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Gun Safes: Looking for a recommendation

Discussion in 'Shooting Gear and Storage' started by dehughes, Sep 29, 2009.

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  1. a1abdj

    a1abdj Member

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    Above the text area where you type your reply, there will be a number of "buttons" you can click on to adjust the text. There will be a little image of a globe (links), a mountain in a box (photos) and a cartoon text bubble (quotes).

    Neither can I, seeing that shipping a single unit can easily cost $300.

    I am under the impression than the Costco safes are different than the safes they sell through other retail channels. If this is the case, I'm sure there are some corners cut somewhere in order to achieve that price point.
     
  2. Ed4032

    Ed4032 Member

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    The main thing to do is buy one Much Bigger than you think you will need.
     
  3. Keizer

    Keizer Member

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    Well, I know that Costco safe we linked to gets shipped directly from Rhino Metals, Inc. Do you know anything about them? I'm assuming their "Bighorn" brand is maybe a cheaper to produce Chinese safe? Just a hunch.

    Had they replaced the gypsum board with the DryLight insulation used in the AMSEC safes, it would be a little more appealing. A good compromise between the AMSEC, and Sturdy safes. But of course the price would probably go up accordingly.
     
  4. padd54

    padd54 Member

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    I just forwarded this thread to Rhino. I researched this Safe a little and all the reviews and feedback that I could find was very positive.
    I am very happy with my decision. Also, the price was a "Hot Buy" that ended the first of this month.
     
  5. Keizer

    Keizer Member

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    It's good until the 4th!! Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh:D By the way, I have seen this Bighorn model sell from the low price that Costco offers, all the way up to $1,800.00 depending on the online store.
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2009
  6. Keizer

    Keizer Member

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    I actually talked to Rhino Metals, Inc. this morning about this Costco model. They actually do not have 1/4" steel plate doors. They have a small piece of plate steel in a few key areas to try and prevent drilling to tamper with the lock.

    Also, there is no inside sheet metal. The carpet just goes right up against the gypsum board.

    And yes, they are an import, just in case that matters to anyone.
     
  7. al123

    al123 Member

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    FWIW, it looks like the Bighorn series is their lower end. The Rhino series has 1/4 inch plate or a 3/16 inch-composite-10ga doors.

    I do have a question about safe placement for anyone out there. I have a choice of setting up a safe that will protect the sides more OR place it with the opening side against the wall making pry attacks harder, but exposing one side.

    Thanks.
     
  8. Keizer

    Keizer Member

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    I really like the look and features of the AMSEC safes, but being a former journey level machinist, and knowing how to weld, and do sheet metal work, those Sturdy brand safes are built like a tank.

    I know they don't look as nice as AMSEC, but for those that can look beyond a fancy paint job, flashy knobs, and fancy stickers, you can not argue the fact that Sturdy brand safes are built extremely well.

    I'm not knocking AMSEC, because they are also built well, and they are my other choice. It's just that I can appreciate heavier gauge steel. And, after talking with Terry at Sturdy, he is an old fashioned tradesman, and knows his stuff. It's also nice to know you are buying factory direct. They have been in business for years and years, which is a huge plus.

    Not to mention, they are less expensive than AMSEC.
     
  9. lebowski

    lebowski Member

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    Keizer I agree with you 100%.

    I special ordered my sturdy safe in black - and after receiving it I see why Terry chose to stick with the textured gray as his standard color. The welds seem very solid, but with the gloss black you can actually see the weld spots through the front of the door. I'm not complaining, I knew fit and finish isn't the sturdys strong point and I'm not one of these clowns who display their safe prominently in the livingroom.

    I also liked the amsec bf. Between the two, it ultimately came down to a matter of packaging as the biggest amsec I could fit through the doorway to the room I wanted it was the 6030. I was able to get a 32x24x72 sturdy into the same room, and deleting the fire protection gave me even more interior space.

    The sturdy ain't the best looker out there, but it's well constructed and a great value. I'm very happy with it.
     
  10. lebowski

    lebowski Member

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    Keizer I agree with you 100%.

    I special ordered my sturdy safe in black - and after receiving it I see why Terry chose to stick with the textured gray as his standard color. The welds seem very solid, but with the gloss black you can actually see the weld spots through the front of the door. I'm not complaining, I knew fit and finish isn't the sturdys strong point and I'm not one of these clowns who display their safe prominently in the livingroom.

    I also liked the amsec bf. Between the two, it ultimately came down to a matter of packaging as the biggest amsec I could fit through the doorway to the room I wanted it was the 6030. I was able to get a 32x24x72 sturdy into the same room, and deleting the fire protection gave me even more interior space.

    The sturdy ain't the best looker out there, but it's well constructed and a great value. I'm very happy with it.
     
  11. Keizer

    Keizer Member

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    Don't mistaken weld distortion as a fit and finish flaw. A good weld has to be hot, and it has to penetrate deep for strength. I would rather have what you describe, than a weld that is danty, and doesn't penetrate too far into the steel.

