An Introduction to Ammo Cans

Ammo box range at Army and Outdoors

Ammunition boxes are made to store and transport varying calibers of ammunition. Most of them are made from steel and include a rubber gasket around the lid to protect the contents from moisture and air. These boxes are designed and built with ammunition in mind, but their versatility make them ideal for pretty much anything you can dream up.

The primary benefits of steel ammo boxes is - being made for military use - they are strong and sturdy. Also, with the rubber gasket forming a seal when they are latched down, they are both water and air tight, ideal if you want to keep something dry and safe.

The main weakness of an ammo can is rust, but if you keep that steel covered with a rust inhibiting paint you will get a lifetime of service from these containers.

Types of Ammunition Boxes

There are many different types of ammunition boxes, ranging from wood, plastic and even cardboard. This article focuses on a range of steel ammo boxes.

20mm Ammo box

20mm Ammo Can

The 20mm ammo can is a popular ammo size as it can hold a lot - of whatever you decide to put in it. Holds up to 1500 rounds of 7.62 or 5.56/2.23 ammo. The lids on these cans are latched down at both ends and remove completely.
Weight: 6kg
Dimensions: 43cm x 35.5cm x 19cm


40mm Ammo box

Made to house big 40mm shells these cans can hold 32 40mm rounds. Not many of you will have this type of ammo lying around to fill these cans with, but they are a great general purpose size for a can for all of your other ammunition or miscellaneous needs. The lid - like the 20mm above - is not hinged and removes totally.
Weight: 6.5kg
Dimensions: 45.5cm x 15cm x 25cm

 40mm can in action

40mm ammo cans in action dispensing their 40mm rounds

 40mm Ammo Can


50Cal Ammo box

Probably the most commonly seen ammo box, the 50cal has a single latch at one end and a hinge at the other. Ideal for fitting a padlock to create a strong box.
Dimensions: 18.5cm high x 14.4cm wide x 28cm long.
The condition of our 50cal boxes range in from grade 2 (rust and paint) grade 1 and brand new.

50cal ammo box


30Cal Ammo box

A bit narrower than the 50 cal, but also with a hinged lid is the 30 cal box. Lightweight and a versatile size. The carry handle on top makes for easy transport also.
Weight: 1.6kg
Dimensions: 26cm x 16cm x 9cm

30cal ammo box

240round 30Cal Ammo box

A bit narrower and longer than the standard 30 cal box, we have this 240 round 30 cal box, this one also has a hinged lid and carry handle on top.
Weight: 2kg
Dimensions: 30cm x 17.5cm x 8cm30cal 24rnd ammo box

Repurposing an Ammo Box

The obvious use for an ammo can is to store ammunition, and it does that job superbly. But these handy containers are more than just a secure place to store your ammunition. There are almost unlimited uses for an ammo can, and a search online will give you 1001+ ideas. We have highlighted a few here:

  • Wood Stove: Use an ammo can as a stove. Drill ten 13mm diameter holes along both sides 20mm above the bottom of the can and a 40mm diameter hole in one end to feed in the fuel and ten 5mm diameter holes along the top to put the skewers through to form the grill.
  • Ammo storage: The obvious choice
  • Humidor: Keep those cigars in top condition
  • Toolbox: Get a few different cans for varied tool kits, they stack well.
  • First aid box
  • Geocache containers
  • Motorcycle/bicycle saddle bags
  • Use an ammo can to store flammables such as flares, gun powder, primers, fuses, booby traps, fireworks, etc.
  • Strong Box: Fit a bracket and padlock and you have a secure box for dangerous items. Locking mechanisms can be purchased or do it yourself but be careful as some options will make your contents vulnerable to water and air.


Army surplus


Army and Outdoors

Army and Outdoors

@grumpy – Agree, definitely want fixed ammo in Aussie!



Informative,interesting article,but.[there’s always a butt] storing primers,powder and similar components of an explosive nature,excluding fixed ammo is illegal in most states,because in the event of a fire/detonation,the steel container becomes a bomb casing and shrapnel from it could prove deadly.

Army and Outdoors

Army and Outdoors

Hi there, were glad you found it informative! We believe most of our ammo cans are spray painted rather than powder coated. As for lead lined – no we don’t believe so (but any used ones will have lead contaminents from past ammunition, not recommended for storing food). Thanks Army and Outdoors




This article was very informative but I was curious to know if the paint is powder coated?

Also is there a way to tell if the inside is lead lined? Or are they just the older models.

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