AMSEC BF vs. Sturdy safe question


PDA






TJ42
November 26, 2009, 08:45 PM
I just read the great thread in this forum in which, among others, sturdy safes with 7 gauge steel and additional fire lining were compared to AMSEC BF 6030 and similar models. The AMSEC seems to have 11 gauge outer skin, almost 2 inches of "drylight" fire insulation, and then a 16 gauge inner skin (some thought the inner skin may a little thicker, such as 14 gauge). Opinions seemed to be that the two safes (Sturdy, AMSEC BF) provide equivalent burglary protection. I am down to comparing these two safes and have a question.

When it comes to cheaper safes with say 12 gauge steel, people seem quick to dismiss them as very easy to get into with a sledge hammer, or a pry bar or even a big screwdriver and hammer. A Sturdy safe with 7 gauge steel backed by fire lining is said to be much superior given the thicker steel, which makes sense to me. So how come the AMSEC with an outer layer of 11 gauge and drylight insulation is thought to provide equivalent protection to the sturdy with 7 gauge steel and fire lining? Won't the 11 gauge steel on the AMSEC, even backed by the drylight insulation, be about as easy to get into as a safe with 12 gauge steel and some drywall or other insulation backing? Will a sledge hammer or pry bar really be deterred by that drylight behind the relatively thin steel? More to the point in comparing Sturdy and AMSEC BF, I guess I am having a hard time understanding how the thin layers of sheet metal and drylight on AMSEC together provide equivalent burglary protection to the Sturdy 7 gauge steel with firelining. It seems like the Sturdy safes should provide a lot more burglary protection, given the 7 gauge vs. 11 gauge skins, both backed by fire lining.

Thanks a lot for considering this question.

If you enjoyed reading about "AMSEC BF vs. Sturdy safe question" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
a1abdj
November 26, 2009, 10:26 PM
The AMSEC is 10 gauge and 14 gauge. I have verified this myself with AMSEC at a level above the customer service reps that answer the phones.

The reason the lighter steel of the AMSEC would offer similar brute force resistance to the thicker steel of the Sturdy is because of the rigidity formed by the cement material formed between the two sheets of steel.

Take cardboard for example. On it's own, the brown paper used to make cardboard is easy to rip, tear, fold, etc. Once formed into a rigid structure, it is no longer as easy to do those things.

Every try bending a full sand bag in half? Same principle.

TJ42
November 26, 2009, 11:20 PM
Mr a1abdj, Thanks, that does make some sense to me (and I appreciated your posts in the other thread I read). I suppose I am focused a lot on the skin comparison...no I could not bend a full sand bag, but wouldn't getting a pry bar into the sand to start to rip it open be a lot easier with a thinner bag material? I think I remember reading comments/ideas elsewhere about safes like "don't be fooled by safe companies that state they have 3 inch thick walls, etc...they really have very thin sheets that sandwich some kind of insulation, and the thin sheets and insulation are all easy to get through in comparison to thicker steel." This drylight and two thinner sheets construction made me think of those other types of less expensive safes. Just plain thicker steel seemed like it could offer less opportunity to pry, cut, etc. But these are just the impressions of a newbie! This kind of subjective comparison between the two types of construction seems hard to do absent a test of some kind, at least for someone like myself who does not have any experience in safe construction, tests, sales (or safe cracking!). I kind of want to like AMSECs more than Sturdy because they seem to be more readily available via local dealers compared to Sturdy which is not, but this nagging question about steel thickness has emerged.

a1abdj
November 27, 2009, 12:14 AM
I suppose I am focused a lot on the skin comparison...no I could not bend a full sand bag, but wouldn't getting a pry bar into the sand to start to rip it open be a lot easier with a thinner bag material?

Yes. But would doubling up on the bags make much of a difference? For the most part, gun safes are the bags of the safe industry. They are the lightest, and thinest boxes made. There isn't much of a difference when dealing in any metal measured in gauge. Until you get to 1/4" and thicker, you're not going to prevent a simple brute force attack.

I think I remember reading comments/ideas elsewhere about safes like "don't be fooled by safe companies that state they have 3 inch thick walls, etc...they really have very thin sheets that sandwich some kind of insulation, and the thin sheets and insulation are all easy to get through in comparison to thicker steel."

Most gun safes are a single outer wall with gypsum board resting against the inside. In the end, it depends on what the material is that is sandwiched between the thin steel sheets. Of course thicker steel is better, but it is also heavier and increases the cost of production. There are gun safe manufacturers that build gun safes using solid 1" plate, but their price reflects their construction.

The AMSEC vs. Sturdy debate is easier to understand once you put some real numbers in front of it:

The Sturdy's 7 gauge steel is .1793". The insulation they use is not rigid, and offers no additional security barrier.

The AMSEC's 10 gauge outer shell is .1345" (less than 1/20" difference). The 14 gauge inner liner adds .0747" for a cumulative thickness of .2092". The fill material, although not a high PSI fill, is rigid, and offers additional strength when sandwiched between the steel.

This kind of subjective comparison between the two types of construction seems hard to do absent a test of some kind, at least for someone like myself who does not have any experience in safe construction, tests, sales (or safe cracking!).

There is no burglary testing for gun safes because they aren't anywhere near secure enough to have a rating. To keep it in perspective, the lowest UL burglary rating is a 15 minute rating against all common hand tools, power tools, and pressure applying devices. Using the same steel that most gun safe manufacturers use, a safe with a 15 minute rating would have a 1" solid plate body, and a 1.5" solid plate door. Most of these gun safes use 10 times less steel. Dividing that 15 minutes up, that leaves you with 1.5 minutes of brute force resistance. Why rate a safe for 2 minutes when it takes the police 6 minutes to arrive?

The design of the AMSEC is nothing new, although it is rare in the gun safe industry. Safes have been built in a similar fashion to the AMSEC for over 150 years.

Sturdy Gun Safe, Mfg.
December 3, 2009, 12:19 PM
The Sturdy's 7 gauge steel is .1793". The insulation they use is not rigid, and offers no additional security barrier.


Hello again a1abdj buddy! Alyssa here. This is the third thread someone needed to remind you about our 14 gauge inside steel liner. :) Thats ok thou! How have you been?

The reason the lighter steel of the AMSEC would offer similar brute force resistance to the thicker steel of the Sturdy is because of the rigidity formed by the cement material formed between the two sheets of steel.
I'm sorry, but if you call AmSec direct at 1-800-421-6142 a woman named Donna (or something real close) will tell you the insulation does not add anything to the security of the safe. It's far from being solid. Compressed sand can be firm and packed hard, however, drylight will compress.
While I was on the phone with her I asked about the warranty when it came to the linkage parts (in general, its the most problematic thing that could go wrong with safes) and they only warranty them for a year.


So how come the AMSEC with an outer layer of 11 gauge and drylight insulation is thought to provide equivalent protection to the sturdy with 7 gauge steel and fire lining?
11g will not provide equivalent protection to 7 gauge. That's over 50% more steel in the body of a Sturdy Safe alone. You cant compare our safes with other safes with thin steel like this. It's not apples to apples. Thank you guys!

a1abdj
December 3, 2009, 01:41 PM
Hello again a1abdj buddy! Alyssa here. This is the third thread someone needed to remind you about our 14 gauge inside steel liner. Thats ok thou! How have you been?


I've been great. Yourself?

Correct me if I'm wrong, but not all of your safes have the 14 gauge inner liner. This is only on the safes using the ceramic wool insulation? It gets confusing when you try to compare a safe that is built to one spec everytime to another safes that construction changes depending on options.

Using Allyssa's example, the AMSEC still has a total of .2092" of steel, and the Sturdy would have a total of .2540" (.0448" more than the AMSEC). Although in both examples, you are getting approximately twice the steel you would in a 12 gauge gun safe, it's still on the light side as far as safe construction is concerned.

I'm sorry, but if you call AmSec direct at 1-800-421-6142 a woman named Donna (or something real close) will tell you the insulation does not add anything to the security of the safe. It's far from being solid. Compressed sand can be firm and packed hard, however, drylight will compress.


You can call Ford directly at their 800 number, but I doubt the person who answers the phone will be able to answer technical questions as it relates to their products. AMSEC is no different.

Donna is a customer service rep at AMSEC. She is not an engineer, she is not a fabricator, and although I do not know her personally, I don't believe she's ever been a locksmith, safe tech, or professional thief.

If you want to know how a car runs, talk to a mechanic. If you want to know how a safe works, talk to a safe tech. I'll go further to state that if you want to know this information, do not talk to somebody on the payroll of the manufacturer.

As far as compressing the insulation, you are correct. Your ceramic insulation can be compressed. AMSEC's insulation can be compressed. 2" thick solid steel can be compressed. It's a matter of how much pressure is applied to do the compression. If you have an engineering study showing the difference I would like to see it. Although I am not an engineer, and have not read a study as it relates to this particular comparison, I can speak from a lay person's observation.

You can compress ceramic wool by pressing it with your thumb. You can not compress AMSEC's insulation by pressing with your thumb. I will assert that the difference between the PSI required to compress each material is the difference in burglary resistance provided by each material.

While I was on the phone with her I asked about the warranty when it came to the linkage parts (in general, its the most problematic thing that could go wrong with safes) and they only warranty them for a year.


I don't believe the answer to your question was correct, but I can speak from experience. My company provides warranty service throughout the St. Louis metropolitan area for many gun safe manufacturers, including AMSEC. Off the top of my head, I can recall four or five calls in the last few years that were linkage related, that were not a result of an attempted burglary.

All of these safes had one thing in common. The linkage issue was a direct result of gypsum board dislodging and blocking the boltwork of the safe. Sturdy will not have this problem, nor will AMSEC since neither use gypsum board. In fact, most safes will never have a linkage problem unless physically attacked or constantly abused.

11g will not provide equivalent protection to 7 gauge. That's over 50% more steel in the body of a Sturdy Safe alone. You cant compare our safes with other safes with thin steel like this. It's not apples to apples. Thank you guys!


You are 100% correct (although the AMSEC is 10 gauge). You can not equal the two safes in a steel to steel comparison. However, when it comes to safes using multiple barrier materials, you have to go beyond comparing the steel.

You have to compare the cumulative strength of all of the materials combined. There are safes out there that use a 10 gauge outer steel with a few inches of 25,000 PSI fill material embedded with carbides, ceramics, fiberglass mesh, and a whole assortment of other nasty goodies. You could compare them to a gun safe too, but even though the steel may be the same thickness, you're not anywhere near your apple to apple comparison.

I want to add a for the record here:

I'm not here to say the AMSEC is a good safe because I sell them. I do sell them, but not very many. There are a lot of people that sell them for less than I do, so people tend to buy them from those sources (this is a different gripe all together, so I won't go into it here). I charge more for mine because of the service and knowlege you get with the purchase.

I'm here to say the AMSEC is a good safe because it's a good safe. Sturdy is a good safe too, although I think the AMSEC still has the advantage from both a fire and burglary perspective. I don't think it's a good safe because I sell them. I don't think it's a good safe because I build them. I don't think it's a good safe because I'm an employee of the manufacturer.

I've worked with safes since 1990. When it comes to safes, I know a thing or three.

Sturdy Gun Safe, Mfg.
December 4, 2009, 07:28 PM
I see how you feel, we just feel differently, and it's ok to agree, to disagree. Your still a good man in my book. Now, in response to what was said:

Correct me if I'm wrong, but not all of your safes have the 14 gauge inner liner. This is only on the safes using the ceramic wool insulation? It gets confusing when you try to compare a safe that is built to one spec every time to another safes that construction changes depending on options.

I see. Only Sturdy Safes, with fire liners , will have a 14 gauge inside steel liner. Looks like you guys were talking about our safe fire lined, so I wanted to make it clear.

(.0448" more than the AMSEC). Although in both examples, you are getting approximately twice the steel you would in a 12 gauge gun safe, it's still on the light side as far as safe construction is concerned.

We feel this difference in thickness, (although seeming slim on paper) makes a big difference to a fire axe.

Donna is a customer service rep at AMSEC. She is not an engineer, she is not a fabricator, and although I do not know her personally, I don't believe she's ever been a locksmith, safe tech, or professional thief.

She was the tech service rep. who made it very clear she knew what the material was, seen it for herself (even relating it to looking like drywall with air in it) and then added that it offered no protection. We feel that one should believe a good reputable companies safe teck support.

As far as compressing the insulation, you are correct. Your ceramic insulation can be compressed. AMSEC's insulation can be compressed. 2" thick solid steel can be compressed. It's a matter of how much pressure is applied to do the compression. If you have an engineering study showing the difference I would like to see it. You can compress ceramic wool by pressing it with your thumb. You can not compress AMSEC's insulation by pressing with your thumb. I will assert that the difference between the PSI required to compress each material is the difference in burglary resistance provided by each material.


We feel neither fire lining material would be formidable so far as impact resistance. Just another reason why it‘s always been, “the more steel, the better“ in gun safes. I’d like to see an engineering study done of the Drylight material against a small hammer or screw driver, although, I already know what would happen. We feel that, just because you cant push dry light in with your finger, does not mean, it will help a 10 gauge body safe against a fire axe.

I don't believe the answer to your question was correct, but I can speak from experience. My company provides warranty service throughout the St. Louis metropolitan area for many gun safe manufacturers, including AMSEC. Off the top of my head, I can recall four or five calls in the last few years that were linkage related, that were not a result of an attempted burglary.

That’s more linkage problems than we ever had in our whole history , but that’s besides the point. I was referring to all gun safes on the market who incorporate clutches and sheer pins in the design as being problematic in general. We feel that, safes with clutches and sheer pins in the lock design, have more problems than a safe without them. You can read about it here at sturdy safe.com/minuteman.htm under the girl pictured trying to open a safe. Amsec really does warranty the linkage for only a year thou.

I'm not here to say the AMSEC is a good safe because I sell them. I do sell them, but not very many. There are a lot of people that sell them for less than I do, so people tend to buy them from those sources (this is a different gripe all together, so I won't go into it here). I charge more for mine because of the service and knowledge you get with the purchase.

Next time someone is set on buying an Amsec gun safe, I’d hope it would be from you. Locals to you (who want to buy an Amsec), would benefit even more from buying from a company like yours, however, we sell our safes to people all over the world. These people, see these treads, so I hope you understand why I’m posting. We feel your contribution to helping SO MANY people in these forums deserves something. There is not enough time for me to do so, or I would more often. If you like, I’ll go ahead and link your website to our websites "related links" to help you rank a little higher in search engines. I don’t know if your familiar with that, but a one way related link is real beneficial when it comes to web searches.


I don't think it's a good safe because I sell them. I don't think it's a good safe because I build them. I don't think it's a good safe because I'm an employee of the manufacturer. I've worked with safes since 1990. When it comes to safes, I know a thing or three.

We have been making safes for about 30 years, and we are a repair station for all brand gun safes (including locksmith knowledge of course). :)

al123
December 5, 2009, 02:22 PM
FYI older discussion from another forum:

http://www.thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=319818&highlight=sturdy+safe

I was one of the many confused gunsafe buyers out there and FWIW here's my two cents. :confused:

I don't know about Donna's technical support credentials but she certainly contradicted AMSEC's own claims about the BF series i.e. "American Security Product’s DryLight (trademark pending) is an advanced poured concrete insulation material that eliminates the use of gypsum board and provides a dry and seamless barrier to protect valuables against intense fires and burglary attacks, etc."

Unless I question Donna directly, I have no real idea what she meant and why she would contradict her own company's claims. The AMSEC people I talked with believed the party line on Drylight's "seamless fire AND burglary protection".

Nevertheless, everyone should be skeptical of any claim that doesn't have clearly documented tests from a third party. This left me only to trust AMSEC's reputation, input from knowledgeable people, and my basic understanding of physics and materials engineering (Young's and bulk modulus etc.).

When I visited a couple of dealers, they had cut-away samples of the Drylight sandwich for the BF series RSCs. One would never mistake it for Chobham armor, but it was considerably more substantial than "drywall with air in it". Drywall you can scratch out with your fingernails; I certainly couldn't do that with this stuff. It was more like dense/hardened pumice or tile grout completely adhered to the steel walls. Energy or impulse strikes will transfer through from front to back. How efficient that transfer is the unknown variable with the AMSEC body.

Can we say how much more protection does Drylight add to the RSC body than without? How about anywhere from one to 50 strikes with a pick-axe? Or better than "no protection", but less than impregnable? I think AMSEC's engineers may know but that information is not out there. Sturdy's mantra is more steel up front is better. You know what you're getting. You're guessing with the AMSEC BF. Nevertheless, the added burglary protection from composite body construction isn't without merit.

Anyways does comparing burglar resistance between RSC brands really matter that much? 7 Gauge sheet steel isn't 1/4 inch plate. Neither is RSC Drylight composite. And that's just comparing them with B-rated safes only. When RSC manufacturers crow about their burglary resistance, it's like bragging that your Suburban gets better gas mileage than your neighbor's Excursion. I had to be on guard from the constant exaggerations from salespeople on how incredible their products were. I found AMSEC, Fort Knox, Liberty, and Browning representatives to be equally bad.

Purchasing a vehicle was easier. Picking a firearm (the reason for the safe) was much easier.

Reputation was important. At places I've worked for, AMSEC safes were common. I ended up with the AMSEC, but I think Sturdy would be just as good a choice for me. Visalia nearby Sturdy also would have been acceptable. If I had a real collection it would have been a Graffunder or AMSEC TL-15. Even the supposely flimsy 12 Gauge body containers in a protected location would have been acceptable. Regardless, the best advice I received was to buy from a reputable dealer that has experience with safes and not just locks.

a1abdj
December 5, 2009, 04:24 PM
al123 has a lot of good points.

I have said it many times. Sturdy builds a great product, and I would certainly suggest one of their safes over many of the other commonly thought of brand names.

The Sturdy vs. AMSEC debate that we have here is important for one major reason. Both of these safes are priced in the same ball park as many of the other brand name units that offer much less protection. If you are spending in this price range, you should certainly be looking at both of these safes.

You can find heavier built gun safes. AMSEC offers UL listed TL-15 and TL-30 gun safes. Graffunder and Brown build B, C, E, and F rated gun safes. I even sell a TL-30X6 gun safe. The reason I'm not comparing these safes to any of the other gun safes is that they are priced in an entirely different budget. If we were talking about gun safes in the $4,000+ range, I would be talking about them.

Most gun safe buyers are spending $1,000 to $2,500, and both the AMSEC and Sturdy fit within that range. They offer so much more than the other safes in that price range, that the choice should be simple.

Keizer
December 6, 2009, 01:05 PM
The Sturdy vs. AMSEC debate that we have here is important for one major reason. Both of these safes are priced in the same ball park as many of the other brand name units that offer much less protection.

I think anyone with a budget of $1,500.00-$2,000.00 will end up with the AMSEC BF series, and Sturdy at the top of their list after doing their research.

I was torn between these two brands of gun safes (RSC's), and let me tell you it was a hard decision. Being a former journey level machinist, I naturally gravitated to Sturdys 7 gauge steel walls. I have worked with all gauges of steel, so gauge thickness to me is more than just numbers on paper. I have a feel for the strength and workability of different gauges of steel.

