Interesting Ammo Packaging- Giant Can Of 5.56 Ammo

Small Bore Ammo is not my specialty, but I thought this may be interesting to others here? Looks like 4 cans per pallet.

So… how is it packed? Or is it even packed??


It will be packed in cardboard packets. LAND, SEA AND AIR Transportation regulations require all SAA be packed in cartons small boxes etc, which separate the cartridges from each other throughout the main outer container.
The situation of a Spitzer bulleted cartridge igniting The Primer of another cartridge in a loose pack is RARE, but not unknown.
Furthermore, the steel drum is probably lined with cardboard as well, to provide further cushioning of the packets…rectangular packets don’t fit well into a cylindrical container.
One thing a sealed open top steel drum is waterproof, airtight, and fire retardant…and on pallets, forklift manageable.
Probably military supply to a repacking depot for placing in clips, bandoleers, or making up mixed cartridge MG belts ( ball + tracer). I NOTE THAT IT IS Federal made ammo. To US XM855 specs.

Doc AV

What does the “BAR” in the “XM855BAR” stand for?
And why does it say M855 in the 2nd row?

IMHO not intended for U.S. military, which would call it 5.56 MM BALL M855, not 62gr FMJ.
I see XM855BAR (BAR = barrel?) as a commercial identifier by Federal like P3006TT1 for a .30-06 load.

Jochem, good point! I also understood the SMQ code is also used for surplus and export only or?

There was a lively discussion on this forum between the late Ray Meketa, whom I miss very much, and Fede regarding the real manufacturer identified by SMQ. Apart from noting a Federal Anoka label on the drums/barrels, I leave decision of this matter to others.

Ray, was the best! Miss talking with him here and via e-mail. Amazing man!


Just found the ad for the photo. Apparently it is for sale online with others for about $3,900


Here is a picture of an earlier lot:



According to Brownell’s is currently offering barrels with 7.62 mm XM80BAR and 5.56 mm XM855BAR.
The press text by Brownell says both are Lake City production, while the photo shows SMQ… lot numbers.

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Jochem, all ammunition with a SMQ lot number is manufactured by LCAAP, but you can find as a pure Lake City products or under Federal, American Eagle and Frontier brands.



I checked the Brownell’s listing, and they only add $20 shipping in the checkout cart, which means after the max $500 rebate from Federal, and plus shipping, it comes out to 27.4 cents per rd. So one can achieve less than .28 cents per rd on M855, but I just need to purchase 12,500 bulk-packed rds in a forklift-only movable container. I might also worry about the rds at the bottom of the barrel during shipment…


Now by Hornady


"Roll out the barrels we’re have a barrel of fun"
Now in Christmas Red

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It surprises me that the ammo is bulk loose… Most countries DoT regulations for Ammuntion required original packaging separating the bullet tips from the primers…as in nested ammo packets etc, or head to tail arrangement in un-nested cartons. The IATA certainly does for all Ammo carried by air.

Maybe this Federal ammo has extra hard primers…FC
are usually softer than most others…of course, if LC, the #34 SR primer is used…quite hard.

Doc AV.

M855/XM855 (and M193/XM193) has much harder primers than civilian .223 ammo.

I have no reason to believe the Federal XM855 would have civilian primers at all, considering this ammo is primarily made for the AR-15 and similar platforms, where floating firing pins is quite common and could cause issues with too soft primers.
In addition, the primers are usually (more often than not) staked in place.