How do you move a big gun safe into a house?


February 24, 2009, 12:18 AM
a) Big gun safes should go in the garage.

b) A football team.

c) Two little skinny guys.

For the record, that is not me in the photo, I'm the one with the camera.

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February 24, 2009, 12:22 AM
Well, see, first you bulldoze one wall. And then the tower crane shows up the next day and sinks the pilings into your roof. And then. . .

Actually, I imagine some well placed and reinforced ramps and some big guys with a big dolly jack like in the picture and maybe some hydraulic jacks would do the job.

February 24, 2009, 12:23 AM
I gather from the fact that the dolly can support it without crumpling that this is more of a fire-resistant safe than an anti-burgler safe? The last safe I tried to move was noticibly smaller than that, and it weighed a LOT -over 5,000 lbs, I believe.

February 24, 2009, 12:27 AM
Well, see, first you bulldoze one wall. And then the tower crane shows up the next day

No, no, no. That's how we take them out.

I gather from the fact that the dolly can support it without crumpling that this is more of a fire-resistant safe than an anti-burgler safe? The last safe I tried to move was noticibly smaller than that, and it weighed a LOT -over 5,000 lbs, I believe.

This is a Champion gun safe. I think it's only 1,200 pounds.

I can lift the heavier commercial units up stairs in a simliar fashion, but now how the photo shows. The method shown is not nearly as safe on heavier units.

February 24, 2009, 12:30 AM
That is a very good question. I've always wondered how people get those things in their houses.

Faster Daddy!
February 24, 2009, 01:08 AM
This method works. You get the safe where you've got it in your photo ready to enter the door. Now go to the hardware store and buy either some wood dowels or PVC pipe(cheaper). You need at least 1 inch OD and up to 2 inch OD will work. You need at least 8 to 10 pieces of this pipe/dowels that are 1 to 2 inches longer than the width of your safe. From your dolly, place a few of the pipes in front of the safe. Push the safe from the dolly to the top of the dowels. As the safe moves forward continue to place more dowels on the floor. Repeat the process and the dowels will begin to be freed up out the back as the safe rolls forward. Then you move the freed up dowels to the front again. Don't get in a hurry!!!!! If someone gets their finger in front of a dowel when the safe is rolling forward = VERY, VERY, VERY smashed finger, FOR NO REASON. Go slow and methodical!! If your floor is an uneven surface, place two boards as rails, on the floor before placing the dowels. If you need to use the rails under the dowels, you will need at least 4 pieces of rail material as well so that you can continue to place rail in front of the traveling safe. I have moved a very large safe twice using this method. Good Luck.

February 24, 2009, 01:12 AM
Safe+ proper gear+ 2 powerlifters (my friend and myself) and presto, safe is where it should be (after having gone up 2 flights of stairs, around some corners, and picked up from its side. I reckon I could subsitute a 3K pound car for a 1K pound safe if I called 4 of my human forklift friends, and helped them out :D

February 24, 2009, 01:18 AM
1.) Purchase property

2.) Position safe

3.) Build house.


Reality. I completely disagree with safe logic.

My guns are here and there and everywhere, all concealed.

Why give the bastards a chance at the motherlode?

Just askin'


February 24, 2009, 01:41 AM
What seems to be the trouble? Where is the "dolly" you guys keep talking about? I see a pallet jack capable of lifting about 5500 pounds. I could put that in by myself, and I'm only 5'7" 180 pounds.

First you need to wrap the RSC with several moving pads, or blankets will do and tape them in place with packing tape. Next, position it in front of the step. Then tip it to its side through the door. Push the rest of the way into the room, stand it back up and use an actual dolly from this point. If you feel better about it, put a couple of 2x4 on the step to assist in protecting the side of the RSC that will be resting temp. on it. Or you could use a "Big Red" appliance dolly with straps, or use an electric stair climber........I do this for a living, and with things much more fragile than your vault. I drive a long haul truck, and specialize in electronics with an occasional household move. I move 3,000 pound mainframe computers into office buildings.....I lease to Mayflower/United van line.

February 24, 2009, 02:17 AM
One time about three years ago now I helped a buddy of mine and his dad move a 500lbs gun safe into his house. We'd driven around all day in their Chrysler van (500# safe and three big guys inside make for one slow van) and when we got back to their house we improvised, which basically meant two of us pushing from inside the van, getting the safe to slide out the back and onto a small trailer. Then once it was in the trailer we wheeled it into place and tilted it upright.

500# was hard enough. Don't know how guys do it with 1200# safe's.

