Bolting down the safe


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Caliper_RWVA
November 20, 2010, 11:14 AM
I am safe shopping and have found that at least some manufacturers make their fire-resistant safes such that they can only be bolted to the floor, and not to the wall. Now I can see that a wall-bolt would provide a heat path through the wall of the safe if the wall caught fire, but it seems to me that bolting to the wall would be a more secure method against theft and prevent a burglar rocking the safe to loosen the connection. I am curious to know what everyone thinks about this. Am I giving up security with floor instead of wall bolting?

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hardluk1
November 20, 2010, 11:18 AM
What the diffence> I drilled 2 holes in the back and bolted it to the wall and floor. If heat tranfer is a major concern buy a tube of fire caulk and shoot it around the out side of the hole to seal any fire and place a bit over the bolt heads too.

M1key
November 20, 2010, 12:53 PM
Either way, or both, but bolt it down. I had an unbolted safe stolen. :fire:


M

browningguy
November 20, 2010, 02:00 PM
I believe bolted to the slab is better than to the wall. With my handy little sawzall I can be through the wall in a matter of minutes, bolted to the slab not so much. I'm not sure how the burglar is going to rock my safes, they don't budge at all.

Freedom_fighter_in_IL
November 20, 2010, 06:55 PM
I believe bolted to the slab is better than to the wall. With my handy little sawzall I can be through the wall in a matter of minutes, bolted to the slab not so much. I'm not sure how the burglar is going to rock my safes, they don't budge at all.

Same here. I mean if there is like 6 of them they MIGHT rock mine. Bolting to the wall would actually be much easier to get loose than a floor. Like Brown said. A sawzall and 15 seconds and you can bet they will be unbolted. Mine is also bolted to a concrete slab in the basement. Suffice it to say, it's not going anywhere fast. Someone steals that bugger, they will be earning every dime of whatever they get. #1- close to 2300 pounds unloaded. #2- 2 sets of stairs. #3- Butch and Sundance (My Twin Rotties :) ) #4- Not all my weapons are in my safe and they would more than likely meet the business end of the ones that aren't :)

wrs840
November 20, 2010, 06:59 PM
What's best these days for bolting to a 4" concrete slab floor? Thunderstuds?

Les

Freedom_fighter_in_IL
November 20, 2010, 07:07 PM
I used "lead anchors" and 5/8 all thread with double nuts inside.

Iam2taz
November 20, 2010, 07:38 PM
Four guys could hardly get my safe in the house. (Two of those guys were college linemen.) At this point, it goes with the house when we move. No it is not bolted in, but would take several hours and at least four big guys to get it out of the house.

Yarddog
November 20, 2010, 08:28 PM
RedHeads (WeadgeHeads) 4" Will do the Trick ; )
Y/D

gearjammer711
November 20, 2010, 09:15 PM
Iam2taz If you don't bolt it down, a thief can turn it on its back and get more leverage to pry it open.

Shadow 7D
November 21, 2010, 02:48 AM
You can use self tapping bolts, lead hammer in anchors, epoxy anchors, there are lots of concrete anchoring systems, got to the hardware store and tell the guy you need to bolt down some iron to concrete and need something that won't ever let it move.

Also, consider beefing up the wall, and don't mount it on an exterior wall, there are some pics where thieves just knocked a two holes in the wall, put chains around the safe and ripped it out of the house with a truck.

12131
November 21, 2010, 06:37 AM
seems to me that bolting to the wall would be a more secure method against theft and prevent a burglar rocking the safe to loosen the connection.
Unwarranted concern, really. Have you tried rocking a safe, filled with guns and ammo, that is bolted down on the floor?
And, as mentioned by Freedom_fighter_in_IL, one can saw through that wall in seconds.

hardluk1
November 21, 2010, 09:55 AM
Anyone that thinks it so easy to cut loose from a waii has no carpentry experience. Bolt it to everthing you can. The longer it takes to get out the more chance they have of getting caught or running out of time or supplies. 4- 3 1/2" or 4" wedge anchores or red heads or the most common and easyist to use along with drilling some holes along near the top /rear of the safe at each stud and screw to the wall studs or if lucky like me to a poured concrete block wall. It might take a half hour to cut loose from the wall and have to deal with not just the studs but the sheetrock that tends to dull a sawsall blade like right now but the bottom plates and wires that more than likly run in it. Don't think the bolt holes in the bottom can't be delt with. They are close enough to the edges that a long steel cuting blade in a sawsall will get to them too. So again drill a couple holes in the center bottom area and bolt there too. If someone wants it bad enough and can think clearly they will get the best out.

