moving gunsafe- location and stairs?


July 21, 2009, 12:27 PM
OK, I know it isn't a "real safe" but its a pretty good residential security cabinet and its what I have. It is a 30 gun fire-resistant Browning Medallion and weighs about 700 pounds empty. It is currently bolted to the floor of a mainfloor room. I would like to relocate it to my basement reloading room and set it on a raised concrete base. I live in the midwest and sometimes humidity and moisture is a problem. I keep a de-humidifier going in the 12x14 reloading room year-round set at 60%. How reasonable is that basement location and how bad is taking it down the stairs going to be? There are no movers or safe contractors in our rural area and I don't really want a truckload of hired grunts to see my setup. (even though the house is also protected by 2 dogs, an alarm system, and an armed menapausal spouse.) Stairs are a straight shot and the doors are wide enough. I know how to move it on level floor but the stairs scare me. any suggestions?

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July 21, 2009, 12:58 PM
Get a bunch of your family/friends to help and a dolly

July 21, 2009, 01:04 PM
Use a refrigerator handtruck or similar that is made to go up and down stairs. You can usually rent them from the folks that rent everything, (Nations Rent or similar). You'll need several folks to keep control at the top. Once strapped on, using ropes or whatever for everyone to hold, you'll tip it and SLOWLY start to let it slide step by step. It will be a LOT easier if you take the door off first - that's usually 1/3 of the weight

Guns and more
July 21, 2009, 02:37 PM
First, will the stairs support the weight? My safe installers won't do stairs.

Then, I'd lay some 2x8's along the stairs, that will distribute the load.
I'd put some carpet under the safe and rope it down. (Sliding down the 2x8's.)
Remember if the safe is 700# (and you can't take the door off) you friends will only have to support 350# (the stairs are taking the other 350#)
if the stairs are 45 deg. Most stairs are not that steep. Is there an outside door at the top of the stairs?
If so, tie the rope to a car frame and back it in. Or loop around a tree for additional friction. Just don't let anyone get under it in case it gets away.
Be creative, use physics to your advantage. I'll bet it goes right in.

July 21, 2009, 03:22 PM
The stairs should support it and I can add some support if I need to just in case. the door at the top of the stairs is not an outside door. I can get a handtruck but I wouldn't want anybody below it. There is actually an entry area with 9 feet from the top of the stairs to another door into the attached garage. I might be able to position the tractor in the garage and winch it down with an anchor point on the raised loader. gee, I hope there is an easier way that isn't too dangerous.
Would it be stupid to drill and put 1 or 2 big ringbolts in the top of the safe? its not going to add anything aesthetically, but the damn thing didn't come with handles.

July 21, 2009, 06:02 PM
Defineately do not hire a bunch of guys from the temp service to move it. Part of having a safe is not letting everyone know u got stuff that needs to be in a safe. When we move safes we never ever ask or come into contact with the combo or whats going into it. thats not our business. second, its almost alway just two of us. Passed federal background checks for a CDL hazmat. i know thats not much of a screen, but its something.

The way i would move it is with 3 4x4 spaced evenly longwise down the stairs. like a 3 railed roller coaster. If you can build a brace against the doorframe to rig a block and tackle i would do that. and lower it down on the 4x4s as a ramp. We built a steel a-frame with a winch on it for this. it just presses up against the frame. If you couldnt build that, I imagine some ropes secured to it say 3 on each side and have six FAMILY members to lower it down the ramp. remember the safes gonna want to slide on the wood, but the friction will be high so it wont go easily. which is a good thing. remember wooden dowel pins are your freind

July 21, 2009, 06:31 PM
Never had to move a gun safe down stairs, but I've moved several gov't document safes up and down using the stair climbing hand trucks. They worked well with only two people.

Guns and more
July 21, 2009, 11:21 PM
I wouldn't drill the safe. If it is laying on it's back or side, and the ropes are looped around the bottom, it isn't going anywhere. And no, I wouldn't get below it. Take it slow and plan every move. Lots of padding, and slide it down. I suggested a car just to take the load. Anything to loop the rope around will create friction and slow the descent without people bearing the full force. Plan on how you tip it back to start down, I think that will be the hardest.
I'd love to hear how it turns out.

