Liberty vs. Browning (safe dealers help!)


February 14, 2013, 11:02 PM
Looking to add another safe, and I've narrowed it down between a Liberty Presidential 50 or a Browning PP63.

The local dealer in Bloomington can't deliver a Liberty that big, the Browning he can have drop shipped but there's no way in hell I can get that in by myself. So I'm also looking for a different local dealer to use in Central IL. :)

Anyway what I'm looking for is advantages / disadvantages to the two designs. The Liberty has slightly higher fire protection than the browning, but the browning holds more guns. :)

The rest of the stuff I really don't understand. Browning uses a lot of jargon on their site. (Uniforce, omni barrier, blah, bunch of blah marketing crap, just give me the damn specifications and spare me the invented terminology!)

So, overall, given the price range of these safes, which is going to be more secure from intruders, more protective if a fire happens, and which is REALLY going to hold the most guns?

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February 15, 2013, 08:27 AM
Keep looking is my answer.
Of the two gun safes you have mentioned they both use 7 gauge or 3/16th of an inch if you want it in fractions for the safes body which is a good thing.
They both use those built up "refrigerator" style doors and of the two Browning has yet given me any answers on just how much steel is in their door.
At least the Browning uses outsides hinges which enables the user to open the door a full 180 degrees.
As far as the jargon Browning uses what they are talking about in a nutshell is their terminology for the lock protection,bolt work reinforcement etc.
Nothing special as most other gun safes that are in the higher end class use something very similiar.
As far as security from theft goes they are probably close to the same with a slight edge going to the Liberty due to a known door thickness(7 gauge outer skin backed up by a rear 1/4 plate steel,who the hell even knows with the Browning) and they do have a little better locking mechanism than the Browning,not to be confused with the lock itself as they both use a S&G combination lock standard.
I can't see either one being better than the other on fire protection.

There are tons of info on this site about gunsafes.
Research heavily before you commit.

February 15, 2013, 12:07 PM
Check out and see what you think. The door on it puts 1/2" steel plate on the front of the door, instead of the refrigerator-style doors the others you mentioned have. Steel that doesn't protect the lockwork is useless, IMHO.

I went to the local Liberty dealer, and he also had a Browning and a couple of Summit Denalis. I compared all three, and the Denali 60 was my choice. As an added bonus, it cost less than a smaller Liberty Presidential.

February 15, 2013, 12:45 PM
So, the Summit safes are much stronger?

February 15, 2013, 12:48 PM
don't forget Fort Knox

February 15, 2013, 12:48 PM
Ugh. According to their map, the closest Summit dealer appears to be two states away. (I'm in IL)

That's a problem.

February 15, 2013, 01:12 PM
Oh wow, Fort Knox has AR500 steel options. :)

February 15, 2013, 01:18 PM
Oh my... those are also very EXPENSIVE.


February 15, 2013, 02:33 PM
Ugh. According to their map, the closest Summit dealer appears to be two states away. (I'm in IL)

That's a problem.
No, those are distributors. Call a couple closest to you and see if they have local dealers.

February 15, 2013, 02:35 PM
in the world of safes, you generally get what you pay for. security is not cheap. set a budget, and set some priorities. although, you say this will not be your first safe purchase, so you probably already knew that.

as for comparisons, i'd say they're about equal. given that, i'd go with the browning and its external hinges, just for convenience.

February 15, 2013, 02:56 PM
in the world of safes, you generally get what you pay for. security is not cheap. set a budget, and set some priorities. although, you say this will not be your first safe purchase, so you probably already knew that.

as for comparisons, i'd say they're about equal. given that, i'd go with the browning and its external hinges, just for convenience.
Somewhat true, but there are major differences among safes in the $4500 range. Some are built like safes, some like refridgerators. A layer of 1/8" outside with a 1/16" liner is marketed as "3/16" total steel walls" and doesn't resist cutting as well as a single 3/16" plate.

If you can peel the outer layer and reach the lockwork, it's GAME OVER. If the doorframe is weak, it doesn't matter how strong the door is. If the door is 6" thick but made of thin materials, a door 2" thick made of better materials is a better choice.

All that advertising isn't free - it's included with every safe the company sells. I never would have found Summit or Sturdy without this forum, and both ended up on my short list. In the price range I was looking at, they were the best constructed. There were far inferior safes for more money - but they sure had glossy brochures!

February 15, 2013, 04:37 PM
What price range do Summit Denali's run for? They don't have prices listed.

February 15, 2013, 08:17 PM
About $2800.00 for the smallest with gloss paint.

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February 15, 2013, 09:10 PM
Of the two you list, I'd toss the Liberty right out of consideration because of the internal hinges, especially on a safe of that size and heavy door. If the Liberty doesn't have a floor flush with the bottom of the door opening, that's another con IMHO. I believe the Liberty's door surface is flush/even with the outer door frame and not recessed - third strike. The Browning at least doesn't have any of those negatives. They both use layers of fireboard/gypsum as an "insulator" - strikes against both of them in my book.

Since you've already noted (and blown off) all the confusing marketing jargon, no need to point that out any further. Continue to ignore it and concentrate on the basics.

I recently bought a 3627-6 insulated Sturdy Safe and am VERY pleased. If you'd like to read my reasons for choosing a Sturdy over so many others, let me know and I'll post them, but I don't want to threadjack uninvited and sound like a sales pitch. At least compare some other brands besides the Liberty to the Browning before making a decision. FWIW, AMSEC ran a very close second to Sturdy in my final decision.