After learning more about safe construction from a1abdj, I started leaning more towards the AMSEC BF series. I liked the fact that it was built around a design that has been used in safe manufacturing for years and years. The decision was still hard to make though.

I will be honest, and am not trying to knock the Sturdy safe by saying this. After comparing the construction (which I feel is most important when making a gun safe purchase) between the AMSEC and Sturdy safes, I chose AMSEC for one small reason. Aesthetics! I felt that both safes were equal in build quality, and fire protection. However, since the price was pretty much the same between the two, I was picking the one that I felt looked the best.

Don't get me wrong, as I mentioned, construction was my main concern, and beauty was 2nd. If I could offer some advice to Sturdy, it would be to somehow make your product more visually appealing. Again, I'm not trying to knock your RSC's, I think they are top notch from a construction stand point. However, I do think that there are things you could do to make them more attractive. It was the deciding factor for me.

78tsubaki
December 6, 2009, 01:43 PM
Sturdy was my choice based upon the simple beauty and design of the linkage and door, the ultimate strength of the materials and construction methods used, and the simple but robust interior layout. I really like the standard paint job especially with the decals that are provided.
I am glad that I took the leap of faith and purchased Sturdy directly from the manufacturer in Fresno. I have been a Sturdy owner/user for a little over a year. I had a need to change my combo, which I did with the expert help of Terry (the owner) over the phone. It is nice when you can call the owner of the business directly and discuss your equipment. I try to buy American when I can and that is getting harder to do.
Personal decision here. I can tell you that I was helped every step of the way by Sturdy. I too appreciate a1abdj's expertise and assistance in his postings over the years.

piper
December 13, 2009, 03:14 PM
I did alot of research and looked at alot of gunsafes before I made my purchase almost a year ago.The price of guns was getting to the point where they were the main target for a break in so some cheap gunsafe didnt make much sense.While no safe is totally fire or burglar proof I wanted something that would at least give the best protection for a reasonable amount of money.There are alot of good safe manufacturers out there with AMSEC and Sturdy safe being two of them.It was not an easy choice because several brands would have worked well but I went with Sturdy safe.I had alot of questions and Terry spent alot of time one the phone with me and never once was pushy or acted upset that I had so many questions and was taking up so much of his time.He also is the owner of the place.Everyone there was very friendly and helpful.When I scuffed up the side when getting the safe in the house I called them and they sent me some touch up paint free of charge and now it looks just fine.That is the beauty of not having an automotive finish.It can be touched up.I am very happy with my choice.

leadcounsel
December 24, 2009, 01:35 PM
Alyssa,
I'm very happy with my fire lined Sturdy Safe. Outstanding product, outstanding customer service. I need to order another. I sent in a request for a quote. Thanks and Merry Christmas.

leadcounsel
December 24, 2009, 01:37 PM
I will be honest, and am not trying to knock the Sturdy safe by saying this. After comparing the construction (which I feel is most important when making a gun safe purchase) between the AMSEC and Sturdy safes, I chose AMSEC for one small reason. Aesthetics! I felt that both safes were equal in build quality, and fire protection. However, since the price was pretty much the same between the two, I was picking the one that I felt looked the best.


I'm pleased with the way my slate gray safe looks. I like the ruggedness and DON'T want some frilly pretty safe.

Keizer
December 25, 2009, 01:02 PM
DON'T want some frilly pretty safe

What I meant was, The Sturdy safe reminds me of a high school locker in terms of appearance. They are definitely all business, and there is nothing wrong with that. The AMSEC's have a classic safe look, and are built similar to the way real safes have been built for years.

I think AMSEC has the advantage with making their safes look better, because you know some people are using them for furniture, and not hiding them in their closet. And since the prices are about the same between the Sturdy and AMSEC......most will probably choose an AMSEC. They do sell lots of safes each year.

djameson
January 1, 2010, 01:13 PM
queston for A1: you list earlier in the thread the bf body is 10 gauge outer and 14 inner. I was at a gun safe showroom and they had a amsec bf cutout plaque and it list the body as 11 gauge outer and 16 inner. Has amsec recently changed the construction of the bf series and now use 10 & 14? thanks,

a1abdj
January 1, 2010, 01:54 PM
They were originally 10/14, and to my knowlege have never changed. A little over a month ago I met with AMSEC over an unrelated issue, and while we were talking asked about the gun safes.

I'm assuming the problem lies with the fact that they are a large company, because you will hear both answers depending on who you talk to. They assured me that it has never changed.

I have a cut out myself, and it does not list any specs. Now that you've brought it to my attention, I'm going to call and have somebody locate a newer cut out and see if it's different than the one I have.

All in all, I feel a little silly debating gauge thicknesses of gun safes, because when it's all said and done, anything measured in guage is still not thick enough. The only exceptions to this are safes using true burglary composite construction.

Zip7
January 1, 2010, 02:02 PM
I just read the great thread in this forum in which, among others, sturdy safes with 7 gauge steel and additional fire lining were compared to AMSEC BF 6030 and similar models. The AMSEC seems to have 11 gauge outer skin, almost 2 inches of "drylight" fire insulation, and then a 16 gauge inner skin (some thought the inner skin may a little thicker, such as 14 gauge). Opinions seemed to be that the two safes (Sturdy, AMSEC BF) provide equivalent burglary protection. I am down to comparing these two safes and have a question.

I came down to the same two in my research a while back and chose the Sturdy. I do think that they are very similar in overall levels of protection against theft. I looked at some other brands that were much flimsier.

My choice was heavily influenced by cost, because I needed to buy two safes. I could get by with one of the largest models, but that would not fit through the door I needed it to go through. In the end, I bought the Sturdy because of the option of buying it without the fire insulation. This made the 2 Sturdys about half the cost of what I could get 2 AMSECs for locally. I'm very pleased with the Sturdy product - it actually will hold more guns than I expected it to and I will have extra space, AND saved some $$ - which means.... more guns!

leadcounsel
January 1, 2010, 03:01 PM
Well I don't know about AMSEC customer service, but I can tell you that Sturdy has outstanding service.

For example:
The carrier that shipped my safe delivered it with a bent handle and dial. I narrowed it down to the carrier must have damaged it by running something into it. The carrier denied responsibility. Sturdy said it left their warehouse with no damage but without batting an eye they sent me a new dial and handle free of charge and I got it in a couple days. That probably cost them at least $50+.

Another example:
I came home from my first Iraq deployment and had forgotten my safe combo. :banghead: Thankfully I had never changed it. I should have written it down, but I had it committed to daily memory. But when I didn't use it for a long time, I forgot it. Sturdy had it on file and were very helpful. That may make some people uncomfortable, but I'm fine with it. I will be changing it and they provided easy instructions on how to do so.

Another example:
I was deciding on where to place my safe and they were helpful with helping me figure out whether a certain part of my home could handle the load.

They have always been very responsive when I've needed something.

Bottom line, I'm a very choosy shopper and don't have money to burn. They provide an outstanding product, outstanding service, and all at a very competitive price, by Americans, in America, for Americans! And if I have to spend a few extra bucks to employ Americans I'm okay with that. :D

Walkalong
January 6, 2010, 07:24 PM
They were originally 10/14, and to my knowlege have never changed.I called yesterday, and they told me 11 gauge outer & 16 gauge inner liner. Still a very solid barrier for a gun safe when you think about the dense material contained within, and the 1/2" plate door is tops. A better gun safe than most.

AMSEC BF series, Sturdy, and the Ft Knox Defender (not the pretty paint job) with steel upgrades are what seem to me to be three of the best choices in the size and price range I am studying. The top Champion safe (Crown) seems pretty good as well. The more I study though, the more confusing it can be. I think I am backing off to mull it over for a while before going any further. No rush. :)

chrisrgr
January 23, 2010, 11:26 AM
a1abdj,

Between 2008 and 2009 did Amsec change the weight of the BF6030? In 2008 they said it weighted 885 and on their website now it says 976. Is this a misprint or could that be the change from a 16 gauge liner to a 14 gauge liner?

a1abdj
January 23, 2010, 12:31 PM
Between 2008 and 2009 did Amsec change the weight of the BF6030? In 2008 they said it weighted 885 and on their website now it says 976. Is this a misprint or could that be the change from a 16 gauge liner to a 14 gauge liner?

I do know that the fill material that they used was changed to a heavier material. This caused the change of weight.

I still have not had the opportunity to speak with those at AMSEC, but it is possible that they reduced the steel after increasing the fill.

chrisrgr
January 23, 2010, 02:50 PM
So then does the current model have the 10 gauge body and 14 gauge liner like you posted in November?

After doing some research for a couple of months I decided to purchase the BF 6030 a couple of weeks ago and am still waiting on delivery. I would like to get a "for-sure" on the technical specification of the safe, however there seems to be some discrepancies in the information available. It seems that every year Amsec has changed the BF in some way, (2010 - introducing 3-way bolt works) and apparently calling the company directly about the technical specifications also produces varying results.

Anyway, thanks for your knowledge on these forums, its a big help to talk to someone in the industry.

pjripple
January 24, 2010, 01:50 AM
Interesting...I have been looking at the same safe, the BF6030 and maybe the BF6636. I noticed at my local retailer that some of the BF6030's had a bolt on the top of the door and some didn't. Maybe I'll look at the date of manufacture next time. Obviously something changed at some point. It would be nice to know exactly what your getting before it shows up on your curb.

chrisrgr
January 24, 2010, 10:51 AM
That's funny, when I asked my dealer about the bf6030 with the bolt at the top of the door he told me Amsec hasn't started manufacturing them yet, and that they would cost more.

So they are making them? Is the cost the same?

a1abdj
January 24, 2010, 01:12 PM
It would be nice to know exactly what your getting before it shows up on your curb.

I agree. This is why myself and a few others on the board try to be as upfront as possible about the products we're familiar with. Unfortunately, especially in the gun safe business, you won't get many straight answers.

The manufacturers either forget to mention specific details, or the person selling them (who knows absolutely nothing about safes in most cases) just makes something up.

So they are making them? Is the cost the same?

Yes they are making them, although I have not seen any myself. I have also not heard of any price modifications (yet).

All in all, I don't think a single top bolt on a BF series safe would make much of a difference against a burglary attack. It's just a change to make the 2010 safes different than the 2009 safes.

leadcounsel
January 24, 2010, 01:20 PM
IMO just get the Sturdy safe. You'll be very satisfied. I bought one and liked it so much I bought a second one several years later. Great safe, great value. Sure it won't win any beauty contests, but who cares... I don't want people looking at it anyway.

78tsubaki
January 24, 2010, 07:57 PM
+ 1 on what leadcouncel posted. I might add that my Sturdy is built like a battleship.

a1abdj
January 24, 2010, 08:23 PM
Sturdy is built like a battleship.

Battleships use 7 gauge steel? :D

78tsubaki
January 24, 2010, 08:56 PM
a1abdj
Got me. I thought about adding a disclaimer describing that my Sturdy is built like a scaled down battleship. Even then I am not sure how much water my safe would displace. It is thick steel, insulated at the hull and seam welded so I thought the comparison might work. ;)

rescueswimmer
February 19, 2010, 03:51 PM
Just got off the phone with 3 Different people from AMSEC and they all said the BF series has 11 gauge exterior shell their drylight fill then a 16 gauge inner liner and a 1/2 plate door. (the 7250 has a 3/8 plate door) and the 2010 models will Have an additional top and bottom bolt.

Hope this helps.

Maia007
February 24, 2010, 12:34 AM
"Just got off the phone with 3 Different people from AMSEC and they all said the BF series has 11 gauge exterior shell their drylight fill then a 16 gauge inner liner and a 1/2 plate door. (the 7250 has a 3/8 plate door) and the 2010 models will Have an additional top and bottom bolt."

Mr. a1abdj:

Is this info consistent with what you know about the BF series currently available?

snakyjake
February 24, 2010, 01:50 AM
I got an email from AMSEC stating: "The outer skin is 10 gauge and the inner is 16".

rescueswimmer
February 24, 2010, 08:37 AM
Sounds like they don't have a clue what they have. One person told me to check the catalog. I told them it does not say in the catalog. And then they quit emailing me back.

I also think if it was 10 outer they would have no problem telling their customers that.

a1abdj
February 24, 2010, 11:50 AM
The problem with calling/e-mailing AMSEC is that you're dealing directly with a customer service rep. As with all safe companies, most of the hired reps have customer service experience, but are not trained safe techs. They are simply reading something off of a script in a binder or on a computer.

If you haven't seen AMSEC's catalog, they manufacturer a lot of safes. When you mention the BF series, that could be referring to their gun safes, or a smaller fire and burglary line that they carry. One person may have an older script to read from than another. There are all sorts of reasons that two different customer service reps will give you two different answers.

Several months ago I met personally with one of AMSEC's regional reps. At that time he told me that the gun safes were, and had always been 10 gauge and 16 gauge. However, he also told me that they were upgrading the fill material to something better. This material was more expensive, and heavier. This is when the weights of the safes went up. There have been some new changes to the 2010 models, and they may have lightened the steel to compensate for the heavier fill. I have not verified this, but according to somebody else I know in the business, they have a cut away model that states they are now 11 gauge.

My question is so what? As it relates to the AMSEC BF series, what difference is there between the 10 and 11 gauge steel? One of the advantages of the AMSEC product is its composite construction. Although the outer steel wall is a barrier, the true beauty of the design is the dense fill and innner wall. From a burglary standpoint, gauge steel will not offer much brute force protection on its own.

Many of you may be shocked to know that your local bank is using a vault door made out of 10 gauge steel. It's going to be wrapped around a 10" thick, 30,000 PSI "concrete" block, but it's got a really thin stainless cover.

There is a lot more to security than just the thickness of the materials. In this case, we're talking less than one half of one milimeter in difference between 10 and 11 gauge. Literally, the difference between 15 strikes and 18 strikes with a sledge hammer.

rescueswimmer
February 24, 2010, 12:25 PM
Your right about the steel thickness, but I think as a consumer you would like some consistency with what their product has. If its a 11 gauge and the fill adds security then advertise it that way or say it does this. If its 10 gauge steel then put it out there.

From what I have read Amsec make one of the best gun safes on the market at their price point. I have nothing against it nor am I saying their construction is inferior or better. Just disappointed in the lack of knowledge of their CS reps, Hell even some dealers I have talked to recently tell you different things about the make up of the safe. People like to know what there getting.

pjripple
February 25, 2010, 12:28 AM
I agree rescueswimmer. I was at a local dealer a month or so ago looking at the AMSEC BF gun safes. Some of the BF6030 models had a bolt on the top of the door and some didn't. I asked and the sales person just shrugged his shoulders. I asked on this forum and nobody really new. I picked up a 2010 catalog last weekend and it appears that they made some changes for 2010 as a1abdj mentioned. I like details, so I'm always looking for specifics and sometimes they can be hard to find and it gets to be frustrating. Anyway, I'm still leaning heavily toward an AMSEC BF series "safe". Good luck.

al123
February 25, 2010, 03:05 AM
Some of the BF6030 models had a bolt on the top of the door and some didn't. I asked and the sales person just shrugged his shoulders. I asked on this forum and nobody really (k)new.

I thought it was already answered in this thread and that one of our resident experts (a1abdj) mentioned that he didn't think it added much to the overall security of the safe. The latest catalogs have the AMSEC BF 2010 models as having the extra top bolt as a new feature. The 2009 and earlier models do not have the bolt. Also, the date of manufacture is on the door. If the sales person didn't know he didn't even try to read the new model product literature. However, this has been my experience with several gun safe sales people. :banghead:

If you look at the earlier catalogs it looks like the transition to the heavier material began in 2009 for the BF6030 and BF6032 models. That's when the model weights increased. For 2009, the larger models kept the same weight specifications. In the new 2010 catalog all the BF models increased in weight compared to earlier years.

We can only guess why AMSEC changed the specifications for the BF series. They may have developed a superior fill that was still cost effective. They may have wanted to standardize the proprietary mix across several of their products lines and that the earlier gun safe "Drylight" was a separate formula. Who knows? Regardless, they've decided to have slightly less steel (11/16 ga. outer/inner) and use a heavier/denser fill. It appears break-even worse case.

On somewhat separate note, if you hire an outfit that moves safes, make sure they're reputable. I just saw a story of a home invasion. The owner struggled and lost several teeth. He was lucky they didn't kill him. They tied him and his wife and ransack their house for five hours. They even stole and used his pickup truck. They recognize them as people that worked in their home before and apparently taken an entire inventory of the contents of their home.

heeler
February 25, 2010, 09:14 AM
Not exactly sure when Amsec designates a 2009 model or 2010 model but I ordered my BF 66x36 and it was made in October 2009 and only has the 10 side bolts.
Makes very little difference to me because half inch plate steel bends not so easily.
And certainly not with a crow bar.
I would be interested to know if mine had the newer fill though.
Whatever it's weight is I do know I was glad to hire a true safe company to put it into my home.
They made it look so damn easy but I wouldn't attempt moving that big beast on a bet!

rescueswimmer
February 25, 2010, 09:44 AM
AL123,

I would tend to agree with you on their products, but no were in any brochures have I seen anything that they have improved upon their Drylight. I have never ever ever seen a company improve a product and not make sure you know its better. So this would lead me to believe that if any change has taken place the overall quality or security of the product has not. It would make sense to use the same fill for all their safes for a cost perspective.

They added one more bolt on the top to their doors. This is probably just to keep up with other safe MFG's, like stated before not needed, but uneducated people would feel that door is less secure without top and bottom bolts. I know the first time I saw it I was under that impression. (Browning's new safes now have corner bolts, really?)

Like most have said before its not that it has 11 gauge steel vs 10. Well as a consumer just let us know what it has. Obviously 10 gauge steel would be better than the 11 vs certain attacks and may by you a few extra minutes that you need. No one is going to argue 10 vs 11 vs any type of cutting tool is going to make much difference.

No were does it say by test or anything that drylight fill provides any extra protection against theft, It is not rigid like concrete it is ply able and moves.

With that being said I still probably will end up with an AMSEC BF 6636, Its just frustrating when you can't get a straight answer.

heeler
February 25, 2010, 10:15 AM
Rescueswimmer,after they get that BF 66X36 in your home and you see how large it really is in the designated room you chose for it to ever reside you will almost certainly be impressed with your choice.
I know I certainly am with mine.
Best $2299.00 I ever laid down.

al123
February 25, 2010, 02:54 PM
rescueswimmer wrote:
I would tend to agree with you on their products, but no were in any brochures have I seen anything that they have improved upon their Drylight.

My wild-a** guess, and that's all I've been doing, that it's a trade-off. If the Drylight mix was improved (I really don't know that it was), one would have to explain the loss of steel however small. Steel is a known quantity, but the AMSEC Drylight is ???

I think they went with this possible trade-off as a cost control measure. They may have had better control over the production costs of their proprietary mixture than over the price of steel which increased rapidly in 2008. Steel prices have since dropped, but they can be still volatile. Note, this in-the-stratosphere speculation. I really do not know.

