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U.S. Military Destroying Ammo Cans


Arnold Evrkachen
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If this topic has already been addressed elsewhere, please direct me there. According to Cheaper Than Dirt, "The U.S. Military has begun destroying ammo cans making them very scarce.". Is this true? What is the reason?

 

I did see that on their website, and I did notice their prices seem quite high vs. what they used to be. I also noted Cabela's, which used to sell ammo boxes dirt cheap, no longer has them anywhere on their website, that I could see at least. But I have not heard about "destroying ammo cans" anywhere other than Cheaperthandirt.com's website. And I'm quite certain it hasn't been discussed here recently. :D

Edited by TheWhiteUrkel
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Occasionally, Ill hear some story about the government destroying the ammo cans or replacing all of them with reusable plastic ones.

 

I'm not buying these stories. I think that ammo cans are more expensive because more of them are being emptied overseas and the empties aren't shipped back. The fact that the government continues to auction off tons of them suggests that they are not being destroyed (as policy).

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Occasionally, Ill hear some story about the government destroying the ammo cans or replacing all of them with reusable plastic ones.

 

I'm not buying these stories. I think that ammo cans are more expensive because more of them are being emptied overseas and the empties aren't shipped back. The fact that the government continues to auction off tons of them suggests that they are not being destroyed (as policy).

I mentioned once to a Navy friend that I was using ammo cans for geocaching. His reply was "Those have to be destroyed". Turns out, their definition of 'destroyed' is painting over the military markings on the can.. something we should all do anyway.

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I work aboard a Marine Corps Base that performs live fire exercises all year round. At one time our Defense Reutilization and Marketing Office used to auction off pallets of ammo cans periodcally. Now the recycling section shreds the cans and sends them out as scrap.

 

It would be interesting to find out which has a greater potential monetary value... the ammo can shredded and sold as scrap, or the pallets of ammo cans sold to resalers. Any information out there?

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I work aboard a Marine Corps Base that performs live fire exercises all year round. At one time our Defense Reutilization and Marketing Office used to auction off pallets of ammo cans periodcally. Now the recycling section shreds the cans and sends them out as scrap.

 

It would be interesting to find out which has a greater potential monetary value... the ammo can shredded and sold as scrap, or the pallets of ammo cans sold to resalers. Any information out there?

 

I'll bet someone well versed in the current scrap metal market will come along and answer that. Mechanical Engineer here, and I can tell you that the price of alloy metals has skyrocketed in the last couple of years, and is very volatile. As has the price for it's scrap too, of course. I'd think ammo boxes are made out of good old fashioned carbon steel sheet metal (as opposed to an alloy), although I've never taken one down to the secret laboratory and did a chemical analysis or anything. :D

Edited by TheWhiteUrkel
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I work aboard a Marine Corps Base that performs live fire exercises all year round. At one time our Defense Reutilization and Marketing Office used to auction off pallets of ammo cans periodcally. Now the recycling section shreds the cans and sends them out as scrap.

 

It would be interesting to find out which has a greater potential monetary value... the ammo can shredded and sold as scrap, or the pallets of ammo cans sold to resalers. Any information out there?

 

The way our government works, I'm willing to bet they get way more for the actual cans than the scrap.

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I'm not sure exactly what material ammo cans are made out of but if our local scrap yard were to take them as `clean tin' (basically anything made of iron), they would pay around 6-7 cents a pound. Larger scrapyards that deal with larger volumes would no doubt pay more. I'm pretty sure they are not aluminum, but if they were, that's more like 80 cents a pound. I'm positive they aren't copper, which is over $3.00/lb.

 

Anybody know off hand if ammo cans are magnetic? non-magnetic stainless is only slightly less scrap value than aluminum, if that were the case, it might pay to scrap them.

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Anybody know off hand if ammo cans are magnetic?

They are. On our last event we used a big ammo box as a temporary tb/coin-hotel. The sheet "TB's / Coins" was held by two little neodymium magnets.

 

Well if that's the case, they aren't going to be worth very much for scrap. Even if they are stainless, magnetic stainless isn't all that valuable. Galvanized doesn't add much if anything to the scrap price either, if I recall. I'd guess no more than 10 cents a pound maximum scrap value.

