When you go to the store and pick up a box of ammo you are purchasing the ammo, some sort of holder for the rounds and a box. I’ve been throwing out the little red holders from Federal for years and years.
When you open a box of military surplus ammo, there is no holder. At most you might find a couple of thin pieces of paper. The packing is much denser.
When you pack your ammo for storage, you would like it to be as dense as possible. For me this means it needs to fit in an ammo can.
All of this lead me to all the expensive plastic boxes, landing on MTM as my prefered type. But even at the low cost of MTM, it didn’t actually get me anywhere near the density I wanted. Then I stumbled on RepackBox.
These guys are into making boxes but then designed a very good box for ammo. I use it for a number of calibers that I reload in bulk and for which I don’t need fast access. I don’t use them for 5.56×45 because those are kept on stripper clips which these boxes don’t fit.
How about 1600 rounds of 9mm in a single 50 cal can in neat little boxes of 50. That’s 32 boxes. The boxes are around $25/30 boxes or $35/100 boxes.
They also sell the same sort of box for rifle cartridges. Rifle cartridges are either 20 or 30 rounds depending on cartridge size. They include instructions for how to pack 50 Cal cans. I pack 30 cal cans as well with these boxes.
They are kind and send a label sheet with instructions on one side and labels ready to print on the other side. The labels are designed to fit in the little bubble under the caliber. I use it to identify the load in that particular round.
If you want to speed packing up they sell little 3D printed trays that hold all of the rounds that will go into a box. You fill the tray, put the box over the tray, flip the two over and all your rounds are in the box. Fold over the laps, label and pack. You’re done.
These are available [at multiple online sources] or [directly] from REPACKBOX Roger Small (I hope I spelled his name correctly) is the owner, I had a nice conversation with him. About a year ago I spoke to him and asked for packing diagrams for 30 cal cans and they are now on his site, so if you don’t want to lug 1600 9mm rounds in a 50cal can, you can carry 850 rounds in a 30cal can.
Be careful with rimmed cartridges, they are a little harder to pack because of all the wiggle room in the box to account for the rims. According to Rodger, I’ve been doing it wrong and I just need to tilt the box at a diagonal and load from one corner up.
Updated for spelling error
Update2: Removed reference to specific online retailer by request of Roger.