|Stout Stuff (left) and surplus (right) 50 cal ammo cans|
A couple of months ago, I noticed that the Walmart near my home started selling 50 cal ammo cans. Recently, I decided to purchase one and compare it to the military surplus ammo cans I buy regularly at my favorite local Army surplus store.
The ammo can carries a "Stout Stuff" trademark on the front latch. Stout Stuff, LLC, is located in Bentonville, Arkansas, the same city as Walmart's headquarters. However, Stout Stuff appears to be an independent company.
Externally, the Stout Stuff ammo can and the surplus ammo can are almost identical, except for two superficial differences. First, the Stout Stuff ammo can is made in China, while the surplus ammo can is presumably made in the United States. Second, the Stout Stuff ammo can has a nice fresh coat of paint inside and out, while the paint on the outside of the surplus ammo can is usually faded or discolored with numerous rust spots.
Both ammo cans have a removable lid with a hinge on one end, and a heavy metal latch on the other end to hold the lid closed. Both have a thick black rubber (or some other synthetic material) gasket. The carry handle lays flat on top of both lids. The bottom of both ammo cans has an indented slot to accommodate the handle of any ammo can below.
Most dimensions between the two ammo cans are within a tenth of an inch of each other, with the surplus can being 0.2 inches taller than the Stout Stuff can.
The metal sides appear to be the same thickness (0.034 inches for the Stout Stuff ammo can, versus 0.032 inches for the surplus ammo can). The metal in the latch is pretty much the same thickness (0.063 inches for the Stout Stuff ammo can, versus 0.066 inches for the surplus ammo can). The empty Stout Stuff ammo can weights 5.5 pounds, while the empty surplus ammo can weights 5.3 pounds. These differences are probably due to paint thickness differences.
The lids are not interchangeable. While the lid hinges appear to be identical, the pivot pins have a slightly different diameter. The lid for the surplus ammo can will not fit on the Stout Stuff ammo can, while the Stout Stuff ammo can lid fits loosely on the surplus ammo can.
The top of the front seam of the Stout Stuff can is smoother than that typically found on surplus ammo cans. So, the effectiveness of the gasket seal should be better than that found on many surplus ammo cans.
Walmart sells the Stout Stuff ammo can for $12.83 (plus applicable sales tax).
At my local Army surplus store, surplus ammo cans in acceptable condition are $15.00 each, and I must carefully inspect them for dents, gasket leakage, and other major defects - I will typically reject three out of four surplus ammo cans. Plus, I always want to remove the rust, clean up crud, and put a fresh coat of paint on the exterior. I probably use the equivalent of two dollars worth of spray paint on each surplus ammo can.
The Stout Stuff ammo can is a good bargain, especially when compared to surplus ammo cans. It appears to be as well made as U.S. manufactured ammo cans. In my opinion, the minor dimensional differences are insignificant for most applications, such as storage of ammunition or delicate equipment.