US military 38 spl spam cans?


As an aside, set up at the gun show today and the lady that is selling her late-dads ammo had two spam cans (one LC and one SC - both non-corrosive by the charts) for $230 each - M2 enblocs AP
Tomorrow she is bringing in a spam can of 38 special and one of 45 acp. ANY idea about about value on the 38 spl?

I have a decent idea about the 45 ACP value and told her its likely corrosive




I don’t recall any USGI .38 Special ammo that was packed in “spam cans”. The WW2 ball was Remington steel jacketed stuff that was in commercial dogbone boxes. Not sure but would guess that it was likely packed in wooden crates just like the pre-war commercial ammo. The Remington .38 Special Tracer might possibly have been in a spam can but I have never seen such a can.

I would very much like to hear more about this and how the can is marked. Perhaps you could take a pic of the spam can and post it here. Thanks.



Here is the can, I bought it - she also had a 45 acp can, but I simply had spent too much and she wanted $425 for the ACP can. I did also buy a LC M2 AP can for my son.

Stamped - not stenciled on the can under the writing is

38G - 1

PS - she says she has a spam can of 12 gauge 00 buck, but she wants a $1,000 for it :)


Well, that is pretty slick. First one of those I have seen. Thanks for posting the pic.

On value I would guesstimate a value of $450-500. The can is in very nice condition. I base that value on a comparison to new commercial .38 Special ball which is usually available these days at gun shows at around $20 box. I would double the value for the USGI ammo in this can. There are 12 cartons inside so 12 x $40 give you $480. Your mileage may vary.

I would love to know what is inside. If you ever have to scratch that itch and open it up I hope that you will post back here and let us know what the cartons look like. I have a pretty good idea of the universe of possibilities but guessing ain’t knowing, as they say.



thanks, I was sitting here on the computer and your answer popped up. I assume its some of those white boxes you could buy at the gun show (friend had a military box), although in the 80’s we had 38 Colt detectives and S&W 10’s and Ruger security six that our MPI and some females carried. I seem to remember ammo being in the brown box like the 45 acp and also just straight commercial looking stuff.

I doubt I’ll open it. Couldn’t even find a picture on google of another?

I told you she also had a 12 gauge spam can?



Hi Ed:

Glad you were able to pick the can of .38 Special up.

I have communicated with Jim Frigiola who authored a very informative article on the USGI .38 Special ammunition published in the IAA Journal a couple of years ago. Jim thinks, and I agree, that the ammunition inside the can is probably white box stuff that pre-dates the M41 Ball ammo adopted around 1955 or so. What is inside is probably the stuff seen in the image below with a lot number that matches the number on your can.

New photo · Album by Charles Flick

Neat stuff.