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AMSEC BF vs. Sturdy safe question

Discussion in 'Shooting Gear and Storage' started by TJ42, Nov 26, 2009.

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  1. a1abdj

    a1abdj Member

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    I agree. This is why myself and a few others on the board try to be as upfront as possible about the products we're familiar with. Unfortunately, especially in the gun safe business, you won't get many straight answers.

    The manufacturers either forget to mention specific details, or the person selling them (who knows absolutely nothing about safes in most cases) just makes something up.

    Yes they are making them, although I have not seen any myself. I have also not heard of any price modifications (yet).

    All in all, I don't think a single top bolt on a BF series safe would make much of a difference against a burglary attack. It's just a change to make the 2010 safes different than the 2009 safes.
     
  2. leadcounsel

    leadcounsel member

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    IMO just get the Sturdy safe. You'll be very satisfied. I bought one and liked it so much I bought a second one several years later. Great safe, great value. Sure it won't win any beauty contests, but who cares... I don't want people looking at it anyway.
     
  3. 78tsubaki

    78tsubaki Member

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    + 1 on what leadcouncel posted. I might add that my Sturdy is built like a battleship.
     
  4. a1abdj

    a1abdj Member

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    Battleships use 7 gauge steel? :D
     
  5. 78tsubaki

    78tsubaki Member

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    a1abdj
    Got me. I thought about adding a disclaimer describing that my Sturdy is built like a scaled down battleship. Even then I am not sure how much water my safe would displace. It is thick steel, insulated at the hull and seam welded so I thought the comparison might work. ;)
     
  6. rescueswimmer

    rescueswimmer Member

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    Just got off the phone with 3 Different people from AMSEC and they all said the BF series has 11 gauge exterior shell their drylight fill then a 16 gauge inner liner and a 1/2 plate door. (the 7250 has a 3/8 plate door) and the 2010 models will Have an additional top and bottom bolt.

    Hope this helps.
     
  7. Maia007

    Maia007 Member

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    "Just got off the phone with 3 Different people from AMSEC and they all said the BF series has 11 gauge exterior shell their drylight fill then a 16 gauge inner liner and a 1/2 plate door. (the 7250 has a 3/8 plate door) and the 2010 models will Have an additional top and bottom bolt."

    Mr. a1abdj:

    Is this info consistent with what you know about the BF series currently available?
     
  8. snakyjake

    snakyjake Member

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    I got an email from AMSEC stating: "The outer skin is 10 gauge and the inner is 16".
     
  9. rescueswimmer

    rescueswimmer Member

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    Sounds like they don't have a clue what they have. One person told me to check the catalog. I told them it does not say in the catalog. And then they quit emailing me back.

    I also think if it was 10 outer they would have no problem telling their customers that.
     
  10. a1abdj

    a1abdj Member

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    The problem with calling/e-mailing AMSEC is that you're dealing directly with a customer service rep. As with all safe companies, most of the hired reps have customer service experience, but are not trained safe techs. They are simply reading something off of a script in a binder or on a computer.

    If you haven't seen AMSEC's catalog, they manufacturer a lot of safes. When you mention the BF series, that could be referring to their gun safes, or a smaller fire and burglary line that they carry. One person may have an older script to read from than another. There are all sorts of reasons that two different customer service reps will give you two different answers.

    Several months ago I met personally with one of AMSEC's regional reps. At that time he told me that the gun safes were, and had always been 10 gauge and 16 gauge. However, he also told me that they were upgrading the fill material to something better. This material was more expensive, and heavier. This is when the weights of the safes went up. There have been some new changes to the 2010 models, and they may have lightened the steel to compensate for the heavier fill. I have not verified this, but according to somebody else I know in the business, they have a cut away model that states they are now 11 gauge.

    My question is so what? As it relates to the AMSEC BF series, what difference is there between the 10 and 11 gauge steel? One of the advantages of the AMSEC product is its composite construction. Although the outer steel wall is a barrier, the true beauty of the design is the dense fill and innner wall. From a burglary standpoint, gauge steel will not offer much brute force protection on its own.

    Many of you may be shocked to know that your local bank is using a vault door made out of 10 gauge steel. It's going to be wrapped around a 10" thick, 30,000 PSI "concrete" block, but it's got a really thin stainless cover.

    There is a lot more to security than just the thickness of the materials. In this case, we're talking less than one half of one milimeter in difference between 10 and 11 gauge. Literally, the difference between 15 strikes and 18 strikes with a sledge hammer.
     
