Ammunition Canister Lock Box





Introduction: Ammunition Canister Lock Box

Create a inexpensive lock box out of an old surplus ammunition canister. Most ammunition canisters used by the military are made of thick steel with a lever closing mechanism. They are generally waterproof and have removable lids. This makes them ideal for storing a wide variety of equipment that are sensitive to moisture.

Step 1: Selecting an Ammo Can

The best place to buy these is at your local military surplus store, or at a local flea market. They can cost anywhere from $5 to $50 depending on size and condition. When selecting an ammo can pay attention to the holes located in the closing lever. The one I used in this instructable happens to be shaped perfect for the hasp to pass through. If you can't find one like this in the size you want, you can always cut a bigger hole.

Make sure that the rubber seal is still located in the lid if you want it to be waterproof.

Step 2: Hardware

You will need the following from your local hardware store.
- Hinge Hasp (sold for locking gates)
- Nuts and bolts. x 4(The bolts don't have to be very long, 10mm should be enough)

In my case the hasp came with four wood screws, but I needed something secure and decided to buy nuts and bolts.

Step 3: Mark and Drill Holes

Place the hasp on the front of the can and mark where to drill the holes. Make sure you try closing the lid with the hasp in place before drilling the holes to test the fit.

Make sure you drill the holes slightly larger than the bolts. I drilled mine the exact same size and ended up stripping the first bolt trying to thread it through.

Step 4: Attach Hasp

Insert the bolts into the holes and attach the nuts. If you want to ensure that the ammo can will remain 100% water proof you can coat the nuts on the inside with silicone caulking.



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    Perfect. Exactly what I was looking for when I googled "ammo lock box kit". Thanks!

    Nice setup and useful instructable. The whole waterproof issue is easily avoided by simply tack welding the hasp onto the can. Years back, we used a large 20MM ammo can this same way. We even tack welded a couple of brackets to it and matching brackets to our government issued Jeep. We had enough room in it for several issue .45 Colts and a couple of broken over M-16's. Locked it all up snug so we could tend to other matters from time to time when the weapons were not immediately needed.

    1 reply

    I'm in the army and that's where I saw this used the first time. We use it to lock up C7 (M16) bolt carrier groups, since they are not allowed to be transported in the same vehicle as the weapons on public roads.

    Unfortunately I don't have a welder and as such couldn't weld them on, but for my use (indoor lockbox) it is sufficient.

    Rubber Washers would surely create a waterproof seal around the bolts?

    4 replies

    Yes it would, also applying a good dose of epoxy/J.B Weld to the contact point of the metals and nut, or even silicone gasket seal.

    Or just epoxy the latch to the box, no drilling? You might have to do a little paint removal, but that's better than breaching the box.

    Or you could just put a small glob of silicone on each of the holes befor you insert the bolts, and after it all is set up, you could put on a little more just to be safe.

    Yes, it should. I didn't need mine to be waterproof and not a lot of people need a waterproof lock-box. Normally you store valuables indoors anyway.

    If you welded the ring to the box would that also help with waterproofing? Is welding the ring to the box possible? I've never welded before and don't know much about welding, so please help out a n00b.

    If you want to be able to beat your lock box up a bit, a little Lock-tite on the threads and nuts would help to ensure that they stay in place and would help a little with water-proofing.

    Tack weld the hasp onto the box.

    I found three products that lock ammo cans. The first one is an L bar and is junk. You can bend the bar and open the box in less than 30 seconds. I know because I bought one. The second one uses a pin and automotive washers to hold in on the box with an o-ring. Its works OK unless you don't put the washer on far enough. The thin washer got destroyed when I took it off to replace the seal. But the best locking one that I have found is the one at  It uses a thick pin with o-ring seal that can be replaced at a later date if it ever goes bad and it even comes with a quality lock too.

    You actually don't need to modify the canister at all to place a lock on it. Simply lift the small handle like bar below the latch then lift the latch untill it makes contact with it. After that all you have to do is place a lock through the hole in the latch that is just the right size to fit.

    Very nice! I just made one of these a few months back. I used one of the smaller ammo cans so I could mount it to the load rack on my bike.

    Nice, but drilling holes defeats the waterproof capabilities of the ammo can with a good rubber seal.

    Opposed to using bolts w/nuts, why not pop rivet it in place?

    I work with some policemen and asked them about the legality of using this as a pistol lockup here in Canada. They told me that as long as it is bolted to something solid in your house and the lock is of good quality, this is completely legal. The only requirement in Canada is that you store the ammunition in a separate lockup. While I don't really suggest storing your guns in this container, you can store your ammunition in this container instead of buying two separate lockups.

    These can be bolted into your car for securing things against thieves or cops (but I repeat myself...). If used for the latter, a combination lock is better because they can take your keys and open the box, but they cannot make you tell them the combination, nor can they make you open it.

    1 reply

    In that case, and in general, its probably a good idea to spray paint over the former ammunition description on the sides so that they don't become more suspicious.