    Also, if you will notice on your door, it fits tighter in the frame than most other RSC on the market. Sturdy does this so it is harder to get a pry bar between the door and frame. Also, you will notice that your door shuts like a bulk head. Much like a door on a wood stove......tight against the seal.

    Oh, by the way, I don't work for sturdy, I have just been researching all the different brands.
     
  12. heeler

    heeler Member

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    Hmm....I really wished I could see a Sturdy up close and personal because I really like the fact that they use 3/16th of an inch body metal.
    And it's not too late to cancel my Amsec BF order either as the dealer has not ordered the amount he needs for his inventory.
    In fact I have until next week to decide.
    Damn!!... decisions,decisions.
     
  13. lebowski

    lebowski Member

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    I'm not saying it's a flaw. I realize it's a very solid weld and to me solid construction is more important than appearance. So I'm not complaining about the weld distortion ... I'm only commenting that now I see why he normally offers it in a textured gray. I highly doubt the weld distortions would show up w/ the textured gray finish. Much like with cars, things like that are very noticable on a gloss black finish. (I'm still glad I went with the black though).
     
  14. a1abdj

    a1abdj Member

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    You guys do realize that you can buy gun safes that are built even heavier than the Sturdy's don't you? I deal with a few companies that will build them out of solid 1.5" plate if you want.

    Sturdy and I disagree over their single thicker layer of steel as opposed to AMSEC's 10 gauge outer wall with cement filled interior BF series. Although I have not attacked these safes with a brute force experiment, I believe that both would hold up equally as well. I do believe the fire protection offered by the AMSEC is superior to that of the Sturdy.

    With all of that said, Sturdy does build a safe that puts many other name brands to shame. Either choice should serve you well.
     
  15. Keizer

    Keizer Member

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    I had actually found a used TL-15 safe on Craigslist for $400.00. It was used in a jewelry store. I was going to buy it, but since it weighed 2400 pounds, and would cost over $700.00 to move, I passed on it. Plus, I wouldn't be able to just stick 2400 pounds on the floor of my house with that small of a foot print. So, it would have had to live out in my detached unheated garage, and I would have most likely had moisture issues with my guns.

    You have to remember though, Sturdy also has a 14 gauge inner panel that would also need to be breached.


    I had a long talk with Terry from Sturdy about fire protection. Back when they were trying to come up with not only an affordable solution, but one that actually works, they did some interesting tests. He said that the gypsum board flat out doesn't work. They were actually allowed my the fire department to put their safes in the houses that were being deliberately burnt down for training exercises. He said multiple layers of gypsum flat out failed every time. He said the system they use now works good, but is a more expensive way to insulate the inside of the safe from heat compared to gypsum.

    I have no idea which system is better......AMSECS, or Sturdy. I do like the fact that Sturdy actually tested their system in real world house fire scenarios. And, they were not allowed to retrieve the safes until these house fires were cooled down. Sturdy even states that "they tested a layer of cement compound, fire board, and fire board with a layer of ceramic. These fire liners had poor-terrible overall performance". By the way, for an extra cost, Sturdy will actually double their fire rating for you.

    When I first started researching RSC's, Sturdy was on the bottom of my list just because I didn't care for their appearance over the foofy shiny, misrepresented safes. After diving in and learning the meat and potatoes of RSC's, Sturdy is at the top of my list. AMSEC is right there with it. Honestly, if I could select a safe for free, I would choose the AMSEC BF series just because of the 'cool' looking factor. But, I won't pay extra for it.
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2009
  16. lebowski

    lebowski Member

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    Yes, but how much would that 1.5" plate steel safe weigh?

    I was limited in terms of how much weight I want on my floors. I'd much rather have a less secure safe inside my house, than a more secure safe that is relegated to the garage.

    I'm not saying Sturdy is the best safe out there (price and weight no object I'd much rather have a Graffunder), but considering value for the money, weight, and a size that I could place a 6ft safe where I wanted it, the Sturdy Safe was the best choice for me. I'd have just as much confidence in the protection of an AMSEC BF - if it was offered in a 72x24x32 or similar size it would have been a very tough decision for me.
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2009
  17. heeler

    heeler Member

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    Lebowski pretty much sums up my concerns as well.
    Weight.
    Once you start getting into TL rated safes the weight is way up there for a residentual home.
    Although i have no scientific way of proving it my gut instinct tells me if fire worries are your chief concern the Amsec BF is your box simply because Amsec has had so many years of dealing with fire rated safes and their designs.
    On the other hand where i live theft is more of a concern so i have always heard thicker steal is better and until i researched the Sturdy Safe basically every gun safe i looked at that came with a 3/16th body was well over 3k in the size safe i was looking for,which is 36" wide.
    These two gun safes,the BF 6636 and Sturdy 3627 are literally neck and neck at the same price.
    I am about to spend some real money on one of them and i just want to make sure i get the most gun safe for the money.
    And as a result which ever one i choose i will be supporting American workers,which means a great deal to me.
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2009
  18. Keizer

    Keizer Member

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    If the two safes calculate out to the same price, I would buy the BF. You get some extra bling for your money. But man that 7 gauge steel is soooooo tempting.