February 15, 2013, 10:03 PM
By all means, tell me about the Sturdy. Summit looks nice, and I like the way their presentation is on their website, but the closest dealer they list is in Ohio, and when I called them, it was a gun shop, they weren't really interested in helping me (being two states away..). Closest dealer for Fort Knox is over 2 hours away. But, as mentioned, they're damned expensive and I can't see any reason WHY they'd be so much more expensive.

So, whatever I choose, it appears it'll be an internet order, sight unseen, with curbside delivery. I can round up some sturdy friends. They are all short on one caliber of ammo or another, so payment will be easy to work out.. ;)

PS I don't even care about a paint job.

February 15, 2013, 10:41 PM
Research Trent and dont rush.

Jim K
February 15, 2013, 11:23 PM
If you will have trouble getting a safe into an area (weak stairs, narrow doors, etc.) consider a modular safe, like Zanotti, which can be assembled in place. The pieces are not too heavy to be manipulated by one strong man or two moderately strong people.

The big drawback is that due to the modular construction, they have no fire-resistance, but then some safes that claim to be fireproof or fire resistant aren't.


February 16, 2013, 12:16 AM
No stairs to get through, sliding glass door 0-grade in the basement. The main problem of engineering I face is rolling it around the back of the house. The back yard has a slight grade to it (5-10 degrees), which will tilt the safe sideways as it's moved. There's not enough room for a truck to pull up back there. So I'll have to move this thing about 100 yards. The first half of that is paved, the last 50 yards ... will be interesting. And somewhat frightening.

I have a feeling if I have a 2000+ pound safe fall over sideways while rolling it through the back yard, I'm not going to get it back up without some SERIOUS engineering..

On the bright side, the chances of someone ever getting that thing out of here in a heist (without half my neighbors opening fire on them while they try to wrestle it around in my yard), are slim to none, even if they manage to somehow get it detached from the concrete slab it'll be bolted to. I already know before purchasing it, that if I ever sell the house, the safe will be part of the deal!

February 16, 2013, 12:43 AM

Buy a couple of sticks of Schedule 80 1/2 inch PVC, and cut into sticks a little longer than the depth of your safe. You should have around 15 to 20 sticks.

If you can tip the safe back and get a few of these under the safe, you can roll it like you won't believe on any hard surface, including plywood. Just lay down several sheets of plywood and keep moving the plywood and PVC across the ground.

You can also pull the safe around on grass while upright on a piece of plywood like a sled if you can attach a cable to the plywood and something like a pickup. Just go slow and take your time.

February 16, 2013, 01:18 AM
Trent (funny, that's my name, too) - Since there is no dealer in your area, you might want to call Summit and see what they'd drop-ship one to you for. Mine was ~ $600 less than the big Liberty Presidential in the textured gray that my wife wanted. The Denali 60 is also bigger than the Liberty.

I would rent a forklift or a tractor with loader forks that will handle a ton of weight. Use a heavy strap to lash it to the mast, keep it low, and go slow. My D60 weight 1700 lbs empty. You will also need a pallet jack and a couple of strong helpers.

Mine was delivered by a three-man crew with a liftgate truck and two pallet jacks. They loaded it on a pallet jack and rolled it around the house on the concrete driveways, then passed it from one pallet jack to the other across the threshold to avoid damage.

Sturdy makes a good safe, and makes them in Fresno, about 100 miles north of my home. It's an oddball design, but not the only one I've seen. Liberty makes one with the offset handle, too. I considered buying a Sturdy and hauling it home myself, but I liked the Summit better. The dealer charged $250 to deliver, install, and bolt it down - which I consider a bargain.

Mine was $4399 + tax and delivery. It's 72x50x27" , 8" wider than the 50 cu ft Presidential. Your pricing may be different on both.

February 16, 2013, 01:30 AM
Thanks for the tips, guys!

At this point I'm starting to lean towards a Denali. Sure wish there was one closer than 2 states away for me to look at. :(

February 16, 2013, 11:16 AM
There are online dealers of summit safes that have a reasonable delivery price.


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February 16, 2013, 01:11 PM

Ok, since you asked, I started out wanting to keep the investment for a safe to @ $2500 or less, but finally went up to $3000 to get a larger size (and I'm glad I did). I've been looking at safes for years but have never been completely satisfied with what I've seen at countless gun shows, farm shows, state fairs, big box stores, gun/safe shops, etc. Came darn close a time or two, but never parted with the funds. My reasons for finally choosing a Sturdy 3627-6 with firelining , and being very satisfied once receiving it, in no particular order:

- External hinges were a must, along with the heaviest gauge body I could find in my price range. Most other safes I looked at were no more than 10 gauge (majority were 11 and less), the Sturdy is 7. For more $$$ I could have requested even heavier gauge for the body but I was already pushing my $$ limit hard.

- Wanted a plate steel door recessed into the frame. Also wanted as small a gap as possible around the door edge and frame to minimze the opportunity to pound in a wedge or prybar. Every safe I've looked at had varying gaps of up to a 1/4” and maybe wider. On the Sturdy, I can just slip a folded over piece of notepaper between the door edge and frame on the locking bolt side, and double-folded on the remaining three. That's tight. The door edge is very slightly beveled to allow the door to open/close with that tight a clearance.

- Sturdy makes an additional bend on the inside of the door frame that many other manufacturers don't do (at least I've seen very few). This means the bolts are engaging/contacting on both a bend and a flat face, instead of just the edge of the body after the last bend - more contact area per bolt on the door frame when locked.

