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Spam cans?

Discussion in 'Rifle Discussion' started by CLT65, Mar 8, 2013.

  1. CLT65

    CLT65 Yamhill County Active Member

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    How good are "spam cans" for storing ammo?

    I've had this spam can around for a very long time, finally decided to open it up and see what was in it. There is a story behind the condition of this can; it spent literally ten years buried in the Oregon woods.

    I helped dig it up. It was in a "sealed" plastic drum. Over the course of a decade the drum leaked, and filled half full of good old Oregon rain water. Everything was rusty on the outside.

    I was pretty amazed at how well it held up, though. The ammo looks just as nice and shiny as the day it was sealed up. I can't believe what people are trying to sell this old Chinese steel core stuff for at gun shows.

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  2. Texfisher33

    Texfisher33 Tri-Cities, WA Active Member

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    That's neat to see. You should have no problem with the ammo. Enjoy it!
     
  3. Awmish

    Awmish Oregon City, OR Member

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    Dude, right on. I'm savin' up to buy several cans of 7.62x54R and then get a container to burry them in my self.
     
  4. trainsktg

    trainsktg Portland OR Well-Known Member

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    An added benefit to long-term storage of combloc surplus ammo is the potassium chlorate (corrosive) primers. Under average conditions, non-corrosively primed ammo can last decades. Corrosively primed ammo can last centuries.

    Keith
     
  5. Trailboss

    Trailboss Vancouver, WA Well-Known Member

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    An example of this please.
     
  6. CLT65

    CLT65 Yamhill County Active Member

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    I shot a .45acp round once that was almost one century old, does that count? :)

    I'm not a chemist, but I've heard more than once that corrosive primers are more long-term stable than non-corrosive. Any chemists here that know the specifics of potassium chlorate vs. lead styphnate as it relates to long term stability?
     
  7. Stick

    Stick Eugene Member

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    Wasn't the stuff designed with long term storage in mind?
     
  8. CLT65

    CLT65 Yamhill County Active Member

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    If you haven't opened up that spam can of 5.45 yet, we can take it out and bury it for a few decades and see how it does. I know where there is a buried drum in the woods we could find and use, but it's probably completely full of water by now. :)
     
  9. civilian75

    civilian75 Hillsboro, OR Well-Known Member

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    Good to know. I have a few spam cans I've never buried. Did the drum leaked thru the lid, or was the integrity otherwise compromised?
     
  10. CLT65

    CLT65 Yamhill County Active Member

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    IIRC it just leaked through the seal of the screw on lid. It's been over a decade since I helped dig it up. We had to use a metal detector to find it. The area had been logged over so it was hard to find.

    I still have access to the property so the next time I'm down that way I might try to locate the empty drum. I think we just screwed the lid back on but didn't fill in the shallow hole above the drum. If I can find it I'll take photos. It will be fun to try because the new trees in the area are now over 10 years old. It would be a great place for a geocache, wouldn't it?

    I had a friend who went a bit overboard with Y2K. He and some of his friends would research old maps for abandoned mines in far out back country, put together drums full of survival supplies and equipment, then pack them in and hide them in the most remote areas of the state. I was not invited to participate because I was a "Y2K non-believer". :(

    I bet there are lots of cool caches hidden around the country. I had an old-timer tell me years ago about buying a crate of Argentine Mausers packed in grease, and burying them in the wilderness during the "Red Scare" half a century ago.
     
  11. trainsktg

    trainsktg Portland OR Well-Known Member

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    An example being that is it very hard to find any surplus or commercial non-corrosive ammo more than 30 or 40 years old, stored in normal conditions, that isn't literally corroding from the inside out. CMP's surplus Lake City and Greek .30-06 is a prime example, and they actually post pictures and warnings on their sales website that tell you to expect a good percentage to be corroded. That stuff is packed in sealed spam cans. I've got some, and they are correct.

    Conversely, it is still relatively easy to find surplus corrosive ammo from the 1930s or earlier packed in just those little cardboard boxes which still looks and shoots as if brand new. My earliest personal example is Nazi brass cased 1938 8x56r. OTOH, I had to recently throw out some 1970s Finnish commercial 8mm Mauser because it was too far gone to save.

    Keith
     
  12. CLT65

    CLT65 Yamhill County Active Member

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    I'm inclined to believe that this has more to do with factors other than primers, such as storage conditions and gunpowder. The CMP ammo I've seen that had gone bad was due to deteriorating gunpowder. I've shot plenty of WWII .30 Carbine, and it was always non-corrosive from the start. I've also had poorly stored Egyptian and Syrian surplus ammo (very corrosive) with click-bang or dead primers.

    Stored properly, I think either kind will last longer than I will.
     
  13. trainsktg

    trainsktg Portland OR Well-Known Member

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    At this point, I think its pretty much all anecdotal, considering that KCl primers have only been out for just little over a century. I can only speak to the fact that the old quality Soviet and German surplus packed in spam cans seems to resist self-destruction much longer than the newer US, British, or South African equivalents which are also packied in spam cans (or sealed pouches).

    Agreed though on your point about either lasting much longer than we are likely to :) .

    Keith
     
  14. Trailboss

    Trailboss Vancouver, WA Well-Known Member

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    I have approximately 200 boxes of commercial non-corrosive ammo from the 1950's and early 1960's that is still perfect. That would make it 50-60 years old. Zero corrosion. I've pulled bullets, inspected, reseated and fired it. I think you're making stuff up.
     
  15. CLT65

    CLT65 Yamhill County Active Member

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    I wouldn't accuse someone of making stuff up. I would agree that my experience is anecdotal. Here's more: I had a bunch of surplus 7.62x39 that was supposedly battlefield pickup ammo from Israel. It's all dated '73 or earlier and looks like battlefield pickup (rust, tarnish and all). It's mostly Soviet ('50s mostly), Egyptian, and Syrian.

    It's all corrosive, of course, but the Soviet stuff nearly all fired, while the Egyptian and Syrian had a high rate of misfires, so much that I just put it aside to pull for components. Quality difference, maybe?

    I did have some WWII USGI 30-06 that went bad, but again it really appeared to have been the powder going bad. It would be interesting to know the stability difference in the two types, from a chemistry perspective.

    ADDED- I have always heard that corrosive primers will last longer in storage, but never anything to really verify that. It's pretty irrelevant to me because I don't plan on storing it long term.
     
  16. trainsktg

    trainsktg Portland OR Well-Known Member

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    Yep, that's me...lies, distortion and mistruths :) .

    Keith
     
  17. CLT65

    CLT65 Yamhill County Active Member

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    Just for kicks, here's a photo of the inside bottom of the can after I emptied it. Funny, I couldn't see the stamping through the corrosion on the outside, but the inside is just as clean, shiny and dry as the day it was made. Impressive.

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