Dnaltrop
November 22, 2010, 02:51 PM
If you can afford it, get a smaller decoy safe, fill it partway with bricks or cement, then when cured a few handfuls of forks from the Thrift store, keep it somewhere more obvious.

My basement floods, so my small safe is mounted to wood, but it's still really just there to deter the ones in a hurry.

If someone REALLY wants your safe, and you aren't there to stop them, they'll roll it out on steel shot if they have to.

ZCORR Jay
November 22, 2010, 03:59 PM
I'm not a builder but I would prefer to bolt to the floor as mentioned before... a sawzall can do a number on the wall and fast.

You could always just hook up some electricity to it and give the thief a surprise shock.
I'm not being serious about the electric shock idea by the way.

Shadow 7D
November 22, 2010, 08:13 PM
you don't have to be a builder,
you can go to a local lumber yard, or box store like Home Depot, and rent a large drill (just tell them what you are doing) and in an after noon, you can drill as many holes as you like to tie her down nice and snug.

CB900F
November 22, 2010, 08:17 PM
Fella's;

If the unit(s) in question don't meet the U.L. 1 hour fire rating, don't get too concerned with esoteric matters of conduction paths. Most of the RSC's being sold these days are not going to provide protection against a fully involved house fire with or without wall anchors. My personal opinion is that if you feel the need to drill the wall of the RSC & bolt it to the studs, go ahead & do it as long as you bolt the thing to the floor too.

Most U.L. rated safes will have a floor bolt down, usually in the center. Those, you don't want to go drilling the walls for bolt holes. There's no need if you use the floor point and you don't want to compromise the walls in any way.

900F

a1abdj
November 22, 2010, 08:22 PM
If your burglar has a saw to cut your safe out of the wall, he also has a saw that would cut into your safe.

I wouldn't be that concerned about it.

Freedom_fighter_in_IL
November 22, 2010, 08:41 PM
If your burglar has a saw to cut your safe out of the wall, he also has a saw that would cut into your safe.

I wouldn't be that concerned about it.

LOL, now that was just plain funny right there. a1, if they are carrying a saw that could cut through my safe, more power to them for being able to lug the thing around. There is a HUGE difference between heavy gauge steel with firecreate in the middle and then heavy gauge on the inside and a drywall and stud wall. I mean one of them little tin boxes you get at Walmart or Dicks yeah maybe so. But not a safe such as the Cannon sitting in my Basement. 90 minute fire rated at 1200*. I don't believe anyone is getting into that bad boy with some tonka toy saw.

Jed Carter
November 22, 2010, 09:26 PM
Safe bolted to concrete floor in basement, thieves took a steel cable or chain around safe. Using a truck or tractor, pulled the safe end to end of house, up stairway and through brick wall and rear doorway. Saying major damage just does not do it justice. The average to good safes will deter the smash and grap type thief, But a determined and equiped thief or one that has a lot of time, the safe is just an anoyance. That safe being pulled out of a house by a truck, happened in a rural area, no one to see or hear.
1. Hide and bolt down safe, do not put in common areas of home.
2. Tell no one about the safe, not your best friend, you don't know to whom they talk.
3. Get a security system, or have a nosey neighbor close by, preferably both.
4. Spend $, get the biggest thickest heaviest hunk O'steel you can afford.
5. Lie to friends etc that know you have a lot of guns, tell them you rent a storage unit.
6. Rent a storage unit.

btg3
November 22, 2010, 09:35 PM
^wow^

Don't neglect insurance. Some home owner policies go up to $5,000 for firearms. Above that, a rider is needed.

22-rimfire
November 22, 2010, 10:46 PM
You all know that you can place your safe in a closet that has extra fireproofing done to it. Sheet rock is all that is used these days. For real security, the only way to go is to bolt to concrete. I have no concrete except in my garage and I am not placing a safe in my garage which my wife often leaves the door open, sometimes over night. In a real fire, you can forget about your safe and the contents unless you place it in a room that has concrete surrounding it and will support the weight of the house as it falls downward on top of the gun storage area. Rooms like this will often have a moisture problem also.

heeler
November 23, 2010, 12:16 AM
Freedom fighter,I recently viewed a Ft.Knox safe on another firearms forum that got opened up with a 120 volt sawzall.
Think about it.

CB900F
November 23, 2010, 12:27 AM
22-rimfire;

Your statements are pretty much true regarding RSC's. But, nowhere near accurate regarding true safes.

900F

Freedom_fighter_in_IL
November 23, 2010, 12:32 AM
Freedom fighter,I recently viewed a Ft.Knox safe on another firearms forum that got opened up with a 120 volt sawzall.
Think about it.