Knowing what I do now, and having worked in stock since, I'd say to build a ramp (2x4's perhaps?) and then pull the safe up the ramp with the jack, with another guy helping to push. That's assuming it's going on the ground floor.

February 24, 2009, 02:29 AM
Mine is 1100# and to get it from the other house to this one I hired a safe mover - he moved it by himself!

February 24, 2009, 02:53 AM
Mine got up 2 floors through a narrow stairwell, down again when we moved, and back up 1 floor in our new house, thanks to 4 strong friends. One of them is a sailor. He expertly knotted a bunch of ropes around it, so that it was completely "netted in" and each of my buddies had "rope handles" to lift. Admittedly it's not extremely large nor heavy.

Kind of Blued
February 24, 2009, 04:28 AM
The witty answers to this are "seldom" and "empty". :) It definitely looks like a chore.

February 24, 2009, 04:40 AM
How do you move a big gun safe into a house? I knew someone who once thought he had found quite a bargain. It was a safe from a grocery store that had gone out of business, just about big enough to walk in.

This fellow thought he had figured it all out: a three axle trailer, six friends, and one of those SoCal houses built in the late 60's/early 70's with the two big, front doors.

The safe broke the three axle trailer and required a bobtail truck instead; the six friends had to be beefed up to eight with 'come alongs' and plenty of pizza; the two doors had to be expanded by removing the door frames and then the cripple studs.....well, it took a few days but he eventually got the safe in the house and swore it wasn't coming out again with anything short of dynamite! :evil:

February 24, 2009, 08:04 AM
Golf me - they'll beat pipe/dowell rollers ANY day.

February 24, 2009, 09:38 AM
I've moved mine and a couple of my buddies a couple of times.

A piano dolly works great and makes its very easy. Slip the two sides under the safe, strap them together, step on the levers and the safe lifts up on wheels and is now mobile. One person can push the safe around with little trouble. Most rental places have them for a reasonable rate.

What you also want to get is some sheets of the 1/4-3/8" pressed hard fiber board cut down to 24-30" widths. They will allow you to roll the safe across carpet and linoleum floors, and especially the newer "softer" vinyl floors, without effort and damage. If you put anything under the safe that will put the weight onto a small, focused point, you will damage some floors. Even the wheels will cut grooves into the softer surfaces.

The most drastic thing we did, was pull to of my buddys safes up out of his basement to the first floor with a truck. We took the doors off (the doors are usually the heavy part anyway), laid the safes on the the steps, tied a rope to them, took the rope up the steps out the bathroom window to my work truck out in the yard. 4L and away we go. Didnt even tear up a wall or door frame. :)

February 24, 2009, 09:48 AM
1) Big friends

2) Free beer for them

3) Xanax for your significant other if you are going across their floors :)

February 24, 2009, 10:20 AM
2) Free beer for them
Dont buy it until your done. The safes get smaller and lighter and the help can do amazing feats (in their own minds) and come up with the most (seemingly) ingenious ideas the more they drink. You tend to buy what they are telling you too if your drinking with them. :)

If you screw up the old ladys floor, thats damn near worse than zipping it up in your zipper. At least THAT pain eventually goes away. Just picture Wilma's lips going and Dino's voice coming out of them for the rest of your life. ;) :D

February 24, 2009, 11:12 AM
golfballs= bad idea
I've got ruts in my hardwood from the golf ball method with only a 700 pounder. I figured out the best is a square of shag carpet fuzzy side down cut to size of the bottom of the safe, then spray pledge furniture polish in front and one person can walk it around the room. On carpet they will slide pretty easily. Tile or concrete get the furniture dollies rated to 1200 lbs with pneumatic casters.

February 24, 2009, 12:03 PM
Here you go....LOL

SERIOUSLY: Hire insured professional movers that are used to handling large heavy objects.

February 24, 2009, 12:12 PM
If ya rutted the floors, methinks ya didn't have enough balls.:D It's a function of weight distribution - a 700 lb safe on 10 balls means 70 lbs per ball - an' there ain't much surface area on one. I usually use 100 at a time, which means at least 30 are under load at any given time. But yeah - even then, on a wood floor I'd likely use some luan or other plywood for additional protection. Where the GB's come in is for transfer over concrete and especially carpeted floors. I moved my 1800 lb. Ft Knox from the front door into the gun room by myself, with the 7 year-old grandson moving the golf balls for me.

February 24, 2009, 12:13 PM
"My guns are here and there and everywhere, all concealed.

Why give the bastards a chance at the motherlode?"

Fair enough, but that's very risky. I found out the hard way that burglars (especially experienced ones) know all the tricks about where and how people hide things. If they have enough time, and they probably won't break in unless they know they do, they will find nearly everything of value in your house.


