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Fire Safes and Gun Rust.

Discussion in 'Shooting Gear and Storage' started by Greg8098, Apr 17, 2007.

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  1. Greg8098

    Greg8098 Member

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    I remember reading somewhere that fire safes are not recommended for firearm storage because of the high moisture content present. Is there any way to safely store guns in them without them rusting?
     
  2. a1abdj

    a1abdj Member

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    The types of fire rated safe not suitable for the storage of firearms (or other moisture damaged items: stamps, coins, etc.) are the document safes.

    This is especially true of the cheaper imported fire rated safes like Sentry, Brinks, and the like. Gun safes are lined with gypsum board, and are not truely fire rated.

    If you must store something in a safe like this, I suppose you could keep it in a oven/microwave safe tupperware container with some dessicant packs. These types of safes should also be opened daily to allow the air to circulate.

    These types of safes are designed to be moist inside. That's what makes them fireproof. Keeping something rust free while being stored inside of one of these safes is similar to keeping something dry while storing it in a swimming pool.
     
  3. okiebuckout

    okiebuckout Member

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    I don't believe it is the moisture inside that causes the safe to be fireproof. It is the proper constuction using the right materials that give the safe its ability to reflect the heat away. Kinda like a smokejumpers fireblanket. A 'fireresistant' safe is considered properly rated if the internal temperature doesn't reach above 350 degrees within the specified time that its rated for. Moisture has nothing to do with its fire resistant abilities.
    I am not trying to be disrespectful, but I also don't like to see stuff misrepresented.;)
     
  4. okiebuckout

    okiebuckout Member

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    sorry for the second post
     
  5. a1abdj

    a1abdj Member

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    This depends on the type of safe construction you're speaking of. If the safe is a composite type safe, then you are correct. However, the vast majority of fire rated safes use a liquid gypsum based insulation. Composite safes are usually burglary rated, and are much more costly to build.

    When the UL conducts their fire ratings, there are three major factors built into the test. The first is the temperature rise, the second is 30 foot fall to resemble a floor collapse, and the third is an internal explosion caused by the build up of steam. This steam is generated from those moisture rich insulations as it cooks off in a fire.

    A fire resistant safe is only considered rated if it is rated by a recognized testing agency. In the US, the Underwriters Labs are the only ones with that type of credential. Foreign testing groups in Europe, Japan, and Korea are also recognized.

    Independant testing facilities, such as those that test gun safes, are not recognized. They are not recognized because their standards of testing do not prove any real protection.

    I'll tell you where I get my information, if you share with me where you got yours. :)

    Neither do I. This is why I try to answer the safe questions when I see them pop up from time to time. People who know the answers to these questions are the guys like me, not the guys at the sporting goods or office supply store.
     
  6. okiebuckout

    okiebuckout Member

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    Toshay!(however you spell that). I have seen know that you are locksmith and such, so you do have much more experience than me. I shall share with you my secrets now. Hmm, let me get back with you, because i seem to have misplaced the particular piece of evidence.:uhoh:

    I will admit though that it was Googled. :p

    I will try to find which place it was. I thought it was from a university website, but I can't be for sure. I know it didn't talk about the gypsum material so it probably made me look like a fool now :D
     
  7. Levergun

    Levergun Member

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    Fort Knox! I have one and store all my guns in it with no troubles at all.

    I think the most important thing is to keep the door closed as much as possible and keep desicant in it.

    Also, where you live and the climent will make a huge difference in the conditions inside your safe no matter what kind it is.;)
     
  8. dubious

    dubious Member

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    Does anyone have any experience with dessicants or dehumidifiers? I'm inclined towards dessicants because they dont require batteries. I've got a stack on gun cabinet with room for 10 rifles.
     
  9. Levergun

    Levergun Member

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    I use descicant in my safe. Everytime I come across a bag, I throw it in there.
     
  10. CB900F

    CB900F Member

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    Fella's;

    Dubious, are you sure you mean a dehumidifier? Perhaps you're thinking of a Golden Rod. I'm not saying it can't be done, but wow a dehumidifier in a safe would eat up a high percentage of the interior space. And then there's the water dump problem.

    The Golden Rods, and like devices, are just a low watt electric heater that keeps the interior of the container from dropping below dewpoint. That keeps moisture from condensing on the metal of the guns stored there. If you keep your safe in the garage in New Hampshire, something a little warmer may be needed.