  11. rescueswimmer

    rescueswimmer Member

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    Your right about the steel thickness, but I think as a consumer you would like some consistency with what their product has. If its a 11 gauge and the fill adds security then advertise it that way or say it does this. If its 10 gauge steel then put it out there.

    From what I have read Amsec make one of the best gun safes on the market at their price point. I have nothing against it nor am I saying their construction is inferior or better. Just disappointed in the lack of knowledge of their CS reps, Hell even some dealers I have talked to recently tell you different things about the make up of the safe. People like to know what there getting.
     
  12. pjripple

    pjripple Member

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    I agree rescueswimmer. I was at a local dealer a month or so ago looking at the AMSEC BF gun safes. Some of the BF6030 models had a bolt on the top of the door and some didn't. I asked and the sales person just shrugged his shoulders. I asked on this forum and nobody really new. I picked up a 2010 catalog last weekend and it appears that they made some changes for 2010 as a1abdj mentioned. I like details, so I'm always looking for specifics and sometimes they can be hard to find and it gets to be frustrating. Anyway, I'm still leaning heavily toward an AMSEC BF series "safe". Good luck.
     
  13. al123

    al123 Member

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    I thought it was already answered in this thread and that one of our resident experts (a1abdj) mentioned that he didn't think it added much to the overall security of the safe. The latest catalogs have the AMSEC BF 2010 models as having the extra top bolt as a new feature. The 2009 and earlier models do not have the bolt. Also, the date of manufacture is on the door. If the sales person didn't know he didn't even try to read the new model product literature. However, this has been my experience with several gun safe sales people. :banghead:

    If you look at the earlier catalogs it looks like the transition to the heavier material began in 2009 for the BF6030 and BF6032 models. That's when the model weights increased. For 2009, the larger models kept the same weight specifications. In the new 2010 catalog all the BF models increased in weight compared to earlier years.

    We can only guess why AMSEC changed the specifications for the BF series. They may have developed a superior fill that was still cost effective. They may have wanted to standardize the proprietary mix across several of their products lines and that the earlier gun safe "Drylight" was a separate formula. Who knows? Regardless, they've decided to have slightly less steel (11/16 ga. outer/inner) and use a heavier/denser fill. It appears break-even worse case.

    On somewhat separate note, if you hire an outfit that moves safes, make sure they're reputable. I just saw a story of a home invasion. The owner struggled and lost several teeth. He was lucky they didn't kill him. They tied him and his wife and ransack their house for five hours. They even stole and used his pickup truck. They recognize them as people that worked in their home before and apparently taken an entire inventory of the contents of their home.
     
  14. heeler

    heeler Member

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    Not exactly sure when Amsec designates a 2009 model or 2010 model but I ordered my BF 66x36 and it was made in October 2009 and only has the 10 side bolts.
    Makes very little difference to me because half inch plate steel bends not so easily.
    And certainly not with a crow bar.
    I would be interested to know if mine had the newer fill though.
    Whatever it's weight is I do know I was glad to hire a true safe company to put it into my home.
    They made it look so damn easy but I wouldn't attempt moving that big beast on a bet!
     
  15. rescueswimmer

    rescueswimmer Member

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    AL123,

    I would tend to agree with you on their products, but no were in any brochures have I seen anything that they have improved upon their Drylight. I have never ever ever seen a company improve a product and not make sure you know its better. So this would lead me to believe that if any change has taken place the overall quality or security of the product has not. It would make sense to use the same fill for all their safes for a cost perspective.

    They added one more bolt on the top to their doors. This is probably just to keep up with other safe MFG's, like stated before not needed, but uneducated people would feel that door is less secure without top and bottom bolts. I know the first time I saw it I was under that impression. (Browning's new safes now have corner bolts, really?)

    Like most have said before its not that it has 11 gauge steel vs 10. Well as a consumer just let us know what it has. Obviously 10 gauge steel would be better than the 11 vs certain attacks and may by you a few extra minutes that you need. No one is going to argue 10 vs 11 vs any type of cutting tool is going to make much difference.

    No were does it say by test or anything that drylight fill provides any extra protection against theft, It is not rigid like concrete it is ply able and moves.

    With that being said I still probably will end up with an AMSEC BF 6636, Its just frustrating when you can't get a straight answer.
     
  16. heeler

    heeler Member

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    Rescueswimmer,after they get that BF 66X36 in your home and you see how large it really is in the designated room you chose for it to ever reside you will almost certainly be impressed with your choice.
    I know I certainly am with mine.
    Best $2299.00 I ever laid down.
     
