Single Lock Locker Box Using a 40MM Ammo Can

Mar 10th, 2009 | By | Category: Tips and Tricks

Completed Locker BoxHere are easy step by step instructions for making a single lock locker box using any of the larger style, 40MM or 30MM, removable top ammo cans. No welding or special tools needed!

Parts list: I had the ammo can and the hardware cost me less than $4.50 with the u-bolt being the most expensive item.

  1. Ammo Can – 1 each – I use a 40MM for this how-to, but any removable top ammo can should work.
  2. Threaded U-Bolt – 1 each – use your discretion as to the thickness but you need to keep the diameter under 1 3/4 inches to ensure you have enough clearance for the handle.
  3. Nuts – for U-Bolt – 4 each
  4. 1/2 x 13 Bolt and Nut – 1 each – I used a 1/2 as it fits the handle groove perfectly. Additionally, I used a 1 inch long bolt so I did not have to cut it off inside the can.
  5. Flat Washers – for 1/2 Bolt – 4 or 5 each – one on top of the handle and the others for spacers behind the handle.

 Tools: Preferred tools with an alternate

  1. Drill with a Stepper Bit – or a drill bit sized for the U-Bolt and a 1/2 inch bit for the retaining bolt.
  2. Dremel Tool with a Cutting Wheel – or a hacksaw
  3. Loctite – or equivalent thread locker 
  4. Eye Protection – you wear it shooting so wear it now!


  1. Use Dremel to remove metal lipWith the lid on the ammo can, unhook the handle on one side and lift the lid. You should notice the lid will only open about 40 or 45 degrees. There is a metal lip that is pining the lid preventing further movement. We need to remove this metal lip. Now that we have identified the lip, open the second handle and remove the lid. Go a head and put on your eye-pro now.
  2. Turn over the ammo can and using the Dremel tool remove the lip by cutting at an angle as close to the can body as possible. If you are using a hacksaw you may need to cut from the top to get the blade to cut straight. Also be careful not to cut into the metal below the lip since this is part of the handle locking mechanism. Once the lip is removed the lid will be able to open completely and this will become the “hinged” end of the locker box.
  3. Bolt placement for hinged side. Note: Place bolt as high as possible to hold handle in place!Replace the lid. On the end with the removed lip – drill a pilot hole in the center of the channel of the handle. It is important to be precise since the channel is 1/2 inch wide the bolt is a 1/2 inch if we are off center it will cause the lid to warp creating difficulty in closing and latching the lid. I drilled a pilot hole with the stepper bit and once the hole was started I removed the lid and continued drilling the hole to a 1/2 inch and then ensured my bolt fit. Then de-burr the hole and reattach the lid.
  4. The bolt should slide through the handle and into the ammo can body without any play. Next, put one washer on the bolt and then use the remaining washers as spacers between the handle and the ammo can body. This will prevent the handle from bending and warping when the bolt is tightened.
  5. Use Loctite to ensure nut will rotate with the bolt to prevent the the bolt from being removed when the locker box is shut.Holding the handle and bolt in place, open the opposite end and lift the lid a few inches and put a few drops of Loctite on the threads. Put the nut on the bolt inside the ammo can. Hold the nut in place with a wrench and tighten the bolt. Your lid should now work as a hinge! Important: ensure that when you turn the bolt, the nut inside the box turns too – this is why we use Loctite. This will prevent anyone from simply unbolting your hinge.
  6. Now, close the lid, on the “lock” end. Drill a hole in the center of the handle channel very close to the top of the channel, this will ensure the handle will operate correctly and it will not catch on the u-bolt. Next, mark the second hole for the u-bolt and drill.
  7. U-bolt placementPut one nut on each side of the u-bolt and tighten. Open the lid and slide the u-bolt into the holes and install the nuts to secure the u-bolt to the ammo can. Tighten both nuts with a wrench. Using the Dremel. cut off the excess threads, on the inside of the ammo can, flush with the nuts. Then smooth any burrs.  This will ensure there are no sharp edges to snag unprotected skin as you reach into the locker box. 



Locker box installed in JeepTo close, hold the latch and lift the lid, pull it tight against the ammo can. This allows the lid to close easily. At this point your modified ammo can, locker box will operate just like a regular hinged ammo can. Lower the lid on the hinge and snap closed. Place a lock on the u-bolt and your locker box is done!

All you need to do now is figure out where you want to mount it.

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Article by Lee


Lee retired from the U.S Army in 2008 as a First Sergeant where he saw combat action during both Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom. He led a physical security detachment in Central America; subsequently, ran a law and order detachment in Europe. Post 9/11 he was detailed with installation physical security which included both military and DA police training and operations, local and state law enforcement liaison.

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  1. Thank you sooo much for this article “A No Weld Solution for Securing Any Two Handle Ammo Can” and “Easily Store Your Ammunition for Decades” both excellent for the “Prepper”, homesteader or survivalist.

    Wish I could visit back east and enroll in one or two of your courses.

    Keep up the great work!!!!

    From a 50 Something, soon to be rural homesteading, Prepper ;-}

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  2. Outstanding article. I just replaced the center console of my ’87 4Runner with the 40mm ammo can. The 40mm version is a perfect fit but I did not want to use an unhinged type. This took all of 20 minutes and about $5 worth of hardware.

    I’ll be converting two more so I can keep my recovery tools, etc. locked inside the vehicle without worries.

    Thanks for this idea and thanks for your service.


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  3. Bless you for your service and for a spot-on solution to my perpetual Jeep problem of, “I have something to bolt on and need more space and I THINK I have a couple square inches left on my Jeep that have not been drilled and something bolted on.” I’m popping 2x of these cans on my TJ over either fender well for my emergency water, 12v. pump, etc. Bravo Zulu. GM

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  4. Good stuff. I haven’t learned to weld yet, but I can drill holes. I can probably use this project to make some secure cases for sealed lead-acid batteries to use with trail cameras and their infrared flash extenders.

    Thanks, from a Vietnam-Era USAF cop (E-5).

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  5. […] did the locks on my ammo cans in this fashion. Single Lock Locker Box Using a 40MM Ammo Can | Aggressive Defensive Solutions Good Luck , Les __________________ I own the Bestest Strom in the World!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! […]

  6. I am totally agree with Army Surplus Ammo Cans. These are best storage for Ammunition. It keeps my ammunition dry and clean for a long time.

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  7. Great job Thank you for your service and this idea I have used your idea of the hinge end but on the lock end used 3/4 in bolt with hole drilled in it for padlock to go through works great and I had some spare 3/4 in bolts so Thank you again Steve

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