    900F
     
  11. Bartholomew Roberts

    Bartholomew Roberts Moderator Emeritus

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    Well, everybody lives in different climates and has different conditions; but I bought a box of dessicant from Bass Pro four or five years ago with the little indicator that shows when it is time to throw it in the oven and remove the stored moisture. So far it isn't even to the halfway point yet and I do use a UL-rated fire resistant safe.
     
  12. frenchwrench

    frenchwrench Member

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    My safe is in the garage (detatched) in northern Indiana. After adding a Golden Rod I've had no problems with rust or moisture. I also keep dessicant in the safe.
     
  13. Grayrock

    Grayrock Member

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    I am shopping for a "safe" right now. The guy at Cabela's did not recommend the electric dehumidifiers (Golden Rod type) as he said the heat can affect gun stocks adversely. He recommended the dessicant packages. CB900f and a1abdj- y'all are the experts. (I know we are talking about RSC's, so let's not even go down that sideroad) What do you recommend for decreasing the propensity to rust? - Due to physical limitations I must keep my "safe" in the garage. Central Texas can get pretty humid sometimes. Am I fighting a losing battle or is there hope I can actually accomplish rust inhibition?
     
  14. Levergun

    Levergun Member

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    Under your circumstances, I would invest in descicant bags and wipe my guns down with a light coat of oil once a month, just to make sure. Also make sure you keep the door to the safe closed as much as possible.
     
  15. a1abdj

    a1abdj Member

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    I responded to another thread as well, but I'll answer in a little more detail here.

    Desiccants do work. The problem with desiccants is that sometimes they work too well. Most safes are not anywhere near air tight, and if the outside air is moist, the dessicants will keep attracting it. You also have to keep an eye on them. Once they are full, they stop absorbing.

    The electric dry rods do raise the temperature slightly. This effects the dew point, and not the actual humidity level. They work 24/7 without any maintenance.

    I typically suggest dry rods, especially to those who are not in and out of their safes on a regular basis. Keep in mind that you don't want the safe to have zero moisture. You want somthing in the 45% to 55% humidity range.

    If it's too dry, you run the risk of drying out wood and having it crack. If it's too moist, you run the risk of rust. You can buy hygrometers at most places that sell cigars. Get a nice digital unit that records the low, high, and current reading. Should cost around $30.

    It's best to know what you're working with before you start trying to adjust it.
     
  16. Zebraranger

    Zebraranger Member

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    I live in Florida and have been using BullFrogs Rust Blocker Sheild in my gun safe for about a year now. It has worked well.
    [​IMG]
    It works so well that I decided to carry it on my site. http://manaboutracks.com/default.aspx
    It has eliminated the need for the Golden rod and the dessicant gel packs and as you can see, my guns are totally rust free.
    [​IMG]
     
  17. krs

    krs Member

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    this from the Rhino Safe website concerning the use of gypsum for fireproffing. Note that moisture induces rust of steel:

    "9. Why use sheetrock for fire protection?
    Sheetrock is relatively inexpensive and is actually very effective in a fire. It transfers heat extremely slowly. A typical gun safe may have over 100 pounds of sheetrock inside of it. Moisture, normally trapped in the gypsum mixture, when heated above 212 degrees, turns to steam and escapes. This process is called 'calcination' and will hold the internal temperature of the safe at approximately 220 degrees until the sheetrock has dried out completely."

    The phrase "normally trapped" seems questionable to me. Trapped, until what sub steam level? Is NO moisture released at say, 75 degrees, or 67 degrees? These could be normal everyday non fire induced temperatures inside of a residential gunsafe on a summer day, you think?

    So I'd suspect that the presence of moisture, even though it may have certain benefit in case of fire, is best avoided by not having a safe with the "inexpensive" gypsum as the primary protective material if rust is an undesirable offshoot of it's use.

    Cheap means cheap. are your guns cheap?
     
  18. doub1

    doub1 Member

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    When they say it's "trapped water" they mean it's a hydrate. Water is incorporated in to it's molecular structure, so not like a sponge that readily absorbs and releases water. The hydrate of calcium sulfate (gypsum) doesn't break down and give off water until it hits 175 degrees F. Gypsum board is fine for safes, its hard to find fireproofing that doesn't use it.

    To prevent rust you have to A) keep the air heated above the dew point using a golden rod. B) Remove as much moisture as you can using a dissicant as was previously said.
     
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