Gun safe recommendations


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myrdraal0
September 16, 2010, 08:20 PM
Hey guys!

I've been reading everything I can find on gun safes and I'm having trouble making a final decision. In the last 7 years, I've owned 2 gun safes - and this will be the third. My problem has been that I constantly underestimate the size I need and I keep outgrowing them...

Anyway, this time I'm going with the largest model that I can fit into the house - basically a 72"x40"x28" model. It seems like most manufacturers have a safe in this size range.

Unfortunately, I'm going to have to tear out a door frame to get this in; so, I want to get the best safe I can without completely breaking the bank. I'd like to be in the $3K range, but I can go as high as $5K if the more expensive safe is truly worth the extra money.

Here are the models I'm looking at:
AmSec BF7240 - ~$3900
Fort Knox Executive 7241 - ~$4600
Liberty Presidential 50 - ~$4900
Fort Knox Titan 7241 - $5100

Most of the threads I've read have been on this sight, so I figured I'd post here. Any opinions or suggestions would be highly appreciated!

If you enjoyed reading about "Gun safe recommendations" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
a1abdj
September 17, 2010, 12:44 AM
Compare the construction of the AMSEC to all of the other safes you have mentioned, and then look at the price on top of that, and I think you'll find your answer.

rtpzwms
September 17, 2010, 01:26 AM
You may want to read this (http://www.6mmbr.com/gunsafes.html) before you buy.

Unfortunately, I'm going to have to tear out a door frame to get this in

???? why the safe has a 28" side most doors are 30" wide or larger and 80" tall.....

a1abdj
September 17, 2010, 02:38 AM
You may want to read this before you buy.


I've seen this link posted many times, and it's a good source of good information. It's a source of bad information as well. Although the author had good intentions, his inclusion of information from those he interviewed has allowed good and bad information to be mixed together.

I could go through piece by piece, but will point something out from the first page.

For fire protection, he suggests a UL rating with a 1 hour minimum. I agree, but the biggest problem is that no such gun safe exists. There is currently no gun safe on the market that carries a UL fire rating, so it's impossible to make that recommendation.

The author also goes on to interview a representative from Brown safe in the middle of a discussion on UL rated safes. Brown doesn't built UL rated safes to my knowledge. This would be similar to interviewing Daisy for an article dealing with hunting rifles.

Again, I think it's an honest attempt to educate people, but as with everything else, you have to be able to sort through it all to find out what is and is not good information.

myrdraal0
September 17, 2010, 11:38 AM
I was leaning toward the AmSec, but I was also wondering about the thickness of the steel. Everything I've read has indicated that 11 gauge just isn't thick enough to give any security at all. I know that the AmSec has an external 11ga layer and an internal 16ga layer; but, to me, it doesn't seem like that would be as effective as a single 7 gauge layer of steel.

In the case of the Fort Knox Titan, it has an external 7 gauge layer combined with an internal 10 gauge layer. The other 2 safes I mentioned have a single 7 gauge external layer.

The door on the AmSec seems to have as good or better specs than all of these - so maybe I'm spending too much time thinking about the body.

Is the AmSec body stronger than it looks on paper? In other words, am I wrong that the 2 thinner layers of steel won't be as strong as a single thicker layer?

Also, I can't find even close to the same info about the Fort Knox safes as the other brands. All I have found from users is the occasional reference to how secure they are - and I'm wondering why. Is it because they have so many bolts?

There is a ton of info about the Liberty safes - but it all seems to be spewing out of the company itself. So, based on that info, the Liberty safes look really good. :)

a1abdj
September 17, 2010, 06:27 PM
Is the AmSec body stronger than it looks on paper? In other words, am I wrong that the 2 thinner layers of steel won't be as strong as a single thicker layer?


Yes. Your average gun safe uses gypsum board which offers no structural strength in addition to the steel. The AMSEC has a cast "cement" insulation which does offer structural strength in addition to the steel.

Most people who speak about how secure their gun safes are have never had one broken into, so there's not much actual experience to speak from. Manufacturers are typically just as bad if not worse.

myrdraal0
September 17, 2010, 06:39 PM
???? why the safe has a 28" side most doors are 30" wide or larger and 80" tall.....


