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Old March 23, 2013, 05:38 PM   #1
Kahuna5
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Help on Gun Safe Decisions?

Hey all,

I need some advice on picking out a gun safe to safely store both my long guns, handguns as well as their respective ammunition. I would like to have room for at least 5-10 long guns, at least 5 pistols, as well as ample room on a shelf for ammunition.
My main question would be what are the most notable brands of safes available and what do you use? As of right now price is not a concern as long as I am getting what I pay for. Thanks in advance.


Kahuna
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Old March 23, 2013, 05:57 PM   #2
Magoo
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Graffunder makes some nice stuff if you want a safe. There is a member here that is a dealer.

A thread about safes without a budget concern might be interesting .
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Old March 23, 2013, 06:44 PM   #3
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The first step is determining the level of protection that is required for the task at hand.

The price, good manufacturers, etc, will be secondary to knowing exactly what it is you need or want.
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Old March 23, 2013, 06:56 PM   #4
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Quote:
I would like to have room for at least 5-10 long guns, at least 5 pistols, as well as ample room on a shelf for ammunition.
My advice? If that's the capacity you're thinking now, get one that will hold twice that amount. For some odd reason, these things made of heavy sheet metal have a way of "shrinking" over time with extended use.
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Old March 23, 2013, 06:57 PM   #5
2005 Vette
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I bought a Superior safe. You can't buy them at a sporting goods store you need to go to a safe store. Believe me nobody is going to get that out of my house it took two professional movers over an hour to get it down to my lower level.
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Old March 23, 2013, 08:34 PM   #6
Kahuna5
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Thanks for the replies.
Climbnjump,
As far as making room for future purchases I will definitely take that into consideration. There's a big list yet to fill...and my wallets not getting any bigger

Magoo and Vette2005,
Thanks for those suggestions! I will look further into these.

a1abdj,
I want to keep the guns and ammunition safe from any intrusion, out of the hands of those who shouldn't have access, and just keep everything secure and in one place. I appreciate your input.
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Old March 23, 2013, 10:13 PM   #7
Torian
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Sams Club and Costco have some decent economical options for gun safes. I bought a 500 pound Mesa brand safe from Sams Club (stores about 8 long guns and 4 handguns) for about 650 to include shipping, and I'm pretty happy with it.

Stay away from Sentry brand safes or similar low quality builds.
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Old March 24, 2013, 01:48 PM   #8
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I can tell you how I went about things. Before you get into an array of mind boggling numbers and designations you may want to give this a read. I also discovered that what I like to call a safe is really what is called a RSC (Residential Security Container) which is to me still a safe but there is a difference.

I happen to live in the Cleveland, Ohio area which for a change was a good thing as I had Cleveland Safe to go and visit. The cool part was a gigantic show room with hundreds of safes to peruse and ask endless questions about. Depending on your location it can be real nice to have a show room where you can get up close and personal with safes.

When they come up with numbers like 10, 20 or 30 long guns I found it best to divide by 2 as these guys must figure on really skinny guns. Then as mentioned allow more room.

I don't bother with ammunition in my gun safe, I can put that in a large lockable container or simply not worry about it. The safe is home to my guns, our important papers, wife's jewelery collection, savings bonds for grand children and things like that.

Once I had a handle on things I settled on a pretty large over 1,000 Lb AMSEC for what I needed/wanted.

So my advice is continue to do your homework and as mentioned we have a few members who sell these animals and their advice is always great and worth following.

Ron
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Old March 24, 2013, 02:11 PM   #9
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Gun safe recommendations is a topic that has been well covered here - my first suggestion is to search the forum (and a few other sites) for a hefty amount of info that will help you refine your needs - that's what I did (repeatedly) before finally buying a Sturdy. Then you'll come up with more questions on particulars and differences between brands to help zero in on a choice.

Second suggestion is to double the # of long guns you want to store - not necessarily because you'll be buying more, but because most manufacturers grossly overestimate the # of long guns their safe can comfortably store (unless all you have are single shot youth .22s, then you'll be fine). Sturdy is one company this doesn't apply to.

