Gun Safes. Build? or buy?


January 21, 2003, 12:06 PM
OK, Now that my collection is nearing almost $10K in value, I want to move up to a real safe and get them guns locked up more securley. I currently have a steel cabinet with two lock hasps welded to it that a hack saw could get you into within 10 min. Now I have the abilities to build one. I'm thinking about something about 7' tall and about 5' wide and 2 1/2' deep. I can do this for $1K or less. I'm just looking for more ideas as to the mechanics inside the door. Anyone got photos?
Or should I just keep saving and drop almost $2K for something not as big. I'm usually the kind of guy that starts a project and sticks it on the back burner for a year or five.

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rock jock
January 21, 2003, 12:13 PM
With all due respect, your homemade job is almost certainly not going to have the aesthetics or protection (fire and theft prevention) performance as a professionally produced version. Do yourself a favor, save $1,500 and get a very good safe. BTW, I would recommend a Champion.

January 21, 2003, 12:14 PM
Buy a door and build a safe/vault around it? My father and I discussed something like that a few years ago, but then it got stuck on the back burner...

4v50 Gary
January 21, 2003, 12:16 PM
Buy the door & door frame. Build the rest. You get thicker steel (not the 10 ga sheetmetal stuff), continuous weld (not just weld & bondo), fire insulation (you install your own wonderboard or ceramic plates) and hardwire for dehumidifier, lights and alarm. Wish I had your skills (and space).

January 21, 2003, 12:21 PM
rock jock,
I forgot to mention that I used to be a paint and body man. Asthetics is my cup 'o tea. I can polish a turd like none you have ever seen. and I can select my own steel thickness to go above and beyond a mfg. safe. Four layers of sheetrock on the inside, and you have your fireproofing.

El Rojo
January 21, 2003, 12:28 PM
I plan on expanding my house someday. I have a 1249 square foot hosue and a 12000 square foot parcel on the corner. My front lawn is huge and boy is it fun to mow it. Anyway, plan on someday turning the garage into a living room and building a new garage in that big gap between the current garage and the alley. What I will probably do is have them build a small closet sized cement room with the specifications to put one of them vault doors on it. I mean if you look at the size of your gun safe, then compare that to a small to medium sized closet, that is tons of room. How much does pooring concrete cost? The only real cost is going to be the door.

The only problem I just saw is they are asking between $1500 and $4000 for these things! Still, if I were building a new home, that is what I would have done. Making a good sized vault out of rebar and cement and slapping a door on it is going to be one of the best safes you could have. If you wanted to get a little more creative, you would do it where you could conceal it behind a bookshelf or some other area where not only do they have to try to break into it, they have to find it first.

January 21, 2003, 12:28 PM
What Gary said.

(Now THERE'S a second source of income !:what: )

January 21, 2003, 12:35 PM
It may be called Merced Safe. They will MAKE any size you want for very reasonable prices. And they look nice.

May have to try Merced Information to find them. I was going to have one made when suddenly a guy came into the pawn shop we had and asked if we bought gun safes.

Trying to act nonchalant, I asked how much he wanted for the Browning and that is what I have.

January 21, 2003, 12:39 PM
I keep thinking about the built in vault. the safe is going to be in MY workshop in the basement, which is already 9 inch thick concrete walls. I'd have to build two more walls in the corner out of cement block. Reinforced with rebar and concrete, of course. My only problem would be the ceiling. I'd have to buy steel plates for that so they could not saw through the floor from above. The workshop is 16' X 24" and if I was to take a 5' X 10' area, it would take a chunk out of my only room in the house I could call my own. I would loose some of that area inside, since the wife (and myself) would want to keep photo albums and important documents in there. I have not even run this past the wife. I know she would think I have gone over the edge, considering she never even locks the doors!

January 21, 2003, 12:46 PM
Browning sells vault doors by themselves (as I'm sure other safe manufacturers do also) that you can build around if you don't want to deal with making your own locking system.

For more info on the door build and materials :

rock jock
January 21, 2003, 01:14 PM
Well then, good luck.

I have thought about doing this one day also when I build my dream home, but on the scale of a small room that would act as both a vault and cleaning/reloading area. Triply-reinforced 12-inch thick walls with a dehumidifier, lighting, phone lines, ventilation system and a vent hood with a carbon scrubber. It would double as a tornado shelter.

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