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Thread: Gun Safe

  1. #1
    Member BearSlayer's Avatar
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    Default Gun Safe

    Does anyone have any recommmendations on a gun safe? I have been looking at Cannon and Yukon Gold? I get lost when they start talking about fire ratings and degrees for hour. Any input is appreciated.

  2. #2
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    Simple answer: Most gun safes are 12 or 10 gauge metal with sheetrock fire insulation. Get the biggest one you can afford, for the best price with the options you want, from the dealer who treats you best.

    Most of the larger gun stores and locksmiths in Southcentral AK will have something in stock or order exactly what you want. I imagine Fairbanks will be the same. I looked for a post here that I remember about a new business started just this fall by a member here, but didn't find it. ?I think he is in the Valley, and was selling Bighorn safes?

    Longer answer, if anyone wants it:
    Most gun safes are similar in basic construction and fire-resistance to each other. The metal may be thicker or thinner, but 12 or 10 gauge metal is still only 12 or 10 gauge thick. The door hinges may be internal or external. They may weld or bend the metal differently, and finish quality can be Mercedes-quality paint to truck bed liner applied with a trowel. Almost every gun safe uses 5/8" Type-X/Firestop sheetrock as the insulator; it's just a matter of how many layers. The electronic locks are easier to use, but -may- be easier to open for a bad guy, and harder to open if they actually fail.

    You can option up some of the big name gun safes with thicker metal, harder metal, and lots of extra security options. This will make them stronger and better, and more expensive. They still aren't 'real safes', but even optioned up all the way they probably cost quite a bit less than a 'real safe'. And they are bigger, and look better, and do what most people want.

    Most if not all of the gun company branded safes are made by one of the big makers, like Fort Knox, Liberty, Cannon, etc. either under contract or licensing agreements. That may mean nothing more than a different sticker on the door. Some of the safes, especially the lower priced ones, are made in China (if that matters to you).

    The end-user differences seem to be in size and interior options before the sale, delivery (curb, door, or inside), and customer service if anything ever does go wrong. Some lifetime warranties require you to ship the safe to the manufacturer for service. Kind of spendy from Alaska. Some lifetime warranties don't cover the lock (because that is made by a different company), and that seems to be the most failure-prone part.

    From what I've read and been told by those who sell safes, the Amsec BF series is about the best 'gun' safe' for the least money. 'Real safes' are TL/TRx6 rated, and the gun safes we are all thinking of are far from that.

    However, gun safes are much better than a hollow core closet door, especially if Meth-head Mutt thinks he can't get into a safe. And you don't store the Sawzall or crowbar next to the safe. And you bolted it down. Cause Meth-head Mutt probably can figure out a furniture dolly from the rental center.

    For much more info, search on 'RSC' on Sigforum. Sigforum has 2 real safe sales company reps who have covered this about every few months or so for the last several years. (And no, they don't make safes, they sell them.)

    Michael Bane from Shooting Gallery found out recently how good his safe's lifetime warranty and customer service was when his locked failed. While the safe was locked. Oops.

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    Been looking at buying another myself and my take is different than most. I like the one's that weigh around 400 pounds or so because it gives me the flexibility to move it around by myself and another guy. Loaded with guns it will weigh close to 600 pounds so doubt a thief is going to carry it up the stairs and out of my home.
    Most likely will get one at Costco as it weighs in at about 450 or so and costs about $550.

    Don't pay much attention to how many rifles it states it will hold. A 20 gun safe may hold 20 .22's without scopes but no way is it gonna hold 20 centerfire rifles with scopes. Sort of like tents, a 4 man is good for 2 guys. I don't pay to much attention to how good it is built. The purpose of a safe is to be a theft deterrent with the object being a thief will see it and walk away onto easier pickings in the house. Do not know much about fire ratings so I can't offer a valid opinion on the matter.
    Tennessee

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    You are right, theft deterrent is the primary reason to have one. That stops the dumb, weak, and lazy criminals. What if you score the sober, industrious type burglar? Hey, it could happen.

    Bolt it down. Really, how many times are you planning on moving it within the same house?

    Because if they can't get in with your Sawzall or BFH and end up trying to steal the whole safe, they probably won't carry it. One guy with a hand truck can move a 600 pound safe. Or 800 pound safe. If it can be delivered with a hand truck, it can be stolen much easier the same way.

