How to Stencil Ammunition Cans for Ammo Storage

 

How to Stencil Ammunition Cans for Ammo Storage

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The other day I showed you how I removed the markings from old surplus military ammo cans. Today I will show you how we went about stenciling ammunition cans with our own markings.

As I scoured the internet for options I found that stenciling ammo cans was the most popular by far, and I even found a guy that will custom cut stencils. The cost was reasonable – about 2 dollars a stencil, but I decided to try my hand at cutting them. I got some clear plastic, a hobby knife, and a printout of the words I wanted to paint on my cans. Let’s just say this was a fail.

Next I tried to get a friend of mine with a vinyl scrapbooking stencil cutter. My idea was to resale common stencils like 5.56 and .40 S&W. My powers of persuasion were not powerful enough to get the stencils in bulk.

Next I just went to the local hobby store and bought some stencils.  Spray-paint and stencils never work well for me and after turning my workbench a nice shade of yellow I threw the stencils in a box.

I then found that the military STAMPS the lot number – which makes a lot of sense. I then bought some rib type stamps, a stamp holder, pad, and yellow ink and decided to stamp my own cans.

½ letters work fine and you can get about 23 characters a foot
I chose ¼ letters so I could get more lettering on the locking end of my can (If I did it again I would stick with ½ inch) ¼ inch stamps is about 43 characters a foot.
If you go bigger ¾ is about 16 characters a foot and 1inch letters get you about 14 characters a foot.

Some Common Dimensions

30 CAL AMMO CAN is 10″ x 7″ x 3
50 CAL AMMO CAN is 11.5″x7″x6″
SAW BOX is 12″ X 6 3/4″ X 8 1/2″
20 MM AMMO is 18 3/4 X 8 1/4 X 14 1/4
81 MM MORTAR BOX is 14 1/2 X 5 1/2 X 22 1/2

My smaller cans I use for cast bullets so I stamped them “CAST and the caliber”.  I use another for casting supplies so I labeled it “CASTING SUPPLIES”

For my 50 caliber cans I labeled them the following way:

800 ROUNDS
CALIBER and BULLET TYPE
BOXED or BULK
RELOADS or COMMERCIAL

Stamping is easier for me than painting, and mistakes were easier to clean up.
But my pad was too large – I wanted to get a lot of room for letters, but ended up wishing I would have gotten a much smaller pad to make it easier to use even pressure.

My letters were too small. They were just right for the ends, but could have been a lot bigger on the sides.

But my biggest learning curve was my ink. I wanted to use yellow like the original cans, but high quality yellow ink was expensive so I did not buy what I needed and the ink I got did not adhere evenly and was hard to see.

Next time I am going to use a high quality white ink.

I know that there are easier ways of marking your ammo cans – one guy said he colors in his stencils with a white grease pencil – others use tape and sharpies. Whatever works for you. But personally while this does not follow K.I.S.S. principles to the letter, I like how it turned out, and since I put a lot of effort into making good rounds, I wanted to store them in nice boxes.

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2 Comments

  1. NeoMatrixJR

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