Mobile AR-15 Magazine Storage

3MTA3

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Last week we found ourselves in pre-evacuation mode so I packed my truck ready to leave on a moments notice. Fortunately, even though it got very close, we didn't have to leave. While I'm going a good job on the "bugging in" style of preparedness let's just say that the getting ready to "bug out" exercise exposed a few things I need to address. One of which is the subject of this thread.

I keep a fair number (OK, about a hundred) of 30 round AR magazines that I keep loaded (29 rounds) and most of them live stacked in a cabinet. Works well under normal circumstances, but akward if you need to grab them in a hurry. I wound up using some old day packs and it worked OK, but it still took time and they don't pack as easily as they could.

So, I'm looking for a good "grab and go" solution. Surplus 50 cal ammo cans are bomb proof, but the mags don't fit real well leaving a void. The plastic MTM 50 cal cans are interesting because you can neatly fit 24 mags. GI mags benefit with a small amount of cardboard to hold them in place) while PMags fit almost perfectly. While the MTM can isn't as sturdy as the metal surplus can, I've used one for years and it has held up well. Also I dont need to worry about any potential rust or galvanic action issues.

I'm leaning towards this 3 can combo that includes a tray. It can be had on Amazon for around $35 and the tray would keep them stable in the bed of my truck. You can also get a 4 can version that uses smaller ammo cans and the same size tray. I have one on the way to try out, and even if it isn't workable for loaded mags it would be useful for other things, like food, first aid, and other supplies that I might want to take in a hurry and want to keep organized.

1600460986158.png 1600462245792.png

Just curious about what others on the forum have done to solve the same problem. Your input and opinions are appreciated.

How many mags fit in a surplus 50 cal can? 17, but lots of wasted space

24 mags in a standard MTM plastic can
 
Last edited:

clearconscience

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Loaded mags can get heavy. So you may only grab so many. I would keep a manageable amount of loaded mags loaded in some type of container for a quick bug out, but the rest I would secure in case of looters.

As we’ve seen these dirtbags are quick to take advantage of others plight, so it’s extremely important not to be an easy target, and lock up firearms and ammo if you need to leave.
 
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3MTA3

3MTA3

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Loaded mags can get heavy. So you may only grab so many. I would keep a manageable amount of loaded mags loaded in some type of container for a quick bug out, but the rest I would secure in case of looters.

As we’ve seen these dirtbags are quick to take advantage of others plight, so it’s extremely important not to be an easy target, and lock up firearms and ammo if you need to leave.
A loaded mag, PMAG or GI weighs just about a pound. I want to keep the max weight to around 25 lbs, so 24 mags plus container is the max for me.

I do have a steel plate safe, but there isn't enough room for the firearms I would be leaving and the mags and ammunition. mags and ammunition are stored in a stack-on cabinet that can be defeated by a ball point pen and a lighter. YT videos out there that show how to heat a pen , jam it into the lock so when it hardens it becomes a custom key. I'm not comfortable leaving anything in that cabinet if there is a high likelihood of looters and it would be hard and expensive to replace the lost ammo.
 
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3MTA3

3MTA3

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Update: My MTM 3 can combo arrived so I took out my collection of metal cans and did some test fitting (or as Mrs 3M sez "playing with your toys". Here are my observations:

MTM 50 cal Plastic cans
I found that the MTM plastic cans worked best with 20 loaded mags. When I tried for 24 as in the video in my first post I found that loaded GI mags could fit standing upright, but were difficult to remove due to how tightly they fit. PMAGS were even worse and had to alternate between right side up and upside down. I don't like to store mags with the feed lips down, so went with 5 wide by 4 deep upright and they aren't too tight or too loose, as Goldilocks sez they were "just right".

20 loaded AR-15 mags weigh about 20 lbs., which is 80% of the plastic can's weight capacity. The loaded cans felt very solid and even old and out of shape me can easily move the tray with three cans. No flex in the tray whatsoever. Would they survive a rollover? Maybe, but no where near as easily as a surplus metal can.

I'm going to get at least two more of the three pack sets. One to finish off my AR-15 mag storage and hold some additional supplies like mag loaders, spare parts and essential tools. The second one I'm planning to use for first aid, water purification, and other things I want to load quickly and keep organized. I have a different plan for food using five gallon buckets and gamma screw on lids that you can get at Winco.

Metal surplus 50 cal Cans
Surplus cans out perform plastic cans just about every way you can imagine. The only reason I'm not using them for everything really has to do with size limitations specifically to AR-15 magazines.

