Tag Archives: surplus


Canteen Cup Stoves

Here is a quick original video we made about how the canteen cup stove sets we make work.


More innovative uses for surplus immersion heaters

We still have a good supply of the surplus M67 Immersion Heaters but once they run out there will be no more, as these are no longer used by the US military. Our customers keep finding new and innovative uses for them.

M67 Immersion Heater

M67 Immersion Heater

For those not familiar with them, they are very simple. A steel body submerges the combustion chamber under the level of the water to be heated, fuel drips down from the fuel tank controlled by a valve you use to adjust the fuel rate, it hits a cast iron plat to vaporize it, burns in the circular combustion chamber, then the exhaust goes around and up the exhaust stack. No moving parts while it burns at all, so they are very reliable.

Fuel? The military used gasoline, and listed diesel and kerosene as permissible fuels in an emergency. My customers, being an innovative crowd, have used gas, diesel, kerosene, old waste gas they get for free from from junkyards and boat shops, any of those fuels mixed with used motor oil, biodiesel, Coleman fuel,  waste jet fuel from a job at the airport, and a lot of blends of all of the above.

So what uses have they found so far:

  • Heating stock tanks that they use for watering livestock. They run them an hour or so in the evening and the water gets warm enough to not freeze all night. They say surrounding the tank with dirt helps insulate it.
  • Heating a greenhouse. They install the heater in a large water tank and run the stovepipe just like a wood stove. They get the water nice and hot running it for an hour or two, then when they turn the heater off the large tank of hot water radiates heat all night.
  • Heating a hot tub or pool without using electricity.
  • Heating waste vegetable oil used to make biodiesel in order to boil the water off to make it usable.
  • Heating hot water for showers and dishwashing at remote hunting cabins- one customer made a heat exchanger from an automotive heater core that he plumbed into the tank of water heated by the immersion heater, as water flows through it gets heated.
  • Heating large amounts of water to scald chickens, ducks or hogs as part to the butchering process.
  • Heating an ice fishing shack, set on cinder blocks (not sure I trust this, but they say it works great)

And there are more I am sure I am forgetting. For less than $60 it is hard to beat these things for the amazing number of uses they have for a farmer, prepper, (have you considered how to get hot water without electricity?) hunter with a remote cabin, and lots of other folks.

I just sent one to Jack who does the Survival Podcast to get his review of them and input on uses, and I bet he comes up with even more great uses. If you don’t listen to his show, give it a try- he does a great job.

How are you using one of these? Let me know!


Why ammo cans are getting more expensive and harder to find.

Everyone has noticed that ammo cans have been harder to find and that when you do find them they cost more. Lots of folks are asking why, and lots of rumors are flying.

First, to dispel the biggest rumor, there has been no executive order or directive that all ammo cans be crushed. Now some are being destroyed, but it is do the incompetence of government workers, no an executive order. But more on that later.

The first thing causing prices to rise is that the Army changed how they issue 5.56 ammo stateside. It used to be that when a unit went to the range they drew ammo that was packed just like “go to war” ammo- it was in stripper clips, bandoleers and and .50 cal ammo cans. That meant that every day lots of cans were opened, the ammo used, and the cans went to be sold. Someone saw that this was wasting money, and they changed so that 5.56 training ammo is now issued in cardboard boxes.  The result is that the taxpayers are saving a lot of money, but there are a lot fewer surplus cans sold.

The second thing is that more and more national retailers are starting to bid on the cans, and that drives prices up. Chains like Northern Tool have found that they can get $15 or more for a 50 cal ammo can. This drives prices up further.

Lastly, you have typical government bureaucrat idiocy. First, somewhere somebody decreed that all ammo cans sold must have the lids removed. Why? Who knows. I guess they are scared to death that some of that evil ammo might be in it. Of course, that same ammo is available to anyone outside the military, but logic does not matter here. So they pay a government employee to sit there and take all the lids off so nobody finds a .223 blank out there.

What happens then? They put them all on a pallet. And they sit exposed to the elements for months before they get sold, letting water pool up in them, causing the insides to rust.

And then those typical government employees strap them down to the pallet.  But what happens when you take the lid off an ammo can? It loses it structural integrity. So what do you do when you are a government employee who doesn’t care if he damages government property? You take the ammo cans that are easily bent and strap them down to the pallet so hard you bend them.

Government waste at DRMO

Government waste at DRMO

And the top ones are badly bent, as you see. But the bottom layers will be bent as well, and it only takes a slight bend before the can won’t shut or seal properly. You can figure at least 20% of the cans on the pallets are now good for little more than scrap. And for no other reason than the folks at the ASP and DRMO are lazy and don’t care.

More waste from DLA Disposition Services

More waste from DLA Disposition Services

So, add all these together, and the end result is that fewer cans are sold, many of the cans that do get sold are junk, and there are more people bidding for that. That all comes together to drive ammo cans prices higher.

All of us in the military surplus business are used to seeing the stupidity that comes with the way the government manages it, but I figured folks out there might like a glimpse into the factors that affect price and supply.


Some things to watch for these days when buying surplus, and some random rambling

Just a heads up to folks out there shopping- no matter if you buy from my website or anywhere else (but I don’t pull this crap on my customers).

If you are looking for MOLLE pack straps, watch out. For whatever reason half of the ones out there these days are missing the bottom halves. And they are useless without them. So watch those guys selling them for super low prices. I saw one guy on Ebay selling them like that because “that is how they are issued”. What BS.

Don’t forget, if it says military “style” or GI “style” or “type”, there is a 99.9% chance it is a cheap Chinese knock off. Those are the buzzwords less than honest dealers and vendors use to try and pass cheap copies .

If you want some used woodland MOLLE gear, now is the time to buy, or even stock up.  No more is being issued, and the amount coming out surplus is starting to decline. We are seeing the bottom of the market in prices now, and as supplies dry up prices will eventually rise.

A few years ago the Amy shifted to issuing training 5.56 ammo for use in M16’s on ranges that is packed in cardboard boxes. Previously it had come in ammo cans and bandoleers. The result is that it costs a good bit less for the taxpayers, but that also means that there are a lot less .50cal ammo cans out there on the market. The days of the $5 ammo cans have passed us by, and I doubt we will see them again.