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Anybody know off hand if ammo cans are magnetic?
They are. On our last event we used a big ammo box as a temporary tb/coin-hotel. The sheet "TB's / Coins" was held by two little neodymium magnets.
Well if that's the case, they aren't going to be worth very much for scrap. Even if they are stainless, magnetic stainless isn't all that valuable. Galvanized doesn't add much if anything to the scrap price either, if I recall. I'd guess no more than 10 cents a pound maximum scrap value.
Despite what some retailers of ammo cans might say, I don't see any shortage of ammo cans, especially looking at the gov't surplus listings. I'd bet they are being scrapped because they are "producing" more cans than they can sell to surplus stores and the like. If they can't sell 'em, they just sit around taking up space. I bet the warehouse space is the reason for the scrapping of the cans.

 

With a quick google search, I came up with a figure of $5/sq ft/year for warehouse space. According to Wikipedia, a Dept of Defense pallet is 40x48 inches, or 13.33 sq ft., so if the figures are right it costs $66.66 to store a pallet for a full year. If you aren't selling them at a rate where you reduce this inventory, this could get really expensive really quickly.

Edited by Too Tall John
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Anybody know off hand if ammo cans are magnetic?
They are. On our last event we used a big ammo box as a temporary tb/coin-hotel. The sheet "TB's / Coins" was held by two little neodymium magnets.
Well if that's the case, they aren't going to be worth very much for scrap. Even if they are stainless, magnetic stainless isn't all that valuable. Galvanized doesn't add much if anything to the scrap price either, if I recall. I'd guess no more than 10 cents a pound maximum scrap value.
Despite what some retailers of ammo cans might say, I don't see any shortage of ammo cans, especially looking at the gov't surplus listings. I'd bet they are being scrapped because they are "producing" more cans than they can sell to surplus stores and the like. If they can't sell 'em, they just sit around taking up space. I bet the warehouse space is the reason for the scrapping of the cans.

 

I would suspect that is the case, I can't imagine how the scrap value could be any higher than selling it to a reseller. But if nobody's buying, scrap is better than nothing, and like you said, warehouse space has its own value as well. I know our local army/navy surplus store has a ton of them always in stock at very reasonable prices, but I guess that probably varies a lot from region to region.

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I was informed that ammo cans will be very scarace, Due to the fact miltiary is going to plastic and cardboard . It is costing to much for them to be shipped back to the states. How true that is I don't know. There are a few sights out there that if you buy in large amounts they will run you about 3.95 a can. also there is a site you can buy them on the pallets . Where I get them I have not got an ad from them for a while, when I do I will post it. They seem farely cheap. Dilligas45

 

https://web.govliquidation.com/

Edited by Dilligas45
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I was informed that ammo cans will be very scarace, Due to the fact miltiary is going to plastic and cardboard . It is costing to much for them to be shipped back to the states. How true that is I don't know. There are a few sights out there that if you buy in large amounts they will run you about 3.95 a can. also there is a site you can buy them on the pallets . Where I get them I have not got an ad from them for a while, when I do I will post it. They seem farely cheap. Dilligas45

 

https://web.govliquidation.com/

A friend bought a whole pallet of more than 100 ammo cans from that Site. The cost was less than $2.00 per can. Some were the 50 cal. size. Others were larger.

 

However, that is only economical if you have a truck and live close enough to the location to pick them up . . .

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Scrapping ammo cans is not anything new and you won't see a sudden impact in availability on Ebay or anywhere else. Don't let anyone charge you higher than normal prices stating they are becoming "rare". In fact, if you go to that gov liquidation website (see earlier message above) you will see tons of all kinds of military gear (engines, shop tables, gun turrets) being sold as scrap. They have special disclaimers for certain lots stating the actual destruction (for recycling) of the material has to witnessed by one of their monitors but they have been auctioning off almost any kind of metal as scrap for a long time.

 

Also, I wouldn't worry about a lack of ammo cans even when they DO start to dwindle down the metal can supply (years from now) as I'm sure the new plastic ones will fill in for the market demand for good geocaching containers when the time comes.

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Ammo cans rust, and magnets do stick to them.

The local scrap yard says the current price for 'sheet iron' is currently $100/ton which is only a nickel a pound.

 

As for if the government makes more from selling scrap or whole pieces, I'd like to know what they pay for storage (probably indoor) and if thats figured in. If they have to count, stack, wrap and then store the cans for a while before sale that could get costly. Maybe its cheaper to store scrap since its likely not neatly stacked and saran wrapped. It seems the same thing happens for a lot of metals, like empty ammo casings. I figure cleaned sorted reloadable brass would be worth more per shell than scrap weight, but yet government liquidation has auctions for TONS of it :anitongue::D

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