- The simplified and robust linkage design. Sturdy has moving bolts only on the opening side of the door, none on top or bottom, and fixed on the hinge side (like many others). The handle and lock are offset to the side in-line with the linkage and bolts. Far far fewer pins, cables, arms, bars, links, etc to have potentially bind up, slip, break, shear off, come loose, whatever leaving you with a 1000 lb+ paperweight holding your guns hostage. Just search the archives and other sites for the myriad of linkage problems others have encountered. My boss recently got locked out of his Bass Pro safe when a pin let loose in the handle. Fortunately, after numerous calls to the manufacturer, figuring out which linkage version he actually had, parts going through the mail, etc he was able to get it back working without a locksmith/safe specialist. He was lucky. If you don't have the complicated/complex linkage, you don't risk the problems. Also, the long locking bolts are supported in three places when locked down - against the extra bend and flat on the door frame and the two places where the bolts extend through each side of the thick housing covering the linkage. Finally, the linkage is very smooth in operation. One consistently inconsistent thing about all those safes I've looked at was the feel of the linkage in operation. Some were downright gnarly and very rough/grinding/almost binding up, while many others felt very sloppy, clunky, and loose. Far too many felt like a lockout waiting to happen.

- The door on the Sturdy pulls down tight when locked down - there is a very very slight shift that can be sensed when you pull back and forth on the handle, but I sure can't see it - it may just be the slight play in the linkage necessary for it to function. Virtually all other safes I've looked at have had varying amounts of slop with the door closed and locked, some not real bad, but too many were "HOLY CRAP!". How do you get something unstuck/broken off/busted into? You get it moving. More slop = more movement = a better chance to break into it.

- Sturdy uses a combination of high temp ceramic wool and glass insulation blankets to fireline their safes. Yes, firelining is an extremely volatile subject for gun safe discussion, but I take a simple approach to it. I believe that a product designed to be used as an insulator is a better option than a product that was designed to temporarily retard the spread of fire on walls in a building. Does Sturdy proclaim "X degrees protection for Y hours" documented by some little known third party (and definitely not U.L.) test lab using a proprietary procedure? No. Sturdy got together with the local FD and Arson folks to test various combinations of materials during training burn-downs until they settled on their chosen combination. Ultimately, hot enough for long enough is going to heat up and destroy anything contained in a thick steel box regardless of the insulator used, but I'd rather bet on a true insulator tested/selected in real-world scenarios over one that insulates incidentally and was “proven” in a lab oven. Why do so many use fireboard? Because it's cheap and easy to work with and doesn't need a steel inner liner to contain it - just cover it with carpeting and go. Concrete and concrete-like fillers are a third option in a select handful of safes, and while much better than fireboard, those safes still came in second to Sturdy for me for other reasons. Take a look at the Sturdy site for a real-world total burn-down involving a customer's safe and what was found when it was opened.

- I really like the open design of the Sturdy interior - I got the standard #2 with side shelves. If I use the side shelves I loose space for 5 long guns. My long guns, including scoped bolts and EBRs, all fit comfortably without jam packing them in tight against each other. With firelining, floor is flush with the bottom door opening, so no lip to knock butts on. No wood/carpeted paritions needed to support shelves taking up space and forcing guns into tight confines.

- Delivery included placing the safe in the garage, provided it was accessible with a pallet jack and smaller freight truck. From there I could arrange to move it how and where I needed to without prying eyes. It came wrapped in cardboard and looked like a big refrigerator on the pallet.

I'll cut this off now, since I'm REALLY getting long winded.

February 16, 2013, 01:45 PM
Do you like green or brown paint better?

Practical differences are none between most of these gun safe manufacturers. They're all generally built in such a manner to accomodate the consumer market. That is, they're built around price and weight limitations. Weight is directly proportional to security level (and material expense). When you cap the weight, you cap the amount of security you can put in your safes. The market shows this level of security tends to be 7-10ga sheet steel bodies and maybe 1/4" plate on the door.

None of the gun capacities are accurate. Browning and Liberty both use a different laboratory to get their fire ratings so it can't be compared. At this product level, you're getting variations on the same theme so pick whatever seems most convenient for your intended use and access. You're just getting a variation of gauge steel construction with some cosmetic differences and boltwork differences.

Sturdy is the only one of a couple safe companies in the gun safe market that use ceramic wool. The ceramic wool is probably much better than using drywall, but it's not what commercial products use to protect cash and critical paperwork. UL-cerified fire safes and burglary safes use a concrete aggregate which varies in composition, depending on application. There is a reason for that and it's been continuously proven around the world in millions of real-world cases for over a hundred years, from the Great Chicago Fire to modern data safes.

Internal hinges are to be avoided on all safes. They're there for WAF (Wife Acceptance Factor). Guess what space the hinges occupy? The space where drywall fire barrier should be. They carve out the fire barrier to fit the internal hinges. I hope you like having a direct pipeline that goes fire -> steel safe body -> your guns.

The AR500 steel upgrades on Fort Knox are pointless. For that kind of money, you can buy a real safe, not a residential security container. In the $4,500 range, you can find UL labeled TL-15 and Tl-30 safes that withstand power tool attack, even on all six sides. For $4,500 in the gun safe world, you will still only find safes that are UL certified to prevent a pry attack for 5 minutes with a 18" prybar. No gun safe with a RSC will circumvent a serious attack, otherwise you bet they'd be the FIRST to slap on a TL-15 or TL-30 rating on their product. There are only a handful of gun safes that actually have such construction or label, and none of them are box store brands.