    It may take two guys to get it up the stairs, but moving across a floor is relatively easy, if you are motivated. And burglars really don't care if they punch a few holes in your walls, or if everything inside the safe falls and gets scratched.

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    Member gunbugs's Avatar
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    Have had a Cannon for about 15 years now. Mechanical lock, works fine. Remember, safes are fire resistant, not proof. If it takes too long for the department to get there, you'll probably have some kind of heat damage to some of the guns, minor, but nothing like if they are unprotected. Good advice to bolt it securely to a wall, or the floor. I know of instances where the safe was taken and opened at a different location. Putting a couple 1/2" holes in your safe won't ruin it. Back up your bolts with large washers. You may want to avoid placing it in a basement, while it would be difficult to remove, when the fire dept. shows up and pours 30,000 gals. of water on the fire, your safe will most assuredly be under water. Store your long guns muzzle down, it'll allow you to fit more in the safe and is a better way to store them anyway. You'll get pretty close to the rated capacity even with scopes and bolt handles sticking out. The biggest problem is the gun you want is always at the back of the safe.

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    Quote Originally Posted by scottr View Post
    What if you score the sober, industrious type burglar? Hey, it could happen.
    Lucky me, I drew the industrious type back in 1994 at my Phoenix house. I had 2 small safes (around 400# each empty) bolted together and to the wall inside my walk-in closet. They ripped the wall out and hauled them out together on an appliance dolly to a truck in the drive with a lift gate. They waved at all my neighbors, who believed they were just doing some job for me, so they watched them empty my house without ever even getting a plate number. They even went through my filing cabinets and got the list of serial numbers so I could not ID most of the guns even if the cops found them.

    This is why I have video surveillance with an off sight DVR, an alarm system, and a yard full of dogs on top of the fortified gun room. Gun safes are just fire protection in my book now. I doubt Alaska has such dedicated criminalsí as big cityís like Phoenix but I will always be weary any way.
    Andy
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    Default Buy big

    I would suggest that a safe should be about 25% larger than you will think you need now or will need in the future. It's amazing the kinds of things you and your wife will want to store in the safe and having one too big is not going to be a problem once it's in the house. My present safe weighs just under 1100 pounds empty, add guns, optics, photo albums, coins, jewelry, etc. and the weight is well over 1500 pounds. Now add a few steps into the equation and you begin to see that it is a problem to get the safe out of the house, even for a determined burglar. Of course anything, and I mean anything, can be stolen, but make it large enough that it will take at least four guys to move and you are starting to cause some problems. Fire protection is also helpful, but fire ratings are pretty similar in class and price range so don't beat yourself up over another hundred degrees or so. I would not buy a safe without crossbolts on all four sides of the door. A removable door will make installation a lot easier if the weight gets over 1000 pounds. You can normally save a significant amount of money without sacrificing any protection by selecting a safe without the finest exterior finish. As a plus a matte surface does not show scratches as easily as a gloss finish; it's tough to move 1000 pounds through a house and up and down steps without a few bruises.

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    Just came home from shopping at Costco and they lowered the price of the Winchester safes from $559 to $499 as a PFD special.

    These safes are a great buy as online retailers in the lower 48 are selling them for $800-$900 and we all know what shipping to Alaska would cost - A lot!
    Tennessee

  9. #9

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    I have two Cannon safes and a Winchester safe from Sams. The Cannon safes are built 10 times better than the Winchester safe when compared side by side. For a lifetime investment, I would recommend the Cannon safe.

    Lets just say, I only put guns that I don't really care about in the Winchester safe.

  10. #10

    Default Gun Safe

    A few months ago I purchased an AMSEC safe from Action Security in Anchorage. One of the best investments I've ever made and keep in mind it is an investment. I purchased the BF6636 model which Action had in stock. They professionally delivered the safe and even bolted it to the floor for me. It's not going anywhere!! The BF series are made for both burglary and fire protection. I purchased the spin dial vice the electronic keypad. I figured if there was a fire, the keypad would melt and the spin dial will still work. Also has a great warranty.