How many blades and how much time to do it? I know with my old Cannon safe, I lost the combination to it (was new and the wife had a bad habit of moving ANYTHING I sat anywhere). Locksmith got there, said oh hell no, call the company you bought that from. I don't see anyone getting into mine without some serious tools and a lot of time.

22-rimfire
November 23, 2010, 12:56 AM
CB, I don't have any experience with "true safe's" or what would commonly be called a vault.

I cut open a small safe with a reciprocating saw. It was in a repo house. I was to toss the contents. After all that trouble, there was nothing of merit in it. :) I have also seen gun safes that have been cut open.

heeler
November 23, 2010, 12:57 AM
According to the post I read over at the 1911.com forum the guy was on vacation when they hit the place and used several blades.
Since the owner was not there and of course me neither I cant give you a stop watch time but they did and that's for sure.
They opened the side from near top to bottom about eight inches apart or so and just reached right inside there.
I have no idea if the safe was 10 gauge body or 3/16th.
Unless you own a very old Cannon,and even then I doubt it would have more body thickness than 3/16th, the only safe they currently build that is 10 gauge steel is their Traditional series and all others are your run of the mill standard and weak 12 gauge bodied safe.
Does your safe show a date of manufacture?

a1abdj
November 23, 2010, 12:58 AM
How many blades and how much time to do it?

How thick is the steel? Most gun safes are using anywhere from 12 gauge to 3/16", none of which would take a sawzall too terribly long. I have a carbide blade in a circular saw that (according to the manufacturer) can cut 1/4" plate, 6", in 30 seconds. Assuming you have a typical safe that is 30" wide by 26" deep, I'm figuring at about 4 minutes to completely cut your safe in half. Keep in mind that a safe rated at 15 minutes against power tools, using A36 plate, will have a 1" solid body and a 1.5" solid door.

I know with my old Cannon safe, I lost the combination to it (was new and the wife had a bad habit of moving ANYTHING I sat anywhere). Locksmith got there, said oh hell no, call the company you bought that from. I don't see anyone getting into mine without some serious tools and a lot of time.


You would get a similar response from me if you asked me to replace the ignition in a Mercedes. Most locksmiths around here rekey locks and do automotive work. I'm a safe tech, so I don't mess with keys, and only work on safes. Gun safes for me are the easy work. Compared to the other safes I deal with, they are very easy to move, and very easy to open when locked. Lately, I haven't even bothered to carry in the heavier drill with extension cord when I've had to drill a gun safe. I've been using a cordless Dewalt. In many cases it takes me longer to carry my equipment back and forth to the truck than it takes me to open the safe.

Shadow 7D
November 23, 2010, 02:34 AM
aiabdj
I was skimming youtube, the font of ......
saw a run of the mill low end (granite/chinese type) that got drilled for demo and opened, took the guy three whacks and a turn of the handle, and it was done. Made me wonder, what the hell the 'advertised reinforcing plate' was, tin foil?? Also, cordless drill was used.

CB900F
November 23, 2010, 10:15 AM
Fella's;

And now we come to the point where you can understand why I frequently call some of the most popular "safes" on the market "A triumph of advertising over ability".

900F

Caliper_RWVA
November 23, 2010, 02:04 PM
Thanks for the great responses! (as usual) Looks like which side is bolted is less of a concern than other things...

So, based on the above I probably can't afford anything that won't be opened with a Sawzall. Honestly, I am looking right at the border between having a UL security listing or not, but not sure how much weight to put on that little sticker (that seems to cost $400+ :eek:)

Going on the assumption that anyone who really wants in will get in and that any smash and grab will be stopped by any safe with locking bolts, is the UL listing that important? It seems that the UL listing gets you a better lock, but the standard of resisting a five minute attack does not seem that impressive since when I go out of the house, it tends to be for more than five minutes at a time ;)

timfromohio
November 23, 2010, 02:14 PM
Everybody mentioned prying safes open and using saws - I had always assumed a thief would make judicious use of a small torch?

heeler
November 23, 2010, 03:07 PM
I have said this repeatedly in these safe threads and that is...
The kind of person(s) that generally break into your home are usually drug heads or teenagers and they generally are using a small prying instrument to gain entry to your home.
While going through your things they discover your gun safe, which is a large steel box and not easily hidden,and you have it bolted down in a strong point setting that keeps a prying attack to a minimum the chances are they wont get in with the tools they have brought with them.
Even a 12 gauge safe with a fairly rigid door is going to be an effort to enter with the tools they have in their hand.
In the post I related to about the Fort Knox safe being sawzalled,well,they used the owners own sawzall and according to the post had to leave the house to go to a hardware store to get more blades.
The fact that he was on vacation gave them ample time,more than most would have to get this done in the first place.
So dont give these guys that chance by leaving power tools laying around unsecured.
Make them work their butts off just to get the opportunity to steal your shoe laces.