Given these types of high security safes are quite heavy and not worth dealing with, you're better off increasing your security level by buying several smaller consumer gun safes instead of one gigantic one. Splitting your eggs in two or more baskets maximizes the probability of your collection surviving a fire or escaping the efforts of a thief. You'd both need a thief with the ability to break into a gun safe AND a thief that knows you have more than one central safe to be completely burgled of your collection. This assumes he has infinite time. Add in a security system and you've got your bases covered.

February 16, 2013, 06:04 PM
Man, excellent stuff, guys. I'm receiving a lot of education here about a topic that I really know nothing about.

I'd tossed around the idea of getting two safes and setting them side by side, bolted to the slab, and getting sizes that'd fit the back of the room they're going in. This would prevent side or back attacks on either safe without A) digging up the ground with a backhoe and coming in through the exterior of the house, or B) taking out a major support wall to get to the other one.

In that design only the top and front would be exposed. There'd be no way to get traction on the safes to pry them out or remove them. That would cover physical attacks aimed at removal AND attacks with power tools except from the front (door) and top.

(One rule of security in networking is you assume the attacker has unlimited time and resources, I imagine it's not so different with physical security).

The goal is to make it as absolutely, positively, difficult as possible for them to get your stuff (or data, or whatever).

Thoughts on that arrangement? How secure are the tops of the Sturdy or Summit safes against power tools/torch attacks?

February 16, 2013, 09:32 PM
When power tools come into play all gun safes will lose Trent unless you own a TL-15 or TL-30 gun safe which are quite expensive and even more than that over 1.5 tons in weight generally.

February 16, 2013, 09:39 PM
Yep, an RSC is a joke against power tools. Luckily most burglars aren't smart enough to steal tools from your garage to work on your safe, and in an overwhelming number of cases, a burglar doesn't have that sort of time luxury. Couple that with a residential burglary being a relatively rare event, you're probably NOT going to encounter a burglar that would defeat a RSC. Anyone that has worked with power tools knows that sheet metal poses a very wimpy barrier to even a $50 power tool. You're not going to get real power tool or torch protection from a RSC-rated gun safe. The things that stop those kinds of attack is lots of steel and lots of concrete. You're not getting that protection in a safe big enough to store guns for under 3000lbs and $5000. The security levels established by the UL are the minimum time needed inside artificial laboratory conditions.

Physical security is a bit different in that you pretty much know what it takes for a skilled individual to compromise your security features. All the ratings for the safes are established by technicians with the blueprints, so they know exactly where and how to attack. They have the best tools available. In the real world, burglars aren't operating in a lab where the timer only counts when the tool is contacting the safe and they don't have blueprints. That's why commercial insurance companies take the UL tags as gospel and feel safe in ensuring the contents of these safes at commercial businesses.

This was a few months back at a local Costco, but I thought it especially delicious irony:

February 16, 2013, 09:45 PM
Oh my, that is ironic.

So ... what you're saying is someone with 15 minutes and a saw wins against whatever safe I buy?

Ugh. That's a little disheartening. I'd almost rather hide the damn things than put them all in one spot and paint a big target on them.

February 16, 2013, 10:11 PM
15 minutes of lab time for lab technicians with blueprints and proper safe-opening tools for a TL-15 rated safe to cut a 6x6" hole. Only the door is rated to TL-15 though, not the sides or you'd have a TL15x6 safe. Some TL-15 safes have crappy bodies. Some have pretty sturdy bodies. YMMV. In the hands of a burglar, that might actually mean 30 minutes? An hour? Two hours? It's unknown, but 15 minutes is your guaranteed minimum. With a good home security system and good neighbors, a thief will never have the time necessary to break into something like that. With a good home security system and good neighbors, a thief shouldn't have the time to break into a RSC either. There have been thieves that failed to get into a RSC after spending an hour bashing and hacking at it. There have been thieves that have broken into a RSC after 10 minutes of work. Thieves are variable and the UL listing kind of gives you a minimum working time, with a large margin of safety. In any case, you are correct that concealment is more important.

If a thief breaks in and doesn't know you have a safe(s) and doesn't find it in his cursory ransacking, then you're fine. If you have a safe and he finds it, he now has to decide if he has the time to spare and wants to gamble his pillowsack of trinkets he has collected for what might be behind that safe door. Hopefully your home alarm is blaring and it's already sent a message to the security company by now.

If you have two smaller safes, both concealed, most thieves, assuming they actually find one of your safes, will assume it's the only one. Again, he now has to decide if he has the time to spare and wants to gamble his pillowsack of trinkets he has collected for what might be behind that safe door. Worst case scenario, he empties one safe but you've put your eggs in two baskets.

Sorry Trent, but that's the harsh reality of the compromises made on a consumer-grade gun safe. It just doesn't really offer that much protection against a serious brute force attack. The price would scare off most folks, and the weight is too much for most people to deal with.

February 16, 2013, 10:21 PM
Hmm. I'm starting to think my original "Vault" extension to the house is a much better option. 8" reinforced concrete walls with footers that drop 3' below the grade, a dedicated vault door. The vault would offer 6+ hours of fire protection (It'd actually be stronger than it started, after the fire...) AND require a wrecking ball to get in to.