  17. al123

    al123 Member

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    My wild-a** guess, and that's all I've been doing, that it's a trade-off. If the Drylight mix was improved (I really don't know that it was), one would have to explain the loss of steel however small. Steel is a known quantity, but the AMSEC Drylight is ???

    I think they went with this possible trade-off as a cost control measure. They may have had better control over the production costs of their proprietary mixture than over the price of steel which increased rapidly in 2008. Steel prices have since dropped, but they can be still volatile. Note, this in-the-stratosphere speculation. I really do not know.

    I also think one of the possibilities is that the heavier fill gives absolutely no additional protection. However, via the grapevine with a1abdj's visit with a regional rep., this heavier fill was considered an upgrade. The evidence at least points to the fill being heavier and denser since the overall volume really hasn't changed. Of course this is still internet information so no guarantees.

    From AMSEC's advertisement blurb:
    2" total wall thickness on all sides featuring our poured DryLight insulation and two layers of steel for exceptional fire and security protection.

    AMSEC tries to sell the 2" BF body as an overall composite for both fire AND security protection. Also, see their youtube advertisement below. The AMSEC person here believes the Drylight provides protection for both fire and burglary. The video also seems to push the 'seamless' composite angle.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k6k9iGGWQ1w

    Of course any manufacturer can make any claim. The testing part is where it gets really murky. It passed the UL RSC burglary rating. From a formal test standpoint that's all I really know. I have no concrete idea (no pun intended) how it compares with 7 ga. steel or some other body construction.

    My examination of Drylight that it seemed pretty solid. It's something like tile grout. Concrete 'moves' too if you hit it hard enough. The question is how much additional protection over gypsum board or air is anyone's guess. I personally think it adds more protection than gypsum board, but that's just one person's opinion.

    I think it's the way AMSEC operates. Plenty of people find it frustrating so you are not alone. I heard getting information for the body construction of their TL-30 gun safe (RF6528) is even harder. You can try other companies like Sturdy or Fort Knox. Of course those two respective companies have completely different product philosophies, but their product construction is clear.

    Good luck
     
  18. a1abdj

    a1abdj Member

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    I'm sure they wouldn't have a problem telling you if they knew. You could call any number of large manufacturers on the phone, ask their customer service rep a technical question, and not get the correct answer (if you even get an answer at all).

    The RSC testing means very little. So little in fact, that I don't consider it a selling point at all.

    Many safe manufacturers are difficult to get answers from. This is one of the things that makes their products secure. If anybody could call on the phone and get all of their technical questions answered, then every theif would be on the phone with them.
     
  19. kuyawil

    kuyawil Member

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    Hi everyone, I've been a lurker for a while now and thought it was about time to make my first post...

    I just wanted to add that I called several different AMSEC dealers to ask about what gauge steel is used in the BF line and let me tell you, they all said 11ga outer. I didn't even bother to ask anything else. I won't give names of persons but two of the dealers I spoke with were The Safe Outlet in So.Cal and Bay Area Lock-N-Key in the South San Francisco area. Surprisingly, one of the dealers even told me that the outers have always been 11ga.

    It's already been said how difficult it is to get the straight answer from the manufacturer let alone their customer service. But, when someone like myself who is interested in the BF6030, it's a little discouraging. I know it's only a difference of 1ga, but when there's inconsistent information between dealers, who do you believe?

    Additionally, I've also had shown interest in the Liberty Safes, particularly the Franklin/Lincoln series. These safes also use 11ga outer bodies but so many on the internet are quick to dismiss Liberty completely. I know the BF6030 has a 1/2" plate for the door but the new middle to high-end Liberty safes have what's called a "tough door" that's touted to be 1" thick.

    Anyway, as you can see, deciding on what safe to buy has turned out to be more challenging than I thought. The only other safe on my list is Sturdy. They're not as pretty as the AmSec and Liberty safes but I like what I've seen and read on their website so far...

    I'll keep you guys updated on my decision soon... Sorry for the rant....
     
  20. a1abdj

    a1abdj Member

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    Not that it really matters, but he/she is wrong.

    Again, you realize that's a difference of less than one half of one millimeter. It would be a different story if the difference was something that mattered.

    The lightest commercial safes we sell have 1/4" walls. Twice as thick as "heavy" gun safes. I even call them tin cans.

    Single wall, unsupported, using gypsum board for an interior. There's a big difference between a single wall safe using a glued on backing, and a double walled safe using a cement type fill.

    This is why it is dismissed. Marketing, not construction. Their "tough door" may be 1" thick, but it's not 1" plate. It's a thin piece of steel wrapped around some gypsum board to make it look thick. They then give it a fancy name, and people buy into the myth.