I also think one of the possibilities is that the heavier fill gives absolutely no additional protection. However, via the grapevine with a1abdj's visit with a regional rep., this heavier fill was considered an upgrade. The evidence at least points to the fill being heavier and denser since the overall volume really hasn't changed. Of course this is still internet information so no guarantees.

rescueswimmer wrote:
No were does it say by test or anything that drylight fill provides any extra protection against theft, It is not rigid like concrete it is ply able and moves.

From AMSEC's advertisement blurb:
2" total wall thickness on all sides featuring our poured DryLight insulation and two layers of steel for exceptional fire and security protection.

AMSEC tries to sell the 2" BF body as an overall composite for both fire AND security protection. Also, see their youtube advertisement below. The AMSEC person here believes the Drylight provides protection for both fire and burglary. The video also seems to push the 'seamless' composite angle.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k6k9iGGWQ1w

Of course any manufacturer can make any claim. The testing part is where it gets really murky. It passed the UL RSC burglary rating. From a formal test standpoint that's all I really know. I have no concrete idea (no pun intended) how it compares with 7 ga. steel or some other body construction.

My examination of Drylight that it seemed pretty solid. It's something like tile grout. Concrete 'moves' too if you hit it hard enough. The question is how much additional protection over gypsum board or air is anyone's guess. I personally think it adds more protection than gypsum board, but that's just one person's opinion.

With that being said I still probably will end up with an AMSEC BF 6636, Its just frustrating when you can't get a straight answer.

I think it's the way AMSEC operates. Plenty of people find it frustrating so you are not alone. I heard getting information for the body construction of their TL-30 gun safe (RF6528) is even harder. You can try other companies like Sturdy or Fort Knox. Of course those two respective companies have completely different product philosophies, but their product construction is clear.

Good luck

a1abdj
February 25, 2010, 03:03 PM
I also think if it was 10 outer they would have no problem telling their customers that.

I'm sure they wouldn't have a problem telling you if they knew. You could call any number of large manufacturers on the phone, ask their customer service rep a technical question, and not get the correct answer (if you even get an answer at all).

Of course any manufacturer can make any claim. The testing part is where it gets really murky. It passed the UL RSC burglary rating. From a formal test standpoint that's all I really know. I have no concrete idea (no pun intended) how it compares with 7 ga. steel or some other body construction.


The RSC testing means very little. So little in fact, that I don't consider it a selling point at all.

I think it's the way AMSEC operates. Plenty of people find it frustrating so you are not alone. I heard getting information for the body construction of their TL-30 gun safe (RF6528) is even harder. You can try other companies like Sturdy or Fort Knox. Of course those two respective companies have completely different product philosophies, but their product construction is clear.


Many safe manufacturers are difficult to get answers from. This is one of the things that makes their products secure. If anybody could call on the phone and get all of their technical questions answered, then every theif would be on the phone with them.

kuyawil
March 1, 2010, 09:41 PM
Hi everyone, I've been a lurker for a while now and thought it was about time to make my first post...

I just wanted to add that I called several different AMSEC dealers to ask about what gauge steel is used in the BF line and let me tell you, they all said 11ga outer. I didn't even bother to ask anything else. I won't give names of persons but two of the dealers I spoke with were The Safe Outlet in So.Cal and Bay Area Lock-N-Key in the South San Francisco area. Surprisingly, one of the dealers even told me that the outers have always been 11ga.

It's already been said how difficult it is to get the straight answer from the manufacturer let alone their customer service. But, when someone like myself who is interested in the BF6030, it's a little discouraging. I know it's only a difference of 1ga, but when there's inconsistent information between dealers, who do you believe?

Additionally, I've also had shown interest in the Liberty Safes, particularly the Franklin/Lincoln series. These safes also use 11ga outer bodies but so many on the internet are quick to dismiss Liberty completely. I know the BF6030 has a 1/2" plate for the door but the new middle to high-end Liberty safes have what's called a "tough door" that's touted to be 1" thick.

Anyway, as you can see, deciding on what safe to buy has turned out to be more challenging than I thought. The only other safe on my list is Sturdy. They're not as pretty as the AmSec and Liberty safes but I like what I've seen and read on their website so far...

I'll keep you guys updated on my decision soon... Sorry for the rant....

a1abdj
March 1, 2010, 11:35 PM
Surprisingly, one of the dealers even told me that the outers have always been 11ga.

Not that it really matters, but he/she is wrong.

I know it's only a difference of 1ga, but when there's inconsistent information between dealers, who do you believe?


Again, you realize that's a difference of less than one half of one millimeter. It would be a different story if the difference was something that mattered.

The lightest commercial safes we sell have 1/4" walls. Twice as thick as "heavy" gun safes. I even call them tin cans.

These safes also use 11ga outer bodies

Single wall, unsupported, using gypsum board for an interior. There's a big difference between a single wall safe using a glued on backing, and a double walled safe using a cement type fill.

so many on the internet are quick to dismiss Liberty completely. I know the BF6030 has a 1/2" plate for the door but the new middle to high-end Liberty safes have what's called a "tough door" that's touted to be 1" thick.


This is why it is dismissed. Marketing, not construction. Their "tough door" may be 1" thick, but it's not 1" plate. It's a thin piece of steel wrapped around some gypsum board to make it look thick. They then give it a fancy name, and people buy into the myth.

Liberty is not the only company that does this.

The only other safe on my list is Sturdy. They're not as pretty as the AmSec and Liberty safes but I like what I've seen and read on their website so far...


I'd certainly have a Sturdy over a Liberty. I'd also have the AMSEC over the Sturdy.

ScareyH22A
March 2, 2010, 12:15 AM
I went to check out some AMSECs at a large retailer recently and the 2010 BF models were definitely 11/16 gauge. Also there was 1 bolt on top but none on the bottom. And he specifically pointed out that the DryLight insulation is nothing like the POP cut-away prop in that it's not hard as a rock and it will not add anything to the reinforcement of the sheet metal besides fireproofing and sound dampening.

But I pointed out that the thickness seemed lacking and he pointed out some good facts. If a burglar has enough time and the proper tools, he'll get into anything. But a 11 gauge body with insulation in the middle and a 16 gauge inner wall isn't exactly a tin can. If you want to cut a relatively large opening out of the 16 gauge wall than the outter wall has to be cut even larger. There's not many hand operated power or pneumatic tools that can cut through both layers at the same time. And a professional burglar knows this so they won't attempt to break in through the walls unless they know that you're on vacation or something. And unless they're a safe tech, they're not getting in through the doors.

They may try to fire axe it a few times but that's usually not gonna be precise enough to get through and reach anything inside, let alone get the insulation out. As long as it's secured properly, any decent safe will keep burglars out.

And most burglars are the smash and grab type so even if you had a locked tool box chained to a post, there's a good chance that it'll still be there.

snakyjake
March 2, 2010, 12:31 AM
When it comes to security, they are all thin sheet metal and all perform the same (or maybe within 30 seconds of each other). I think the next step to help narrow down the choice is warranty, fire protection, price, and being able to inspect the product before purchasing (unless there's a 100% money back guarantee including freight). It may just come down to who can give me the best price.

kuyawil
March 10, 2010, 05:11 AM
Forgive me for asking this but does anyone have any thoughts or comments on the Ft. Knox safes? I ask because because SnakyJake (post #47) brings up a good point when trying to narrow down selections. And from what I read, the warranty from Ft. Knox is one of the better, if not the best, warranties out there today. Another thing about Ft. Knox is the additional customizations such as choice of internal or external hinges, left or right swing door, adding additional liner for reinforcement, upgrading the outer shell to thicker guage steel, etc... The safe from Ft. Knox I would be interested in would be the 6031 Defender series. Thanks again in advance...

JCinPA
March 10, 2010, 07:49 AM
I'm not a safe tech, so take this with a grain of salt. But the reason I knocked Ft. Knox off my list is that the door tech needs to be commensurate with the wall tech. By that I mean you go to thicker door, 2m lock, more relockers, fancy gearing . . . as the wall becomes more difficult to penetrate through thicker steel and/or true composite (cement fill) construction.

Ft. Knox puts doors that seem to be a level or two more secure than their walls -- they put door tech on an 11 gauge safe that belongs on a 3/16 or 1/4 inch wall safe, they put door tech on a 3/16 wall safe than would be appropriate on a 1/2 in wall safe. . .look at all the pretty marketing stuff about their doors on their site. All that stuff is expensive, but I suspect very easy to get a wow factor going with a sales prospect. To me that does not make them bad safes, a more secure door is not a bad thing. . . but the value for the dollar drops, I think. If I was buying a C-rate safe then their top line door might be reasonable. On their safes I think it's wasted. They are gorgeous, I'll give them that! But the hype on corner bolts?? Give me a break! :rolleyes:

A safe tech should correct me if I'm wrong, but that's my opinion at the moment. I finally stopped debating and decided I really don't need bank security in my home and I'm leaning strongly toward an Amsec BF.

heeler
March 10, 2010, 09:28 AM
The one thing I did like about Ft.Knox safes was their ability to make upgrades for the customer.
Before I purchased my Amsec BF I was considering the Defender with the deluxe upgrade package.
This meant that instead of getting the sandard 10 gauge body I could for $300.00 more could upgrade to a 3/16th body which then they would add the 3/8 of an inch plate to the door instead of the standard 1/4.
Or I could have settled for the standard door and added an inner 10 gauge wall to the safe.
Or I could have upgraded with the thicker steel body and the inner wall of 10 gauge.
Of course all of this adds up in money.
Last year they quoted me a price of $2800.00 for a 66x37 Defender model with the upgraded 3/16th body and upgraded door.
As you know I chose the Amsec BF 66x36 and the price I got it for was $500.00 less than the upgraded Knox.
I urge anyone who is going to buy a gun safe to take their time and do lots of research.
Then do more.

rescueswimmer
March 10, 2010, 10:11 AM
Like the guys said before, Do your research. Fort Knox safes do put out a very nice product. They definitely are one of the most customizable safes out there at their price points. Here is my .02 on the matter. If your layer your security, Any of the Upper end Safes like the Browining's, Amsecs, Summit, Liberty's, Sturdy's and Fort Knox's will defeat your typical thief. If somebody know's what you have and decide to go after it your probably screwed, because they will do their research and bring the proper tools for the job and attack the side of the safe.

With that being Said thicker steel on the sides is a must to slow them down as much as possible. You know only have a few options on the market They would be the top of the line offerings from a couple of the above named safe MFG's. Graffunder.

As far as customizing your order. Im not sure about the Graffunder but at that price they probably do.

Sturdy Safes seem to be the most bang for your buck. And you can have pretty much what ever you want built into it

Fort Knox is probably the best of the "Pretty" safes that are customizable inside and out.

Then you have the warranty's of the companies to look at then the fire lining method, You have fire-board, Ceramic wool liners, and a concrete type fill.

I have narrowed my choices down to 3

The Summits, Fort knox with upgraded steel or the Sturdy. Right now leaning toward the Sturdy.

snakyjake
March 10, 2010, 01:43 PM
Here's where I'm heading with my money...

I'd spend the extra money on a good home security system with monitoring. A system will alert the neighbors, the police, and send an SMS message to a phone. If there's a fire, the fire department is notified. The system also qualifies for a home insurance discount. My system has battery backup and uses radio instead of telephone. The alarm can serve other purposes that a safe does not.

I'd then get a decent safe to prevent my teenagers and their friends from trying to get into the safe.

There's always the chance there's a burglar who doesn't care about the alarm and the cops on the way (or the owner). But I doubt they'll spend the time on the safe.

Jake

Leaky Waders
March 11, 2010, 11:31 PM
I'm looking at sturdy safe's before my next deployment - I want some fire protection. I already have a home surveillance system.

My questions are:

1) For those who own the sturdy safe, what size did you get, was it big enough? (I'm looking at the 48" ones.

2) How hard was it to move inside? If you decide to move it later, how difficult is it? We're thinking about eventually getting wood flooring...should we get the flooring first and then buy a safe and drag it over the flooring, or would we be better off getting the flooring after the safe and just moving the safe around to accomodate laying the floor?

3) Weight wise, how does it compare to other common home appliances...like a refrigerator or something? I'm wondering about flooring - our home is new construction with cement flooring and no basement. Can I just put it on the floor and forget about it? Does a filled coke machine weigh more than a safe?

4) Why do you have to bolt it down? Sturdy offers many examples to bolt it down. Can they tip or something?

5) When the sturdy says it can hold like 30 guns...is this a for real number? Or some rubics cube stacking method?

L.W.

JCinPA
March 12, 2010, 08:38 AM
I'm looking at sturdy safe's before my next deployment - I want some fire protection. I already have a home surveillance system.

There are a lot of arguments about fire protection, but seeing the contents of a Liberty Lincoln (3 layers gypsum board, 4 in ceiling) after a house fire, I think that works (with enough boards, not with 1 or 2), I think the cement fill in an Amsec works, I think the ceramic blankets in the Sturdy will work. The endless argument about ratings, which are not comparable, are fruitless, IMO. All of them should work in a home on a slab like yours, and you put the really important stuff like photos, CD records, naturalization papers, military discharge papers and such inside an inner Sentry fire file type container on the floor of the safe. Belt and suspenders. Your guns will likely be just fine inside a Sturdy fire safe. With gypsum board, I think 3 layers is the least I'd be comfortable with, which is why I went with my Liberty Lincoln years ago. But the Amsec and ceramic wool versions are probably better. I'd prefer the Amsec system first, Sturdy second and gypsum board third, but I am confident with my Liberty Lincoln fire protection with the Sentry file inside.

My questions are:

1) For those who own the sturdy safe, what size did you get, was it big enough? (I'm looking at the 48" ones.

What size we got won't help you. :) I got the Liberty LX25 (about 60X29X24 exterior) and I'm a little tight. Sometime toward the end of the year or in2011 I am going to replace it with an Amsec BF6636, which is roughly 65X36X26 (HxWxD), and that will be fine for my needs. Your best bet is to go to a friends house and check out their safe and see what it holds then decide based on what you want to put in it. Getting the next size larger than you think you need is good advice. My safe is 7 years old, but I'm upgrading to the next larger model. It happens.

2) How hard was it to move inside? If you decide to move it later, how difficult is it? We're thinking about eventually getting wood flooring...should we get the flooring first and then buy a safe and drag it over the flooring, or would we be better off getting the flooring after the safe and just moving the safe around to accomodate laying the floor?

You don't drag a safe. Search Youtube and SturdySafe's website for safe moving tips. Build the house, finish the floor, then you ge a couple sheets of masonite and roll the safe on a heavy duty hand truck moving the masonite under it to protect the floor. Make up your own mind, but when I get the Amsec, I'm hiring pros to move it. At my stage in life, I find the couple hundred dollars you might save doing it yourself is not worth it. YMMV.

3) Weight wise, how does it compare to other common home appliances...like a refrigerator or something? I'm wondering about flooring - our home is new construction with cement flooring and no basement. Can I just put it on the floor and forget about it? Does a filled coke machine weigh more than a safe?

My safe is above a basement at a corner foundation wall and I'm happy with it on the wood floor (about 1,000 lbs filled, I'd guess). My BF will be 1,250 lbs empty and I'll have it in the same place. I think it will be OK, but if I get advice before purchase from a safe tech (I'm going to buy through a1abdj for that reason, good advice!), I might shore up the floor in the basement with some extra studs and framing. Easy to do. You being on a slab with not basement should not need to worry about it, I would think.

4) Why do you have to bolt it down? Sturdy offers many examples to bolt it down. Can they tip or something?

They don't just tip, but theives who are more determined than your average crack head will try to push it over to get more leverage on the door or attack a wall with an axe or other tools. I bolted mine from underneath with carriage bolts (round heads, not way to wrench them) and a metal sheet between them on the plywood subflooring, then put the nuts on the bolts inside the safe. It's in a corner of the study, and I feel better having bolted it down.

5) When the sturdy says it can hold like 30 guns...is this a for real number? Or some rubics cube stacking method?

You can get the guns in there, you may have to put one barrel up and the next barrel down, but you'll get them in there. Getting at one in the back is a PITA. If money were no object, build a safe room where you can walk in and grab them. But assuming you are not Warren Buffet, the safes are fairly easy not "rubic's cube" arrangements. If you get a larger model and don't put the max number of guns in it, it is easier to retrieve them.

L.W.

answers inside quote

78tsubaki
March 12, 2010, 09:15 AM
Leaky Waders
As requested Sturdy Safe owner here.
I would recommend that you give Terry a call at the number listed on the webpage. He is the owner operator and designer for Sturdy Safe, a fine American owned and operated manufacturing company.

The ceramic wool is what they use in industrial ovens. Added bonus it does not wick moisture into the safe.

I got the 32x24x72. Plenty big enough for my purposes. It actually came a little larger which made it more of a challenge to move through the house. 1/4" made a difference.

My Wife and I rented a set of piano dollies. Worked well, kept it low (the
72"ers are top heavy so be careful) and we are still married. We had to stop and adjust several times. Took us about 3 hours. Weight 900 lbs.

Bolting it down is recommended but not required. Talk to Terry.

I got the hunters rack. It works as advertised. I like scoped rifles. Talk to Terry he will shoot straight with you.

I hope this helps and best of luck with your deployment. Stay safe out there.

JCinPA
March 12, 2010, 09:50 AM
My Wife and I rented a set of piano dollies. Worked well, kept it low (the
72"ers are top heavy so be careful) and we are still married. We had to stop and adjust several times. Took us about 3 hours. Weight 900 lbs.

Funny! :D

MuzzleFlashCO
May 21, 2010, 06:26 PM
I bought a 4824 Sturdy Safe w/ fire liner about 18 months ago for my garage. It weighs over 1000 lbs. I can tell you if you're looking for beauty, look elsewhere. Security-wise, given my budget of < $3K, this worked the best for me. Sturdy safes aren't TL rated nor are they fire rated (not that the ETL fire rating is all that reliable for a gun safe. 350 deg F does a number on wood stocks and the temper of gun steel - see http://www.gunsafestore.com/fire-rating.htm).

Sturdy Safe has been around long enough to be in some complete burn-downs and empirically, they seem to do well. They're strong, consumer-grade safes with a lot more steel than you'd find in most non commercial competitors. They'll most likely deter the brute force idiot attacks.

I'd venture the 7 ga walls are a bit harder for to peel than the 10/11/12 ga consumer safes that are peddled at the box stores & gun shops. I'm also sure an angle grinder with a diamond/carbide blade would make quick work of the wall on any consumer safe - including the Sturdy.

I agree with snakyjake wholeheartedly on the security system. In any endeavor you run up against the 80/20 rule. You can spend ridiculous sums on a safe that would keep the pros at bay or you can buy a quality alarm system, probably install it yourself, and layer your security.