The price is high and the work would be highly disruptive while it's being done. But I'm not limited to storing guns, as I could also secure all of my ammo/magazines/etc.

And, it'd stand up to an EF-5 tornado, and have room for my family.

So let's talk vault doors.

Spring is coming and the ground will thaw.

February 16, 2013, 11:06 PM
If you have the money, a vault doubles up as a panic room and a place to securely store supplies, food, water, all sorts of valuables, and your family if you live in a tornado zone. That's completely out of my realm of knowledge though!

February 17, 2013, 02:19 AM
The summit denali is 7 gauge steel and the summit Everest is 1/4" steel. I almost started looking at the sturdy line of safes but I couldn't get over the lack of paint options.

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February 17, 2013, 08:31 AM
I am in the same boat. I started looking at safes and started getting disappointed they all can be cut into with a grinder and cut off wheel. I am wanting one with 1/4 walls at least. I really like the everest and I read that they cover $10000 in contents from a fire but not sure how true it is. I think they are 3/16 outer and then a 1/8 inner. I liked the homeland safes but read horrible reviews. I found a company here in texas securityproducts that custom builds them. 1/4 walls gloss paint upgraded fire protection for the mid $4000 range. I just can't get past the looks of the sturdy otherwise it would be my choice.

My question which rsc has all out max strength and fire protection in that price range????

February 17, 2013, 11:11 AM
RSC is a pass/fail standard. If a tested safe is RSC +.001% or knocking on the door of a TL-15 rating, you still get a RSC label. There is no way to determine which RSC has more security, other than educated speculation based off construction materials.

Forget about fire ratings. They almost all use drywall. None of them have a UL-issued fire rating. They all use other lesser/unknown third party labs to achieve their advertised fire ratings and who knows exactly what those testing criteria are compared to the UL gold standard.

February 17, 2013, 12:21 PM
Seems like the RSC market is selling a lot of a false sense of security.

The more research I've done, the more disheartened I am that I'd really be protecting anything from a determined attacker.

February 17, 2013, 12:37 PM
Seems like the RSC market is selling a lot of a false sense of security.

The best consumer is an educated consumer. ;)

February 17, 2013, 12:47 PM
What do y'all think about this safe? They are made in waco tx.

February 17, 2013, 01:26 PM
You might consider a used 'Wright Line' data storage safe. They have a four hour fire rating.

Here's examples.

There are lots of them on the used market since hardly anyone stores data on mag tape.

February 17, 2013, 02:01 PM
I think Summit is one of the only companies that reimburses you money if the items are damaged in a fire. The Everest is $10,000, I just wish I could afford the Everest. It appears from their website that it is solid 1/4 steel sides and 1 1/4" plate door.

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February 17, 2013, 06:18 PM
I dont consider gun safes false security if taken into the context of what they are meant to be and that is a resonable barrier against residential burglaries that for the most part are done by drug heads and wandering mean spirited teenagers.
Some RSC's such as your big box store sub grand gun safes will give some protection but those with reasonably thick doors and thicker body steeled units will do even better.
What they will not give you is hardened protection from power tools and major duty attacks against sledge hammers massive pry bars and driven wedges.
Just remember that unless the thief knows of your gun safes existent,which he should not,and you have bolted down your premium RSC gun safe in a strategic strong point that pretty much prevents a prying attack to get started then you are miles ahead of the gun owner that has all sorts of firearms stuffed away behind furniture,closets,dresser drawers,etc.
Most of us want the best protection there is for their residence but once they see the price of the TL-15-30 safe and of course the sheer weight of these things,then the idea of the more premium grade of RSC gun safe begins to make perfect sense.
No sense over thinking all of this unless your valuables you are trying to protect behind steel walls sky rocket to 25k or more in value.
My opinion only and YMMV.

February 17, 2013, 06:20 PM
I've actually got a MESA safe I bought from Sams Club that ended up being about 700 delivered. It weighs about 500 pounds. Very happy with it.

February 17, 2013, 07:33 PM
I did a fair amount of research and rapidly came to the conclusion that I did not want to spend 4-5k on a safe given my collection and all accessories is worth maybe that amount. So, I went with a 500-lb, $600 Farm and Fleet Winchester 24-gun (more like 16). It will defeat a casual burglar, as I have a very loud dog and good neighbors. Unless I was willing to pay 10x that amount to defeat a determined and prepared burgler, it did not seem worth it. YMMV.

February 18, 2013, 08:07 AM
No sense over thinking all of this unless your valuables you are trying to protect behind steel walls sky rocket to 25k or more in value.

Assume I'm not over-thinking this. :)

February 18, 2013, 09:20 AM
I didn't mean you in particular Trent.
However if one reads enough of the past gun safe threads here and on other boards one will come away with this thought as most guys truely want an invincible hardened fortress to keep their goods from falling into enemy hands.
It's a guy thing I think.

February 18, 2013, 10:04 AM
The reality is that most gun safes will never be touched during a burglary. Residential burglaries are not like business burglaries.

This doesn't change the fact that you should still buy the proper tool for the job. It also doesn't change the fact that you should know that your typical gun safe will often times not live up to the marketing claims made by the manufacturer.

The only thing worse than loosing your property due to no security, is loosing your property under a false sense of security.

February 18, 2013, 10:35 AM
Did you know that calling a RSC a safe is not correct. From a technical standpoint a RSC is not a rated safe.