Third suggestion is to get out and hit as many LGS, big box sporting, and safe stores as you can find within reasonable distance. There's just no substitute for looking at gun safes in person and seeing how variable the fit and operational smoothness of some brands can be. Look at how smooth and tight (or not) the linkage operates, how tight (or not) the door is when locked down, how cramped (or not) the interior is, the difference in door opening/accessibility between internal and external hinges, whether the floor is flush with the door opening or is there a pronounced lip to bang butts against. Take fire ratings with a grain of salt - lots of info/thoughts to be found on that in the forums.

As far as brands with good reputations, there are quite a few - I finally decided on a Sturdy and am extremely pleased. AMSEC (American Security) BF series was my runner-up. Also looked at Browning and Ft Knox that were respectable but were IMHO beat out by Sturdy and AMSEC for my particular needs. YMMV
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Old March 25, 2013, 12:49 PM   #10
Elessar
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I'll save you some research time if you want the Cliff Notes version. If you want something under about $3,500 and 1,500 lbs or so (basically an RSC - Residential Security Container) almost all research boils down to either the AMSEC BF series or Sturdy Safe Company. There are of course many other options but these two companies always surface as the most security/quality for the money. The top lines from Summit and others are also very good but seem to come at a much higher price.

If you want to spend over $4,000, some choose Ft. Knox, which are a pricey brand with lots of options but debateable increase in security for the $ (still an RSC). You could convert a used real safe (T-15 or T-30) for gun safe usage. Or you could look at the AMSEC high security line of gun safes (T-15 and T-30 models). There is also Brown safe company, which makes a gun specific safe. Finally, many consider Gruaffunder safes to be the top of the line, gun specific real safes. All of these real safe options are much more expensive and much heavier than typical "gunsafes" from any of the normal gun safe companies. However, they offer far, far more security and likely much better fire protection.

Last edited by Elessar; March 25, 2013 at 12:55 PM.
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Old March 26, 2013, 01:59 PM   #11
amking
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thoughts on the 2013 Browning ProSteel models?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Elessar View Post
I'll save you some research time if you want the Cliff Notes version. If you want something under about $3,500 and 1,500 lbs or so (basically an RSC - Residential Security Container) almost all research boils down to either the AMSEC BF series or Sturdy Safe Company. There are of course many other options but these two companies always surface as the most security/quality for the money. The top lines from Summit and others are also very good but seem to come at a much higher price.

If you want to spend over $4,000, some choose Ft. Knox, which are a pricey brand with lots of options but debateable increase in security for the $ (still an RSC). You could convert a used real safe (T-15 or T-30) for gun safe usage. Or you could look at the AMSEC high security line of gun safes (T-15 and T-30 models). There is also Brown safe company, which makes a gun specific safe. Finally, many consider Gruaffunder safes to be the top of the line, gun specific real safes. All of these real safe options are much more expensive and much heavier than typical "gunsafes" from any of the normal gun safe companies. However, they offer far, far more security and likely much better fire protection.

has anyone recently taken a look at the 2013 models from Browning? (specifically the silver and medallion series)

http://www.browning.com/products/cat...asp?catalog_=F

http://www.ableammo.com/catalog/brow...222_17696.html
http://www.ableammo.com/catalog/brow...1_222_227.html

i understand the whole conversation and concerns around the composite door and (relatively) thin gauge steel body (medallion is 10 gauge, silver 11 gauge), as well as the argument around fireboard vs other options, but i think for the average consumer that is going to stick well under the $3,500/$4,000+ RSC level it is hard not to look at Browning's newer modular interiors and the door storage system. i originally was very very high on the AMSEC BF series (and still am), but when i take the advice of buying a bigger model and configuring it the way i would like it just gets incredibly expensive.... and frankly the storage/interior options some of the manufacturers are putting out there really need some updating. maybe i'm getting caught up in all the marketing, but i think that if you're not going to spend the truly big bucks on a higher ended safe, and want to at least get off the base level ($1000 or less), these Browning models might be worth a look. throw a media or document safe in the bottom for delicate items/paper and move on.

thoughts or feedback? (I am specifically looking at the SR26/M28 and SR37/M39 models)



side note: based on a variety of things, such as the internal hinges and some other stuff, the Liberty's are not on my list. although I think for the average consumer, Liberty is one hell of a marketing company and has their product mix, advertising and distribution spot on. its just not for me.