    I'm not sure how the welds are done on the AMSEC safes, but the Sturdy safes are hand welded........not done by a robot.
     
  19. jim357

    jim357 Member

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    Unless I am missing something someplace, I did not see that the Sturdy safes have any UL rating. The Amsec BF safes have the RSC rating from UL.
     
  20. lebowski

    lebowski Member

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    The UL RSC rating is pretty worthless. Graffunders, Browns, etc. don't bother with UL RSC ratings either, and I don't think anyone would argue with the statement that the burglary protection of either of those products blows away any of the common name brand RSCs.
     
  21. jim357

    jim357 Member

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    Well, I agree to a certain extent. Most of the RSC rated safes seem to me to be built better than most of the non rated imported safes. With the rating at least you know that it met some sort of minimum standard. The two brands that you mention do seem, at least to me, to far exceed the RSC standard. When we are talking about the lower levels of safes though, I think the RSC rating is a useful guideline.
     
  22. a1abdj

    a1abdj Member

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    Lebowski is correct. The RSC rating doesn't really mean anything from a security standpoint. There are plenty of unrated safes out there that would put most of your RSCs to shame.

    You're close, but it comes down to a pretty basic feature. The RSC rating is only for a period of 5 minutes using light duty tools (hammer and a big screwdriver). Most safes using steel 12 gauge or heavier, and UL listed mechanical or electronic locks with relockers would pass this test if submitted.

    So long as your safe is 12 gauge or heavier and has the UL listed locks, then it shouldn't matter if it has the RSC rating or not. It would also not matter if the safe was Chinese, Korean, Mexican, or US built.

    The less expensive gun safes that you see tend to use direct entry locks with no relockers. These types of safes are very easy to manipulate, and also easy to break into by attacking the lock. Most safes using direct entry locks would not pass the RSC test.

    A lot.

    I wasn't making the case that you should build gun safes that heavy, but it is a matter of deciding where you draw the line. 12 gauge gun safes are very common, but 10 gauge is better. 3/16" is better than 10 gauge. 1/4" is better than 3/16". Where do you stop?

    If you look at older gun safes you will notice that a lot of them were built much heavier than their modern day cousins. It wasn't uncommon to see a lot of 1/4" plate on gun safes built in the 1980's. They stopped building them like this once they decided to add gypsum board for insulation. They were too heavy to have both the thick steel and the insulation.

    Truthfully, I would be more apt to suggest a 1/4" plate uninsulated gun safe to a customer if they were available. Gypsum is such a poor insulator, that you would be just as well off going without and gaining the extra security from the heavier plate.

    If you needed fire protection for non-gun items, you could buy a smaller fire rated safe for those items. Most people buy a gun safe as a general purpose safe, and for the most part, they are not.

    Gun safes should be for guns. If you have photos, jewelry, documents, and other items, they should be stored in a safe specifically designed for those purposes.
     
  23. jim357

    jim357 Member

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    Thank you for the info. What is a direct entry lock that you talk about? Thanks
     
  24. Tedster

    Tedster Member

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    I'm gonna say I don't like the electronic gunsafe locks for some reason. I have some experience with the lock type, I hope they are better than the one on my Sentry firesafe, I don't know.

    We keep the mortgage paperwork and other important documents inside. It can be opened quicker than a can of pop by someone who knows what they are doing, with a nine-volt battery, or so I'm told. Now, it's not a burglar type safe, but the lock type is in the ballpark. There is also a "default" combo that will open the safe conventionally, if you happen to get locked out. Are gunsafes set up this way? No thanks, if so!

    Next, there's a key that can be used should the battery power fail, so I have to hide the key somewhere secure too. How many of *those* are floating around? Overall that doesn't sound very secure to me. They are handy, though I change the batteries often, just to be sure. Tip: Don't use rechargeables for this application, just fresh Alkalines. Rechargeables are not adviseable in critical applications, esp. that see long idle times, etc.

    For my part I would consider a mil spec ($$$) electronic pad, or if conventional, a Sargent&Greenleaf top of the line. Class 1 or whatever they call it. Just about everything else is crap. Btw, be sure you get the right change-key with your lock/gunsafe, it allows one to change the combination from the default or factory combo (recommended); locksmiths seem to get squirrely about this, because they want the business but it is a user level function.

    One locksmith I talked to, said that the mechanical locks as described are going away soon. There's something to be said for simplicity, and battery operated devices need regular attention, and the long term reliability of electronic locks isn't really yet known, at least the el-cheapos. .02$
     
  25. lebowski

    lebowski Member

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    I really wish more companies would do this ... I ordered my Sturdy w/o fire protection and if companies offered 1/4" plate without the gypsum board I wouldn't taken a hard look. The only company I know of that does offer this is Brown Safe.


    Since I opted for a Sturdy w/o fire protection, what do you recommend for my documents? Just get a cheapo firebox from Walmart and put that in the Sturdy (I have room on the top shelf), or should I get a separate stand alone fire safe for documents? I'm not talking about anything of uber-high importance that can't be replaced, talking more about my passport, title to my car, things of that nature.
     
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