Gun Safe Suggestions

Discussion in 'Shooting Gear and Storage' started by SavingNolanRyan, Feb 14, 2022.

  1. SavingNolanRyan

    SavingNolanRyan Member

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    I am a bit overwhelmed, so sorry this is a going to be a little scrambled and not well thought out. Over the weekend, we moved my father in law into an assisted living facility. As we gathered up things he would need to take with him, we came across some crates of rifles. His memory isn't so good, but my wife was aware of firearms he had from previous family members passing down old firearms. We found many lists of estate items that were split up between family members and I have 4 crates and some lists that have many prewar items, such as some Enfields, Springfields Military and a DCM sporter along with a Rock Island..Remington pump 760 30-06, Crescent Arms 410 and possibly some Kraag 1898 from 1930. Once I get into the crates, I will know for sure, but the lists match up with the crate labeling and I was able to peek inside one. I thought I saw some M1 Garands. Anyhow, trucked this stuff home and in the process of unloading a bunch of stuff. What size safe should I be looking into to secure arms of this era? I am not familiar with the overall lengths of some of these old rifles. Also, I know these safes tend to overstate how many they can handle. Best estimate is ~20 rifles. Suggestions?
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2022
  2. CoalCrackerAl

    CoalCrackerAl Member

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    Get a safe that claims to hold 30 long guns.
     
  3. CapnMac

    CapnMac Member

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    You probably do not need a "taller" safe, but you likely need a wide one.
    I'd search in the 35-36 "gun" sizes.

    There's a much more significant question, too--how much room do you have?
    Are you intending to put the safe up--or down--any sets of stairs?
    Are there any narrow doors or hallways in your proposed path?

    These things will matter, as you may actually need two, smaller safes, in the 15-16 "gun" range.

    Are you intending simple theft prevention, or do you also want fire protection? (The "how much" factors into this decision.)

    As to brands, Sturdy, Liberty and the like may well suffice.

    "We" here would probably need more details on entirely what you are locking up. It sounds like you largely have long guns to store, so, you will want to find internal arrangements that have few, if any "side shelves" (e.g. all long guns)

    As a guess, you have nothing much longer than about 54", and 48" probably covers nearly all of them (length of the crates may be a good clue).
     
  4. SavingNolanRyan

    SavingNolanRyan Member

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    Likely going in the garage as I can mount it onto the cement slab. Is Cannon a good brand? Costco has a 43.8CuFt safe that is 59"h x 45"w x 28"d - "72 gun capacity". First of mind is theft prevention...probably properly securing firearms for safety is top of mind as well. No less important will be fire protection to best protect the items - Cannon advertises 60 min fire protection. All long guns...one Sturm Ruger single action .357. A few war era sniper scopes and possibly some bayonets, (not clear if we have them or not). Once I crack into the crates I can be more specific, but I think this will be 95% long guns.
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2022
  5. ColtPythonElite

    ColtPythonElite Member

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    I have a Cannon. No complaints.
     
  6. Lennyjoe

    Lennyjoe Member

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    I have a Liberty and have been happy with it.

    Bigger question is what’s your budget? There’s quite a few brands available all depending on what you’re willing to spend. Set your size and funding limit and shop within those parameters
     
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  7. SavingNolanRyan

    SavingNolanRyan Member

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    I am not well versed in the antique gun market. Based on what we have, I certainly think I can spend ~$2k for a safe. Will adjust more or less depending on reality. I did read some negatives on that Cannon safe that the electronic lock could be a risk. I need a secure, reliable safe and if my budget is off, I am open to suggestions. Hoping I don't have to pay $5-12K for a solid safe.
     
  8. Cokeman

    Cokeman Member

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    I got a Fort Knox. I like it a lot.
     
  9. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    This is a different approach, but have you considered renting a climate controlled storage space. The safes you may need to buy, if actual UL fire rated safes, will be well in excess of a couple of grand for that many valuable vintage long guns. What is five years rental for storage that you know is going to maintain temp and humidity?
     
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  10. FAS1

    FAS1 Member

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    You have a lot to consider when looking for the best way to store the gun collection.

    How much is the value of the collection? Something to consider as the higher the value it might make sense to spend a little more to secure it. No matter what you get be sure to bolt it down and consider placing it where it would be hard to cut the sides or pry the door.

    Would you consider your home a high risk for theft? The higher the risk you want something that will buy you more time. Thicker steel and better bolt work and especially bolt supports will make a difference.

    Fire risk and response time from fire dept.? Of course if you are always home then your risk of a catastrophic fire before someone notices goes down too.