I sleep better on vacation when I know my monitored security system will report a fire long before it can burn up the safe contents. I have a $10 General Electric 135 deg heat sensor in the garage above the safe. I have photoelectric smoke detectors on the security system powered with its battery backup. Normal smoke detectors will do nothing when nobody is home. The fire department comes about 10 minutes after the neighbors see flames coming out the attic vents :-(.

leadcounsel
May 21, 2010, 10:49 PM
Fellow Soldier here.

Very happy Sturdy Safe owner here. I don't care about 'beauty' - its very bare bones. The money was spend on security and fire proofing. It's about the size of a fridge. Holds my guns and valuables nicely. I did outgrow it and bought a second one. Solid steel, great lock, and great fire proofing. Very heavy. You need a professional safe mover IMO to move it. I've moved it a few times with many strong friends and the risk of injury is too high.

Sturdy is probably the best of any company in any business I've ever had to deal with. Professional, friendly, knowledgable, backs their product, etc.

Buy Sturdy with confidence.

adirondack
May 26, 2010, 03:11 AM
Another very happy Sturdy Safe owner here as well.

I do think the Amsec BF series safe is a nice safe too and give them higher points for 'fit and finish'. But, where it comes to security and fire protection, IMO Sturdy has the Amsec BF beat.

As others have mentioned, the Sturdy safe is pretty 'industrial' in look and construction and for me that's not such a bad thing. Yes if my gun 'safe' was in my family room as a peice of furnature I might feel different but I do try my best to keep it out of view and as in-conspicuous as possible.

The heavy guage steel on the Sturdy safe is more than you'd expect in this category (RSC) as also are the: strong welds, commercial lock, and solid overall construction, minimized locking bolt linkages etc; the inner frame that reinforces the door around the door parameter and provides the supporting channel for the locking mechanism is really something to be seen. And the tight tolerances around the door when it is closed are impressive as well; I could not get a crow bar into the gap but to be honest I almost would want a would be robber to waste time trying to pry my safe open (and especially after the video Sturdy posted demonstrating the doors strength against a crow bar attack). The fire lining material is really first rate also and designed specifically for insulating against high temperatures (furnaces); the option really is a good deal when considering the cost of the ceramic wool. All in all, I think the gun 'safes' that Sturdy Safes make are a case where the sum of the parts are getter than the whole.

I've had a chance to look over a Amsec BF series safe and it does look like a nice safe as well. I like the 1/2" steel plate door and again the very refined finish. I don't however like the thin sheet steel on the body like others have mentioned. In fact, someone recently posted a picture of a BF series safe that had been damaged during shipping that showed the sheet metal pealed away exposing the Drylight underneath; I have to admit that photo really dropped my opinion on Amsec's design for the BF series. Now I hear that they reduced the sheet metal thickness on their BF safes from 10ga down to 11 ga and increased the density of their Drylight to compensate for the loss strength; wouldn't a denser mix of concrete just transfer heat better though? I guess on Amsec now, I think the minimum for me is their HS series which look like VERY nice gun safes.

It's funny how much this subject gets debated on these forums and how passionate folks can be about their gun safes (RSC.)

a1abdj
May 26, 2010, 11:57 AM
I do think the Amsec BF series safe is a nice safe too and give them higher points for 'fit and finish'. But, where it comes to security and fire protection, IMO Sturdy has the Amsec BF beat.


Although the Sturdy is a decent gun safe, based on my years of experience as a safe tech, the AMSEC BF has the Sturdy beat in both categories. You can search around for many of the discussions we've had here if you want specifics on why this is the case.

With that said, I wouldn't have a problem selling somebody a Sturdy Safe either. Some of this comes down to an individual's specific circumstances.

In fact, someone recently posted a picture of a BF series safe that had been damaged during shipping that showed the sheet metal pealed away exposing the Drylight underneath; I have to admit that photo really dropped my opinion on Amsec's design for the BF series.

The local Bass Pro recently dropped a standard 12 gauge safe off of a forklift at their loading dock. The steel bollard (probably 8" around) punctured completely through the safe, and punched the door open.

This has a lot to do with physics. If you drop a 1,000 pound safe on to something hard or sharp, or hit it with something heavier like a forklift, there will be damage. Run a ship weighing several hundred tons with a 2" plate hull onto rock, and it will probably puncture.

Now I hear that they reduced the sheet metal thickness on their BF safes from 10ga down to 11 ga and increased the density of their Drylight to compensate for the loss strength; wouldn't a denser mix of concrete just transfer heat better though?

No. Your local banks use vaults with very dense concrete. They don't burn (usually). High security composite safes (like the other AMSEC you like) also use a much more dense fill, and ironically, have a longer fire rating at a much higher temperature.

The AMSEC HS gun safes are a huge jump up from either the BF or the Sturdy. If you wanted to step up from the BF or Sturdy, you should be looking at a B or C rated Graffunder (or similar).

sandboxdoc1
June 15, 2010, 07:21 AM
I am in the market for a safe to store valuables including a few but not a lot of firearms. I'd store mostly documents and jewerlery. I currently own a MESA SAFE UL rated safe that's probably a RSC more than a safe. I am leaning on buying a amsec or sturdy. I like the fact that sturdy has heavier steel than amsec. I know the sturdy is primarily a gunsafe but would it suffice for jewerly and document storage too?

My budget is <$2000.

Thanks in advance for any help.

heeler
June 15, 2010, 10:54 AM
Depending on safe size both can be purchased at said price or very near.
On the Amsec you will probably have to check out multiple dealers for the best deal.

Guns and more
June 15, 2010, 10:59 AM
We're thinking about eventually getting wood flooring...should we get the flooring first and then buy a safe and drag it over the flooring, or would we be better off getting the flooring after the safe and just moving the safe around to accomodate laying the floor?

The company that delivered my safe was worth every penny. Here's how it went. The truck delivered the safe on a pallet in the street. They laid steel plates over the patio stones to the porch and a ramp in the door (one step up). We have hardwood floors, so they had these strips of wood, 4' x 1" x 4". They were covered on one side with rubber, and the other side with Teflon. Rubber side down, they made two tracks like a train would run on and the safe slid on the teflon like butter. To get it into the final room, they had to take the door off the room, and the dial off the safe, it then left 1/2".
They leveled it and checked the door for swing. They have the tools to do it right.
I am in the market for a safe to store valuables including a few but not a lot of firearms. I'd store mostly documents and jewelery. I currently own a MESA SAFE UL rated safe that's probably a RSC more than a safe. I am leaning on buying a amsec or sturdy. I like the fact that sturdy has heavier steel than amsec. I know the sturdy is primarily a gun safe but would it suffice for jewerly and document storage too?
I'd shop for a used safe. At $2000, you'll get a gun safe with minimal fire protection. For jewlery, and papers, I'd want a lot of fire protection. (Although everyone keeps valuables in their gun safe.)
Remember, people sell safes used because they're so hard to move. Check local dealers.

sandboxdoc1
June 15, 2010, 12:42 PM
I'm located in Northern California, can anyone point me towards a good dealer for the amsec? What does one think of a safe within a safe idea?

a1abdj
June 15, 2010, 01:17 PM
I know the sturdy is primarily a gunsafe but would it suffice for jewerly and document storage too?


I tend to come off as a smart ass when I say this, but that's not what I'm trying to do.

Gun safes are called gun safes for a reason. They are built for guns.

There are document safes, and burglary rated "jeweler" safes out there for documents and jewelry.

You definately want to speak to a true safe professional (not just somebody who claims they are) that will explain the differences and show you some examples. Safes are tools, and you will be disappointed in the event of a disaster if you were not using the right tool for the job.

heeler
June 15, 2010, 01:19 PM
The safe in a safe works great.
I am currently using two Sentry 1150 fire boxes inside my Amsec BF 66X36.
At one point I almost ordered an imported Amsec ES 149 fire safe to put inside my BF.

sandboxdoc1
June 15, 2010, 02:28 PM
I'm thinking of picking up some sentry document files H4100 and placing them in whatever safe I get. I'm considering the sturdy first but also thinking maybe the amsec. I like what I've seen so far with Sturdy as far as brute force attach resistance.

heeler
June 15, 2010, 03:20 PM
Fwiw I own the Sentry 4100 and it is just slightly too wide to fit in the side of the Amsec BF 66X36 as it is pressing up against the center divider partition.
They do make those fire boxes that are slightly less wide.
Because of the way Sturdy arranges the interior it might work better with that particular fire document file box.

sandboxdoc1
June 15, 2010, 03:36 PM
heeler, thanks for the insight.

kuyawil
June 17, 2010, 06:22 PM
SandBox,

Check this place out, Security Safes (http://www.securitysafeusa.com/), in Hayward, and ask for the owner, Gary Hane. This is where I got my BF6030 about a month or so ago. Of all the places I called in the Bay Area, he had the best deal. My safe (http://picasaweb.google.com/kuyawil/MyBF6030?authkey=Gv1sRgCOyOpKHo0fDUrgE&feat=directlink) is a 2010 model in two-tone color (Textured Black body/Onyx Gloss Door) and it came with the Premium Door Organizer (PDO), the light kit with power strip, and chrome hardware. Even I almost bought a Sturdy but decided on the AmSec because I couldn't come to grips with Sturdy's industrial look.. Bottom line, the AmSec or Sturdy is a good choice...

Good luck!

sandboxdoc1
June 18, 2010, 05:56 AM
If you don't mind could you PM me the price you paid so i could possibly get a good price?

sandboxdoc1
June 20, 2010, 07:51 AM
Thanks! I'm looking between a Sturdy and the Amsec. I might go for a sturdy and probably want to find a local safe mover that would take delivery of the safe dropped by sturdy and bring it to my house and move it to it's final location (second floor) for me. Anyone know any safe movers in the bay area - northern california?

sandboxdoc1
June 20, 2010, 08:19 AM
to those that have a sturdy safe or a amsec safe bolted to the floor.

I would like to know how many holes are provided there at the bottom of the safe?

Any ideas as to how to fasten them to a wood floor on the 2nd floor? I have access to the floor beneath the room where the safe is located, I am thinking of opening up that under area to add joist hangers, more wood and maybe install some structural straps-hold downs to clap the new safe down like u-bolts.

Keizer
June 20, 2010, 02:05 PM
to those that have a sturdy safe or a amsec safe bolted to the floor.

I would like to know how many holes are provided there at the bottom of the safe?

Any ideas as to how to fasten them to a wood floor on the 2nd floor? I have access to the floor beneath the room where the safe is located, I am thinking of opening up that under area to add joist hangers, more wood and maybe install some structural straps-hold downs to clap the new safe down like u-bolts.

My AMSEC has four holes in the bottom to bolt it to the floor. They will have plastic caps that you will need to remove to get to them.

I wanted my AMSEC right over the main support beam, so the holes did not line up right over the joists. What I did was drill some holes through the 3/4" sub floor, and used LARGE washers on the other side of the sub floor. I built this home so I know that the sub floor is glued and screwed to the joists.

Be careful when you drill if you have carpet. A drill bit can grab your carpet and unravel it, and it can take off across the floor. I would use some kind of a cutting punch to remove the small pieces of carpet in the area of the holes before drilling.

78tsubaki
June 22, 2010, 10:28 PM
Sturdy has four holes. All Sturdy Safes are built with the tubes installed then Terry asks if you want them punched out and how many you want to use when you order.

adirondack
July 5, 2010, 05:49 PM
a1abdj wroteAlthough the Sturdy is a decent gun safe, based on my years of experience as a safe tech, the AMSEC BF has the Sturdy beat in both categories. You can search around for many of the discussions we've had here if you want specifics on why this is the case.

Sorry for the late response, I wanted to comment earlier but didn't have the time till now.

Well I do respect your experience in this area and you definitely are one of the experts on safes here in this forum but from an engineering perspective, I’m just not seeing the same thing as you are so please if I’m missing something that might help someone make the right choice for themselves please let me/us know.

Again, I’m not saying the AMSEC BF series safe isn’t a good safe because I believe it is and would gladly own one. In my opinion, in this category and price range these are the two best I have found.

Here’s why I think the Sturdy gun safe has the AMSEC BF beat though in the area of fire protection and since I can’t run an actual test and show the results I’m forced to give a mathematical model. Sorry this is long but I’m sure someone is going to want to know where the numbers are coming from.

Assume we have both of these gun safes in a house fire which is 1275F and continues for 90 minutes until the fire department puts the fire out (According to AMSEC’s website the BF series is rated for Mercury Class III fire protection of 1275F for 90 minutes and designed to maintain an interior temperature of less than 350F so we will use those numbers as the standard since the BF is UL listed.) For this example both safes will have the same dimensions: 2 meters tall, 1 meter wide and 1 meter deep (using SI units are easier to follow the numbers.)

We know from thermodynamics that the primary mode of heat transfer from the house fire to the interior of the gun safes will be by way of conduction. Fourier Law of Conduction (steady state) tells us that heat will flow from the high temperature region to the low temperature based on the following equation: Q=-kA (T2-T1)/L where q is the heat flow rate, k is the thermal conductivity coefficient of the material in question, A is the cross section area of the heat flow region, L in the depth of the material and T2-T1 is the delta difference in temperature between boundaries (exterior to interior).
The Sturdy safe’s materials are well defined on their website so it’s easy to build a model for their design and since we are just comparing the two safes on a one to one basis, we can find the heat transfer of sections and add them up for the total heat flow rate to the safe’s interior.

The standard Sturdy Safe with fire lining has four layers as seen from their website. For the sides and back of the safe there is an outer shell of 7ga steel, next layer is a 1 inch(0.0254m) 2300F rated ceramic wool blanket, next 1 inch (0.0254m) of 1000F fiber glass, then a 14ga steel inner liner. Because the materials in the safe are in contact with each other at their boundaries we can just add up their thermal resistances (similar to an electrical circuit with resistors in series) and determine the rate of heat flow Q. The coefficients (K) of materials in SI units used are: Steel (1%carbon) = 43 W/mC, Ceramic Wool = 0.06 W/mC, Fiber Glass = 0.04 W/mC. So substituting the appropriate thermal resistance coefficients and depth of material gives and the temperature difference between the 1275F house fire and average temperature of the safe’s interior to go from room temperature to 350F (in SI units though) gives the following:

Q(sides and back)=-1m^2(691C-100C)/(0.0048/43+0.0254/0.06 +0.0254/0.04+0.0019/43) = 549 W (per meter sq of surface area).

For the top and bottom of the Sturdy Safe there is an extra inch of Fiberglass insulation depth so that rate of heat transfer is: Q(top and bottom)= 349 W/m^2. For the door, there is thicker steel but the heat flow rate is basically the same as the top and bottom of the safe. So based on the dimensions of the safe we have the overall average heat flow rate would be:

Q (Overall Heat Flow Sturdy) = (4m^2)(349W/m^2)+(6m^2)(549W/m^2) = 4690Watts

For the AMSEC BF series safe there is a little reverse engineering needed since we don’t have specs on their “Drylight” concrete. The thing that we generally know about concrete is strength increases with density but the opposite is true for thermal insulation. Because the primary purpose of the insulation in the BF series safe is fire protection (and also based on comments made from those who have handled the material) Drylight is likely a Portland cement / Perlite mix aka Perlite Concrete). Since we know that AMSEC recently increased the density of the concrete mix and reduced the thickness of the shell of the BF from 10ga steel to 11ga steel, it is likely that the folks at AMSEC determined that they had room to increase the density of their concrete insulation without jeopardizing their UL fire rating. So based on that, my best guess is they were using a Portland cement to Perlite mix of 1:8 prior to the change but are now using 1:6. As reference, standard concrete has a thermal conductivity co-efficient K of 1.7 W/mC with a compressive strength around 3000PSI. Perlite concrete with a 1:6 mix has a K of 0.084 W/mC but a compressive strength of only 125PSI so there is a big tradeoff in strength to get the insulation properties.

As we know now from recent discussions, the body roof and floor of the BF series has three layers: an 11ga steel shell, around 2” of Drylight and another 14ga inner liner. The door has ” of steel with 1” of Drylight for insulation. So doing a similar analysis as done above for the Sturdy safe shows that the overall average heat flow rate to the interior of the AMSEC BF series safe in a 1275F house fire would be:

Q (Overall Heat Flow BF Series) = 11,721Watts.

So based on this analysis, the AMSEC BF series safe transfers heat to the interior of the safe at a rate 2.5 times higher than the Sturdy Safe design. That would mean for the same house fire where an AMSEC BF series safe’s interior temperature reaches 350F the Sturdy safe would be around 185F. Also, since the AMSEC BF uses concrete with a significant mass as an insulating material, the insulation itself will hold heat and continue to transfer heat to the interior of the safe long after the fire ends and that’s even if the exterior had been cooled once. For the Sturdy Safe’s design, most of the mass is located on the steel shell with the light weight insulating material contributing a small percentage of mass and heat storing capacity of the safe so if you cool the exterior of the Sturdy safe after a fire, it won’t re-heat itself afterwards.

This is the longest comment I ever have made on a thread so I'd better stop but in my opinion and especially after doing this analysis, the Sturdy safe design is far superior to the AMSEC BF series in fire protection.

a1abdj
July 5, 2010, 07:57 PM
This is the longest comment I ever have made on a thread so I'd better stop but in my opinion and especially after doing this analysis, the Sturdy safe design is far superior to the AMSEC BF series in fire protection.

While reading what you wrote certainly made my head spin, and is probably accurate, it is missing details (like the "concrete" in the AMSEC not really being concrete) that make a big difference.

Without going into vast explanations, I will keep it simple.

There are several safe manufacturers currently in business, and several manufacturers no longer in business that have built millions of safes over the last several hundred years. UL has also been in the safe testing business for several decades, and test all matter of fire resistant containers (safes, cabinets, etc.)

I am not aware of any UL listed safe that uses ceramic wool, gypsum board, or any other means that gun safe manufacturers commonly use to achieve their rating. All of these safes use a "cement" type of fill, although the composition of that fill is definately different from manufacturer to manufacturer.

Ceramic wools are somewhat inexpensive, and very easy to install. If they were as effective as the method that has been used for 200 years, there should be at least one company (that has UL listed safes) using it as a primary insulation. I'm not aware of any, although a few companies do use it as a secondary insulation.

There is always somebody who can claim to have a better method, but if it really was, everybody else would jump on the bandwagon.

The cement type fills have been used, and continue to be used, by the biggest and best safe manufacturers world wide. I will assume the industry as a whole has it figured out better than you and I can break it down here on the forum.

adirondack
July 7, 2010, 07:01 PM
Well you are right, concrete and cement aren't the same thing. Cement is the primary component of concrete. Concrete, by definition is composed of three things: cement (normally Portland), water and an aggregate (typically sand and/or gravel.) Other things can be added to concrete to help prevent cracking etc but only the three basic things define concrete.

Portland cement in itself isn't a very good insulator with a thermal resistance coefficient K of 0.29 W/mC.

Perlite has excellent thermal resistance with a K of 0.04 to 0.06 W/mC which is comparable to the ceramic wool and fiber glass used in the Sturdy Safe design.

Perlite concrete as mentioned previously is just a Portland cement with the aggregate now being Perlite instead of sand or gravel for better thermal insulation as opposed to strength. And, if there is an aggregate involved, it is no longer cement by definition, it is concrete.