Fwiw my home has been hit three times in 31 years and each time they pryed through a door,ransacked every closet,drawer,and cabinet leaving basically nothing untouched and took whatever was valuable.

Shadow 7D
November 23, 2010, 04:13 PM
Tim, why the hell would a thief run the risk of burning the hell out of the contents (paper-cash burns at about 350F) when, at much less risk to himself, the 'loot' and getting noticed, he can pry it open, hack the back out, or cut it open.

If you are dealing with a REAL safe, that you have INCHES OF HIGH GRADE STEEL then yes torching is an option.

look at youtube, there are lots of amateur and professional videos about how to open a gun "safe"

timfromohio
November 23, 2010, 04:47 PM
I just figured a torch would afford much quicker access - risk/reward thing I suppose. I have not seen any of the youtube videos, was just posting my assumption.

Shadow 7D
November 23, 2010, 06:52 PM
not really, some torches are slower than other methods of cutting, and require more care

plasma cutters, and some other industrial type pretty things from TV, are just that, TV

heeler
November 23, 2010, 07:39 PM
Remember guys,we are talking about residential intrusion,burglary,and these guys are not carrying these items such as torches,sawzalls,sledgehammers,five foot pry bars,to your home unless of course they already know you own a safe and then that is target number one,not your flat screen T.V.,Fender guitar,computer,etc.
Loose lips sink ships and all that jazz.

PH/CIB
November 23, 2010, 10:18 PM
Definitely bolt a safe down, preferably to a concrete floor in the basement. Have a plumber put in one sprinkler head over your safe for additional fire proofing. Have a good alarm system put in with cell phone backup and fire monitoring devises besides motion detectors and glass break sensors and check with your police dept on response time, if they respond quickly with 15 minutes a thief has not much time to work with.

Put a sign on the outside of your safe "WARNING you are storing black powder in the safe!" and then either store powder in the safe or don't store powder in the safe, should give them something to think about if the thief is using a cutting torch or drill or saw that might give off sparks and set off a powder charge.

Shadow 7D
November 23, 2010, 11:46 PM
Actually
I would put a large sign (poster board or larger)
instructing firefighters to keep a hose on the safe as it contains
PROPELLANT POWDERED
Flammable, MAY EXPLODE IF HOT

put explosive on it, and some tweeker will try twice as hard to get in thinking you have C4

Owen Sparks
November 24, 2010, 12:42 AM
The safest safe is hidden so that the bad guys do not know it is there. I looked at a house for sale in my brothers neighborhood once and noticed a recess like a small closet in the poured concrete basement wall. There were 4 bolt anchor holes in the floor and I knew that there was once a safe there. The realtor said that the previous owner had a gun safe and kept a spare refrigerator in front of it. A thief would have to move the refrigerator just to find the safe and then break in through the door as the back, top and sides were totaly inaccessable.

I also saw a "safe" made from an old water heater shell that had a carousell gun rack hidden inside. It even had phoney pipes going into the wall. No thief is going to have time to take your water heater apart.

Dan Forrester
November 25, 2010, 02:48 AM
I used a single ˝” by 4” wedge bolt with fender washer into the concrete to bolt down my Diebold TL 15. The wedge bolt is rated to hold down 1,750 pounds and the weight of the safe is 950 pounds. Add to this the fact that the safe is only about 2 feet high and maybe 1.5’ by 2’ foot print so it’s hard to get leverage on it. Strangely enough the safe which was bought used had no provisions for bolting it down. Anyone here know why? I would think that anyone who bought a TL 15 safe would think enough about security to bolt it down. Apparently Diebold didn’t think this way when they made this safe; supposedly for a Whacovia bank to go inside the main vault. It didn’t bother me, I just drilled a perfectly sized hole for my wedge bolt and tightened it down.

I recently bolted down a safe for my sister and used three 3/8” by 3.5” tapcons with fender washers to bolt down her “Sturdy Safe”.

Anyway, just make sure you bolt your safe down. My friend had his entire safe stolen out of his garage about two years ago. I just helped him move it in there too.