    Since there are no “gun safes” with a UL fire rating, it can be difficult trying to navigate through all the manufactures claimed ratings. I personally don’t trust the ratings to be very accurate because there are so many variables when everyone is doing their own test. The exception would be the safes that have an ETL (Intertek) fire rating. Unlike UL, they do not write the testing specs, but use the UL specs in their testing. AMSEC for example will use them on their safes that use their composite fill fire protection. If you decide you need this type of protection you won’t be anywhere near that 2K price range.
     
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  11. CapnMac

    CapnMac Member

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    Garage location for the safe introduces more variables, like humidity and temperature control.

    Additionally there is an out-of-sight-out-of-mind issue that can decrease your situational awareness. All while conveniently parking the safe (potentially) near the best tools to open it.

    Against that argument, you can get a motion-detecting wireless camera to monitor the safe for under $100.

    Now, getting a couple of Stak-On gun lockers and dollying them into a climate controlled self-storage joint has some merit. The units in such a place all have a very anonymous roller door with nothing much to distinguish one full of second-hand furniture and toys from something actually valuable. And, the Stak-On boxes would then keep things further out of sight to maintenance people in the facility.

    If going that route, I'd recommend a slightly larger unit--say 5x7 or 7x10, the better to add a folding table to lay the things out with a photo "drape" to use for documentation purposes (upper ends can be held to the metal walls with magnets.

    Note, the major issue with the self storage units will be a lack of adequate lighting.
     
  12. Zygodactyl

    Zygodactyl Member

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    I would never use a self storage unit personally. They are a target for thieves and shady employees. Miss payments because of an illness or other factor and it goes up for auction. I bought a large 72 x 36 gun safe online with a heavy steel plate door, dial combo and 2 inch locking bolts along the sides and top for $1200 delivered. It is also fire rated. Put it in a deep closet so thieves can't get to the weaker sides or back.
     
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  13. SavingNolanRyan

    SavingNolanRyan Member

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    So much to consider. Thanks for all the input so far. CapnMac - The garage seemed to be the best place as it can be bolted to the cement floor. Yes, there are tools out there, but we have a modest size house at ~1500 sq ft. It is split level and we have a steep-ish driveway, stairs leading up to the front door, then up to the dining room, then again up to the bedrooms. So the logistics of moving a safe into the house is much more difficult than straight into the garage. Not to mention, bolted to the wood flooring seems much less secure than bolted to the cement pad in the garage. I thought about building a plywood cabinet around it in the garage to "camouflage" it a bit, but felt bolting it firmly to the cement floor seemed to be the most secure option. Our friends live in the foothills and have about 20 acres. Their "hidden" wall safe was simply cut out with a sawzall or chainsaw and taken. Maybe the stairs in the house is a significant deterrent vs the garage. Out west, some of the storage units have been used for everything from modified homes, to band rehearsal spaces to drug dealing and manufacture. I would not feel comfortable using a space like that.

    Thoughts on a Liberty 1776 safe as local Tractor Supply store has them. Thoughts on dial lock vs E Lock? I don't care about speed of access, just reliability.
     
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  14. edwardware

    edwardware Member

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    The insurance policy you will buy (no, your homeowners is no where near sufficient) will protect them. I use Historical Firearms from Eastern Insurance; your homeowners is NOT coverage.

    The safe (an RSC really) you will buy simply buys a few minutes time against fire or casual theft.

    If you're willing to store them tightly (packed like sardines), you can fit the stated capacity of a gun safe in the safe; use gun socks to protect them from each other.

    If you're going to be pulling one out every week, that won't do. If that's the case, figure on achieving half-ish of the stated capacity.
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2022
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  15. Atavar

    Atavar Member

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    D933B6DA-9468-405E-9670-FCA7A1D373D7.jpeg With that many guns I would probably consider turning a room or large closet in to a vault. A security door with bars and serious deadbolts along with wall, floor and ceiling reinforcement can buy you as much time a a serious safe, often at less cost.
    Don’t forget a self contained alarm with remote notification.
     
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  16. JDeere

    JDeere Member

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    Those Canons from Costco or Tractor supply will suit you well. I have more than 1 and I use them frequently with no issues. I have one in my shop which is not climate controlled and in the deep south with high humidity. A golden rod is all I use and have never had a speck of rust show up. Bolt it down in the garage with a vapor barrier and call it good. I also have it blocked in to where you cant drag it out. You don't have to spend a ton of money to accomplish what you are after.
     