Short of AMSEC putting Perlite loose filled into the cavity instead of the solid mix they use, they likely won't be able to have better thermal insulation than Perlite alone unless they do what Sturdy Safe does and use a fiber fill of some sort. Yes they could have empty air to have less conduction but then radiate heat transfer becomes a factor.

I'm not sure where you are seeing cheap prices for ceramic wool because it is not cheap at all. I have bought quite a bit of it for projects I've been involved with at work and it's relatively expensive as compared to gypsum or cement/concrete.

And yes, I agree with you that the majority of the gun safe manufacturers have figured out how to make a gun safe and stay in business. They do it by using the cheapest products/ labor they can get away with and still get a customer to pay a premium price. It's rare to find companies like Sturdy still making a product with premium components, paying a good wage and charging a reasonable price.

I also want to point out, I didn't figure out anything. It is Sturdy Safe's design not mine although the use of materials is very similar to furnace projects I've been involved with ...

a1abdj
July 7, 2010, 08:34 PM
Well you are right, concrete and cement aren't the same thing.

The reality is that none of what these safe companies use would probably be considered either or. It is just easier for people to understand when it is explained in this fashion. A more accurate statement would be that it is a material that starts out in somewhat liquid form, and cures into a harder form. The material is engineered to be a barrier against heat.

Short of AMSEC putting Perlite loose filled into the cavity instead of the solid mix they use, they likely won't be able to have better thermal insulation than Perlite alone unless they do what Sturdy Safe does and use a fiber fill of some sort. Yes they could have empty air to have less conduction but then radiate heat transfer becomes a factor.


Most of these companies don't share their mixtures, but I doubt it's rocket science. I don't pretend to know the engineering behind these materials, but I do know that they work, work well, and are used by most of those in the business.

Stephen Hawking himself could invent a square wheel, and extol the virtues of his new design. However, as long as Ford, Chevy, Dodge, and every other major manufacturer is using round wheels, I will have to assume that is still the better option.

And yes, I agree with you that the majority of the gun safe manufacturers have figured out how to make a gun safe and stay in business. They do it by using the cheapest products/ labor they can get away with and still get a customer to pay a premium price.

Keep in mind that I am using safe manufacturing as a whole when forming my opinions on safe construction. Gun safes are only a small part of the safe industry.

It's rare to find companies like Sturdy still making a product with premium components, paying a good wage and charging a reasonable price.


I agree with you here, but AMSEC would also classify (in addition to being one of the largest safe manufacturers in the US).

also want to point out, I didn't figure out anything. It is Sturdy Safe's design not mine although the use of materials is very similar to furnace projects I've been involved with ...

I'm very friendly with Sturdy, and often suggest their products. I also end up installing safes that they sell and ship here locally.

Their insulation may very well be effective, but there are two things that keep me from telling everybody how great it is. First, the material used is in fact designed for insulating furnaces. In this application, you are looking to keep a lot of heat contained in a small space. In a safe, you are looking to do just the opposite.

Which brings me to the second point. If it was as good, why have other safe manufacturers (real safes, not gun safes) used this material? Although pound for pound, it may me more expensive as far as materials go, but I can assure you that building safes out of cast material requires labor and tooling that make it a more expensive process.

I can point you to hundreds, if not thousands, of UL rates safes using "cement" construction. I can not point you to one using anything else.

Keizer
July 10, 2010, 01:31 AM
Their insulation may very well be effective, but there are two things that keep me from telling everybody how great it is. First, the material used is in fact designed for insulating furnaces. In this application, you are looking to keep a lot of heat contained in a small space. In a safe, you are looking to do just the opposite.


BUT.......In a furnace, you are generating heat from inside. With a Sturdy safe and a house fire, the heat is generated from the outside. I think it would work just fine.

As you know, I own an Amsec BF series gun safe, but I think Sturdys insulation would be pretty affective in a house fire.

TechBrute
July 11, 2010, 12:43 AM
I am currently considering an Amsec 7250 and a Sturdy 4827. The AMSEC seems to have a more refined interior and more options. Security and Fire are primary considerations, but at the end of the day, the usability of the safe factors in.

Sturdy Gun Safe, Mfg.
July 13, 2010, 04:51 PM
Hi Alyssa here.


Their insulation may very well be effective, but there are two things that keep me from telling everybody how great it is. First, the material used is in fact designed for insulating furnaces. In this application, you are looking to keep a lot of heat contained in a small space. In a safe, you are looking to do just the opposite.

We feel this is very incorrect, and any engineer who uses these materials would tell you the same. A good king has many advisers so ya'll better not be afraid to call people who would really know like engineers, or even the ceramic wool and high temp glass manufacturers to see for yourself. Asking these questions to people who sell safes will always give you a biased answer! (You know I still love you thou Frank.) Heat transfer is heat transfer. Our material is installed around high temp ovens to keep heat in, it will work just as well to keep the heat out.

I can point you to hundreds, if not thousands, of UL rates safes using "cement" construction. I can not point you to one using anything else.
Safe companies that are raking in the money are the main ones who can afford to do "UL FIRE SAFE" tests in the first place. I feel, if ceramic was not expensive, major label safe companies would use the material, and therefore pay to get it tested. Ceramic and High Temp Glass is a lot more expensive than Dri-Light. Period.

I need to point out that Amsec does not have a "UL Listed Fire Safe" rating on any of their gun safes anyway!!! They have a "Mercury Class" IV (or whatever) rating and Mercury is not even a business that tests fire safes. They just made that name up. Call them and ask how they got those ratings for yourselves. They do have small fire safes that actually have "UL Fire Safe" ratings on them, BUT THESE SAFES ARE NOT MADE THE SAME WAY THEIR GUN SAFES ARE.


The person defending Sturdy in this exchange is a very intelligent consumer, with no agenda. When you look at other posts from actual customers of Sturdy Safe on forums, you will find that all of them tend to do the same, and defend us against those who are experts (who coincidentally sell other brand safes of their own).

Remember dont take our word, Franks word, or any other salesmens word on this stuff. Just do the research for yourselves. Contact local engineers or people who would obviously know and reach your own conclusions.

rescueswimmer
July 25, 2010, 01:25 PM
Alyssa,

I have a question. First off I guess I will put this out there. I am saving for a fire lined sturdy. I think from what I have read you get the most bang for your buck from your safes.

With that being said. All the videos that your your dad has put out has really shut up a lot of the critics, because you don't see anybody else doing this to their safes.

The only thing that people seem to argue back and forth over is your fire rating or material. You guys do have that crappy video showing the house fire but its not the best PR piece. Im sure in sunny CA there are enough houses that fire departments burn down for practice or even their "Fire Training Houses" to prove one of your safes with a good video.

Lberty has a video were they put some wood simulated guns and some dollar bills in one of theirs and burn it up for about 45 minutes or so. People ohh and ahh over it.

There is a fort knox video of some guys dropping a fort knox through a house then set the house on fire that some guys did.

Put some type of internal measuring device inside the safe and some other crap burn the house down and see what happens.

Has to be allot cheaper than paying 60k to UL to have a test down. Not to mention of the safe performs as advertised, You would make the people on the fence lean one way or the other.

a1abdj
July 25, 2010, 04:16 PM
and any engineer who uses these materials would tell you the same

Engineers are just like doctors, lawyers, and mechanics. Ask three different engineers the same question, and you are likely to get three different answers.

Asking these questions to people who sell safes will always give you a biased answer! (You know I still love you thou Frank.)

And of course I still love you too (just don't tell my girlfriend). I agree that you have to be careful who you ask. Most people who sell gun safes know absolutely nothing about safes, period. They may repeat what a manufacturer says, but that information is suspect. Manufacturers of products tend to be biased, and some outright lie, so this rules them out. Engineers are good at math, and can tell you what their calculator thinks will happen. Obviously testing can prove or disprove their theories.

I'm in a bit of a different category, since I deal with every part of the safe business. True I sell them, but I also move them, install them, drill them open, and see them after they have been in real life fires and burglaries. I don't pretend to know what an engineer knows, but I do know what I can see with my own two eyes.

To be fair, I haven't seen a ceramic lined safe come out of a real fire, and that's why I can't say it's a good or effective insulation. The reason for this is not very many companies use it, and none of the commercial manufacturers use it as their primary insulation. I can only assume there's a reason for that, and I doubt it's cost. I can show you $100,000 safes that don't use it, and if it was better than what they were using (cement type fill), cost certainly wouldn't be a problem.

Ceramic and High Temp Glass is a lot more expensive than Dri-Light. Period.

I'm confident this is true. However, there's also the expense of installing the product. The labor, machining, and double walling of the safe to prepare it for fill is a much more expensive process.

I need to point out that Amsec does not have a "UL Listed Fire Safe" rating on any of their gun safes anyway!!! They have a "Mercury Class" IV (or whatever) rating and Mercury is not even a business that tests fire safes.

There is currently no gun safe from any manufacturer that carries a UL fire rating. I bet there's a reason for that too (clue: they won't pass the test).

AMSEC tests their own products because they are large enough to buy the types of toys
to do it, and employ their own engineers that can run the test. Although I am usually skeptical of claims made by gun safe manufacturers, AMSEC is a slightly different story. They are one of the largest safe manufacturers in the US, and have been in business since the 1940s. They have a heck of a reputation, and I doubt they would risk playing the same games other manufacturers engage in.

Remember dont take our word, Franks word, or any other salesmens word on this stuff. Just do the research for yourselves. Contact local engineers or people who would obviously know and reach your own conclusions.


The problem is that doing one's own research will only result in the collection of suspect information. The only real way to know is to see, and a lot of that information is hard to come by because it's usually held in confidence by guys like me.

If I ever see a ceramic lined safe come out of a fire, I'll be the first to document it with photos. However, home fires with safes are fairly rare, and ceramic lined safes make up such a small percentage of safes in those homes that I probably won't see one any time soon.

I can post photos of "cement" filled safes all day long, because the vast majority of real safes are built this way. I can also post photos of gypsum lined gun safes, because they make up the largest percentage of gun safes in homes.

The reality is that most gun safes do not survive well in fires. They simply are not built to the same standards as UL rated safes, which is why they don't have UL ratings themselves.

skykid
July 26, 2010, 11:30 AM
Hello everybody
I'm new here and I'm also looking for a safe for my firearms
a1abdj what do you know about brown weapon safes and their fire proofing
here is the web site www.brownsafe.com/features_weapon_safes/Weapon_safe_single_door.html
I've been looking at the model B-6028 and the fireproof B-COM 6028
Thanks in advance for any and all answers

a1abdj
July 26, 2010, 10:16 PM
I have no idea what Brown is using for their fire lining.

Although I have heard many good things about Brown, I have seen some of their safes first hand, and was not very impressed. The fit, finish, and construction for the price was really lacking. Maybe I just saw the lemons, but I have been much more impressed with the Graffunders.

I also have a B rate safe (although mine are cumulative and not solid plate) that I'm selling now that's a fraction of the price of the Browns.

lonegunman
July 27, 2010, 11:27 PM
Not to hijack this thread but does anyone have any information on Brown safes, vault doors, their workings or quality that includes pics? I saw a magazine with a breakdown of the quality of a Graffunder door with a review of the product. I've never seen anything on Brown but their ads.

Do they really have five relockers? I believe one add or webpage said that and never explained it fully.

adirondack
July 28, 2010, 12:57 AM
The irony of all this debate about what is the best insulation for fire protection in a gun safe is that the best insulation is no insulation at all. It's true; a perfect vacuum will prevent conduction and convection heat transfer and if the inner liner of the gun safe were silver plated it would reflect back radiant heat as well and you would have a gun safe that is optimized for preventing all three modes of heat transfer from cooking the contents of your safe.

So knowing the above, a consumer should be skeptical when they hear claims from some of these manufacturers that say their concrete, cement, composite or whatever insulation are optimized for security and fire protection because those properties tend to be mutually exclusive (I.e., having one trait tends to reduce the other.) Yes a dense composite fill with a heavy mass might be able to absorb a lot of heat to delay its temperature rise but that heat will eventually transfer itself to the lower temperature region so unless you are able to rush in right after a fire and open your safe, it is likely your guns will get cooked during the "cool down" period.

Gypsum (drywall) is actually a pretty effective fire barrier due to the fact that it's 21% water. When exposed to high temperature and the drywall reaches the boiling point of water, steam will start to be driven out of the drywall and the temperature rise will plateau during the phase change of the water. The problem however is that if the drywall is inside the safe during a fire, it will just produce superheated steam which probably will hurt your gun stocks anyway so it's really not as effective as it would be if it were on the outside your safe.

I have yet to find a gun safe with the perfect fire insulation but the closest I have found yet is the Sturdy Safe design and it is far superior that what I'm seeing from the competition. If the numbers in the above example are close for Drylight (I suspect they might be generous though), an equivalent BF design would need 5 inches of Drylight on the body and 2.5 inches on the door to equal the Sturdy Safe which really doesn't leave much room for guns for a safe of those dimensions.

I'm confident this is true. However, there's also the expense of installing the product. The labor, machining, and double walling of the safe to prepare it for fill is a much more expensive process.

Remember Frank, Sturdy also has to machine and install their inner liner too. Also, how do you know that there aren't any voids in the insulation layer of the AMSEC for their insulation fill method? At least when the fire lining of the Sturdy safe is installed, it is clear that the insulation is present on all surfaces before the lining is installed.

I think from what I have read you get the most bang for your buck from your safes.

rescueswimmer, I absolutely agree with your statement.

Of the many things I like about Sturdy Safe, one of my favorites is how flexible they in customizing their gun safes.

For instance, if I were planning to install a new Sturdy gun safe in corner of a room and bolt it to the floor. I could have them as an option double plate the exposed side and ask them to double plate the roof as well. I could add a stainless steel torch resistant barrier over the locking mechanism and add a drill resistant hard plate over the lock that would make it difficult for even a locksmith to get in. All of this with fire-lining on a 60H, 36W, 27D safe would still be less than $2900 delivered to my garage. My feeling is why put 1/2" or even 1/4" of steel on sides that are unlikely to be attacked. In this example with a customized Sturdy Safe, you have 3/8" of steel on sides exposed to the thief and a door that would present a serious challenge to even an expert to open and all of this at a price that is much less (1/2 the price in some cases) as the competition.

a1abdj
July 28, 2010, 02:24 AM
If the numbers in the above example are close for Drylight (I suspect they might be generous though), an equivalent BF design would need 5 inches of Drylight on the body and 2.5 inches on the door to equal the Sturdy Safe which really doesn't leave much room for guns for a safe of those dimensions.


I don't know what example you're looking at, I probably missed it amongst all the talking.

AMSEC uses the drylight in their smaller BF series safes that do pass the most strict testing available to safes today, and they're built in a very similar fashion to the larger gun safes. They certainly aren't using 5" of fill, and they have a UL tag.

Out of the thousands (literally) of safes with UL ratings, from hundreds (literally) of safe manufacturers, why can't anybody point me to just one that uses ceramic as it's primary insulator? If it worked as advertised, certainly somebody would be using it.

The irony of all this debate about what is the best insulation for fire protection in a gun safe is that the best insulation is no insulation at all.

I agree, but for a different reason.

Gun safes are to secure firearms from misuse, theft, or tampering. You could eliminate the ineffective insulations, and add a bit of steel to them. This would keep the weight the same, and add some security.

If you want a fireproof safe, then you should be shopping for a fire rated safe, not a gun safe. When you want to drive nails you buy a hammer, not a screw driver.

Remember Frank, Sturdy also has to machine and install their inner liner too.

Ceramic wool comes in rolls/sheets, and is merely cut to fit. In Sturdy's case, they do rivet a cover plate to enclose it. It's not much more complex than installing gypsum board into safes.

Also, how do you know that there aren't any voids in the insulation layer of the AMSEC for their insulation fill method? At least when the fire lining of the Sturdy safe is installed, it is clear that the insulation is present on all surfaces before the lining is installed.


That's the expensive part of the process. Pressurized pumping systems and big machines that vibrate the safe during the fill process.

Again, this isn't some whizbang idea that somebody just thought of. This process has been used for a very long time, by every reputable manufacturer, for all of their safes that carry a UL rating (and many that don't).

Of the many things I like about Sturdy Safe, one of my favorites is how flexible they in customizing their gun safes.


Almost every major manufacturer (minus some of the gun safe companies) will build safes to order.

My feeling is why put 1/2" or even 1/4" of steel on sides that are unlikely to be attacked.

Although good in theory, a safe is only as strong as its weakest link. The manufacturer has no way of knowing how you will install or secure the safe once in your possession, so they have to assume that it won't be correct.

If you need a 3/8" plate safe (between a B and C rate), then you should order the entire safe that way. In commercial settings, insurance companies demand this.

I could add a stainless steel torch resistant barrier over the locking mechanism and add a drill resistant hard plate over the lock that would make it difficult for even a locksmith to get in.

How do you cut stainless steel? :)

As far as the hard plate, I haven't met one I can't get through yet (and usually pretty quickly). Aside from that, there are certainly ways around it, even if it did prove to be difficult.

There is some pretty nasty plate on the market, and most of the worst aren't even metal or alloy. Some of the worst hard plates are high tech composites, and they are patented and owned by the big high security manufacturers (and only used in their safes).

I have already mentioned the simple truth above. Gun safes are great for an average gun collection. They will keep the kids out, and they will keep your casual smash and grab burglars out. Most do not offer much security, and most do not offer much fire protection. I can post photos that prove these statements.

lebowski
July 30, 2010, 09:06 PM
Post some pics

a1abdj
July 30, 2010, 10:15 PM
I will post some photos, but you have to understand that there are others that I can not share in a public venue. Some of them show portions of a safe that I wouldn't want somebody who's up to no good to see. Others have been sent to me by others in the safe business, and I do not have permission to post them in a public venue.

This photo has been made a bit famous, and you may have seen it before. I originally posted it several years ago, and it has spread around the internet. It is a Liberty with a 12 gauge body, and the damage was caused in under 5 minutes using a axe & sledge hammer.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v627/a1abdj/libertyburglary1.jpg

This is a typical fire rated gun safe. You can tell that the fire was bad, but not a complete burn down. The safe is still standing, and the floor of the home is still sound. Most of the framing is still standing, although burnt. From the outside, it doesn't look so bad.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v627/a1abdj/burnedsafes01.jpg

Although it doesn't look so bad from the outside, this is the typical view on the inside.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v627/a1abdj/burnedsafes02.jpg

The gypsum board usually dries up and crumbles within the safe. Most gun safe have no real structure aside from the gypsum walls, so most of the contents end up at the bottom of the safe (after they're cooked on the shelves).

To compare, here's a cheap Sentry safe that carries a UL fire rating. This safe was exposed to worse fire than the gun safe. In fact, it burned on the second floor, and ended up in the basement.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v627/a1abdj/Sentry_Frt_Fire_12_R_t.jpg

It's exterior condition is pretty similar to that of the gun safe. It's common for the handles and dials to melt off.