    Liberty is not the only company that does this.

    I'd certainly have a Sturdy over a Liberty. I'd also have the AMSEC over the Sturdy.
     
  21. ScareyH22A

    ScareyH22A Member

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    I went to check out some AMSECs at a large retailer recently and the 2010 BF models were definitely 11/16 gauge. Also there was 1 bolt on top but none on the bottom. And he specifically pointed out that the DryLight insulation is nothing like the POP cut-away prop in that it's not hard as a rock and it will not add anything to the reinforcement of the sheet metal besides fireproofing and sound dampening.

    But I pointed out that the thickness seemed lacking and he pointed out some good facts. If a burglar has enough time and the proper tools, he'll get into anything. But a 11 gauge body with insulation in the middle and a 16 gauge inner wall isn't exactly a tin can. If you want to cut a relatively large opening out of the 16 gauge wall than the outter wall has to be cut even larger. There's not many hand operated power or pneumatic tools that can cut through both layers at the same time. And a professional burglar knows this so they won't attempt to break in through the walls unless they know that you're on vacation or something. And unless they're a safe tech, they're not getting in through the doors.

    They may try to fire axe it a few times but that's usually not gonna be precise enough to get through and reach anything inside, let alone get the insulation out. As long as it's secured properly, any decent safe will keep burglars out.

    And most burglars are the smash and grab type so even if you had a locked tool box chained to a post, there's a good chance that it'll still be there.
     
  22. snakyjake

    snakyjake Member

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    When it comes to security, they are all thin sheet metal and all perform the same (or maybe within 30 seconds of each other). I think the next step to help narrow down the choice is warranty, fire protection, price, and being able to inspect the product before purchasing (unless there's a 100% money back guarantee including freight). It may just come down to who can give me the best price.
     
  23. kuyawil

    kuyawil Member

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    Forgive me for asking this but does anyone have any thoughts or comments on the Ft. Knox safes? I ask because because SnakyJake (post #47) brings up a good point when trying to narrow down selections. And from what I read, the warranty from Ft. Knox is one of the better, if not the best, warranties out there today. Another thing about Ft. Knox is the additional customizations such as choice of internal or external hinges, left or right swing door, adding additional liner for reinforcement, upgrading the outer shell to thicker guage steel, etc... The safe from Ft. Knox I would be interested in would be the 6031 Defender series. Thanks again in advance...
     
  24. JCinPA

    JCinPA Member

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    I'm not a safe tech, so take this with a grain of salt. But the reason I knocked Ft. Knox off my list is that the door tech needs to be commensurate with the wall tech. By that I mean you go to thicker door, 2m lock, more relockers, fancy gearing . . . as the wall becomes more difficult to penetrate through thicker steel and/or true composite (cement fill) construction.

    Ft. Knox puts doors that seem to be a level or two more secure than their walls -- they put door tech on an 11 gauge safe that belongs on a 3/16 or 1/4 inch wall safe, they put door tech on a 3/16 wall safe than would be appropriate on a 1/2 in wall safe. . .look at all the pretty marketing stuff about their doors on their site. All that stuff is expensive, but I suspect very easy to get a wow factor going with a sales prospect. To me that does not make them bad safes, a more secure door is not a bad thing. . . but the value for the dollar drops, I think. If I was buying a C-rate safe then their top line door might be reasonable. On their safes I think it's wasted. They are gorgeous, I'll give them that! But the hype on corner bolts?? Give me a break! :rolleyes:

    A safe tech should correct me if I'm wrong, but that's my opinion at the moment. I finally stopped debating and decided I really don't need bank security in my home and I'm leaning strongly toward an Amsec BF.
     
  25. heeler

    heeler Member

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    The one thing I did like about Ft.Knox safes was their ability to make upgrades for the customer.
    Before I purchased my Amsec BF I was considering the Defender with the deluxe upgrade package.
    This meant that instead of getting the sandard 10 gauge body I could for $300.00 more could upgrade to a 3/16th body which then they would add the 3/8 of an inch plate to the door instead of the standard 1/4.
    Or I could have settled for the standard door and added an inner 10 gauge wall to the safe.
    Or I could have upgraded with the thicker steel body and the inner wall of 10 gauge.
    Of course all of this adds up in money.
    Last year they quoted me a price of $2800.00 for a 66x37 Defender model with the upgraded 3/16th body and upgraded door.
    As you know I chose the Amsec BF 66x36 and the price I got it for was $500.00 less than the upgraded Knox.
    I urge anyone who is going to buy a gun safe to take their time and do lots of research.
    Then do more.
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2010
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