February 18, 2013, 11:45 AM

I sell Graffunder safes, not RSC's. And I can get you a small one for the $4,500.00 figure mentioned earlier. However, with a small unit your cost per protected cubic inch of interior space is higher than with a larger unit.

Half inch plate door, quarter inch plate steel on the other five sides. The five other surfaces than the door are backed with a proprietary mixture of concrete, and that is reinforced with sheet steel on the inside. The B6026 weighs 1225 lbs empty & has slots for 12 long guns.

The B7248 weighs 2340 lbs empty, has the same construction, and depending on interior configuration will have up to 64 slots. But I strongly discourage using that interior, in most cases it's very impractical. The 48 slot interior is much more user-friendly. A unit like this typically sells for something around $7,000.00

The B series is the bottom of the line with Graffunder. You can go up, they weigh more and cost more.

We do vault doors also, custom made to your size & specifications.


February 18, 2013, 12:43 PM
a1, cesium, and others all make some very good points. Speaking for myself, I'm under no delusion that my Sturdy will forever protect my firearms from all sorts of evil mutant zombie attacks, Armageddon, or the very fires of Hades:evil::fire:. I bought one to have some piece of mind when away from home, to protect against the smash 'n grab punks looking for fast thrills and the meth-heads looking for quick bucks, and to buy some time/protection for the Fire Dept to arrive, if that's ever (hopefully not) necessary. If somebody REALLY wanted to get in the thing and had the time, tools, and know-how to do it, well that's why I've also got the guns insured. If the manufacturers/re-sellers of today's typical RSCs/gun safes REALLY believed in all the marketing mumbo jumbo they spout, don't you think more of them would offer some sort of coverage for the contents if lost to theft or fire, as a hook to pull in more sales? I put Sturdy in there too, as they only warranty the safe itself and not the contents. I don't expect nor do I blame them for not covering contents, as there are FAR too many variables that can affect the eventual outcome of an attempted attack or fire. That and despite how some of the sales pitches sound, RSC manufacturers/sellers aren't in the insurance business anyway.

What really spurred me on to finally buy one was hearing six or so months ago about a co-worker arriving home to a ransacked house (out in farm country) and kids racing out the basement door. Ironically, they left an old .22 rifle and a huge jar of change (both in plain sight), but dumped over/out desks, drawers, and shelves searching for hidden goodies. While I currently live in a very decent neighborhood, some of the riff-raff I see not-too-far-away has caused me to pause for contemplation.

Also, I really needed to do some organizing/consolidating of the "collection" - I still have one revolver floating around somewhere 'cause I can't remember where I stashed it....:o

February 18, 2013, 05:16 PM
I have a C fire lined double door safe and I can'rt be happier with it. I didn't want to wase money on a RSC so I sucked it up and spent $10,000 on my safe. The 10K price was everything delivery to Texas from California then a lock company installed it in my house.

February 19, 2013, 06:21 PM

There are three companies that make true safes for the consumer market that I know of. They are; the very high end AMSEC's, Brown, and Graffunder. I'm a Graffunder dealer, and I feel very comfortable being one.


February 19, 2013, 08:10 PM
After talking with you about the thickness of the steel and the weight of those Graffunders today, CB900F.. those are some pretty serious safes. :)

February 19, 2013, 08:36 PM
The door is one inch thick plate and the body is 1/2 inch then 2.5 inches of fire rated high PSI concrete with a 12 gauge outer skin.

February 19, 2013, 09:17 PM
Yeah that's what the Graffunder C rated safe I'm looking at has. 3600 lbs! Good grief, that's heavy.

February 19, 2013, 10:14 PM
The difference between a Brown Safe and a Graffunder safe is Brown puts the fire concrete on the outside of the thick metal safe and Graffunder puts the fire lining on the inside of steel plates so you lose some storage space with the Graffunder.

February 19, 2013, 11:56 PM
Sheez, I was hopeing to find a thread like this,as I am in the market for a BETTER gun safe than what I currently have,(which is a $129 stack-on )
I was thinking about maybe spending $1000 bucks for something more sturdy,but now reading thru all of this,I feel like it would be better to try to conceal them behind / under things,and just add extra coverage to my homeowners policy in case of fire/tornado,
Or spend $3000 + just for minor degree of comfort knowing the thiefs would be slowed down ever so slightly.
Im really on a budget of less than a grand, anybody have some suggestions about the cheaper safes ??

February 20, 2013, 12:00 AM
yea find one used on craigslist there are lots for under a grand

February 20, 2013, 09:12 AM

When it comes to RSC's, find the one that gives you what you need at the lowest cost. For anything in the $1,000.00 range there's no practical protective difference from one brand to another.

In my opinion, at the high end of RSC's, the AMSEC BF series is probably the best bang-for-the-buck. But, I've had no hands-on experience with a Sturdy or Summit Denali.

The sad fact is, that when you start putting serious amounts of steel in a protective container, you get the attendant costs of that plate steel. Which not only includes the price of the material, but the increased labor to cut it, move it, weld it, and form it into a good safe. For instance, you can't get a credit card into the door/frame seam of a Graffunder. I have met RSC's that I can stick the end of one of my fingers into that same seam. You don't have to guess which one's more susceptable to a pry bar attack. And, if they just bend the sheet metal sides of that RSC, and bend again, and again, to form the bolt frame - - well you've just locked up behind bent sheet metal. The Graffunder frame is .750" plate steel. So try to drag a 1.25" solid bolt through that frame to pop the door when you can't get the tip of an effective prybar into the seam. I'll sell tickets to watch you engage in futile behaviour.

