What would you do with 1,800 rounds of waterlogged .30 Carbine ammo if it washed up at your feet? These days, more than a few people who would take it to the range and see what happened, even if the crusty rounds were found in the remains of a rusted-out smuggling ship down in Baja.
This is a Reddit story, so take it with a massive grain of salt, but reportedly, a cache of 1,800 rounds of ammo with the packaging still intact was discovered in the remains of an old, sunken smuggling boat, presumably when the hull was brought to shore for salvage. From the photos, it looks like some old .30 Carbine US military ball ammo, which could have been manufactured anytime between World War II and the 1980s, before the military had fully phased out the M1 carbine.
This little cache of ammo being found where it was isn’t all that surprising.
There was a time, not so long ago, when anyone with a moderate-to-serious gun collection had a junker M1 and/or SKS rifle he’d picked up for an absurd deal because they were oh-so-common and plentiful. These rifles were great for indiscriminate plinking when surplus ammo came around cheap, and they could be fun and affordable project guns.
None of that’s true any longer. M1 carbines and SKSs can’t be found for anything near $100, and crazy deals on surplus ammo are but campfire tales to be told.
The M1 carbine and its variants were produced in huge numbers — the US made more of them than they did any other small arm during WWII, and we were not, by any means, the only country to use the capable little rifle. The US produced 6.1 million M1 carbines during the war.
The British used a good number of them, and the US sent the French nearly 270,000 of them between WWII and the 1960s, but the gun is still widely used today in the Philippines, and M1 and M2 carbines were used frequently by forces in Latin America during the many guerrilla and civil wars waged there through the 1990s. It only makes sense that a few crates of the guns or their ammo would end up in the hold of a clandestine smuggler.