The door I'm having a problem with is only 24" wide. Because of that, I've gone smaller than I should have on my previous safes - but this time I figured I'd just tear it out and put in a full size door. I'm seriously considering replacing it with a solid-core door anyway.

myrdraal0
September 17, 2010, 06:45 PM
That is great info about the AmSec and it makes me feel better about going that route. I know these aren't completely theft-proof safes, but I'd like to think it will be enough of an obstacle to protect my guns...

I'm also thinking about ordering online, but a local dealer made it sound like that can be a really bad idea with a safe. Obviously, he isn't impartial. He also wasn't a very big fan of AmSec safes, although he does sell them - which is what got me looking at other brands.

Has anyone else bought a large safe like this online and then moved it in themselves - or is it better to just stick with a local dealer and pay more?

adirondack
September 17, 2010, 09:22 PM
myrdraal0,

In that price range you might want to take a look at Sturdy safe. They are a great company to deal with and with a few customized options, you'll get a better safe for the money especially for fire protection.

http://www.sturdysafe.com/model4824-6.htm

a1abdj
September 17, 2010, 10:28 PM
If fire protection isn't at the top of your list, the Sturdy is a good option. They use heavier gauge steel for the bodies of their safes as well. Without the fire lining, they are also priced right.

Although the bodies of safes are the weakest, the door is the most often attacked. The construction of the door is more important than that of the body when it comes to security.

Is your local dealer a real safe company or just a guy who sells gun safes? If he's a real safe company, then I would listen to what he has to say. If he's just some guy selling gun safes then buying from him won't be any worse than buying online.

If you haven't visited my site yet, I have the AMSECs and a private label that's built even heavier listed under the gun safe section.

adirondack
September 18, 2010, 12:38 AM
Well I agree with everything that a1abdj said except for the part about the fire protection. If fire protection is a top concern, Sturdy Safe's design and use of materials is far superior to the rest on the list. In fact, as calculated on a previous thread, probably around 2 1/2 times better than what the AMSEC BF series offers.

a1abdj
September 18, 2010, 01:56 AM
In fact, as calculated on a previous thread, probably around 2 1/2 times better than what the AMSEC BF series offers.


I don't know who's doing the calculations, or what they are basing those calcuations on, but UL is certainly sets the standard when it comes to fire resistant safes.

Once somebody shows me one, yes, just one safe with a UL fire certification using ceramics as its primary insulation, then I'll start to believe it's as effective as what a minority of people say it is.

The truth is there are thousands of safes with UL fire certifications that use cast insulations, and zero that use ceramics. That should say something.

Vitrophyre
September 18, 2010, 04:32 AM
If you go w fort knox get the Ivory

Brown Safe
September 18, 2010, 04:49 PM
Hey Guys,

I'm new to the forum, just saw the post and decided to provide some information.

Brown Safe does manufacture TL-15 and TL-30 rated gun safes that offer both fire and burglary protection. These would be our E-rated, E-COM or F-rated and F-COM safes. Most fire/gun safes have an inferior construction, lacking solid steel which provides little to no burglary protection. In addtion, few manufacturers use a concrete amalgamate substance for their fire protection, which provides the highest level of fire protection as well as additional burglary protection.

Takea look at this video if you have a moment: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nBhOjWHbD6M&feature=player_embedded

Here is what to look for when purchasing a safe, even if you don't buy a Brown Safe, this will help you make an educated safe purchase. We like to provide our clients with as much information as possible to make the right choice: http://www.brownsafe.com/categories/faq/faq.htm

Here is a link to our single and double door weapon/gun safes: http://www.brownsafe.com/categories/commercial_gun_safes/gun_safes.htm

Here is a link to our more elegant and luxurious weapon/jewelry safes: http://www.brownsafe.com/categories/estate_gun_safes/estate_gun_safes.html

Please call or e-mail me anytime with questions.

Matt Goldstein
Brown Safe Manufactuirng
760-233-2293
matt@brownsafe.com

a1abdj
September 18, 2010, 07:08 PM
Brown Safe does manufacture TL-15 and TL-30 rated gun safes that offer both fire and burglary protection. These would be our E-rated, E-COM or F-rated and F-COM safes.

Matt,

Do those E and F rated safes carry a UL label?