Last edited by amking; March 26, 2013 at 06:07 PM.
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Old March 27, 2013, 01:07 PM   #12
Elessar
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In regards to those browning safes you linked to, I'm not seeing anything that would make me want to spend that $ on. I'm not shilling for Sturdy, but since I just ordered one, that is my frame of reference. I ordered a 72" model and all exposed sides have over 3/8" steel, including the ceiling plus a 3/8" plate door and very strong and supported bolt work. Significantly less than those Browning prices. If I would have gotten simple 7 gauge body and 5/16 door, I'd still have more steel than a browning and be around $2100 without Fire lining, $2,700 with (including shipping). I don't see the point of paying over $2k for a 10g safe. Of course, there aren't any cool interior gadgets, fancy shelves or lighting, etc etc on a Sturdy. Just keep in mind that you are paying for those with reduced security.

Check out this Browning safe that was broken into. Every RSC is vulnerable to this of course, even a Strudy. However, the more steel the better, right?

http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/s...d.php?t=621436
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Old March 27, 2013, 03:24 PM   #13
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Gun Safe Features

I was product development manager for a safe manufacturer. You have received a lot of good information.

The vast difference in price between an (RSC) and a security safe (T-15, etc) is because the security safe designs are rated by UL to withstand a timed attack using professional burglar methods. A T-15 will last 15 minutes, a T-30 a half hour, etc. The tests are conducted under rigorous standards. These ratings are then matched to the response time of the local police to a commercial burglar alarm in a given area to determine whether or not the individual (such as a Jewelry store) is in compliance with the rating requirements of their insurance carrier. Residential security alarms are very different. Depending on where you live, response times to residential burglar alarms have a low priority and may be 45 minutes or more.

Another factor to consider is fire resistance. These safes all use the " latent heat of vaporization" method to protect the contents. This means that if the external temperature gets above 212 F the insulation material(usually gypsum board) releases steam from the chemically combined water to protect the contents. This can be good or bad depending on the contents.

The variation in price on (RSC) safes is a function of cosmetics and materials. It is weighted 70/30 in favor of cosmetics. A higher price does not mean more security. If you want an elaborate high quality finish so it can be used as a decorative item and elaborate interior features that add nothing to security, be prepared to pay a lot for those features without gaining anything. Additionally, having a safe on display means people see it and talk about it and then more people find out about it. Compare the features such as gauge of the steel, locking bolts, etc. and find the safe that gives the most security

I personally use an uninsulated Amsec safe (not the brand we manufactured we made the "high priced spread"), plain brown finish, dial lock, concealed and bolted to the floor in my reloading room in the basement. I keep my extra ammo, in ammo cans in a old chest freezer. The room is 12 X 12 and I have an overhead sprinkler for fire protection in there.
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Old March 27, 2013, 06:26 PM   #14
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Lagarto hits on something I plan to do:

Quote:
The room is 12 X 12 and I have an overhead sprinkler for fire protection in there.
I have over 1,000 Lbs of AMSEC which I like. The safe isn't going anywhere. This year calls for major interior house renovations, so I got to thinking. The reloading/gun room is scheduled for a makeover so why not add some fire sprinklers? My room is located in a part of the house with no basement but adjoins a room with basement. I can easily run a direct 3/4" water line to the room. Sprinkler Heads from McMaster Carr Supply are relatively inexpensive and come in a variety of flavors.

I don't waste space in my safe with ammunition. Currently most of the ammunition resides in a small mountain of ammunition cans. Those plus other containers. So I figure I can install a sprinkler system. For a modest investment it would deliver great peace of mind. Our fire and police response times around here average less than 5 minuets which is really pretty good.

As to my choice of AMSEC? You buy a safe (or whatever you choose to call the thing) based on your needs. What I have works for me and there is a space beside it for future plan. Things are tight in there.

