Another safe question: RSC B-rate versus Amsec BF


March 8, 2010, 11:33 AM
I'm beginning to research the next gun safe purchase, which is why I've gotten so interested in safe tech lately. I've decided I do not need a "real" safe as in TL-15 or TL-30, although I will keep my eye out for a used one. A high-end RSC is plenty secure for my purposes, I have no doubts about that. I'm leaning heavily toward the Amsec BF-6636 at the moment, as just about the ideal safe for my needs at the right price point. It is more than I have now in my older Liberty Lincoln, which I will try to sell locally to replace with a slightly larger unit, like the BF-6636.

I am curious, however, about the UL RSC B-rating (if it is a UL rating??) for something like a Summit Everest series with 1/4" plate walls and 1/2" plate door versus the Amsec BF construction. I am persuaded that the Amsec BF wall construction with the cement-like filler adds some security to the steel wall. I don't believe the steel has to be of exactly equal thickness to be exactly equally secure, I do believe the Amsec construction with the cement-like filler adds security, but I don't know how to compare that construction to thicker steel without it, as it becomes apples to oranges. I am open to what the safe experts here think, however, because I sure can't figure it out as a layman.

I don't really care about the relative merits fire safety merits of the dry light fill in the Amsec or the pyro blanket, I've read the threads and frankly, either of them is plenty of fire protection in my mind, arguing about the fire safety differences is pretty silly IMO. Although others my enjoy detailed discussion on the fire protection issue, for purposes of this thread, please assume they are, if not equal to each other in fire protection, they are both completely satisfactory to me, personally, as far as fire protection goes, so I am not swayed by the relative merits there.

I can't afford a Graffunder B-rate, like the Bishop series, but I could probably swing a Summit Everest, and the Amsec is definitely in the right range. Rough numbers (I think, not too precise) is the Summit Everest is about 2X the Amsec price for similar size, and the Graffunder is 2X the Summit price.

Is an RSC with a B-rating meaningfully more secure than an Amsec BF type wall structure? I know that when looking at typical consumer safes there is not a lot of difference in the different gauge numbers manufacturer's tout (physics says there is some, of course, but it may not be definitive from a security standpoint). But I don't know how an Amsec BF--which I consider meaningfully better protection than other safes with wall thickness measured in gauge--stacks up to B-rate construction. The difference would have to be pretty meaningful to justify a near double in the price.

That's why I'm leaning toward the BF. I know I don't really need TL ratings, but I'd like a seriously tough container as far as RSC goes. If the Summit B-rate is a quantum leap in strength, I'd pay up for it. If not, I really like the complete Amsec BF package for home security.


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March 8, 2010, 04:54 PM
Another possibility to look at JC in PA is in Amsec's 2010 catalogue and that is the CSC 4520.
Someone I know bought one of the CSC's models a couple of years ago for pistols and papers and it seems pretty stout to me.
Although I must say something must be different in the make up of the 4520 because my friends smaller unit weighs almost as much as the new 4520 model.
Obviously something must be missing.

March 8, 2010, 10:49 PM
Thanks for the suggestion, Heeler, but that is way too small a series of safes for my needs. And based on what is not said, I think it's a lesser level of security.

The BF-6636 is probably the Amsec unit I'd aim for, I know that. I'm just looking for the answer to that very specific question posted above.

Although, now that I think about it, I ought to look at the Amsec HS-6743 and price it out against the Summit. I had not looked at that model. In all liklihood, I'm going for massive overkill, but on the other hand, I don't ever plan to move again and it would be a lifetime purchase.

March 8, 2010, 11:10 PM
Wow! Just saw the HS6743 pricing and holy moly! Plus I don't know what weight I can put on my floor. I'm not taking this to the basement, It is in the study next to a foundation wall.

The more I think this through the more I think the larger Amsec BF series is what I should get. But I'd still like to know if the Summit is meaningfully more secure or not.

Lot's to think about when getting these things. Like buying a car. Only more confusing.

March 9, 2010, 07:01 AM
I am very happy with my newly aquired BF 66X36.
Dont over look the Sturdy.
7 gauge outer wall with a 14 gauge inner steel wall.
Supposedly a goood fire insulator as well.
Price is very competetive with the Amsec BF units.

March 9, 2010, 07:05 AM
Yep, I think the Sturdy is a good product, but I have pretty much finished my research Heeler. I'm down to the two I questioned, the BF 6636 and the Summmit Everest, leaning toward the BF. Barring any unforseen new distraction, I'm not looking at anything else any longer.

Glad you have one of those BF models and are happy with it. I think I'll probably end up there.

March 9, 2010, 08:46 AM
I checked out the specs on that Summit Everest and I am impressed to say the least.
And a number of online places has it priced pretty good to boot.
I would consider the Everest far more secure than my BF at repelling a brute force attack in a burglary scenario.
But as I paid 2299.00 for my BF 66X36,which was much cheaper than similiar sized units from Browning,Champion,Liberty,etc.,It's construction being double walled and filled with the dry-light material along with that grand half inch plate steel door I felt dollar for dollar it just plain beat out those other safes in price and security and except for the Browning and Sturdy models it had the benefit of a door that swings out 180 degrees which after owning another safe that had inside hinges is a real plus.
Do let us know JCinPA what your final decision is on selection.
You should have no problems selling your Liberty Lincoln.

March 9, 2010, 11:17 AM
Wow! Just saw the HS6743 pricing and holy moly! Plus I don't know what weight I can put on my floor. I'm not taking this to the basement, It is in the study next to a foundation wall.

I found these URLs helpful in giving rough guidelines:

55 Gal is roughly 625 lbs. 125 Gal. is about 1400 lbs. This is for a raised wooden foundation in most modern homes. Generally concrete slab can hold much more.