I should point out there is a difference. A big difference when an insurance company is involved. Although a steel plate E rate safe is pretty much the same as a TL-15, and a F rate safe is pretty much the same as a TL-30, they are not the same. One has a UL burglary rating, and the other does not. No UL tag = No UL burglary rating.

Not a huge deal for this discussion since these safes are much heavier than what the OP is looking at, but just figured I'd point it out in case anybody else runs across it.

leadcounsel
September 18, 2010, 09:18 PM
Do a search for Sturdy. Proud and happy owner here.

myrdraal0
September 19, 2010, 08:53 PM
Wow guys!

I just got back from dove hunting and was expecting maybe one or two responses. I suspect it will take a bit to digest the newly provided info.

As far as the Sturdy safes go, I would seriously consider them if they had a safe in the same size as the BF7240. Unfortunately, based on the info on their website, they just don't have anything that quite fits the size I'm looking for.

oneounceload
September 20, 2010, 10:50 AM
Just another suggestion - while you're looking at new, check with your local locksmith that sells safes for a used one someone traded in on an upgrade - you might be able to find more for your money

myrdraal0
September 20, 2010, 04:16 PM
I think I'm finally settling on the AmSec BF7240, but I do have a couple more questions for anyone who has access to one:

The specs say this safe is 26" deep, does that mean it will fit through a 26" opening (if not, how about 27.5")?

Is the safe door removable?


I'm just trying to figure out how much I'm going to have to widen this doorway in order to get the safe in. If possible, I'd like to move the safe in and then install a new 24" doorway instead of installing a wider door; but, if the safe ends up needing a 30" opening, I'll probably just end up framing a new doorway.

Brown Safe
September 20, 2010, 07:57 PM
Yes, all our TL-15 and TL-30 residential and commercial safes have the UL Label. We don't typically install them on the luxury safes as they are rather unpleasant looking, we can however put them on if requested.

My 7228 would be the closest size I have to the 7240 AmSec.

Our safe doors are all on ball and roller hinges and do come off with the door at 90 degrees.

Thanks,

Matt Goldstein
Brown Safe Manufactuirng
760-233-2293
matt@brownsafe.com

Guns and more
September 20, 2010, 09:44 PM
My safe fit through a interior door by 1/4" with the door off the hinges (house), and the handle off the safe.

But........if this is your third, and you need big, maybe you should consider one of the companies that sells safe DOORS, and make a safe room! Now that's the ticket.

myrdraal0
September 21, 2010, 11:33 AM
Seriously, I'd love to make a safe room! Although, I doubt the wife would share my enthusiasm.:confused:

Brown Safe
September 21, 2010, 09:37 PM
If you're interested, here are links to information about our vault doors.

Just like our safes, we start with burglary protection first and add fire protection as an option. We offer many levels of protection including doors constructed with ballistic armor plate and copper inserts.

We have our GSA contract and build vault doors for the government as well. Let me know if you have any questions.

Overview: http://www.brownsafe.com/categories/estate_vault_doors/vault_doors.htm

Models and pricing: http://www.brownsafe.com/features_standard_vaults/Estate_Vault_sizes.html

Protection: http://www.brownsafe.com/features_standard_vaults/protection.html

Lock Type: http://www.brownsafe.com/features_standard_vaults/lock_type.html

Optional Features: http://www.brownsafe.com/features_standard_vaults/optional_features.html

In addition to building your vault door, we will coordinate all delivery and inside installation of your unit, ensuring a pleasant experience.

Thanks,

Matt

a1abdj
September 22, 2010, 03:05 PM
So I'm assuming you're just here to sell safes?

myrdraal0
September 22, 2010, 07:52 PM
Well, I was fully decided on the AmSec, so I called a couple of local dealers this morning to tell them I wasn't going to buy from them. One of them is trying to get a new business going and he ended up knocking over $700 off the price he quoted me before on a Liberty Presidential 50 - so now I think I'm going to go that route.

Since both safes are about the same price, it seems like the Liberty has a thicker body and the AmSec has a thicker hard-plate in the door. The Liberty does add an additional ball-bearing hard-plate in front of the lock, but I'm not completely sure how effective that really is. The Liberty also adds a lot more bolts - but that just helps compensate for the thinner hard-plate in my opinion.

The Liberty also has a lot higher fire rating - although I realize that these ratings aren't directly comparable, and the Liberty uses fire board instead of DryLight.