Here are the contents:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v627/a1abdj/Sentry_Open_Fire_22_rt.jpg

ttheel
July 30, 2010, 11:49 PM
That pretty much makes the average fire resistant gunsafe look like a waste of $$$$. The top picture explains why most experts say to go with a minimum of 10 gauge steel.

lebowski
July 31, 2010, 03:55 PM
Thanks Frank, that's helpful.

I remember that first pic. The second and third are some of the reasons I chose to forego fire protection in my Sturdy safe. Per your and Terry's advice I keep documents (passport, etc.) in a small sentry fire safe inside the sturdy safe.


Per the original post, while I'm not an engineer and not an expert by any means, like most of you I did a fair amount of research and consulted a number of people who know more than me (including some here) to educate myself as much as possible before making an informed purchase. Like many of you, I narrowed it down between the AMSEC BF and the Sturdy safe. I chose the Sturdy for a few reasons, the most important of which is it came in a packaging that allowed me to fit a larger safe in the spot I wanted to put it (with the BF, I would have been relegated to a smaller safe as their 6" models were too wide to fit into my office). The bottom line is, I think both are far and away the best two products in their price range and I don't think you can go wrong with either. I also think the customer service you'd get from either Frank (a1abdg) or Alyssa/Terry at Sturdy safe is also excellent. Yes, they are both biased sources in that they sell the respective offerings, but I do think both are honest and were helpful and extremely patient when it came to answering the barrage of stupid questions I addressed to them.

adirondack
August 2, 2010, 10:50 PM
Out of the thousands (literally) of safes with UL ratings, from hundreds (literally) of safe manufacturers, why can't anybody point me to just one that uses ceramic as it's primary insulator? If it worked as advertised, certainly somebody would be using it.

I think the reason for not seeing ceramic fiber used in UL listed fire safes is that what would be the point of a safe company using an expensive material such as ceramic fiber when they can get away with a cheaper material to achieve the modest goal of maintaining a moderately low interior temperature without consideration for weight or in most cases moisture.

To find companies and applications that use a premium material such as ceramic fiber as a fire insulator, you have to look for applications where a light weight and dry material that has excellent fire insulating capabilities is needed: that application is NFPA 75 class 125 – four hour magnetic media modular vaults. As you know Frank, NFPA 75 class 125 is pretty much as high a fire rating as you are likely to find because not only do you have to keep the temperature below 125F but also the humidity level has to stay at a low level as well which usually rules out most commonly used fire insulators. Virtually all of the premium modular NFPA 75 class 125 fire rated vaults I found during my search use ceramic fiber for their primary insulation and even Wikipedia states the same info.

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Safe#Class_125)

Room-sized fireproof vaults

For larger volumes of heat-sensitive materials, a modular room-sized vault is much more economical than purchasing and storing many fire rated safes. Typically these room-sized vaults are utilized by corporations, government agencies and off-site storage service firms. Fireproof vaults are rated up to Class 125-4 Hour for large data storage applications. These vaults utilize ceramic fiber, a high temperature industrial insulating material, as the core of their modular panel system.

So here are a couple modular vault companies using ceramic fiber as their insulation:

http://www.veritrust.net/OffsiteVaultProtection/Vault/UniqueConstruction.html

http://www.firelock.com/overview1.htm

http://www.firelock.com/_enlarge.asp?filename=ph_vaultpanels

jimbabwe
August 2, 2010, 10:51 PM
adirondack, I like your post very much. I like science. My wife is studying for a B.S. in Civil Engineering and I have taken some engineering courses years ago in college.

Let me pick your brain on this one: how much steel do you think is in the AMSEC RF6528? It's 72"x25"x29.5" and weighs 3,455 pounds?

I'm considering it and a Sturdy Safe.

I value your opinion.

Thanks,

Jim

heeler
August 3, 2010, 09:08 AM
I'm not adirondack and I am certainly no engineer but if you can afford the RF6528 then I would not hesitate a second to order it as it is vastly superior over the Sturdy or Amsec BF.

jimbabwe
August 3, 2010, 10:51 AM
Thanks for your two cents, heeler. I think it should be vastly superior, too!

a1abdj
August 3, 2010, 11:30 AM
I think the reason for not seeing ceramic fiber used in UL listed fire safes is that what would be the point of a safe company using an expensive material such as ceramic fiber when they can get away with a cheaper material to achieve the modest goal of maintaining a moderately low interior temperature without consideration for weight or in most cases moisture.


Because I don't think it's cheaper. Cast materials may be cheaper, but the tooling and labor required to use them is more expensive. Fiberglass may be a more expensive material, but it cost much less to install.

I don't think these companies are saving any money, I think there's using what's been proven to work best.

To find companies and applications that use a premium material such as ceramic fiber as a fire insulator, you have to look for applications where a light weight and dry material that has excellent fire insulating capabilities is needed: that application is NFPA 75 class 125 – four hour magnetic media modular vaults. As you know Frank, NFPA 75 class 125 is pretty much as high a fire rating as you are likely to find because not only do you have to keep the temperature below 125F but also the humidity level has to stay at a low level as well which usually rules out most commonly used fire insulators. Virtually all of the premium modular NFPA 75 class 125 fire rated vaults I found during my search use ceramic fiber for their primary insulation and even Wikipedia states the same info.

You're closer, but still no cigar.

Data safes offer two layers of protection, the outer shell (safe or file cabinet), and an insert. This is why data safes have an outer and an inner door. The primary protection against fire is the outer shell (350 degree interior temp at 1,700+ degree outer temp), and the secondary protection against heat & moisture is the insert (125 degree interior temp, blocks humidity from outer shell, at 350 degree outer temp).

In your example, not only is the primary insulation still a cast material, but the ceramic secondary insualtion is carrying a relatively light load. Data safes are expensive safes as well. A double door unit usually retails in the 5 figure range, so again, spending money on a more expensive insulation wouldn't be an issue if it was better than what was currently being used.

Entire rooms, vaults, or modular vaults are a totally different animal. In the example of a safe, you are looking to keep a fairly small unit, surrounded by heat, cool inside of a very small area. With a vault you are looking to keep a very large unit, usually not totally surrounded by heat, cool with a huge interior volume.

For larger volumes of heat-sensitive materials, a modular room-sized vault is much more economical than purchasing and storing many fire rated safes. Typically these room-sized vaults are utilized by corporations, government agencies and off-site storage service firms. Fireproof vaults are rated up to Class 125-4 Hour for large data storage applications. These vaults utilize ceramic fiber, a high temperature industrial insulating material, as the core of their modular panel system.


They also build "vaults" out of cinderblock and drywall for records storage that meet fire standards.

The vast majority of vaults, be they for records or valuables, are still built of of concrete and steel (including modular vault panels).

I'm not saying fiberglass wouldn't work. I'm simply saying it probably doesn't work as well as what everybody else is using, because if it did, some of them would be using it.

adirondack
August 4, 2010, 07:47 AM
how much steel do you think is in the AMSEC RF6528? It's 72"x25"x29.5" and weighs 3,455 pounds?


Jimbabwe, to be honest, there are too many unknowns for me to even get a ballpark estimate but maybe a1abdj (Frank) has an idea.

Calculating the amount of steel from what we know is easy enough. The outer shell is 11ga steel (1/8" or 0.125") and the inner shell is either 14 or 16 gauge based on comments made by some here but I suspect it's probably 16ga since the outer shell's thickness had been reduced for what I would guess to be a cost savings measure. So with this info, just calculate the surface area (height x width + depth x height etc for all sides) of the outside (not including the door area of course) then multiple by thickness 0.125" and that will give you the volume of steel used in the outer shell; the density of steel is something like 0.28Lb per cubic inch (I'm late for work or I'd look it up but I think that's right) Remember the inner liner will be smaller because of the insulation thickness which is something like 2" or so (best to draw pictures as you recall from your engineering classes). The door has at least a 1/2" plate but I seem to recall reading that it might be a little thinner for the taller model. Then you'll have to estimate the weight of linkages, locking bolts etc which is where accuracy of the estimate will start to suffer. Good luck.

In your example, not only is the primary insulation still a cast material, but the ceramic secondary insualtion is carrying a relatively light load. Data safes are expensive safes as well. A double door unit usually retails in the 5 figure range, so again, spending money on a more expensive insulation wouldn't be an issue if it was better than what was currently being used.

Frank, my example is modular media storage vaults compliant with NFPA 75 class 125. I haven't read through the whole standard but it's intention is for storage of temperature and moisture sensitive data storage devices. The walls of the modular vaults are basically ceramic fiber sandwiched between steel. Yes they through a layer of drywall up to make it look pretty put all the fire rating is based on the ceramic fiber insulation. I agree time rating varies based on the dimensions of the room but a room size of 8' x 8' still has a 125F two hour fire rating and easily passes 350F for four hours. The rating also is based on all surfaces being exposed to high heat as well. So if ceramic fiber is used in the toughest application there is based on UL fire rating criteria, it certainly will preform well in a gun safe or any other safe.

(Sorry for any typos)

a1abdj
August 4, 2010, 09:52 AM
how much steel do you think is in the AMSEC RF6528? It's 72"x25"x29.5" and weighs 3,455 pounds?

Not much. The RF6528 is a composite safe. The fill material is what gives it its strength. A safe that passes the same UL test, made out of A36 steel (the same as gun safes) would have a 1" solid plate wall, and a door consisting of 1" solid A36 plate, and an additional 1/2" of maganese steel alloy.

So if ceramic fiber is used in the toughest application there is based on UL fire rating criteria, it certainly will preform well in a gun safe or any other safe.


Yet it's not used on UL rated safes as a primary insulation (UL-72 for data storage). Comparing the science behind a vault is completely different than a free standing safe. Even a small vault (say 10x10x8 interior has 800 cubic feet of air space contained inside it (air is a good insulator). The largest double door data safes have only 20 cubic feet or so of air space.

Let's look at your oven. It's quite easy to get the interior temperature up to several hundred degrees. If you open the door, do you think you can get your kitchen that hot? Regardless of how long your run it, it will never happen. The opposite is true of safes. Small interior volumes will heat up high and fast, large interior volumes heat up slow and low.

If you want to prove to me that a safe using ceramic insulations as its primary insulator will pass UL testing, then show me a safe with a UL tag that uses it as its primary insulator. If you want to prove to me that a safe using ceramic insulation will simply insulate equally as well as a safe using cast insulations, then lets see some photos of ceramic lined safes that have been in severe fires.

To expand my search, I recently placed an inquiry on a safe tech forum that includes techs from all over the world. As of yet, none of them have been able to identify any safes from their countries that are using ceramics as a primary insulator either.

Walkalong
August 4, 2010, 10:17 AM
Are we wasting our time an money paying for fire insulation in gun safes for the home then? Sounds like it.

jimbabwe
August 4, 2010, 11:36 AM
adirondack, when you mention 11ga and 14 or 16ga, I think you're referring to the Amsec BF safe (which weighs 1,682 pounds), not the RF6528 (which weighs 3,455 pounds). I think then that you and I can agree that the construction of the BF (the lighter) safe has been thoroughly discussed here. What I cannot find is a good discussion of the RF6528 safe. With such weight, how much steel can it have? If one compares the wall and door thickness of the RF6528 to the BF safe and knows that between the inner and outer layers is a composite filling, one can estimate the range of densities and therefore weights of that filling (unless they're adding lead or some other very dense metal to the filling).

So, when you have time, what are your thoughts about the steel thickness of the 3,455 pound RF6528 safe?

Thanks!

Jim

jimbabwe
August 4, 2010, 12:29 PM
Hmm. A couple of days ago I wrote to Sturdy Gun Safe Co. asking if they could produce a safe for me which is equivalent in weight and protection to the Amsec RF6528. As of yet, no reply. I guess the answer is, "No, we can't."

heeler
August 4, 2010, 12:44 PM
If you left your phone number with Sturdy then dont be one bit surprised if Terry calls you personally.
He certainly called me at my home.
Imagine my surprise all kicked back in my recliner,cold beer in hand, and watching the Astro's lose their umpteenth game when he called.
The guy has worked with steel for years so I have no doubt he could build it or something at least as stout if your willing to pay for it.
Thing is once you get in that league of safes you might as well get a true UL rated TL-30 fire and burglary rated safe.

a1abdj
August 4, 2010, 12:49 PM
Are we wasting our time an money paying for fire insulation in gun safes for the home then? Sounds like it.


I think gun safes should be made of thicker steel, and no insulation. This is where the Sturdy really shines. You can save money and simply buy a heavier steel safe without the insulation.

The problem is that most gun safe manufacturers are selling their safes as multipurpose safes when they aren't. Any fire lining will give you some protection, and a good material will give you better protection. However, the truth remains that no gun safe manufacturered today has met the strict UL fire standards. I wouldn't call insulation a waste of money, but I don't think it's a good value unless you're talking about a real fire lining (not gypsum board).

The photos I posted show this well. The little inexpensive Sentry with a UL rating protected its contents well during a very severe fire, when the gun safe with gypsum lining in a less severe fire failed miserably.

Hmm. A couple of days ago I wrote to Sturdy Gun Safe Co. asking if they could produce a safe for me which is equivalent in weight and protection to the Amsec RF6528. As of yet, no reply. I guess the answer is, "No, we can't."

There aren't many gun safe companies that could. To build a safe that strong, you're talking about heavy plate, not sheet steel. They simply aren't set up to handle the cutting/welding/lifting, etc.

jimbabwe
August 4, 2010, 11:56 PM
I must say that Sturdy called me today, but left no message. So, I shall call tomorrow and see what Terry says. In the meantime, I spoke to someone at Amsec who said the RF6528 has 1-1/2" plate in the door and 3/4" plate in the rest of the safe.

What do you think, knowledgeable ones?

a1abdj
August 5, 2010, 02:06 AM
must say that Sturdy called me today, but left no message. So, I shall call tomorrow and see what Terry says. In the meantime, I spoke to someone at Amsec who said the RF6528 has 1-1/2" plate in the door and 3/4" plate in the rest of the safe.

What do you think, knowledgeable ones?

I think they're wrong. This isn't uncommon when you call AMSEC, as they build hundreds of different safes, and the people who answer the phones in customer service don't know much about the safe business.

Then again, would you really want a safe company giving out accurate information as to the construction of their safes to anybody who called on the phone?

The RF6528 is actually one of their AMVAULTs refitted as a gun safe. It's a composite safe, which by nature, has very little steel in it. Same is true with many modern day bank vaults. Even the nice looking "stainless" doors are wrapped chunks of "cement" composites.

Sturdy Gun Safe, Mfg.
August 5, 2010, 08:48 PM
I can’t respond to everything I want to, so please contact us if you have any questions.

The only thing that people seem to argue back and forth over is your fire rating or material. You guys do have that crappy video showing the house fire but its not the best PR piece. Im sure in sunny CA there are enough houses that fire departments burn down for practice or even their "Fire Training Houses" to prove one of your safes with a good video.
Lberty has a video were they put some wood simulated guns and some dollar bills in one of theirs and burn it up for about 45 minutes or so. People ohh and ahh over it.
Ca is full of liberals, who will not let the arson investigators burn like they did when we tested potential fire insulators. They now do them few and far in between, with a lot more restrictions. We are currently looking into seeing if it‘s possible to do again, but you need to understand the difference between a normal house fire and one of these controlled burns. In a normal house fire, the fire department will more than likely show up within an hour and quench things down. In the fire investigator controlled burns, they want to burn the house down as quickly as possible, using ways to hurry up the burn time (which increases the temperature) and they quench the site down after the burn. This makes the test less realistic. Not only that, people can easily say we influenced the outcome of the burn, because they couldn‘t watch the whole thing for them selves. The best tests are the real accidental burns, which we have gone through successfully and we have testimonials of the firemen who reported to that blaze, most of which bought safes from us soon after.

Liberty let it burn for 45 minutes then opened the safe right away, allowing no cool down time. In reality, no one will let you near that safe until it has completely cooled down, and your stuff will be long gone before then.



AMSEC uses the drylight in their smaller BF series safes that do pass the most strict testing available to safes today, and they're built in a very similar fashion to the larger gun safes. They certainly aren't using 5" of fill, and they have a UL tag.
Sounds like your still saying Amsecs smaller UL Fire Safes are being made virtually the same way as their gun safes, which is very incorrect. How can you still believe this, yet you have even said so yourself, “if you want a safe to protect items from a fire, get a "Fire" safe. If you want to protect items from a bad guy, get a burglar resistant safe.” Show me a picture of an AMSEC GUN SAFE, not a small UL fire safe with 5” or more of cement fill, go through a good fire. We have proof our fire safes make it through standard fires on our site.




Out of the thousands (literally) of safes with UL ratings, from hundreds (literally) of safe manufacturers, why can't anybody point me to just one that uses ceramic as it's primary insulator? If it worked as advertised, certainly somebody would be using it.
I forgot to mention earlier; This is a little past your time Frank (because your 30 yrs old right?), but at one point, Asbestos was the fire insulator that manufacturers used because it was most effective as well as cheap. Now a days, people use ceramic to replace Asbestos and it’s not cheap, therefore, less use it.




I spoke to someone at Amsec who said the RF6528 has 1-1/2" plate in the door and 3/4" plate in the rest of the safe.
Since no one (not even AMSEC mfg reps) can tell what the safes gauge really is, lets pretend this Amsec RF6528 was made with a 1.5” thick door, body and inner liner.

inch steels weight per sqft is 30.6 lb.
1.5 inch steels weight per sqft is 61.26 lb.
Dimensions of this safe 72 x 35 x 29.5

A 6ft by about 3 ft (back wall) of “ will weigh 550.8 lb.= 18 (area) x 30.6 lb. (weight per sqft)
TWO 6ft by 2.5 ft (side walls) of “ will weigh 918 lb. = 15 (area) x 30.6 lb. (weight per sqft) x 2 (both sides)
TWO 2.92 ft by 2.46 ft (top and bottom wall) of “ will weigh 440.64 lb. = 7.2 (area) x 30.6 lb. (weight per sqft) x 2 (both sides)
Now, I guessed the door size to be about 5.5ft by 2.5ft of 1.5” steel, which would weigh 842.33 lb. = 13.75 (area) x 61.26 lb. (weight per sqft)

Already, the weight is 2751.77. Leaving only 648.23 lb. for the weight of the inner steel liner, cement filler, linkage and frame in the door. We feel adding the weight of what was left out should double the 2751.77 lbs already calculated. I realize that my estimation of area may be slightly off due to the fact I’m using od dimensions all the way around, but not by that much when considering I’m not even adding in the weight of what was left out. We feel you should be leery of buying a safe when not really knowing what gauge thickness it is your getting. When a manufacturer doesn't out right say on their websites what gauges they are using, don't ASSUME what it is. If it was any gauge thickness to boast about, they would be boasting about it.

a1abdj
August 5, 2010, 09:41 PM
Sounds like your still saying Amsecs smaller UL Fire Safes are being made virtually the same way as their gun safes, which is very incorrect.

I'm saying the AMSEC BF series fire & burglary safes (that carry UL ratings) are being made virtually the same way as their BF series gun safes, which is entirely correct.