At one time I thought of a B-rated safe or stronger safe, but besides the expense, I didn't want to place such a heavy safe on a wood foundation. My personal limit was 1,000 lbs. Other people have their own limits depending on circumstances, floor structure, and risk tolerance.

The more I think this through the more I think the larger Amsec BF series is what I should get. But I'd still like to know if the Summit is meaningfully more secure or not.

From the listed specs, the Summit Everest has a lot more steel than the BF. Meaningful is subjective. IMO, I would place more emphasis in strong door/window hardware, a good neighborhood watch (in a suburban neighborhood), and an alarm system than spending beaucoup $$$ on a safe alone. Of course if you have a high dollar collection, then yes a real safe would be a good investment.

In my specific case, I purchased the BF simply because I had more local installation options from reputable companies, and the price was very hard to beat compared to equivalent safes from Ft. Knox, Browning and even Sturdy.

Good luck on your choice.

March 9, 2010, 01:11 PM
Does steel add security? Absolutely. Will it add security in your particular application? Maybe.

The UL RSC test (which is meaningless in my opinion), tests safes (mostly gun safes) against a big screw driver and short handled hammer. The reason they use these tools in their test is because these are the tools most likely to be carried by a street level burglar. A guy carrying a 6' prybar or long handled sledge hammer would probably draw some attention to himself if he was walking down the street with them.

A 12 gauge safe will withstand these small tools, as will a 10 gauge, 1/4", 1/2" and 1" plate safe. Against these tools, the extra steel isn't going to make much of a difference. If you keep heavier tools in your home, a heavier safe may make more sense.

It is common knowledge that the body is usually the weakest part of a safe. It is also common knowledge that most criminals aren't very bright, and as such, a safe is usually attacked on the door. This is where placement comes into play.

If you can place the safe in a position that restricts access to the body, and bolt the safe to prevent it from being moved, the body thickness isn't as important since a theif can't get to it in the first place. If your safe will be in a position where the body will be exposed, a heavier body may be worth considering. If your safe body will be exposed, try to limit the exposure to the shortest sides as they are the most robust. The back is usually the easiest to get through, then the sides, then the top and bottom.

Locally, we limit safe weight to 1,500 pounds in existing non-slab construction. At 1,500 pounds and above, stairs will also be a limiting factor. Adding steel to safe's body will also start adding a lot of weight.

To touch on the rating issue:

SMNA was the first to issue "ratings" which aren't really ratings. They are really methods of construction that were used by insurance companies to determine risk. These ratings existed in a time when burglary safes were mostly steel plate, because composite safes (as they exist today), didn't really exist then.

A "B Rate" is a safe using up to 1/4" of steel plate in the body, and up to 1/2" of steel plate in the door. Technically any gun safe would meet this definition. When I refer to a B rate, I am strict with the full 1/4" body plate and 1/2" door plate.

A "C Rate" would have up to a 1/2" plate body and 1" plate door, a "E Rate" would have a 1" plate body and 1.5" plate door, and a "F Rate" would have a 1" plate body and a 1.5" laminated plate door consisting of 1" steel and a 1/2" maganese steel.

UL came along at a later date with their burglary ratings. Their entry level burglary rating is a TL-15, which is essentially the same as an E rate. The TL-30 is essentially the same as the F rate.

Although safe companies are technically correct by calling their gun safes B rates, it is a little disingenuous if the safe does not have the full 1/4" body and 1/2" door.

March 9, 2010, 02:51 PM
A1abdj perhaps you can shed some light on Amsec's CSC series safes for me as they now have one called CSC 4520 Executive.
I know someone that has the CSC that is 17"x17"x17" interior dimensions and that thing weighs around 650 pounds.
The new CSC 4520 Executive model which looks a lot more secure than other gun safes,although a smaller gun safe than most,and it certainly has a much higher fire rating only weighs in at 768 pounds.
I even read somewhere that the CSC units are RSC rated.
But that one my friend owns sure looks to be a pretty tough safe to get that low of a security rating.
He told me that the safe place he bought it from told him that it was closer to a TL-15 rating.
Do you know if Amsec has lowered the component quality of these units?
I truely considered buying one like me friends at one time for important papers.

March 9, 2010, 06:01 PM
Thanks, a1abdj. I think I'm overthinking this (I usually do) and the Amsec is the way to go. The Summits get heavy fast, and I really have to think about what I'm trying to protect. It's a lot of guns, but not expensive, collectibles. They are mostly very reasonably priced milsurps and some high-end pistols, but I don't do high dollar collecting.

The other thing is paper protection. My daughter was born overseas on a military base, so has two official birth certs, one from the state dept. My wife has her naturalization papers, I have my military discharge papers. All that stuff and photos I consider valuable I have in a Sentry file on the floor of the safe, so together with the protection the safe offers in addition, I know my papers are pretty secure.

My house is alarmed and programmed to call the police, and I'm not in a big city, so resonse time is pretty good, actually. I don't think a smash and grab guy is going to get into my Liberty Lincoln or the Amsec BF. Although I love the look and spec of the Summit Everest, it is clearly overkill, and I don't know I should be putting 1,550 lbs on the floor.

I need a little more room, and I believe the Amsec BF is a little more secure than the Lincoln (it's an older model with 10 gauge, not their current 11 gauge, not that that's a huge difference), but I like the features. I'll probably sell the Lincoln and order a BF6636 through you, I do value your input here pretty highly.

Probably late this year or early next year. Thanks again for all your input.

March 8, 2013, 08:19 AM
Did you ever get the AMSEC BF6636? If so, can you post some photos? Thanks!

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