Overall, I suspect they both offer very comparable security; so, being about the same price, I think the Liberty has a nicer interior and a better warranty.


Now, I guess it's time to start tearing out this doorway... :eek:

adirondack
September 22, 2010, 08:26 PM
myrdaal0,

Doesn't it make you wonder how that dealer could so quickly knock off $700 from the price. You get what you pay for and even with the discount the AMSEC is a better value than the Liberty IMO.

myrdraal0
September 22, 2010, 08:45 PM
Why would it be a better value?

It seems like the upgrade from 11ga to 7ga steel in the Liberty body is a pretty big difference.

The AmSec door has more steel, but not by that much. It has a 1/2" steel plate, followed by 1" of DryLight and a 16ga skin. The Liberty has a 7ga shell, followed by 2 layers of fire board and then a 1/4" steel plate. The Liberty also includes an additional ball bearing hard-plate in front of the lock and more than twice as many bolts (which seems like it would help compensate for the thinner hard-plate).

I can still change my mind, but I'm just not seeing why the AmSec would be a better safe.

I'm with you on the knocking $700 off the price. I wasn't even considering the Liberty safe until he did that.

a1abdj
September 22, 2010, 11:07 PM
It seems like the upgrade from 11ga to 7ga steel in the Liberty body is a pretty big difference

It sounds impressive, but let's throw some numbers out there.

7 gauge steel is .1793" thick. The AMSEC uses an 11 gauge (.1196")outer wall with either a 14 gauge (.0747") or 16 gauge (.0598") inner wall depending on model/year. Going with the thinner 16 gauge wall, you have a cumulative thickness of .1794", which is actually more steel than the Liberty by .0001".

As far as the door, the AMSEC has .5000" solid plate door, not counting hard plate. The Liberty is using .1793" for it's outer skin, with a .2500" inner plate for a total of .4293".

Hard plate doesn't do much to slow your average burglar, because most of them aren't drilling safes. I can drill through Liberty's ball bearing plate just as fast as I can drill through AMSEC's hardened steel plate. In this case I'll call it a draw.

The AMSEC has more steel in the body, and more steel in the door. In addition to the steel, the AMSEC uses a cast insulation which provides structural reinforcement (burglary resistance) and real fire protection. Gypsum board provides no structural reinforcement, and limited fire protection.

Door bolts can be an interesting discussion. Most people don't know that the the part of the door that holds the bolts is more important than the bolts themselves. Of course that's a whole other discussion.

Door bolts are important only when the door or frame are at risk of flexing. Assuming you have two solid surfaces, even a single small bolt would hold a door shut. Even small 1/2" diameter bolts would have individual shear strength into the thousands of pounds each. The bolt guides, door, or door frame of a gun safe would give way long before a bolt would sheer.

This is why is is more important to have additional bolts on safes with a higher risk of flexing (lighter strength doors and bodies). The bolts on the AMSEC and the Liberty are both sufficient to prevent a pry attack using common hand tools for a reasonable amount of time.

Dangerousdan
September 23, 2010, 12:04 AM
I have the Liberty and I feel that this is the way to go. If you look around you will find a better price. I'm sure.

myrdraal0
September 23, 2010, 11:28 AM
Honestly, I was never saying that the Liberty Presidential was better than the AmSec. My feeling is that a burgler is going to spend pretty much the same time breaking into either one of them.

I've been talking to safe dealers and locksmiths like crazy and what I've heard over and over is that the AmSec is a "better value" than the Liberty Presidential - but, putting price aside, they are in the same class. I've also heard that many people make the mistake of comparing the Liberty Lincoln safes with the AmSec BF series - and the AmSec is better than the Lincoln.

The comparisons you made even seem to indicate that these are very similar safes.

As far as using fireboard instead of DryLight, the AmSec SF series safes also use fireboard and seem to undergo a similar rating procedure as the BF series (although the times aren't as long). Since I could walk to the fire dept from my house, I suspect either the Liberty or AmSec will be fine for fire protection.

Having said all that, it seems like I could happily pick either one if they are about the same price.

When it boils down to it, I would choose the Liberty based on these reasons:
1) The Liberty interior seems like it will fit my needs better.
2) I've heard from a couple of different AmSec dealers that they've had lots of problems with AmSec lately. When I combine their stories with the lower quality of the lock on the last AmSec safe I got, I wonder if they are having general quality issues right now.