Ron
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Old March 28, 2013, 10:05 AM   #15
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My main suggestions are to buy much bigger than your current needs, and to buy as much safe as you can afford. Thats to say, look at it as an investment. To look at your needs or expectations is also good advice. Lightman
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Old March 28, 2013, 03:50 PM   #16
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Kahuna5;

I tried to reply to you & set forth my thoughts. But, I'm also running a retail operation, got interrupted & the site timed out the post. PM me your E-addy if you'd care to & I'll reply on a less time critical medium.

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Old March 28, 2013, 08:37 PM   #17
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Quote:
overhead sprinkler for fire protection
This is something everyone should consider. It is very easy to do and could make all the difference in the world.
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Old June 16, 2013, 09:34 AM   #18
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Has anyone looked at the AR500 option available from Ft Knox? I'm curious to know how this type of liner would stand up against an attack with some basic power tools.
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Old June 16, 2013, 10:34 AM   #19
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For the vast majority of homeowners that are looking for a gunsafe/cabinet/RSC the size and configuration are major players. This is why Liberty and the other "low end" safe manufacturers put a ton of add-ons like interior lighting, door storage, etc. I personally believe that any safe can be opened or removed if the thief(s) have the time and knowledge. My safes are NOT designed to keep Hudson Hawk out but they are designed to keep the neighbors cousin out or the crack head down the street. As far as fire protection I completely understand that train of thought and I prepare for it as best I can but after over 50 years I have never had a house burn down or suffer fire damage that would require tremendous heat protection. I know it could happen and I am insured for the possibility but it is so remote as to not be a huge consideration for most. Good selling point and good to discuss but not really a huge factor for MOST. Most people need a "safe" that will keep a casual burglar or a crackhead away from their guns and important papers.
Like most here I do not store ammo in my safes other than a couple of loaded mags in there for quick access in an emergency. Ammo cans and shelves in my gun room hold most of my ammo.
I put a safe in my bedroom recently so I needed aesthetics to go along with size restraints and I went with a Liberty. It MAY hold half the advertised long guns but if I ever accumulate 48 Cricket 22s and single shot shotguns it might hold 2/3s. The door storage for handguns is nice and I actually like the keypad entry. All of my safes are bolted to the concrete slab as well as the wall studs but, once again, The Hawk could probably get in if he had the time.
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Old June 16, 2013, 11:05 AM   #20
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Ooooh....

A 2,100 pound gun safe! Just the prospect of having a safe weighing in over a ton appeals to the kid in me!

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Old June 16, 2013, 11:39 AM   #21
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JEST buy one twice as big as you think you need! I did NOT had to get the second one.
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Old June 17, 2013, 09:09 PM   #22
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For those with access problems, there are modular safes, like the Zanotti. The are not the heaviest, but they provide reasonable security and can be assembled where they are wanted. The modularity sacrifices fire resistance, so they are not as impressive as other safes that are no stronger but have a ton of asbestos on them so they look huge.

The old "how much is enough?" question always arises. The fact is that few home safes will be attacked by a burglary team with a huge truck and tons of specialized equipment. More likely a couple of teen-agers with a tire tool. But buy to suit your needs as best you can anticipate them.

I do recall one fellow who insisted that nothing less than sides of 5" case-hardened laminated steel armor plate would do, plus 4 combination locks on an 8" thick door. I thought that was a bit much, and that probably he had never actually bought and paid for something like that for himself, or considered the small problems of getting it into an ordinary house and what kind of floor support would be needed!

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Old June 17, 2013, 10:16 PM   #23
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Jim K;

I beg to differ. You forget the simplicity and ease of gravity delivery to the basement!

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Old June 18, 2013, 04:32 AM   #24
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Snap safe is another modular safe company. A bit smaller than your typical units but again they are modular. I am considering replacing my large safe with one for easier moving depending on how often I have to move in the next 20 or so years.

Tractor supply is a place I did not expect to see good deals on safes. I got a Winchester safe from them for 500 even with a 6 door gun panel.
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Old June 18, 2013, 07:28 AM   #25
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Red Head as sold by a large sporting goods chain.





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