Dan

44 Dan
November 25, 2010, 12:50 PM
My AmSec was bolted to the wall and floor. Two story four bedroom house leveled by catastrophic fire (Ins Co terms). Only thing left standing was the AmSec. The FD used a Backhoe and chain to rip it out of the debris. All contents survived with only some water damage/light rusting. Wished I had a bigger safe after the fire ~ Got one now. Bolt the hell out of it and keep it full.
Good Luck

a1abdj
November 25, 2010, 01:01 PM
My AmSec was bolted to the wall and floor. Two story four bedroom house leveled by catastrophic fire (Ins Co terms). Only thing left standing was the AmSec. The FD used a Backhoe and chain to rip it out of the debris. All contents survived with only some water damage/light rusting.

Dan,

Do you remember the model of the safe that survived? Do you have any photos showing the damage to the safe and/or contents?


I used a single ˝” by 4” wedge bolt with fender washer into the concrete to bolt down my Diebold TL 15. The wedge bolt is rated to hold down 1,750 pounds and the weight of the safe is 950 pounds. Add to this the fact that the safe is only about 2 feet high and maybe 1.5’ by 2’ foot print so it’s hard to get leverage on it. Strangely enough the safe which was bought used had no provisions for bolting it down. Anyone here know why? I would think that anyone who bought a TL 15 safe would think enough about security to bolt it down. Apparently Diebold didn’t think this way when they made this safe; supposedly for a Whacovia bank to go inside the main vault. It didn’t bother me, I just drilled a perfectly sized hole for my wedge bolt and tightened it down.




Most safes 750 pounds and heavier are quite difficult to move. Gun safes are the exception because they are so large you can get plenty of leverage on them. Once you get over that weight, bolt holes aren't very common.

The reason you don't see holes in TL rated safes is because they would fail the test. TL rated safes are only allowed to have one hole (for alarm wires) that is 1/4" or smaller. The only exception to this rule is a TL rated safe with a depository rating.

357phase
November 25, 2010, 09:15 PM
I have an amvault TL-15(1050lbs) and a Hayman magna vault TL-30(1105lbs) that each have a bolt down hole in bottom.Was this a mistake from the manufacurer?Both UL listed.

22-rimfire
November 26, 2010, 01:54 AM
I don't know about you all, but I have tools including serious saws for steel and several reciprocating saws in my garage most of the time. I have cut a hole large enough for an adult to crawl inside a steel UST in about 30 minutes with a couple blades. I don't recall the steel thickness, but it is not thin by any means. A gun safe would be easier in most cases and you go through the side or back, not the front.

a1abdj
November 26, 2010, 01:08 PM
I have an amvault TL-15(1050lbs) and a Hayman magna vault TL-30(1105lbs) that each have a bolt down hole in bottom.Was this a mistake from the manufacurer?Both UL listed.

No. After reviewing the UL standard, I should revise what I said.

I said:

The reason you don't see holes in TL rated safes is because they would fail the test. TL rated safes are only allowed to have one hole (for alarm wires) that is 1/4" or smaller. The only exception to this rule is a TL rated safe with a depository rating.


I should have said that you don't see holes because they could fail. The depository rating is not the only exception. There are other instances in which holes are allowed. Your safes would fall into that "other instances" category.

Reading the UL standards isn't much different than reading some of the small print on a legal agreement sometimes.

I don't know about you all, but I have tools including serious saws for steel and several reciprocating saws in my garage most of the time. I have cut a hole large enough for an adult to crawl inside a steel UST in about 30 minutes with a couple blades. I don't recall the steel thickness, but it is not thin by any means. A gun safe would be easier in most cases and you go through the side or back, not the front.

This is pretty much what it comes down to. Most burglaries are smash and grab, and most do not involve an attack on a safe. But you have to decide what you're wanting to accomplish here. If you're just worried about the guy who's not going to touch the safe anyway, then it doesn't really matter what you're using. I have often suggested a reinforced closet with a dead bolt, as it will accomplish the exact same protection at a much lower price.

However, if you are worried about somebody taking tools to your safe, then you should buy a safe designed to stop a tool attack. This rules out most gun safes.

Jeff F
November 26, 2010, 01:30 PM
(was new and the wife had a bad habit of moving ANYTHING I sat anywhere).

Yea, the mover, I have on of those to!

As to bolting a safe down, I went to the safe place in reno. They sell quality safes. The owner showed me that most all the quality safes do not have any holes in them to bolt them down. Any hole into a safe, even with a bolt filling it will allow heat transfer and diminish the fire rating of the safe.

357phase
November 26, 2010, 05:00 PM
I appreciate your response a1abdj.These little safes are a pain to move around.Only needed one but couldn't pass up the deal I got on the used Amvault.And they are bolted down in the concrete so hopefully a smash and grab want get far with them.Safe's probably worth more than the contents anyway:(

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