the old markings painted over and new stencil markings added can happen when an ammo supply activity gets a requisition for quantities that are not consistent with original packing. (50 whatevers but they come from the factory packed in cans holding 20 each- so they pull 2 full cans and take another one, put 10 rounds in it and mark the can with the contents, and also change markings on the original can they broke up to fill this order.)

It can also happen when units turn in unexpended ammo, either partial cans in the original can, or loose rounds which will be put in a new can when issued.

My Dutch friend (and ECRA/NVBMB member) Bass has a big collection of these .50 boxes.
He even made a website about ammo boxes: http://www.ammunition-box.com/

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That “black diamond” on the FAT 50 can looks like someone painted over, or placed a decal over, the explosives hazard marker label, as is required when the original contents are removed, or the can is repacked with items of a different explosives hazard/classification. Apparently, the FAT 50 can, officially PA108 Ammo Box, has replaced the M2A1 Cal.50 ammo box as the box of choice for packing odd lots of munitions. It is also known as the “SAW Box” due to the large amount of 5.56 Linked–as mentioned earlier–has has been issued in this format. Another note, also slightly “off topic”: The only “cans” in the official US nomenclature system were/are the hermetically sealed “SPAM” cans, everything else was/is a crate, box or container.

I peeled the black sticker off,and it turns out to be covering a 1.4 explosives decal. You can now also better see the lettering of PA 108 S.C.F. 07.


my two favorite cans


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Pete, awesome boxes!

Is there a side print on the B52 box?

Early thread on the subject of the B52 box:

Image posted by AKMS from the thread listed above:

Brian, thanks! I did not remember that one!

Mine is the same as shown. Having worked on D models that had the quad 50 in the tail, it’s at the top of the list. Spent a good amount of time back there. You had to drop the seat back horizontal to get into the seat.

Never saw the guns firing, & never had a ride in one, & that was a major disappointment but I sure tried.

I am really loving MidwayUSA’s recent sale prices on FAT-50 cans ($9.99) and catching the free-shipping option on a big order the size of three caskets. …not sure why they allow that. They also had the big 40mm double-latch cans on sale for $9.99.

Anyway, this round showed up with more interesting cans for a couple smoke grenade types, some M115A2 ground burst simulators, and some M456 det cord.


Nice Matt, I can only hope you have the space for your new area of collecting*!*

Most of them I just put on the shelf for sale, but I keep a few interesting ones in a tall stack.

Ah, yes… I miss det cord, so many things one can do to have fun with it!
We never got it in the big ammo cans though. I don’t think I ever saw that can, very nice.