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Which gun safe

Discussion in 'Shooting Gear and Storage' started by Zack, Jul 30, 2010.

  1. Zack

    Zack member

    Last edited: Jul 30, 2010
  2. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

    Those aren't safes as most folks think of them. They're residential security containers (it will be printed on a sticker somewhere on it) and don't have to meet the standards that most folks think a safe has to meet. They just look like a "safe", but you can get into most of them with a hammer and a heavy screw driver.

    Think about what you want the thing to do. Is it just to keep the kids out or deter someone who's made a smash and grab entry from grabbing your AR and shotgun and pistol along with the wide screen and x-box? If so an inexpensive RSC tucked in a closet should do. If you want fire protection and enough steel to keep out a guy with an mattock and 15 minutes of peace and quiet to peel the safe open you're going to want to almost put another zero behind the one already there.

    Look for any threads a1abdj has participated in for details and recommendations.
  3. Zack

    Zack member

    But it has 3 dead bolts, I thought its a safe...
  4. oasis618

    oasis618 Well-Known Member

    I just never saw the point in a safe that a person could pick up and carry away.
  5. Zack

    Zack member

    its 166lbs which is going make alot of noise to move. It prevents smash and go's.
  6. Tim the student

    Tim the student Well-Known Member

    If you feel comfortable with it, then great - go and get it and enjoy it. You seem like you really like it.

    But - I don't think it will be as hard to move and load up as you think it may be, nor do I think it will be as secure as you think it may be.

    As hso suggested, take a look at some of the threads that a1abdj (or other knowledgeable folks) have participated in.
  7. CoRoMo

    CoRoMo Well-Known Member

    Get to reading...

    When I started looking for a good gun safe, I began with a budget of about $800. I was hoping to get one for about $600. I started reading everything I could get my hands on and looking online at what people were saying about different features. The budget kept going upward as I made decision after decision that certain features/levels of quality/durability/strength were something that I would not be willing to compromise on. The safe that I ended up buying was many times my original budget.

    Do a search here for threads with the word SAFE in the title, and read through all the relevant ones. You'll learn a lot very quickly.

    Weight and the gauge of steel that makes up the unit, were the two primary factors in my decision. Also, it did not make sense to me to believe a $600 safe could secure a gun collection that was worth several thousands of dollars. Maybe from children, but not from a determined thief. Having said that, I have been contemplating buying a unit like the one you linked to, but I plan to use it to hold my ammo.
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2010
  8. rondog

    rondog Well-Known Member

    If that's the one you want and can afford, then get it. It's certainly better than nothing. But take the time to bolt it to the floor, or wall studs, or both, so it can't be picked up and hauled off. Placing it somewhere that makes it difficult to get to helps, as does restricting access to the sides and top. Try to discourage someone from getting after it with a crowbar, or being able to grab ahold of it and yank, pry, pull, etc. And don't leave any tools avaiable that thieves could use like cutting torches, saws, big hammers, prybars, etc. Lock those up too.

    The Underwriters Laboratories is the entity that determines whether these things are "safes" or "residential security containers", and they have to meet some stringent specifications to wear the name "gun safe". There's not many out there that actually do, and the prices will make you choke.

    I went and looked at a nice Amsec (sp?) safe, and it was $3000. Delivery and installation would be another several hundred bucks. Ouch. And it would have to go in my garage, there's no way that monster could be taken down my basement stairs without a whole buncha money invested in beefing the stairs up to handle the weight.
  9. CoRoMo

    CoRoMo Well-Known Member

    Believe me, it's inexpensively possible. I had to slide mine down the stairs on it's side and then stand it up. I put 'legs' under the stairway to keep it from failing, and on top of the stairs was a 2x6 'track' for it to slide on. It was not a matter of simply pushing it over the first step and letting it sail downhill. It was held with slings and eased down the steps with help from Ford. :evil: It took 9 hours from the time I backed the trailer into my garage, until it was standing in my basement. I never had to use my back muscles or work very hard at all. It moved an inch or two at a time by way of hydraulics and horsepower.:D
  10. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    In that price range the Sentry "safes" from Wally World (unless they have changed) have 3/16" doors and 1/8" cabinets. That's better than some name brand "safes" with 12 gauge walls. Bolt them down and they are pretty good cheap insurance against the smash and grab crowd, as well as securing your firearms from childrens curious hands. 1000% better than nothing.

    Stack On tool boxes are cheap junk. Don't know about their "safes".

    25 years ago I bought a "safe" in the $1800 range. The next one I want will be more like $3500 to $4000.
  11. a1abdj

    a1abdj Well-Known Member

    The definition of "good safe" can be a lot of things.