Yeah, safes cost more. But, you get what you pay for.


February 20, 2013, 09:25 AM
I have met RSC's that I can stick the end of one of my fingers into that same seam.

If you have really long fingers, sometimes you can stick them into one seam, and out the other side.

February 20, 2013, 09:50 AM
The more I mull this over, a door with 1" thick plate steel is a comforting thought. That's a lot of metal to get through.

February 20, 2013, 02:39 PM
I found this very informative,

Its a little long,and the guy is obviously selling his brand, but it pretty much sums up what others have said already, you get what you pay for,,
im glad I watched it before I went forward with my previous idea, He really sums it up with the comment that you are "centralizing" your valuables, and as soon as a thief finds the safe they will either cut-and-run with whatever trinkets they can easily carry out, or if they are comfortable enough,will stay and try to get at whats behind the magic door.
I will hold off until I can invest in something meant to take the abuse

February 20, 2013, 06:50 PM
Most RSCs will keep MOST residential burglars out. The sheet-metal cabinets won't.

Better buys more time, that's all. It also costs more and weighs more. Buy what your circumstances indicate.

Remember, though, even if you buy and install a bank vault - a pro can still get in. Pros generally don't do residential, unless you've got a million dollar collection. I don't know - does a $10k safe attract pros?

Finally, if a couple of thugs are holding a weapon to a loved one's head - the quality of the safe becomes moot. Layer your protection, and don't lock it all in the safe!

February 20, 2013, 06:57 PM
The best door you'll get on a RSC is AMSEC's BF series which come with 1/2" solid plate doors. The body and frame isn't plate steel, but most chuckleheads attack the hinges, the door, the handle, and the lock dial.

The best boltwork on a RSC is probably "Griffin"

Even the E-rate construction: 1" solid steel plate body with 1.5" steel door with additional aggregate concrete barrier roughly translates to TL-15, which is a very entry-level burglar rating. Steel becomes a pretty poor barrier once you get into sophsticated thieves with equipment. A safe doesn't attract people if no one knows about it. I don't tell people about what I have. People have a tendency to spread information in a non-malicious way which ends up in malicious hands. You must keep in mind a $10,000 gun safe with a $1 million collection can be defeated with a $5 tool. Any serious burglar only needs to put a knife up to your throat or that of a loved one and that safe is open.

It's fun to covet all the fancy stuff, but most people will be fine with a RSC and proper layers of security. Know your weaknesses and buff them with layered security!

February 20, 2013, 08:39 PM
I saw a "safe" at Tractor Supply tonight when picking up supplies, and walked my wife through how insecure it is.

See, I've learned something!

February 20, 2013, 09:14 PM
"into one seam, and out the other side."

That's just not right. The door on my grandparents' outhouse fit better than that. A whole lot better. :)


P.S. - They had indoor plumbing too.

February 20, 2013, 11:25 PM
The best door you'll get on a RSC is AMSEC's BF series which come with 1/2" solid plate doors.

As does the Denali.

February 20, 2013, 11:57 PM
Right now it's looking to be a C series Graffunder for the "irreplacables."

I'm going to pick up a good quality RSC to catch the less expensive "overflow."

February 21, 2013, 08:40 AM
The Denali also has a much thicker body than the AMSEC BF, but uses a drywall fireboard construction. The BF uses a thin inner and outer sheet metal shell with a concrete firefill barrier. The BF is therefore less burglar-resistant on the body but more fire resistant. The price difference is probably also significant between two comparable sizes. Either are suitable, depending on what your needs are.

Trent, if you're looking to spend Graffunder-kind of money, you can also take a look at refurbished commercial safes and do your own interior which saves a few bucks. Graffunder is a turn-key product but you also pay a price premium for handcrafted workmanship, if that's important to you, such as fit and finish.

February 21, 2013, 08:53 AM
Well, basically I split my collection in to two categories. "Irreplacable" and "everything else". :)

The first category I set a budget of 10K on a safe. The second category I set a budget of 4K on an RSC.

Without going in to specific details I'd rather avoid talking about, this will allow me the peace of mind I need. Fire protection is critical, living in the country with a volunteer fire department, it's likely the house would be a total loss if the worst ever happened.

Eventually (1-2 years) I'm adding the vault - 8" of reinforced concrete will keep EVERYTHING cool even if the house burns down around it. That'll also let me secure accessories, ammo, etc. (I'm not fitting 15K rounds of 7.62x54R in a safe.. etc..)

February 21, 2013, 09:05 AM

Plus 1 on not keeping ammo in the safe. That's never a good idea for a couple of reasons. A. You're keeping a relatively low-cost high-bulk items in valuable space. B. If the interior temp of the safe ever reaches the ignition point for even one round of ammo, they all go off. I've seen the results of that, and it's not pretty.

My advice for ammo is to buy a surplus military steel double-door locker & store it in there. Just get one with a lock on the door.


February 21, 2013, 09:26 AM
Nothing like a 3000+ pound bomb going off in the basement to ruin the day in your neighborhood....

Don't plan on storing ammo in the safe. The future 12x20 vault, though.. that's a different story. Was planning to keep ALL the gun stuff in there, primers, powder, ammo, etc.

Not a good idea?