July 22, 2009, 09:50 AM
basement IIIIIIII[ ]II\ / garage

from the bottom = stairs up to 4' landing and then 2 steps up and a door -9' tiled entry area-door to garage.
I should have enough room to position it and tip it back. I can pull the pins and drop the ROP frame on my utility tractor and drive it into the garage and rig a block and tackle or winch from the loader bucket almost straight to the bottom of the stairs. I'd rather use the tractor than a highway vehicle as an "anchor". it is still going to be a little scary.
Thanks for the help folks.

July 22, 2009, 12:05 PM
A simple looking process can be much more difficult if you've never done it before. It can, and often will, be very dangerous as well. If you have a landing that you have to turn on halfway down the stairs, that's going to compound it even more.

It can be done. You will probably damage the finish on the safe. If the paint is important to you I would wrap it well before you start. Make sure your wrapping doesn't slide on safe or prevent you from getting a grip on it. You will probably damage the stairs or the walls around them. Protect them if you don't want holes in them.

Most important is your help. The stairs will probably not support a large safe and a group of guys standing around it. They will also probably not support the safe if it's bouncing from step to step. If either of these will be a possibility, brace the stairs.

If you're doing any sort of rigging, especially if you do not do this on a regular basis, do not let anybody stand beneath the safe as you lower it. A 700 pound safe can kill or seriously injure somebody in a second. Think everything through a few times before you do it, and keep safety in mind.

July 22, 2009, 12:50 PM
Thanks A1. The "landing" does not make any turns, it is a straight shot. actually kind of like a walk thru coat room 2 steps down from the main floor level. The stairs are well braced and more could be added.

July 22, 2009, 05:49 PM
Oh man, I've done this a few times with my refridgerator size and 900 lb safe. It's very hard and requires a lot of friends, tools, and muscle. Honestly, if you can spare like $300 and hire a professional safe moving company, that's what I would do.

Someone can get literally crippled or killed if you lose control of the safe. Think about it! Also make sure your insurance policy is up to date!

Here are some tips for moving it. Put a protective layer of plywood on the floors. Roll the safe across the floor on a lot of golf balls to distribute the weight. Or you can use several short steel rods. Or put it on a piece of carpet and pull the carpet. Stairs are very tricky. They require an expensive heavy duty furniture/safe dolly that has straps. If you want to just muscle it, rope the safe off to a block and tackle to prevent it from falling down the stairs and move it one stair at a time.

Good luck.

July 22, 2009, 06:09 PM
Those are nice but expensive. I would just rent a regular appliance dolly from UHaul or somebody else and get some friends to help. 700lbs is not that much on an appliance dolly with competent friends.

Guns and more
July 22, 2009, 09:28 PM
You can rest assured it won't be stolen.

You'll feel great when it's over.

Don't plan on moving soon.

Remember, you're not "lifting" 700#, you're "controlling" 700#, much easier.

July 26, 2009, 08:47 PM
One set of stairs I moved a safe on had very good edge supports, but the treads were too weak. We ripped some heavy plywood to cover the whole width of the stairs from edge to edge and laid the safe back on the plywood, distributing the load to the edge runners and off the steps. Try flat tow straps instead of ropes around the safe.

July 26, 2009, 10:06 PM
For a 700 pound safe, I'd hire professionals. It'd take more than a refrigerator dolly for that much weight.

rocky branch
July 30, 2009, 06:55 AM
Whenever somebody announces Hey Y'all, watch this!"

Pay particular attention. They may be the last words he ever speaks.

This sounds scarier evey post.

I'm for calling the pros.

July 30, 2009, 10:14 AM
Hey Y'all!
3 of us moved it last Sunday- no problems.
flat straps were a good idea, they worked great. I (heavily) duct-taped the straps so they couldn't walk out past a corner. used some cardboard and carpet scraps for padding on the safe. 2- 2x6s and a 2x4 down the middle for flat ramp surface on steps. lowered it with chain hoist rigged to the raised loader on a Kubota grand L3010 utility tractor in the attached garage- nobody below the heavy object. (It wasn't necessary but I chained the back of the tractor to a 3/4ton pickup anchor, just in case). we had to rig another pad to protect the top step edge/tile floor as the safe was lowered and the angle brought the load chain to floor level. my wife was scared to death and decided to go grocery shopping rather than stay and watch. the hardest part was getting the safe tipped back and lined up and started down the "ramp" just right.

W L Johnson
August 11, 2009, 10:58 AM
Try moving a 700lb grand piano in those conditions. :banghead:

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