    Common sense dictates that you shouldn't count on a $200 safe to protect $100,000 worth of assets. On the flip side, you wouldn't need to spend $5,000 to protect $2,000 worth of guns.

    I can't tell you how many people call us after they've had a $200 or $300 Sentry safe walk off during a burglary, and they were keeping tens of thousands of dollars worth of cash and jewelry inside. Don't do that.
  12. Guns and more

    Guns and more member

    My advice is always the same.
    Any safe is better than no safe.
    Decide what you really need and then double it. It will still be too small.
    You will never regret a big safe. (If you can afford it.)
  13. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

    Crowbar entry to gun "safe"

    A few minutes with and axe and mattock.

    Decide who you want to keep out and what the value of the contents will be and plan accordingly. Just don't be confused by the words used to name a thing.
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2010
  14. Guns and more

    Guns and more member

    Nothing will keep a determined burglar out.
    First, don't advertise you have things of value.
    Don't let people wander around your house. (contractors)
    Someone who brings tools to break into a safe will already know you have a safe.
    I'm trying to prevent the drug addled smash and grab burglar.
  15. rtpzwms

    rtpzwms Well-Known Member

    Quote CoRoMo:
    I would think of building an ammo box. Something that would blow apart easily. Storing a few rounds of ammo in a safe would be fine. A safe full of ammo would be a bomb! Look at some of the powder storage boxes instead of a safe. Take a look at this link:
    This was in a container box.... A safe would allow higher pressures in my opinion.
  16. Guns and more

    Guns and more member

    Why? Ammo would be somewhat protected from fire. More so than in a metal box anyway.
    If ammo does burn, it goes off in a bang as the brass ruptures. Forget the movies where the bullets are flying.

    Of course, my friend, the gun "nut" has told his fire department, "If my house is burning, flood the basement and run." I think he's kidding.
  17. rtpzwms

    rtpzwms Well-Known Member


    Quote:Guns and more
    I agree that the ammo would be "somewhat protected". And in small quantities would be fine but the reply was to loading a whole safe with ammo. I realize that when unfocused it (the ammo) goes pop, and does not send the projectile down range. In fact the case would travel farther than the bullet. It still releases gas. A whole safe full of released gas will in my opinion at some point need to relieve itself and I don't think it would be a slow leak. Also remember at 250-350 dollars you will most likely not get much of a fire rating. So once it starts it won't likely stop with out finishing. If this person also reloads then there is a likelihood that there would be powder and primers stored in the same method and this would make things much worse. Please take a look at the link in my last post if you haven't already. This poor fellow had his storage inspected and this happened to him! If you were to put it in a powder box it would leak like sieve and allow the gases to escape, or a panel would come off by design. You could still lock the box and have some safety for your ammo.

    Powder no matter where it is in a cartridge or in a bulk powder container will when it burns create a volume of gas much greater than the volume it started with and will do so with great dispatch. IMHO there are better ways to store both powder and ammo and I would suggest that we all think about how we store what we have. I do also have small quantities of ammo in my safe but for me I will never store powder or primers in there with other equipment. Trying to save a couple of hundred dollars in powder (I reload) is just not worth the couple of thousand dollars of guns I bought the safe for, just let the powder/ammo burn.:D
  18. Drew Walker

    Drew Walker New Member

    The best deal in my opinion is a used safe... made in America of course, and one with a reputation for quality. You really do get what you pay for. Always buy a safe that will hold at least a few more guns/items than you initially intend to have. I totally understand looking for a "good deal", but I think of this as an investment. Wait awhile, save up, and spend the money on something decent.

    As for storing powder, a fireproof safe isn't a bad idea assuming your budget allows for it. I always like the idea of hiding the safe itself. This requires effort and creativity but the best gun safe is the one the thieves never noticed. If you're going to spend the money, you may as well do it right!
  19. SafeGuy

    SafeGuy Well-Known Member

    Stack-on is cheap Chinese junk. That's not a safe, and it's not a residential security container (RSC) which is a UL classification. I can promised you, that "safe" is not UL listed. It is a cabinet, not a safe.

    To say it is better than nothing is not the case. Why spend any amount of money on something that is not going to do the job you bought it to do?

    I kid you not, I would hide my valuables throughout the house before I would group them into one spot for one stop shopping. That's all you're going to do with that tin box.
  20. rondog

    rondog Well-Known Member

    No need to be insulting or condescending, Safeguy. You're obviously in the business, so sure, you have a low opinion of Stack-On's and similar products. But not all of us are able to afford "real safes", or have the place to put one, or the muscle/friends to move them, etc. ALL of us would prefer to own multi-thousand dollar real gun safes, and they ARE the best protection. But it's just not practical or possible for EVERYONE. So don't be snotty about it.

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