The smaller BF safes have a wall thickness 5/8" thicker (2 5/8" total) than that of the gun safes (2" total), but some of that is due to the thicker dual 1/8" walls being used. The BF series gun safes obviously use slightly lighter walls. The same composite fill material is used on both the smaller safes and the gun safes.

Both safes have 1/2" plate doors, but the gun safe doors are slightly thicker overall. All four of the smaller safes carry a UL fire tag. None of the gun safes do.

Show me a picture of an AMSEC GUN SAFE, not a small UL fire safe with 5” or more of cement fill, go through a good fire. We have proof our fire safes make it through standard fires on our site.


I have some. They've survived well compared to your average gun safe. I will need to obtain permission to post them, but would be happy to do so. I have some photos of the smaller BF safes after fires as well, and if I already have permssion for those I will edit this post with them.

This is a little past your time Frank (because your 30 yrs old right?), but at one point, Asbestos was the fire insulator that manufacturers used because it was most effective as well as cheap.

Asbestos has been used, but it is not very common at all. Off the top of my head I can think of a handful that used it around the 1940's (Safe Cabinet, Scientific, Shermann Rand), and only a few that used it prior.

Although there are a number of safes out there with asbestos in them, they are not as common as most people think. The vast majority of older fire rated safes used some sort of plaster based mix, micah, fire clay, chalk, or alumina. Newer safes use some of the same old technics, and others use a mix, or entirely knew technology.

Now a days, people use ceramic to replace Asbestos and it’s not cheap, therefore, less use it.

I've asked, but nobody including yourself has answered. Which safe manufcturer (we can exclude gun safe manufacturers to make it easier) builds a safe with a UL rating that uses ceramics as its primary insulation? If you want to expand that to the world, I will even accept a safe that carries a major rating in its country of manufacture. I have looked and can't find any.

I also can't believe that it has anything to do with costs. This may be true for a $150 Sentry (which is an excellent fire safe by the way), because the wouldn't be able to stuff $200 worth of insulation into a box that they sell for less. However, I can show you $200,000 safes that don't use it either, and surely cost is not an option there.

Since no one (not even AMSEC mfg reps) can tell what the safes gauge really is

I could tell you what it is. I have a few here at the shop.

I’m not even adding in weight of linkage and frame in the door, or the thickness of the fire liner itself.

The RF6528 has no fire liner. The composite fill material is both the fire and main burglary barrier. The shell of the safe simply makes a nice looking paintable surface.

We feel you should be leery of mfg. who are not out right saying on their websites what gauges they are using. If it was any gauge thickness to boast about, they would be boasting about it.


True with gun safes. Not true with commercial safes (which is really what the RF6528 is).

adirondack
August 6, 2010, 01:34 AM
adirondack, when you mention 11ga and 14 or 16ga, I think you're referring to the Amsec BF safe (which weighs 1,682 pounds), not the RF6528 (which weighs 3,455 pounds

My apologize jimbabwe, I did mistakenly think you were talking about the BF series so my numbers are way off. Alyssa did a really nice job of estimating the amount of steel in the HS series RF6528 and her numbers seem realistic based on information we know about AMSEC's "composite" burglary / fire protecting universal fill stuff. It is interesting that according to AMSEC's website though, the RF6743 has a 1" outer steel shell and a 1" inner shell but the RF6528 doesn't mention anything about plate thickness only that it's door is ARMOR plated. So does that mean the same thickness but different alloy? Same thickness and alloy but higher strength tempering? Thicker plating? I guess what really matters is that it has a higher UL burglary rating: TL-30 verses TL-15 so it's a pretty strong safe without a doubt.

With all due respect to Sturdy Safe and the great products they provide that the majority of us can afford, the RF6528 is in a different league entirely. In Sturdy Safe's defense though, for the cost of one RF6528 you could get two Sturdy Safe's with their options pretty much maxed out and split up your collection to two separate locations.

Yet it's not used on UL rated safes as a primary insulation (UL-72 for data storage). Comparing the science behind a vault is completely different than a free standing safe. Even a small vault (say 10x10x8 interior has 800 cubic feet of air space contained inside it (air is a good insulator). The largest double door data safes have only 20 cubic feet or so of air space.


Frank, a cube is a cube. Whether it's a data fire safe 2'x2'x2' or a vault 9'x9'x9' they are tested the same way based on NFPA 75 class 125 (UL-72, ASTM E-119 blah blah blah) with heat being applied to all six sides and so proportionately the same relative surface area of exposed sides absorb heat in proportion to the volume of interior needing to be protected (actually for the data safe in your example with a safe and an inner insulated container within the safe the ratio of heat transfer from exposed sides to content volume shows the ceramic fiber vault insulation design superior). As to air being a good insulator, yes I absolutely agree ... when it's in a sealed volume that's separate from the area you want to be insulated as in the case of triple paned windows. If the air is in the same space that your are trying to insulate, it is not insulation at all but rather the medium that will transfer heat from the hot spot to the cool spot as in the case of a convection oven although in a safe/vault case it would be natural convection and not forced air convection. I do agree with you that on the larger dimension vaults where the vaults achieve fire protection greater than any data safe can achieve (according to Firelock's website http://www.firelock.com/overview5.htm) the added air space does help achieve longer temperature-time ratings. Since the UL testing has temperature sensors (thermocouples) placed right on the cold side of the heated walls, the reason for the higher time rating from the larger room is likely due to natural air convection and the fact that more cool air is available to draw heat away from the inner walls where the thermocouples are placed.

Are we wasting our time an money paying for fire insulation in gun safes for the home then? Sounds like it.

Well I don't think it is wasting money having effective fire insulation (especially if it is a real fire insulator like ceramic fiber) in a gun safe but I do think in pretty much all cases the fire insulation of your gun safe could easily and cheaply be enhanced with a few sheets of gypsum (x rated if possible) placed on as many exposed external surfaces as you can place them but just remember to stagger the seams of the boards.

Gypsum on the inside of a gun safe isn't a good idea in my opinion. Think about it, as the gypsum heats up and steam is driven out (happens with concrete too) the pressure inside the safe will increase and so too will the boiling point of water and this will usually continue until eventually the expanding door seal you spend extra money for will fail releasing the pressure of the interior to the environment but then the super heated air from the fire will now be able to enter the safe.

a1abdj
August 6, 2010, 03:01 AM
In Sturdy Safe's defense though, for the cost of one RF6528 you could get two Sturdy Safe's with their options pretty much maxed out and split up your collection to two separate locations.


For a commercial comparison, the Sturdy units would be considered lighter than a true B rate, but let's assume you could get a full $50,000 worth of inurance on each for a total of $100,000. A TL-30 rated safe could easily get three times that total. That's how much of a difference there is from a security standpoint.

Frank, a cube is a cube. Whether it's a data fire safe 2'x2'x2' or a vault 9'x9'x9'

In a real fire, the size will certainly matter. Temperatures 2 feet off of the floor are going to be very different than temperatures 9 feet off the floor. This is one of the reasons UL testing is required by most insurance companies when it comes to insuring contents. UL testing pretty much tests everything at an absolute worst case scenario, so your individual odds of avoiding disaster are pretty good.

You're probably better at math than I am, but I don't think the cube is a cube regardless of size would hold true in this case.

Using your example, of a 2'x2'x2' cube, let's assume the walls of that cube are 5" thick. In this case you would have a total surface area on all six sides of 4,456 square inches, with an internal volume of 2,744 cubic inches. This gives you .62 cubic inch of air space to protect from heat for every 1 square inch of surface area.

Using your example of a 9'x9'x9' room, lets assume the walls are 10" thick. In this case you would have a total surface area on 5 sides (we will assume a ground level vault on a slab) of 58,320 square inches, with an internal volume of 681,472 cubic inches. This gives you 11.68 cubic inches of air space to protect for every 1 square inch of surface area exposed. Even if you applied heat to all six sides (69,984 square inches), you're still protecting 9.74 cubic inches of air space for every 1 square inch of surface exposed to heat.

So which cube will heat its interior air volume faster? This may just be some common sense, but it appears to me that the smaller cube needs to transfer heat slower than the larger cube. Perhaps that is why the small cubes are using a cement fill as their primary insualation, and the large cubes (at least the ones in your example, because most vaults are still constructed of composite cements) can get away with using ceramics.

Well I don't think it is wasting money having effective fire insulation (especially if it is a real fire insulator like ceramic fiber)

We have established that UL is a good source for determining what is and is not an effective fire insulation. Still waiting for that example of a UL rated safe that's using it (or any other safe from any other country with a similar rating).

Although gun safes tend to be sold on price alone, commercial safes and others exposed to high risk do not. Many of my customers don't care what the cost is, they want the best product that will serve their needs. Surely some major manufacturer would be using this wonder material if it was better than what they were currently using.

Gypsum on the inside of a gun safe isn't a good idea in my opinion. Think about it, as the gypsum heats up and steam is driven out (happens with concrete too) the pressure inside the safe will increase and so too will the boiling point of water and this will usually continue until eventually the expanding door seal you spend extra money for will fail releasing the pressure of the interior to the environment but then the super heated air from the fire will now be able to enter the safe.


Other than some of the best fire rated safes operate on the same principle that you denounce. This possibility is also covered by UL testing.

Avenger29
August 6, 2010, 03:25 AM
Are we wasting our time an money paying for fire insulation in gun safes for the home then? Sounds like it.

How close is the fire department? Are they a few minutes away? Then, yeah, fire insulation is useful.

Will it take them an hour or so to get to your place (that's the "quick" response time for my place.). I don't think so...everything of mine's going to be ruined anyway, no matter if the safe has a dubious "30 minute" fire rating...

I'm seriously considering using the backhoe to scoop out a big hole and build a concrete vault room in the backyard to use as a storm shelter and serious gun storage...layered security, heavily alarmed, hidden entrance...

adirondack
August 6, 2010, 08:56 PM
I'm seriously considering using the backhoe to scoop out a big hole and build a concrete vault room in the backyard to use as a storm shelter and serious gun storage...layered security, heavily alarmed, hidden entrance...

Avenger29,

It's funny you say that because I have decided to do the same thing myself, well sort of ... I've been putting off building a house for a couple years now due to the economy but my original design called for a vault built with ICF (Insulated concrete forms) as a room within the basement. Then it occurred to me, since the basement will be below grade anyway, way not build a buried vault as a room attached to the basement. It will be easy to conceal and will be little effected by a fire within the home.

Sturdy Gun Safe, Mfg.
August 6, 2010, 09:42 PM
All four of the smaller safes carry a UL fire tag. None of the gun safes do.
Ok, just making sure your not saying amsec's UL Fire Rated safes are made the same as their non UL Fire Rated gun safes.
Thanks for your feedback on all this Frank, you’re the best.


…waiting for that example of a UL Fire rated safe that's using ceramic
I looked into it. At one point in time, when the Honeywell name brand safes existed, they made their 2754DB (http://homesafesreview.com/2010/04/07/firstalert-2754db-executive-fireproof-gun-safe/) with Kaowool (Which is CERAMIC) and got it UL Classed 350 at 45 minutes up to 1100F. I called a guy who used to sell them, and they said it was lined with gypsum board and kaowool. However, not all walls were covered with the Kaowool and we do not know how thick of ceramic they used. Again, this was not the mfg, this was just a salesmen, so we still need to take this info lightly. Look at this search (http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla%3Aen-GB%3Aofficial&q=%22UL+Class+350%22+kaowool+45+mins&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=&gs_rfai=) to see where else it was listed at one point.


I have some. They've survived well compared to your average gun safe. I will need to obtain permission to post them, but would be happy to do so. I have some photos of the smaller BF safes after fires as well, and if I already have permssion for those I will edit this post with them.
I’m sure everyone would like to see.




I could tell you what it is. I have a few here at the shop.
Looks like you had already addressed it was a “composite safe, which by nature, has very little steel in it”. I hadn’t seen that. My bad for the rant of “proof it didn’t have that much steel in it“. Terry (the owner of Sturdy) still has no problem with burglary safes such as the UL listed TL safes. We feel they are good theft resistant safes, regardless of steel thickness, if you can afford the price and weight.



Other than some of the best fire rated safes operate on the same principle that you denounce. This possibility is also covered by UL testing.
Terry was told by UL testing facilities, to not bother fire testing a safe lined with just sheetrock/fireboard.

a1abdj
August 6, 2010, 10:26 PM
Thanks for your feedback on all this Frank

It can get pretty confusing pretty quickly. AMSEC alone probably makes 10 different lines, each with multiple models, that carry some sort of fire rating. Multiply that times the hundreds of manufacturers that have existed, and you can quickly see how it becomes confusing.

The smaller BF safes, the ones with the UL fire rating, are built in a very similar fashion to the larger BF gun safe. I'm pretty sure the BF gun safe does not have a UL rating, because it wouldn't pass. Same as all of the other gun safes on the market.

However, I do know that the material used in the safe is very effective, as it is in fact used in UL rated units, and has been tested to their standards.

youre the best

That is the word spreading around the modeling circles. ;)

I looked into it. At one point in time, when the Honeywell name brand safes existed, they made their 2754DB with Kaowool (Which is CERAMIC) and got it UL Classed 350 at 45 minutes up to 1100F

I'm not familiar, word for word, with every UL standard. These standards have also changed from time to time over the years.

However, I don't recall any 45 minute UL ratings. UL ratings are usually 1 hour, 2 hour, 4 hour, etc. The temperature also seems very low, as all of the UL test that I'm familiar with bottom out at 1,700 degrees, and go up to 1,800 degrees for the longer ratings. The 30 minute ratings do drop the temperature to 1550 degrees, and although these ratings can be found on safes, it's pretty rare. Most of the 30 minute ratings on on smaller fire boxes.

I did find a safe using the same model number (may or may not be using the same construction), and it does state it has a 30 minute rating at 350 degrees. I don't see any UL ratings mentioned though. If you know anybody who has one, I would be interested in the numbers listed on the UL tag.

Im sure everyone would like to see.

I don't mind sharing photos. Some I simply can't share. Others, I need to get permission from those that took them, and sometimes that's like pulling teeth.


Terry was told by UL testing facilities, to not bother fire testing a safe lined with just sheetrock/fireboard.

No sense in throwing your money down the drain. You will never pass a safe lined with gypsum board, as it simply isn't up to the task.

PH/CIB
August 7, 2010, 01:16 AM
I own an Amsec BF series gun safe, by the way you can get a lot of rifles and shotguns in a safe by putting silicone gun socks on them and putting half of them barrels up and half of them barrels down, after taking out the interior racks.

My gunsafe is bolted to the floor and I have a monitored alarm system for fire and burglars, and the fire dept and police dept are just minutes away, I donate to them and have personal friends who work both depts. I have a dog and am an ex paratrooper Viet Nam veteran with extensive combat experience and am always armed, heaven help anyone stupid enough to try and break in while I am there.

What if I build a closet around my gunsafe with a door and built of sheetrock and ceramic wool or even firebrick, would that not be a cheap and effective way to gain additional fire proofing?

Guns and more
August 7, 2010, 10:31 AM
Are we wasting our time an money paying for fire insulation in gun safes for the home then? Sounds like it.
How soon will the fire department get there? Are you in the sticks, where your house will burn to the foundation? What's your house made of? Concrete block? Log home?
I think all these things are a factor. I few minutes might be all time the fire department needs. Then you will be glad you had some fireproofing.
The problem is, salesmen will show you pictures of the worse case scenario. "See, my $10,000 safe is better." Well, yeah, but while I'm saving for that $10,000 safe, my guns got stolen out of the desk drawer.
It's all a compromise.

snakyjake
August 7, 2010, 01:22 PM
I have an insurance policy with a $1000 deductible. If my guns are destroyed or stolen, I get brand new ones with my insurance money. For me, it doesn't make sense to spend more than $1k on a safe. If I had irreplaceable items or more than the insurance would cover, that would be different.

Seeing how most residential safes don't last longer than a few minutes extra on the expensive models, the extra money spent on a safe doesn't seem worth it.

So for me it is either a <$1K safe, or a $10K+ safe.

Jake

a1abdj
August 7, 2010, 01:56 PM
So for me it is either a <$1K safe, or a $10K+ safe.


There's a lot of in between.

For example, I have some really nice used TL-15 and TL-30 safes, large enough for guns, that start in the $3,000 range. New, imported burglary units start in the $5,000 range.

So essentially, if you can find one, you can get a used real safe for about $1,000 more than a mid range gun safe. Not only will these safes far surpass the security of a gun safe, but many of them have decent fire ratings (the composite versions).

It's all a matter of finding somebody who's really in the safe business, and giving them a call. You might be surprised.

snakyjake
August 7, 2010, 02:43 PM
Used would be a good idea. When I went shopping at a safe store, I wasn't too impressed by the mid-range ($500-$2K). Didn't see much above $2K except bells & whistles. It wasn't until I saw the Graffunder line with plate steel (or was it slate rock) that I finally felt that a safe was actually a safe. The rest were just sheet metal. It seems these days anyone can get a wheel grinder cheap. I figure anyone can get into a mid range safe in a matter of minutes with some power tools from Harbor Freight.

My other criteria is warranty. Perhaps a burglar fails to enter the safe, but leaves the safe damaged. Having it replaced by the manufacturer's warranty would be nice. One less thing for me to worry about.

But the main point is my insurance policy will replace everything and anything for $1K. So why spend more than my insurance policy (assuming everything is replaceable by the insurance policy, which I've checked)?

Jake

a1abdj
August 7, 2010, 03:11 PM
My other criteria is warranty. Perhaps a burglar fails to enter the safe, but leaves the safe damaged. Having it replaced by the manufacturer's warranty would be nice. One less thing for me to worry about.


This is another issue I have with safe manufacturers. The reality is that your homeowner/renters policy is first in line to pay for the loss of a safe (and or its contents) in the event of fire or theft. Although these companies do replace safes themselves, it isn't very common, and is why they offer to do it in the first place. The reality is it's good marketing. Everybody thinks they need a replacement warranty.

What other products offer a similar warranty?

But the main point is my insurance policy will replace everything and anything for $1K. So why spend more than my insurance policy (assuming everything is replaceable by the insurance policy, which I've checked)?


If you're talking common assets, then there's no real reason to spend any more than you need to in order to keep them reasonably secured.

However, I own a lot of stuff that's worth nothing, but yet it has great sentimental value to me. Insurance could never replace those things. I also keep paperwork that has no real monetary value, but is also very important. Even though things like titles and deeds can be replaced, it's still a pain to replace them.

ttheel
August 7, 2010, 03:40 PM
I have an insurance policy with a $1000 deductible. If my guns are destroyed or stolen, I get brand new ones with my insurance money. For me, it doesn't make sense to spend more than $1k on a safe.

That all depends. How much is your firearm collection worth? The reason I ask is that most insurance policies only cover up to $10,000 for firearms loss unless you pay extra for more protection.

a1abdj
August 7, 2010, 04:40 PM
That all depends. How much is your firearm collection worth? The reason I ask is that most insurance policies only cover up to $10,000 for firearms loss unless you pay extra for more protection.