The main thing I prefer about the AmSec is the external hinges, but my space is so narrow that I'm not sure it would matter much.

Guns and more
September 23, 2010, 01:57 PM
So I'm assuming you're just here to sell safes?
Talk about the kettle calling the pot black.

It's all good information. It's also easy to get bogged down in minutia. Every safe manufacturer has things he'd rather you not know.
Every competitor focuses on those.
If I had to do it over, I think I'd get the same safe I have now. Factoring in cost, volume, appearance, ease of use. (Champion)
Would I like a high end safe? Sure, but if I waited until I could afford one, and had my stuff stolen, I'd regret the wait.

a1abdj
September 23, 2010, 02:10 PM
Talk about the kettle calling the pot black.

With all due respect. I have over 1,000 posts here, the majority of which are answering safe related questions as they pertain to all brands. There is a big difference between what I'm doing and what Brown is doing.

Brown is coming in, saying "this is what we sell" and "click here to buy our stuff".

You don't see that in my posts. In fact, it's not unusual at all for me to refer somebody to a local dealer, or even suggest a product that I don't even sell. Most people don't even realize that I'm a dealer, since I'm not here to sell safes.

myrdraal0
September 23, 2010, 03:14 PM
a1abdj, I do appreciate the info you've provided on this thread and others. I realize you're selling safes, but it seems like you have an honest desire to educate people at the same time.

Not to be petty, but it does seem like Brown is taking a different approach. Those posts seem to be advertising and some of the info provided hasn't been relevant to the thread (like mentioning vault doors).

btn
September 23, 2010, 06:46 PM
7 gauge steel is .1793" thick. The AMSEC uses an 11 gauge (.1196")outer wall with either a 14 gauge (.0747") or 16 gauge (.0598") inner wall depending on model/year. Going with the thinner 16 gauge wall, you have a cumulative thickness of .1794", which is actually more steel than the Liberty by .0001".


a1abdj Doesn't the Liberty have an inner wall? Why wouldn't you include that? Also aren't all the current AMSEC's using a 16 gauge inner wall?

As for Brown their first and second post was correcting some misinformation that was stated in this thread, I don't think you can blame them for that. Their third post was telling you about some of their options, much like a1bdj does with the AMSECs he sells.

myrdraal0
September 23, 2010, 08:01 PM
As for Brown their first and second post was correcting some misinformation that was stated in this thread, I don't think you can blame them for that. Their third post was telling you about some of their options, much like a1bdj does with the AMSECs he sells.

You're right, I shouldn't have knocked the info he provided. I guess that third post caught me as a bit out of place, and that's the one I remembered.

a1abdj
September 23, 2010, 09:18 PM
a1abdj Doesn't the Liberty have an inner wall? Why wouldn't you include that?

I don't believe it does. I'm fairly sure it's simply a 7 gauge outer wall with gypsum board glued to it. Many of the Liberty models simply wrap the innermost sheet of gypsum with fabric for the interior. The Presidental may have some sort of wood. I will look at one of the Presidentials tomorrow and let you know for sure.

Also aren't all the current AMSEC's using a 16 gauge inner wall?


They may be, although 14 gauge has also been used. Truthfully, both are very thin, so there's not a huge difference from one to the other.

As for Brown their first and second post was correcting some misinformation that was stated in this thread, I don't think you can blame them for that. Their third post was telling you about some of their options, much like a1bdj does with the AMSECs he sells.

I also asked them a question, and am glad they responded (although I haven't verified the information).

If you google around a bit, you can see some of these companies that make very few posts here (to sell their products) are doing it on multiple forums. It's a modern day form of marketing, and by adding links, is a way to rank higher on search engines.

Although I usually only post in safe related threads, I do own several firearms, and do read the other portions of the forums. In fact, I'm a member here, at thefiringline, and on Sigforum. I'm not out locating gun forums to advertise my gun safes. In fact, gun safes are a very small percentage of my business.

