Author Topic: Ammo Can Efficiency: Maximizing rounds per volume  (Read 12343 times)

Offline AndrewEBerman

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Re: Ammo Can Efficiency: Maximizing rounds per volume
« Reply #30 on: December 12, 2017, 10:18:41 PM »
What were the results with the 5.56?

Offline FreeLancer

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Re: Ammo Can Efficiency: Maximizing rounds per volume
« Reply #31 on: December 13, 2017, 12:03:32 AM »
I just got several cases of 9 and 5.56 this weekend, I'll do a comparison with pictures of stacking them in their retail packaging vs. loose vs. carefully stacked.

What were the results with the 5.56?

Sorry......I haven't gotten around to it...... 

There's a crap load of ammo needing to be shucked of its cardboard and migrated into ammo cans, but I haven't quite worked up the courage, yet. 

This time I hope to compare the density differences between retail packaging vs loose vs stacked in the 50 cal cans and put the data in a table. 

Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: Ammo Can Efficiency: Maximizing rounds per volume
« Reply #32 on: December 13, 2017, 11:00:43 AM »
Sorry......I haven't gotten around to it...... 

There's a crap load of ammo needing to be shucked of its cardboard and migrated into ammo cans, but I haven't quite worked up the courage, yet. 

This time I hope to compare the density differences between retail packaging vs loose vs stacked in the 50 cal cans and put the data in a table.

In 2018, my .223 will be measured by weight.  A good buddy (invested?) in a dillion 1050.  We can process 1000 spent brass per hour. 
We haven't done enough testing on the loading sequence to have a confident number, but I figure it's close.

I'm now in a unique position to accumulate large quantities of spent .223 cases.  I'm the range schedule coordinator for local LE agencies, including SWAT teams.
While some agencies collect their brass, many do not.  I hope to add a few thousand to our rotation this spring.

Given the low prices right now I can get qty 1000 55gr .224 hornady shipped for $75-80. 
Locally Winchester primers are on sale for $24/1000 (local, so sales tax, but no hazmat or shipping)
A 25gr powder charge is about $0.10, so in total we just around $0.20/round for an above average .223 round with a Hornady projectile.

Not that I give 2 $#!, but another advantage of hand loading is the lack of a paper trail.  I have bartered or done private transactions for the bulk of this.

We're now far past the ammo cans.  Looking to plastic barrels on pallets soon :)



Offline FreeLancer

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Re: Ammo Can Efficiency: Maximizing rounds per volume
« Reply #33 on: January 25, 2019, 08:57:37 PM »
Sorry......I haven't gotten around to it...... 

There's a crap load of ammo needing to be shucked of its cardboard and migrated into ammo cans, but I haven't quite worked up the courage, yet. 

This time I hope to compare the density differences between retail packaging vs loose vs stacked in the 50 cal cans and put the data in a table. 

In trying to uncover my table saw, I've finally been forced to tackle the ammo consolidation issue again.  So, after shucking a ton of cardboard and plastic, here's the round counts I came up with.

.223

.30 Can

Loose: 690-700
Interlaced: 822
Stacked: 712

.50 Can

Loose: 1270
Interlaced: 1444


9mm

.30 Can

Loose: 1280-1300
Stacked: 1438

.50 Can

Loose: 2320
Stacked: 2520


.308

.50 Can

Loose: 680-760
Interlaced: 680


After the initial comparison, I went with the loose fill method for the rest. 

Interestingly, I found that doing the interlaced stacking method for the .308 resulted in increased dead space and thus was a less efficient fill method.  The same was not true of the smaller dimension .223 rounds, which is more efficient interlaced when compared to either loose or simple stacked methods.  There must be a mathematical explanation for this.  For explanation of what I mean by interlaced, look at the picture of the .308 ammo in my OP.


I have the most confidence in the .308 numbers because while I was consolidating my Malaysian and German surplus I kept better track of the round counts by counting the individual 20 and 40rd boxes over multiple cycles.  The 9mm and .223 numbers came primarily from loose packed bulk buys and was harder to count accurately. 



This Malaysian stuff has very little dead space due to arranging the cardboard boxes in an irregular pattern that's so tight they tied a ribbon around two of the boxes so you can pull them off the bottom.  Using 13x 40rd boxes and 1x 20rd box they fit 540rds in a standard .50 can.  By removing these rounds from their cardboard boxes and loose filling them (keeping the long axis of the ammo can and cartridges parallel) I took 4 x 540rd ammo cans and consolidated them down to 3 x 720rds cans, which frees up a can to put the German stuff in.



Removing surplus German MEN and DAG 20rd boxes from their 200rd battle packs I could fit 28 x 20rd = 560rds in a .50 can.




The surplus Hirtenberger comes in more rectangular 20rd boxes that are sealed in plastic inside a 240rd cardboard case with carrying strap, which fits perfectly inside a .30 can.  These 20rd boxes are just slightly bigger than a current retail PMC Bronze cardboard box, of which I am unable to fit more than 24 x 20rds = 480rds into a .50 can.


I whole-hardheartedly recommend against doing any of this!  It's a shit-ton of work, even without the precise stacking I did when I started this thread, which is why I've procrastinated on doing it again.  I'm paranoid so I wind up shredding all the cardboard that indicates they contained ammo, in case the garbage truck spills my can on the street for all my neighbors to see, so it takes longer than just dumping rounds in an ammo can.  Handling all that cardboard shreds your fingers, too.  It's been great for getting through a bunch of audiobooks, though.

Offline FreeLancer

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Re: Ammo Can Efficiency: Maximizing rounds per volume
« Reply #34 on: February 15, 2019, 06:36:59 PM »
I just couldn't tolerate it anymore, moving an 80+ lb ammo can more than once is just too damn much.  I've made it this far without low back problems, no point in tempting fate....



So I finally dumped all these beautifully stacked .40 S&W 180gr Hi-Shok's (just over 2000) loosely into two 30 cal cans.  Portability is like night and day with the same weight split between two arms.


Lessons learned:

  - Ammo cans are awesome!  Hat's off to whoever perfected the design of these tough containers.
  - Ammo ages better in ammo cans: the 80's Malaysian surplus sealed in cans fared a bit better than 90's vintage German surplus sealed in plastic or vinyl battle packs, impressive for an equatorial country.  Singapore was even better.
  - Cardboard doesn't age well.  Mil-surp 20-40rd boxes are frequently falling apart after a couple decades sealed in a can or battle pack.
  - Less cardboard and plastic, a case of retail ammo dumped into an ammo can saves more than 50% by volume, and even mil-surp savings are 25-33%.  Imported packaging is significantly more volume efficient.
  - Expect a 10-20% improvement in ammo can storage efficiency when stacked vs loose, at a very steep cost in time.
  - 30 cal ammo cans are perfect for handgun rounds.  Large cans wind up being way too heavy.
  - 50 cal cans are perfect for the less dense rifle rounds. 
  - 12 ga can't be made much more volume efficient.  Might as well just keep them in their cardboard boxes and stack those in the giant ammo cans.
  - Tape original box labels identifying the ammo on all 5 visible sides of the ammo can and put a couple inside the can, too.  You never know which part of the stack a can will wind up in.

Offline Stwood

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Re: Ammo Can Efficiency: Maximizing rounds per volume
« Reply #35 on: February 15, 2019, 07:01:30 PM »
 :popcorn:



This is worse than my ocd mason jar addiction....... ;D