For my intended purpose of mobile ammunition storage here is where they really shine:
  • PMAG AR10/SR25 loaded magazine storage. The 20 round AR10/SR25 mags are short enough to fit comfortably in an upright condition even with the dust shield attached. They fit easily and securely in a 4 wide and three deep upright pattern.

  • Loose or boxed 5.56 or 22LR ammunition.
Metal surplus 30 cal cans
Oddly enough I found that these work best with 30 cal (7.62x51) ammunition. Whoodathunkit? A 50 cal can full of 30 cal is just way heavy compared to one full of 5.56. I could move it, but the Mrs? Appears that .mil got this one right. I think any ammunition with heavier bullets would be better stored for mobility purposes in 30 cal cans.

MTM Plastic 30 cal cans
The only advantage this can has over the metal surplus can. like the 50 cals, is more height due to the higher lid. The other internal dimensions are the same, so even though I don't have any here are my thoughts based on testing the metal ones:
  • They will hold nine PMAGS or ten GI mags. The extra lid height will make this work where the shorter metal can won't close. This makes the loaded weight under 11 lbs for easier moving and may also be a better solution if you have fewer magazines to hassle with.The four pack with tray combo would then hold 36 -40 loaded magazines and weigh under 42 lbs.

  • The surplus metal version would be a better choice for loose 30 cal, but would still work well for loose 5.56.

  • Could be very useful for compact first aid kits, especially if you wanted to separate trauma from general first aid.
 
have two sets of the 3-wide trays and a mag can with the pre-cut foam for AR magazines. I think both are well made and the tray setup is great value for the money. I keep ready to go, loaded mags in the mag can and empty mags in cans in the tray, as well as a can for cleaning supplies, and other dedicated cans for whatever OCD organization I think of. I'd recommend both products. I'm very happy with them.
 

Camelfilter

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I’m in the metal can camp. Plastics, the few which we have, are simply for odd bits in the shop & 1 for rimfire range use now.

Reason being, the metal cans can also flip towards long term stowage without having to anything other than not use them. Drop a desiccant in and done. Have “a bunch” of .50 & .30 cans. A few of the bigger cans as well (40mm etc).

I don’t trust any plastic cans for long term storage.
 
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3MTA3

3MTA3

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My mistake. I have 19 5.56 mags, plus 4 6.5 Grendel 20rd mags here View attachment 754816
Now I'm intrigued. I have three metal 50 cal cans I got from different sources and they are identical in dimentions. None of them are tall enough to stand up 30 round GI mags and close the lid. I even stack them facing forward like yours. Is that a 50 cal can or something else?
 
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Now I'm intrigued. I have three metal 50 cal cans I got from different sources and they are identical in dimentions. None of them are tall enough to stand up 30 round GI mags and close the lid. I even stack them facing forward like yours. Is that a 50 cal can or something else?
The mags are a tight fit yes. Identical to my other 2 50cal surplus boxes. Might be dependent on tolerances? Might be floorplate thicknesses? :s0092: understand, it came with a .30 cal can inside; so if a surplus 30cal can cant fit in your 50cal can with lid closed, might be the difference? 20200926_134420.jpg 20200926_134403.jpg 20200926_134352.jpg
 
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Huh. Its actually the lid thats the possible issue. If you can hammer those angled pieces down flatter, or remove via cutoff wheel, it might be better? The 19 30rd mags are all steel I think. Well, the 18 PSA ones are steel, the gray OK made one might be aluminum. 20200926_135513.jpg
 
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Okay on further consideration, I think this would be a better setup for the metal 50cal short cans; 4 rows of 4 each 30rd GI mags standing upright, with 8 20rd mags on the sides; OR 4 30rd GI mags laying down on their long sides on the sides, wedging the upright rows in the middle. This would allow a number of 20 30rd magazines, or 16 30rd magazines and 8 20rd magazines. I don't remember if anyone sells metal 5.56 AR mags in capacities between 30 and 20? I know there are also the other caliber metal magazines that could be longer than 20rd GI mags and shorter than 30rd GI mags like the 6.5 grendel, .350 Legend,.50 Beowulf, .450 BM, and 6.8 SPC and so forth...
 
Now I'm intrigued. I have three metal 50 cal cans I got from different sources and they are identical in dimentions. None of them are tall enough to stand up 30 round GI mags and close the lid. I even stack them facing forward like yours. Is that a 50 cal can or something else?

FYI- There are 50cal cans, and “Fat” 50cal cans.

E842392B-9379-4332-B40D-3A11E592D9F1.jpeg
 

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