Win1892
September 23, 2010, 09:23 PM
I know that my National Security is a better built unit than my Browning. I also know anything can be penetrated with enough time, skill, and resolve. My safes have ergonomic interiors, are bolted down in a difficult spot, are behind a solid core door, live within a well designed and implemented security system with heat and smoke sensors, with cellular backup. My house is on a cul-de-sac with overprotective retired people living all around. I live within city limits with rapid fire and burglary response.

I honestly think a home invasion is my bigger threat. I think most of us are prepared for that.

myrdraal0
September 23, 2010, 09:24 PM
When the local dealer dropped his price on the Presidential, I called Liberty to verify the specs. They said there is only one 7ga outer layer on the safe body.

They were actually pretty helpful and answered the phone quickly.

a1abdj
September 23, 2010, 11:11 PM
I know that my National Security is a better built unit than my Browning.

National Security built very well made gun safes. Liberty bought them, and for a short while continued to build them to the same specs. As time went on, they started building them lighter.

myrdraal0
September 23, 2010, 11:25 PM
Is it a trend to build safes lighter?

I noticed that the BF7240 was built with an outer layer of 10ga and an inner layer of 14ga - then they switched to 11ga/16ga. My existing gun safe has a 1/4" body, but it seems like the thickest gun safes around now (without spending big bucks) are only 7ga.

I suspect it's because of the price of steel.

Win1892
September 24, 2010, 12:32 AM
My National Security had a problem about 5 years ago, after Liberty had bought them. A nut came off a threaded stud in the door and the bottom bolt rack came loose and dropped into locked position. Liberty sent a safe technician to my house who drilled into the side, through the door and using an optical unit to guide him, lifted the bolt rack and opened the safe. He even filled the drilled holes and had the appropriate paint for touch up. All in warranty.
Kudos to Liberty for that.

a1abdj
September 24, 2010, 01:10 AM
Is it a trend to build safes lighter?


It's not just safes, it's all products. Manufacturers build a product and set a price. As the markets change and that product become more expensive to produce the manufacturer has two options. They can raise the price, or lower their cost to maintain their profit margin. Although prices have gone up, the amount of steel used in safes has gone down to help offset the additional cost of production. This is the same reason you can no longer buy a gallon of ice cream at the store.

This is one of the reasons that composite burglary safes have become more common than steel plate safes. Steel is heavier and cost more. Composites are just as strong, lighter, and cost less to manufacture.

but it seems like the thickest gun safes around now (without spending big bucks) are only 7ga.

I know where there are gun safes that have cumulative 1/4" bodies and 1/2" doors selling in the $1,700 range. ;)

He even filled the drilled holes and had the appropriate paint for touch up. All in warranty.
Kudos to Liberty for that.


I do warranty work for Liberty, and will attest that they have very good customer service. Much better than some competitors that claim theirs is the best.

Brown Safe
September 24, 2010, 04:21 PM
Hey guys... some thoughts...

My purpose of the initial post was to clear up the information that was posted about Brown Safe and inform all users that we do manufacture TL-15 and TL-30 rated safes. Subsequent posts were to help educate all users on what to look for when purchasing a safe and provide options that we offer.

I posted the information about vault doors after the previous user/post inquired about a safe room. We supply our estate vault doors for many commercial and residential safe rooms and do build GSA vault doors for the government. Again, I was trying to be informative and show these doors as an option if the safe room was the chosen route.

Would I like to sell some safes on the forum, of course! Is that my soul purpose of posting and why I signed up, not at all. Bottom line is our safes are not for everyone and are typically on the higher price point of what you find out there. As someone noted, you do get what you pay for when it comes to safes. At Brown Safe, we pride ourselves in manufacturing the best safes available on the market today and don't compromise on anything we do. In addition we provide all safe buyers with the tools needed to make an educated safe purchase which is the link I've provided: http://www.brownsafe.com/categories/faq/faq.htm

Anyone on the forum can use me as a resource and call or e-mail anytime, I would be happy to discuss any questions you have about any safes, not just ours.

Have a great weekend!

Matt Goldstein
Brown Safe
matt@brownsafe.com
760-233-2293

myrdraal0
September 24, 2010, 04:51 PM
Those look like some serious safes you have there. If I ever move (and I hope I don't), then I may look into one of your vault doors or double-door safes. :)

Brown Safe
September 27, 2010, 07:22 PM
Thanks, we appreciate the feedback. We pride ourselves in building great products, let me know if you ever need anything!

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