How to open a Spam Can

I’m taking a carbine course this weekend and expect to burn through 800+ rounds of 223 with my 11.5″ AR15. I’m not really into blowing through that many reloads when I can’t find powder to make more, and factory ammo is going for 50 cents around or more. At one of my local shops I found spam cans of Norinco 223 brass cased 55 grain  full metal jacket. Each can holds 800 rounds and was selling for $240. Crates of two cans were also available.

Norinco 223 Ammo

Norinco 223 Ammo

So I’ve got my 30 cents a round ammo, in a sealed metal tin. How do I get the ammo out and ready to shoot? I need to check this ammo will work in the AR15 before the course on the weekend in case I need to come up with a new plan.

Step 1

Norinco Spam Can

Norinco Spam Can

Find the “key” and admire the markings on the package. I have no idea what CJ-5-21 is, a lot number perhaps. The key is a pretty straight forward metal rod bent into shape and has a slot in the middle.

Step 2

Opening the tab with the "key"

Opening the tab with the “key”

The key is angled on the end and allows you to pry up the tab on the end of the can.

Step 3

Peeling open the can

Peeling open the can

Using the key inserted into the tab, you have to rotate the key around the perimeter of the can. Note that as you break the seal on the can a smell that can only be described as funky leaks out. As you get further the soft metal in the key starts to get deformed and the soft metal of the can wants to start slipping off the key.

Step 4

After lifting open the top of the can

After lifting open the top of the can

After peeling the metal strip back around the can, the top will lift open. The funky smell will intensify at this point. Each of the 20 little packages contains 40 cartridges. The packages feel about the same as butcher paper.

Norinco 223 Ammo

Norinco 223 Ammo

I transferred all the cartridges into a regular 50 cal ammo can for easy transport as opening the spam can also destroyed its integrity and left sharp edges and a smell. I was able to visit the range and ran 2 test mags worth of ammo worth no issues. So far so good, we’ll see how I feel about this ammo after the course this weekend.

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