February 24, 2009, 12:19 PM
For up the stairs I placed 2 boards with a rug on them, layed safe on it's side and borrowed the neighbor to help slide it up. Worked like a charm.

February 24, 2009, 04:12 PM
Build a walk-in safe. The door and be brought to it during construction when you can get equipment in there.

February 24, 2009, 04:28 PM
2 brothers and a hand truck

February 24, 2009, 05:02 PM
I'm glad when I moved I had the people who put it in bring it here from the other house and up the stairs here. It cost about a hundred dollars. Much safer too.

February 24, 2009, 05:42 PM
I've moved one that size, took 3 normal sized people, a safe dolly (same as a refrigerator dolly, just more HD), a wrecking bar, and two hump straps.

It isn't too tough with the right gear and people with a postive mindset.

But it's good to see you were thinking harder than you were working. Walking it up those steps like that is definitely a darn good approach.

February 24, 2009, 05:47 PM
I will be buying one thats 1000 pounds going to put in in the basement This threat game me a few ideas.

February 24, 2009, 05:51 PM
Bottom line, spend a few hundred dollars to hire a professional so that someone doesn't get seriously hurt. I've witnessed a close call where a safe almost crushed some guys off the back of a truck.

I've moved my large safe at least 4 times. The first two times it required the help of 4 or 5 very strong friends and a strong moving dolly rated for as much as the safe weighs.

The first time we had to go up only a few stairs and it was very difficult and took at least an hour to move it only 100 feet total.

The second time we had to move it across town in a moving van, and go down a few stairs and then up a few stairs in the new house. I learned from moving it the first time and we used the dolly and some metal dowels to roll the safe. We also drug it across hard wood on a large piece of carpet. I've also read that some people use A LOT of golf balls. That seems like a good idea.

However, I've had Army contracted movers to move it the third and fourth times and I've watched them. One set of movers had a home made dolly that I thought was a good idea. It was a 4 short 2x4s nailed/screwed together in a square about 2'x2'x2'x2'. On the bottom of the square were 4 strong wheels (like large heavy duty casters). The movers simply laid the safe down and rolled it on it's side/back.

My last move required the safe to go down a flight of stairs so I had a subcontracted safe mover with a hydraulic safe-moving dolly/lift and straps move it, and even that took 3 people.

If you think of the damage or pain a 1,000 lb safe could do if it fell on someones' foot, leg, arm, hand, or even the destruciton to your floor, the $300 to move it is minor, especially when you are gonna spend $100 in food/drinks for your buddies anyway.

February 24, 2009, 07:27 PM
What I think we need to bear in mind here is that a LOT of the folks reading this string will be like many of us years ago - trying to do a lot of things with limited finances. So I think it's only right that we pass on some of the tricks we used over the years to save OUR money, even though we might look at it now and say "no way!" It's kinda like how I used to do my own brake jobs, and look at those who hired the work done as wasteful. I can now appreciate the fact that I drop off the vehicle, go about my business and return to pick it up ready to go.

February 24, 2009, 07:34 PM
Rent a Stair-Climber hand truck.
I rented one for ~60 for a day and moved my 800lb safe down 8 steps to my basement by myself.

February 24, 2009, 07:40 PM
My basement stairs go down 7 steps to a landing, then reverse 180* down 7 more steps, and I wouldn't bet any amount of money on the strength of those stairs to hold a large safe and several people. I'll be a-buyin' one of those safes that come unassembled, in pieces, and you put 'em together in place after you tote each piece down separately. Most likely a Dakota, the Zanotti's are twice the price and there's a waiting list.

Byron Quick
February 24, 2009, 07:48 PM
I've moved several safes and several pianos. I'm all for letting professionals with the proper knowledge, training, and equipment do it...even if I have to scrape up the funds to do it.

February 24, 2009, 07:51 PM
Well, Isher, I rather agree with TMrb---stashing stuff all over the house is risky, but for me it wasn't robbers. I have a tendency to forget where I put the stuff! A few times when I was in a big hurry and didn't want to take time to open the safe I put one clip here,one there, the gun somewhere else, etc. One place I like to leave a magazine was in a coat pocket in my closet. And then my wife would move the coat---presto---where did the mag go? Result is I usually now take time to properly put stuff in the safe!

AS for moving the big safe, was it bigger and heavier than my refrigerator? Several times I saw a household mover handle a big refrig all by himself. He said it was all in knowing how. I wouldn't try it!