February 21, 2013, 10:07 AM
Wow, that is awesome that there was an actual test of residential security containers and the AMSEC BF series came out on top and the Griffin ended up having the best bolt work. When I was looking at safes under $3000.00 a few months ago I wasn't able to find that extensive test, care posting your sources? I skipped the BF series because of the 10 gauge thickness body and everything I read including info from AMSEC STATED that the gypsum type concert did not add any protection and I was interested in the Griffin safe but the made in China label kind of scared me away.

Sent from my SPH-L900 using Tapatalk 2

February 21, 2013, 11:03 AM
Wow, that is awesome that there was an actual test of residential security containers

I know. The excitement tends to wear off when you know how little that test actually means.

the AMSEC BF series came out on top

It is one of the more "advanced" safes in its price range

the Griffin ended up having the best bolt work

This safe does have pretty darn good boltwork as far as gun safes are concerned. I would like to take the time to poitn out that Griffin is not the manufacturer. The B rates that we sell are the same safe, and we do source them through him on occasion. He is a distributor for the actual manufacturer.

I wasn't able to find that extensive test, care posting your sources?

Sometimes you simply can't Google what you need to know. However, taking a good look around this very forum could have answered many of your questions.

I skipped the BF series because of the 10 gauge thickness body and everything I read including info from AMSEC STATED that the gypsum type concert did not add any protection

The fill material in the AMSEC is certainly not "gypsum type", and it certainly does add burglary protection.

but the made in China label kind of scared me away.

Sent from my SPH-L900 using Tapatalk 2

The irony is thick here.

February 21, 2013, 05:44 PM
Graffunder C7248 has been decided on.

I went a bit over my original budget (getting a safe that heavy installed is no small task of logistics, nor is it cheap), but after seeing what level of security RSC's have, and weighing that against the value and rarity of what I want to secure, the additional expense is easily justified. It even passed the muster of She Who Must Be Obeyed.

Thanks for the loads of good advice and help, everyone! You all DEFINITELY helped steer me in the direction I needed to head!

February 21, 2013, 06:41 PM
That's a big step from Liberty or Browning. Money well spent!

February 21, 2013, 07:47 PM
Trent, read this for funsies while you're waiting for the build:

February 21, 2013, 08:00 PM
Wow. The construction is so simple and rugged... that's impressive.

It's like the AK-47 of safes.

February 21, 2013, 09:02 PM
"Cept much tighter tolerances...

February 21, 2013, 09:24 PM
Quite a leap forward from the original selections.

February 21, 2013, 09:39 PM

I hadn't realized that Dave's article was available online these days. However, please be aware that that article is now at least a decade old, but nonetheless Dave McOmie is still regarded as the dean of the safe crackers in this country. It was written when Ulrich Graffunder owned the company, and that's no longer the case. There are some detail differences between the safe in Dave's article and current production. None of which have compromised the protective capabilities of a Graffunder you would buy today.

The new owner's have moved the production facilities to a better location, bought CNC machinery, and expanded the paint options among other things. The fire protection is up due to multiple intumescent seals set at ninety degrees to each other, and the hinges are a little more consumer friendly. Nothing major has changed and IMHO you're still getting a helluva safe for your dollar spent.


February 21, 2013, 10:23 PM
Quite a leap forward from the original selections.

Yeah. Part of it is I'm a little under-insured, and feeling exposed.

Part of it is that recent home invasion 2 miles down the road where five bad guys came in specifically targeting guns.

And got them.

And didn't get caught.

Then you get stuff like these two guys, who thought they were gangstas, and went on a spree of armed robberies and home invasions until they finally got caught.

Or these three, who shot a man while robbing his home.

Or this man, who shot the two bad guys robbing his home, killing one.

(I love how they call a bad guy a "shooting victim". They're not a damned victim when they invaded the sanctity of your home.)

Seeing a trend here????

Home invasions around here are being done in PACKS.

THOSE above are just the ones that have been SOLVED. For every one that makes the news with a mugshot, there's 100 more that never see the TV screen or newspaper.

Think about that. Then think about the odds of survival if you're in a 3-vs-1 or 5-vs-1 gunfight.

Then think about what happens NEXT. Guns get loaded in to a getaway car as you bleed, and now that group is even more heavily armed and emboldened.

Anyway... yeah, these are rough times, even out in the boondocks.

February 22, 2013, 01:03 AM
I've emailed Dave before trying to track down good sources of refurb safe vendors around my neck of the woods. He is in the same state but plays down south. Didn't get a chance to know the guy but he had a lot of good info and leads. I've talked to Ralph, Ulrich's son. He posts on another firearms forum and is a very interesting fellow who's done a lot of neat stuff in his engineering days.

The Graffunders I see at the local gun shows look better than ever. Graffunder decided to put that article online a few years ago even though it clearly looks dated.

Trent, just keep in mind that a knife to the throat will defeat a $10,000 safe. I'd still layer security, regardless of how good a box you buy.

February 22, 2013, 09:25 AM
I think you will be very happy with that choice. I know I would be.

Sent from my SPH-L900 using Tapatalk 2

February 22, 2013, 12:11 PM
Trent, just keep in mind that a knife to the throat will defeat a $10,000 safe. I'd still layer security, regardless of how good a box you buy.

Yup. We've got lights, big dogs, alarm, sturdy steel doors. Also got an 8 cam DVR off Newegg (bought when it was on sale on Cyber Monday) in a box I'm setting up when it warms back up. All of that stuff is just an early warning indicator.

The real security starts indoors.

Because I've got five reasonably well-trained shooters in the house, and we do monthly home invasion drills / home defense house meetings. :)

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