How about another angle.

Let's say your guns are stolen, and one is used to kill a 7-11 clerk. The clerk's family finds out you "weren't storing your guns properly", which made them easy for the bad guy to steal, and sues you for some sort of negligence. Granted it's a BS suit, but you would still have to pay to defend yourself.

Do you have a policy that does that?

snakyjake
August 7, 2010, 05:15 PM
Great point. I know from experience how expensive and annoying it is to defend myself when innocent (a civil lawsuit where the plaintiff sues everyone they can think of and list you on the court papers). And the law in this country doesn't make it easy nor cheap to defend ourselves.

I'm not suggesting no security, just nothing that goes above my deductible or the worth of the contents.

adirondack
August 7, 2010, 11:18 PM
What if I build a closet around my gunsafe with a door and built of sheetrock and ceramic wool or even firebrick, would that not be a cheap and effective way to gain additional fire proofing?

Absolutely PH/CIB, and if done properly it is an approved fire rated assembly by building code. Build your closet with 5/8" type X (fire rated) gypsum two layers on the outside of the stud and two layers on the inside and the same for the ceiling, put a fire rated door on the closet and you now have better fire protection for your collection than you'd find in pretty much any fire rated safe (of course have the closet on a ground floor).

Using your example, of a 2'x2'x2' cube, let's assume the walls of that cube are 5" thick. In this case you would have a total surface area on all six sides of 4,456 square inches, with an internal volume of 2,744 cubic inches. This gives you .62 cubic inch of air space to protect from heat for every 1 square inch of surface area.

Using your example of a 9'x9'x9' room, lets assume the walls are 10" thick. In this case you would have a total surface area on 5 sides (we will assume a ground level vault on a slab) of 58,320 square inches, with an internal volume of 681,472 cubic inches. This gives you 11.68 cubic inches of air space to protect for every 1 square inch of surface area exposed. Even if you applied heat to all six sides (69,984 square inches), you're still protecting 9.74 cubic inches of air space for every 1 square inch of surface exposed to heat.

I'm not sure you realize this Frank, but your numbers prove that the ceramic fiber structure is superior to your "cement" filled safe. That seems about right to me considering that ceramic fiber is actually designed to be a fire / thermal barrier and the "cement/concrete/composite" stuff just happens to resist heat transfer to some extent. I am pretty confident, without doing any research, that the inner chamber on those class 125 media safes are not made of cement in any way shape or form.

I haven't done much research one this either but from what research I have done, ceramic fiber insulated vaults are the only UL listed structures that can achieve class 125-4 hour rating. That as you know has the temperature of the furnace reaching 2000F before shutting off for the long cool down period which can take days. Here's one for you, is there a cement/concrete/composite insulated structure that can meet NFPA 75 UL class 125-4 hour rating? My guess is that it wouldn't be possible but I could be wrong.

Terry (the owner of Sturdy) still has no problem with burglary safes such as the UL listed TL safes. We feel they are good theft resistant safes, regardless of steel thickness, if you can afford the price and weight.

Alyssa, I can only imagine Terry's frustration with the UL rating system. If you guys were to get your safe's rated, UL would probably just give your safes an RSC rating (although B rated just states door less than 1" steel and body less than 1/2" steel with the unwritten standard being 1/2" door 1/4" body, right?) I do own one of your safes and it is very well built (the door design is genius btw). I am confident it will not be opened using pry bars, a fire ax, a sledge hammer or basically any brute force attack which was what I was looking for when I purchased mine a couple years back. From seeing photos and videos of some actual RSC rated safes opened with relative ease, who would want to be included in that category anyway?

a1abdj
August 8, 2010, 10:44 AM
I'm not sure you realize this Frank, but your numbers prove that the ceramic fiber structure is superior to your "cement" filled safe.

No. I have no idea how my numbers proved that. Small amounts of air heat faster than large amounts of air, so the protection would have to be greater. Yet in those cases, cement filled safes are being used. You gave an example of a very large cube, which would heat much more slowly due to the huge volume of air within. It's using ceramic, although most still do not.

Regardless, we're still talking about safes and not vaults, and we still haven't been able to find an example of a safe with a UL rating using ceramics as its primary insulation.

That seems about right to me considering that ceramic fiber is actually designed to be a fire / thermal barrier and the "cement/concrete/composite" stuff just happens to resist heat transfer to some extent.

Actually both materials, ceramics and cement/concrete/composite/etc., transfer heat. I know this because my home oven is surrounded with ceramic inuslation, and yet it still gets warm on the outside when heating from the inside. All man made materials will transfer heat.

I am pretty confident, without doing any research, that the inner chamber on those class 125 media safes are not made of cement in any way shape or form.

I have found several materials used, including ceramics and even foam. However, the outer chamber is what does the heavy lifting, and that has always been cement.

The outer chamber (the safe itself) is protecting against the 1700 and 1800 degree heat for 1, 2, or 4 hours, while keeping the interior of that chamber at 350 degrees or less.

The inner chamber (the ceramic or foam lined container) is protecting against the 350 degree interior temperature of the outer safe, while keeping its interior at 125 degrees or less.

Here's one for you, is there a cement/concrete/composite insulated structure that can meet NFPA 75 UL class 125-4 hour rating? My guess is that it wouldn't be possible but I could be wrong.


There have been several banks that have burned down in the last hundred or so years. Can you point me to one where the cement vault failed to protect its contents?

You may not be aware, but NFPA and UL are two entirely different organizations. The "NFPA-75" that you mention has nothing to do with UL.

You can read the 1999 version of the NFPA standard here:

http://www.minhbao.vn/userfiles/file/A_NFPA75.pdf

Just giving it a quick glance, and it looks like you can use any material, so long as by building code it gives a "fire rating". Since it doesn't give a specific list of approved materials, I'm assuming your ceramics would work along with gypsum board, cinder block, brick, or concrete.

I'm going to have to research the ceramic products you pointed to in those links to see if a) they really do carry a UL rating, and b) if so, which standard is being used for testing. Then I can comment further on the aspect of its rating, as issued by UL (if any).

Edited: Houston, we have a problem. Your ceramic vault panels you linked to made by Firelock don't appear to be UL rated in any way, shape or form. The panels appear to meet your NPFA standards, and that's it. The door to the room is in fact a UL rated vault door, and it uses a secondary door to meet the media storage requirements. By the way, the door shown on their site is a cement filled Schwab.

The Veritrust site does mention UL testing of their panels one time, but then goes on to explain on site modification of the vault during the assembly process. Since UL can not guarantee that these modifications are made in the same fashion as they were during the testing process, they will usually not certify the product without having an onsite inspection of the finished product.

If you guys were to get your safe's rated, UL would probably just give your safes an RSC rating (although B rated just states door less than 1" steel and body less than 1/2" steel with the unwritten standard being 1/2" door 1/4" body, right?)

There's a big jump in UL's involvement in ratings involving theft. Most gun safes have an RSC rating, which is a BS rating, and also isn't worth the the sticker it's printed on. It does look good in sales literature though.

A B rate safe is a safe using up to a 1/2" plate door, and up to a 1/4" plate body. Technically all safes are B rated at a minimum, although a true B rate safe is considered to use the full thickness.

The first burglary rating UL has above the RSC is the TL-15 (heavy plate safes). Using A36 steel, your gun safe would have to have a 1" plate body, and 1.5" plate door to get this type of rating.

PH/CIB
August 8, 2010, 09:11 PM
Thank You, Adirondack! for answering my question on building a stud and sheetrock closet around a gun safe, sounds like an economical way to get excellent fireproofing to me.

Thank You, ALABDJ! for bringing up the subject of used safes, a used safe should be just as good as a new one and you can probably get a lot better safe for a lot less money by buying a used one.

I read somewhere that in California, some guy with a lot of money built the exterior of his house, walls and roof using nothing but ceramic tile and when a forest fire went through the neighborhood all the houses burnt down except his.

If we look at the space shuttle with ceramic tile on the exterior of the shuttle keeping the occupants from burning up, why is ceramic tile not being used on the outside and inside of gun safes?

Last question, are sprinkler sytems effective? I see them all the time in commercial buildings, what would it cost to put a sprinkler system in a house?

a1abdj
August 8, 2010, 10:34 PM
I read somewhere that in California, some guy with a lot of money built the exterior of his house, walls and roof using nothing but ceramic tile and when a forest fire went through the neighborhood all the houses burnt down except his.


I could see this. Most houses in these types of events catch fire from blowing embers. If you can keep the embers from coming in contact with something flamable, then you're off to a good start. This is why most of these homeowners are out hosing their roofs off during fires. Keeping the roof wet will buy time as well.

If we look at the space shuttle with ceramic tile on the exterior of the shuttle keeping the occupants from burning up, why is ceramic tile not being used on the outside and inside of gun safes?

The tiles on the shuttle are only exposed to a high temperature for a very short period of time. It's similar to the ceramic house. You only have to protect it long enough to escape the danger.

Ulitmately, when somebody wants a highly burglary resistant or fire resistant enclosure, they built it out of reinforced concrete. There were vaults in the World Trade Center buildings (modular vaults at that), that survived the collapse, and the heat.

Last question, are sprinkler sytems effective? I see them all the time in commercial buildings, what would it cost to put a sprinkler system in a house?


They are very effective. Many people run a single sprinkler head over their safes. If you are wanting to run an entire house, you may need more water than your supply line can handle. Something to keep in mind.

adirondack
August 8, 2010, 11:39 PM
Regardless, we're still talking about safes and not vaults, and we still haven't been able to find an example of a safe with a UL rating using ceramics as its primary insulation. I believe you have found the safe yourself although you choose not to believe that the ceramic wool IS the primary insulation on the class 125 safe. After all, if the cement were so good why would they need an inner liner of ceramic wool or foam? Yes most of the temperature drop is across the cement (which I'm sure is a cost savings measure since they already have a class 350F safe manufactured) but it is the dry ceramic wool or foam (foam has excellent thermal resistance) that enables the safe to meet the class 125 standard of keeping below 125F with less than 80% humidity.

Actually both materials, ceramics and cement/concrete/composite/etc., transfer heat. I know this because my home oven is surrounded with ceramic inuslation, and yet it still gets warm on the outside when heating from the inside. All man made materials will transfer heat.

Yes that is a fundamental law of thermodynamics although they use fancy words like Entropy.

You may not be aware, but NFPA and UL are two entirely different organizations. The "NFPA-75" that you mention has nothing to do with UL.

You can read the 1999 version of the NFPA standard here:

Oh yes I'm quite aware of the difference, my job has me dealing with codes and standards daily and I have actually used NFPA-75 before on a project I had once upon a time. Of course, UL is a third party test outfit which is supposed to be unbiased in their testing.

There is a newer version of NFPA-75 which has some significant changes.

Edited: Houston, we have a problem. Your ceramic vault panels you linked to made by Firelock don't appear to be UL rated in any way, shape or form. The panels appear to meet your NPFA standards, and that's it. The door to the room is in fact a UL rated vault door, and it uses a secondary door to meet the media storage requirements. By the way, the door shown on their site is a cement filled Schwab.

The Veritrust site does mention UL testing of their panels one time, but then goes on to explain on site modification of the vault during the assembly process. Since UL can not guarantee that these modifications are made in the same fashion as they were during the testing process, they will usually not certify the product without having an onsite inspection of the finished product.


Well I know in your world, UL testing means a lot. In the industrial world where structures are large, complex and unique. UL certification is impractical, impossible or not really trusted (I.e., the customer is going to want to see the test done in person aka a F.A.T. Factory, Acceptance Test and sometimes even upon arrival at the site S.A.T. although in this case it would be kind of hard to do that.) I'm sure Firelock would be more than willing to have each of their custom built vaults tested by UL to get official UL certification but I'm also pretty sure the customer isn't going to want to pay the extra amount, well all maybe but the government.

The door to the room is in fact a UL rated vault door, and it uses a secondary door to meet the media storage requirements. By the way, the door shown on their site is a cement filled Schwab.

Frank you yourself said air is a great insulator; put some space between the doors and you have pretty effective insulation, even if they are just cement filled :)

Well Frank, I don't want to appear rude but I'm traveling next week so I won't be able to respond but I have to say this is a very good discussion and I do still appreciate your expertise on the subject; although we might have to agree to disagree on fire protection I think.

Back to the spirit of the thread though:

I still feel the AMSEC BF series (the new one with 11ga shell and a denser fill) has higher marks for fit and finish but for security and especially fire protection, IMO the Sturdy Safe is the clear winning.

Also, although I've never had to deal with AMSEC customer support; I would be very surprised if any company is even close to what Sturdy Safe offers, they even take the time to comment here on this thread; where's AMSEC in all these discussions?

a1abdj
August 8, 2010, 11:56 PM
believe you have found the safe yourself although you choose not to believe that the ceramic wool IS the primary insulation on the class 125 safe. After all, if the cement were so good why would they need an inner liner of ceramic wool or foam? Yes most of the temperature drop is across the cement (which I'm sure is a cost savings measure since they already have a class 350F safe manufactured) but it is the dry ceramic wool or foam (foam has excellent thermal resistance) that enables the safe to meet the class 125 standard of keeping below 125F with less than 80% humidity.


No. The primary insulation is the cement filled safe. Otherwise, they would just make the whole thing out of ceramic. Why do they use ceramics on the inside? Easy explanation. Most cast fire rated safes give off moisture during a fire. For the purposes of media storage, this needs to be controlled. This demands the use of a "dry" insulation. In addition, space is at a premium on a safe. An additional layer of cement is adding a lot of weight, and taking up valuable space.

This also holds true for free standing data inserts. These boxes rely on the primary insulative properties of a UL rated document safe. When placed inside, they meet the UL standard for media storage.

Well I know in your world, UL testing means a lot. In the industrial world where structures are large, complex and unique. UL certification is impractical, impossible or not really trusted (I.e., the customer is going to want to see the test done in person aka a F.A.T. Factory, Acceptance Test and sometimes even upon arrival at the site S.A.T. although in this case it would be kind of hard to do that.) I'm sure Firelock would be more than willing to have each of their custom built vaults tested by UL to get official UL certification but I'm also pretty sure the customer isn't going to want to pay the extra amount, well all maybe but the government.


This is why we are in an apples and oranges discussion here.

I have installed several vaults for the US Government. All of them have been cement.

Frank you yourself said air is a great insulator; put some space between the doors and you have pretty effective insulation, even if they are just cement filled


This is quite common on antique vault doors that use no insulation at all. You have a main steel door, anywhere from 12 to 20 inches of air, then a second set of key locking steel doors. This system appears to have worked well, only being abandoned due to the amount of space the doors ate up.

although we might have to agree to disagree on fire protection I think.


What we agree or disagree on is great for discussion, but means little in the real world.

UL is the authority on testing. Manufacturers should know what they're building, and why they are building it that way. They all tend to agree on one type of material when it comes to building a fire rated safe, so I have to assume there's a good reason for that.

I still feel the AMSEC BF series (the new one with 11ga shell and a denser fill) has higher marks for fit and finish but for security and especially fire protection, IMO the Sturdy Safe is the clear winning.


I disagree, although in some aspects it's a close call. I would give the edge to the AMSEC, and not because I sell them. I often suggest the Sturdy to people as well, dependant upon their use of the safe. I don't sell Sturdy.

I can base my opinions on actual real life experience dating back to 1992. If you have any actual experience with safes for the basis of your opinions, I'd be happy to hear about it when you get back.

Also, although I've never had to deal with AMSEC customer support; I would be very surprised if any company is even close to what Sturdy Safe offers, they even take the time to comment here on this thread; where's AMSEC in all these discussions?

Sturdy is a small company. I'm a small company. Both myself and Sturdy spend a lot of time on the phone with customers.

AMSEC is one of the largest safe manufacturers in the US. While Terry and I are talking on the phone, they're busy churning out tens of thousands of safes in a year.

AMSEC just sent out a brand new vault door for a customer of mine because the paint wasn't just right. I would say their customer support is just fine, even if they aren't joining gun forums to talk about their products.

rescueswimmer
August 18, 2010, 11:58 AM
PC/CIB,

Take a look at this article, A guy over on AR15 did the same thing your looking to do.

http://www.ar15.com/archive/topic.html?b=6&f=46&t=301504

smilit1
March 21, 2011, 04:17 PM
Hi everyone,

I have been lurking for a little over a year on this forum. I am so thankful to see people like Frank Zykan and Terry & Alyssa from Sturdy on this forum as well. Thanks for taking your time guys (and girl, respectfully)! I didn't even know Sturdy Safes existed until I began reading these posts. I am in the market for a gun safe. I have narrowed it down to an AMSEC or STURDY.
I just wanted to let all you guys on the forum know that I am an engineer at HONEYWELL. I am familiar with both the NFPA 75 and 86, however my group deals mostly with industrial combustion and we design to the NFPA 86.

I am smiling really big right now for a few reasons:
1.) HONEYWELL doesn't make any of those "Honeywell" safes.
2.) I showed my engineering colleagues these posts and how Adirondack did his calcs and now the P.E.'s are giving their opinions. Production has ceased!! (The P.E.'s words around here are like GOSPEL, they bless all the crap we are not sure about, so once they get involved, it gets very comical watching nerds fight about splitting hairs.)
3.) Since most of us engineers are hunters, the big boss being one too, I had an idea for AMSEC/Frank and STURDY/Terry. We have the means to test any kind of ceramic or composite concrete here. (We have a tech center with all sorts of ovens and fancy machines that test for stuff like this.) I can have our genious techs cook up each material and give us an independent opinion about which fire barrier resists heat transfer better and then post it here. I think this would shed some light on this interesting issue.

a1abdj
March 21, 2011, 05:12 PM
What kind of sample would you need?

Short of sending you an entire safe, the only material I would have access to would be in the form of a cut away sales display.

rescueswimmer
March 21, 2011, 10:59 PM
Im in for 50.00 to donate to the cause. Would love to see how this turns out. Sadly I don't think anybody will come through on this.

waterguy52
March 21, 2011, 10:59 PM
Found this thread searching opinions of the amsec vs sturdy. I am considering the BF6030 or sturdy 32/24/60 or 36/27/60. I have talked to cannon, browning, lierty........not impressed. I am really stuck on the fence between the amsec and the sturdy. how are others finally making their choice?

heeler
March 21, 2011, 11:11 PM
Well I guess I will wade back into this resurrected thread....The Amsec BF is made by a true commercial safe company so without any doubt there is a lot of know how in the end product as far as security and fire protection.
The Sturdy is a well made gun safe by a well established but much smaller company.
If you can look first hand at the Sturdy it may be all you are looking for.
Unfortunately I could not see one first hand but did see several Amsec BF's at many dealerships so I went the Amsec route.

waterguy52
March 22, 2011, 01:02 AM
Thanks for taking the time, which Amsec?

rbernie
March 22, 2011, 07:47 AM
We are not going to replay the 'Sturdy Safes vs the world' threads any more. Let's let this one die.

If you enjoyed reading about "AMSEC BF vs. Sturdy safe question" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!