  11. #11
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    Default Cannon

    I have a Cannon that I bought from Costco a while back, and it's great...no complaints from me. Works just fine, and I bolted it into the concrete of my house foundation with rock climbing bolts.

    Good advice from Corinthians to buy something bigger than you think you'll need. Don't believe the number of guns that safe manufacturers claim it will hold...it's kind of like saying one Mountain House freeze-dried meal feeds two. As Randy said earlier, if you have scoped rifles, it will significantly reduce the space in your safe.

    Doc

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    A nice old thread bumped by a spammer (report sent), but I can't help but adding to the original thread anyway after a recent safe issue I dealt with...

    We just had to call in a safe-smith to break into our big Sportsman Steel safe last week when the lock broke. Took the guy 2.5 minutes to get the door open, and without any damage at all. Left me wondering why we even bother to use a safe? Anyway, the locksmith then took the back cover off of the door to access the broken lock. That's when we got the shocker; the manufacturer states that this safe has multiple relockers to prevent drilling of the lock. There are Zero relockers in this safe. All of the components of the latching mechanism are lightweight, raw, unfinished steel with the worst welding job I've ever seen. The locksmith pointed out where the relockers are suppossed to be, where additional pivot points and reinforcement is supposed to be, and then advised us not to keep anything of value in this safe. The "fire rating" consisted of a single layer of sheetrock that has huge cutouts for the locking mechanism area. So a large portion of the door has zero insulation and the back of the door is covered with carpet glued to a sheet of pressboard (i.e. "kindling"). The fire seal around the door isn't the right size and installed incorrectly. When you put it all together, the safe-guy gave this safe about a 15-minute fire rating... as long as it was a small fire somewhere else in the building.
    Winter is Coming...

    Go GeocacheAlaska!

  13. #13

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    Never hurts to run this subject around again once in a while, when it comes to safes you truly do get what you pay for those 4 and 500.00 dollar boxes that people think are such a great deal can be opened by almost anybody in less than 2 min check youtube. when shopping for a safe do your homework, Take an good look at the real value of what you are storing in it, and invest in quality, check out Graffunder Summit,Liberty, Or Amsec construction really does make a differance talk to an "EXPERT"

  14. #14

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    I have two Liberty Safes. I used to sell them and had the opportunity to watch them get torched with the papers and material inside not even wrinkle. Also was able to see a dozer try to rip it apart with no luck.

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    If you can wait, BoonDocks during the sportsmans show has some smoking deals on Cannon Safes. I'm in favor of getting a safe bigger than you really think you need. Kinda like buying a boat and getting a case of twofootitis. I also recommend bolting that sucker to a concrete floor like with 8 in lag bolts then bolt it to a few studs in the house. If they want it, they are gonna have to tear the house apart. Hey, after all, you have homeowners insurance right. There is one thing out there on the market that doesn't give me a warm and fuzzy about safes. There is a tool out there that a British Guy invented that has counter rotating circular blades designed at a rescue saw that is open to the public. Saw it on an infomercial a few times marketing them to the public to cut tile, or anything for that manner. I personally think, that saw should be a controlled item. https://www.dualsaw.com/home.html

    I also highly recommend you take the time and document all your guns for your own protection. Make a list of all your gun decriptions with serial numbers, take pictures of each and everyone of them and file them away in several places where you can recover them in case they ever get stolen. In fact, do this with all your valuables in case you need them to file a claim.

  16. #16
    Member pinehavensredrocket's Avatar
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    buying a gun safe is a great idea....and will allow proper storage for other personal items as well. many of the above suggestions are well thought out and answered by experienced members. i dissagree with the need for a "fireproof" safe, however. having investigated many house fires the guns are damaged by superheated steam not fire temperature. being "fireproof" is not "steamproof". infact in many cases, simple file cabinets are left intact with papers in great condition. save your money and buy a larger safe.
    happy trails.
    jh

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    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    If you're building or able to remodel around where you put the safe, I highly recommend that you place the safe inside of its own closet and that you line that closet with a plywood sandwiched between two layers of sheetrock on the inside and a fire-rated and lockable door to get in. Burglars are usually on a time crunch. Hiding the safe behind a locked door just adds that much more time and effort they have to expend to even get access to the safe. Size the closet so that there is zero access to the sides and top of the safe. Should be just large enough to open the safe door. The sheetrock adds an hour of fireprotection and the plywood makes punching through the outer wall to get to the safe even more difficult. Heck, if you wanted to get really burglar resistant, add a sheet of about 18g stainless steel to the outside of 3/4" plywood. That will defeat most hand tools.