February 24, 2009, 08:06 PM
Get a mover that has safe moving experience. It is well worth the bucks. Will the floor support the weight of the safe?

Jim K
February 24, 2009, 08:31 PM
If you don't need some super safe with 12" armor plate or fire protection, try a Zanotti modular safe. You can build it where you want it.

They are about as good as most safes but the construction rules out the bulky asbestos that provides some fire protection.


Guns and more
February 24, 2009, 09:26 PM
My advice is: Buy from someone who delivers. Once you see them in action, you'll see they earn their money. Steel plates to the porch, ramp to the door (on pallet dolly). Then lay Teflon coated wood strips like railroad tracks on my floors. Slid right in. Then take off the door to the room it's going in, take off the handle of the safe, clear by 1/4" but didn't scratch anything. Position and level the safe so the door swings freely, and connect the dri rod. God bless them.

February 24, 2009, 09:35 PM
Three guys and a heavy duty appliance cart worked well on moving a 600 lb. safe. I think anything bigger might be better done professionally.

February 24, 2009, 10:48 PM
Go to your local gunshop that sells gunsafes. Hire the guys that deliver for him. Simple as that.

February 25, 2009, 09:12 AM
Don't forget that the doors come off. My door probably weighs 200#.

February 25, 2009, 11:26 AM
As already mentioned: golf balls.

I visited with a local manufacturer (anything within 150 miles of here is local) at a gun show last winter. They had some BIG safes on display and they were well built and HEAVY. I asked him how they installed them and he replied "Golf balls, you wouldn't believe how easy they are to roll around on golf balls." I didn't question him about basements and stairs.

February 25, 2009, 11:33 AM
I didn't question him about basements and stairs.
They work like a sensor on basement stairs. When you hear them start bouncing down the steps, the next sound wont be good. But the safe will be in the basement. :)

February 25, 2009, 11:43 AM
They work like a sensor on basement stairs. When you hear them start bouncing down the steps, the next sound wont be good. But the safe will be in the basement.


LOVE it!

Flame Red
February 25, 2009, 11:45 AM
I have to agree about using professionals if you can.

That being said, for people (like me that are too stubborn), I don't think the dowels will work well if you have to rotate the safe to get it around corners. Golf balls is something I never tried, but I think if you indeed has a LOT of them it should work.

I also layed down some thin plywood over the floor so that it would not scratch tile, damage wood floors or get caught in carpeting. Just three pieces was enough.

What I did was build a pallet using wheels that I could find at Home Repo or Lowes. It was because the furniture dollies they sold would not take the weight. I think I used something like 10 wheels that were each rated for 250 pounds each. They all could swivel so it was easy to move around corners.

I got a few of those round furniture sliders and was able to tilt it up using a couple of 2x4's and a hydralic jack to put the sliders underneath the safe and the shipping pallet. I was then able to match the wheeled pallet height with the pallet the safe came on using some 2x4's again and slide the safe from the shipping pallet to the wheeled pallet. The tricky part was immobilizing the wheeled pallet so that it did not move while I was sliding the safe on to it. I found that jamming the wheeled pallet against a cinder block wall worked well.

I built some wood ramps to get the thing up over some small door lips. It only took two of us to get it in using this method - but the RSC was under 1000 lbs.

February 25, 2009, 11:58 AM
Had to do this more than once. Doors off hinges. Get a hand truck. Strap the safe to the hand truck. Lay down some pieces of plywood. Deliver safe to location in house following pylwood trail. Plywood distributes weight, and makes a nice smooth surface to roll the hand truck on.

February 25, 2009, 06:27 PM
The smaller safes (under 800 lbs) are pretty easy if you don't have a lot of stairs. I've just used two or three people and refrigerator dolleys. We use low boy trailers and lay the safe down on its back. Once it gets to the 1000 lb plus/6ft safes I'm all for getting a professional involved.

February 25, 2009, 07:58 PM
get you a fork lift:neener:

February 25, 2009, 09:26 PM
one inch or larger wooden dowels. buy at least a dozen of them. place at least four of them under the safe (more is better) and push. every six inches or so add another dowel. pick up the ones from behind and place them in front. repeat until the safe is in the house or basement. if you have to go up or down stairs, i really do not know what to tell you, other than check the rating of the stairs first. if the safe weighs more than the stairs can hold, you will have a big mess on your hands fast! if you have to go across the lawn, buy at least two sheets of 3/4" plywood. then, start rolling! oh yeah, at least three buddies to help, especially if there are any up or down hills.

February 25, 2009, 09:38 PM
Can you take the rails off the staircase?

That's how we got ours in. Two flights and around a small corner.

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