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  17. CapnMac

    CapnMac Member

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    Liberty makes a decent safe.
    I'm no fan of electronic locks in general--and out in the garage would be even less so (corroded batteries in a $5 flashlight are annoying; on the lock a $1500 safe . . . )

    "Armoring" up an existing closet also has merit. If losing you a closet. It's a pretty permanent solution when done right, but will only be a closet to anyone else, really.
     
  18. Zygodactyl

    Zygodactyl Member

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    The electronic lock is definitely faster but it has draw backs. Batteries can die and if it is in use for a period of time the numbers that make up the combination show wear or dirt and if someone has patience, they can guess the combination.
    I like the dial combination on mine. The dial is numbered 0 to 99 rather then10 on an e lock. Also, each number requires a certain amount of rotation in a specific direction. The dial can be locked with a key. Even with that I doubt it takes me 30 seconds on open mine. They make lights that magnet mount over the dial so you can open it in low light or at night. The lock on mine came with a tool to change the combination when desired.
     
  19. CapnMac

    CapnMac Member

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    There are vast differences in storage facilities, sadly.
    Here's the one I have for my old military stuff:
    storage.jpg
    Video surveillance, limited access, pretty anonymous overall (only 85¢/sf too). Bill are paid online (and if that gets broken, there are far more complicated issues afoot).
    Units are nice inside, too:
    1186_n.jpg?_nc_cat=108&ccb=1-5&_nc_sid=ae9488&_nc_ohc=kJcpW_bEZSEAX-QbRyY&_nc_ht=scontent-dfw5-2.jpg
    It's far more crowded now; and I need to organize more, too, after jamming all this in there
    9328_n.jpg?_nc_cat=107&ccb=1-5&_nc_sid=ae9488&_nc_ohc=jjLaQTv1pBIAX_V1bvN&_nc_ht=scontent-dfw5-2.jpg
    Would I move a safe in there? Maybe. I have a locking cabinet in there, mostly because I own one, not for any additional security.

    As with most things, it's a balancing act.
     
  20. Zygodactyl

    Zygodactyl Member

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    My sister makes a living auctioning off storage units. The thing that always amazes her it that people pay rent on a unit for years for items that are only worth a fraction of what the rent cost them. It is better to have a yard sale and get something for the junk rather than putting it in storage and forgetting about it. A lot of units have Christmas decorations in them. It would be cheaper to throw them away and buy new every year rather than pay storage on them.
     
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  21. Pulldeaux
    • Contributing Member

    Pulldeaux Contributing Member

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    About 1989 I built a safe 36”x24”x72 tall ,3/16 plate ,copied Browning lock works ,with out the door it’s 735lbs
    I’m sure the door is 150lbs before putting it in a closet-put 2 coats of Sherwin Williams fire proof paint on the closet Sheetrock , oh yes a green-leaf 4 turn lock. Alarm = everydoor ,everywindow,all connected to fire and
    Popo (feel good ) 3 years ago added a used Liberty(Colonial)with a dehumidifier,it has gaskets on the door,and 3” of insulation inside top(good idea liberty) also gaskets on door= Adsense or air!+8 outside cameras ! If you have alarm systemUse it,keep it up dated,if you had home improvement done double check everything
     
  22. balin

    balin Member

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    I find 2 safes better then 1. One for autos and one for revolvers and pump, bolt and leveraction long guns
     
  23. CodeSection

    CodeSection Member

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    You might want to view this video before buying the Cannon......

    Regardless of the manufacturer, S&G ELocks have had problems where owners were locked out. Apparently, around 12-20 years problems start to become evident with the electronics. If you Google S&G E Lock issues, you will find the problems.

    I like Ft. Knox safes so much that I'm buying my 5th safe from them. They are a premium safe manufacturer. Almost everyone I know has outgrown their initial safe. Therefore, buy the best and largest that your budget can afford. The nice thing with Ft. Knox safes is that you can have a redundant lock system (Elock and Dial). The Elock is for quick access and the Dial is there so you will never be locked out due to the Elock failing. Take a look at Ft. Knox's Maverick safe series as they have upgraded the construction to be similar to the Defender series.

    No matter what safe you purchase, they all can be compromised and broken into with time. Cheap safes as in the video above fail within minutes. Consider your security like an onion....with various layers. So, having a safe in the garage bolted down will be one security layer. Disguising the safe is another security layer. Having a monitored security alarm that incorporates your garage is another security layer. Having monitored cameras in the garage is yet another security layer.

    Any one of the above security layers can be defeated, however, to defeat all of them takes time. Thus, the smash and grab break-in is probably not going to hang around long when an audible alarm goes off so that the whole neighborhood hears it. Your whole goal is to stretch out the time it would take to break into the safe.

    Good luck with your search and various "systems" that you may install.....
     
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