    One more thing, if you put the safe in the basement intending to bolt it to the floor, it would be best to place a platform under the safe to elevate it about 18" above the floor. You could build that out of structural steel or even pour a special cement pad to maintain the secure mounting. The point is, if you've ever seen the basement after a house fire, you'll know that it will have a foot of standing water left over from the fire department's efforts.
    Winter is Coming...

    Go GeocacheAlaska!

  18. #18
    Member Milo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JOAT View Post
    If you're building or able to remodel around where you put the safe, I highly recommend that you place the safe inside of its own closet and that you line that closet with a plywood sandwiched between two layers of sheetrock on the inside and a fire-rated and lockable door to get in. Burglars are usually on a time crunch. Hiding the safe behind a locked door just adds that much more time and effort they have to expend to even get access to the safe. Size the closet so that there is zero access to the sides and top of the safe. Should be just large enough to open the safe door. The sheetrock adds an hour of fireprotection and the plywood makes punching through the outer wall to get to the safe even more difficult. Heck, if you wanted to get really burglar resistant, add a sheet of about 18g stainless steel to the outside of 3/4" plywood. That will defeat most hand tools.

    One more thing, if you put the safe in the basement intending to bolt it to the floor, it would be best to place a platform under the safe to elevate it about 18" above the floor. You could build that out of structural steel or even pour a special cement pad to maintain the secure mounting. The point is, if you've ever seen the basement after a house fire, you'll know that it will have a foot of standing water left over from the fire department's efforts.
    Great suggestions, but I also would not publicly discuss which firearms I may own and my methods of storing and/or safeguarding them. Good thing I only bowhunt.
    Death is like an old whore in a bar--I'll buy her a drink but I won't go upstairs with her.

  19. #19
    Sponsor ADfields's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JOAT View Post
    If you're building or able to remodel around where you put the safe, I highly recommend that you place the safe inside of its own closet and that you line that closet with a plywood sandwiched between two layers of sheetrock on the inside and a fire-rated and lockable door to get in. Burglars are usually on a time crunch. Hiding the safe behind a locked door just adds that much more time and effort they have to expend to even get access to the safe. Size the closet so that there is zero access to the sides and top of the safe. Should be just large enough to open the safe door. The sheetrock adds an hour of fireprotection and the plywood makes punching through the outer wall to get to the safe even more difficult. Heck, if you wanted to get really burglar resistant, add a sheet of about 18g stainless steel to the outside of 3/4" plywood. That will defeat most hand tools.

    One more thing, if you put the safe in the basement intending to bolt it to the floor, it would be best to place a platform under the safe to elevate it about 18" above the floor. You could build that out of structural steel or even pour a special cement pad to maintain the secure mounting. The point is, if you've ever seen the basement after a house fire, you'll know that it will have a foot of standing water left over from the fire department's efforts.
    Yup, good stuff Joat. At my house in Arizona I was robbed and they took the safe, tossed a chain around it and ripped it up then out the door with a truck or something! After that I put a lot of steel on the walls and ceiling of my gunroom and a heavy steel door set in a steel jam . . . figured that would at least slow them down but never found out. Did it different here because used steel isnít cheap and plentiful like in Arizona but I stayed with the fortified room idea.

    Oh, a webcam recording to an offsite server and a little sign about it goes a very long way these days.
    Andy
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  20. #20

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    Many "Fire Safes" need to be placed on a exterior wall so that in the event of a fire they are not located in the most intense heat and are more accessible for the fire dept. to hose down. Even then, I know of a guy whose house burned and his safe was located on the exterior. The fire dept kept water on it until the flames were mostly knocked down, then they used his backhoe and a chain to lift the safe out of the fire. The guns were WAY too hot to handle and some of the paper items were scorched. This was a Liberty safe if I recall. I never heard whether he salvaged the guns, but even if they were safe to fire, I imagine stocks and finishes suffered greatly.

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