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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. mcflury

    mcflury Member

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    go to costco or sams club they have decent safes i have one and along as you dont store a blowtorch or a angle grinder by it its fine also get an electronic lockby s ang g its super convenient other than the once a year i have to replace the battery. and if it breaks its a hundrend plus 50 dollars labor to install
     
  2. a1abdj

    a1abdj Member

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    It should run a little more than that. That lock should retail at around $120. A locksmith will charge a service call ($30 to $100 depending on area), and the labor to install it ($30 to $150 an hour depending on area).

    This doesn't take into account the safe being locked shut when it breaks (95% of the time), so you can add another $250 to $500 for drilling the safe open.

    S&G makes some good locks, but their electronics don't rank high on my list.
     
  3. Keizer

    Keizer Member

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    I'm really torn between an electronic lock, and the old fashioned mechanical lock. I want mechanical because of reliability. I have a small fire safe that I have had for 18 years. It has a mechanical lock on it. I have never done any service to this safe, and it works perfectly after all this time. However, my wife hates it because she can't remember the combo, and it's too much work to open. I'm sure this is the the same old cliche. I have always remembered the combo, but I am pretty good with numbers.

    With that said, how do you feel about the electronic locks made my AMSEC? (ESL10XL). It seems like you would get pretty good support with their lock on their safe. The thing is, AMSEC's warranty is the same for either mechanical, or electronic lock. How many of the AMSEC brand electronic locks have you seen go bad? I wonder how many safes have to be drilled because of divorce in married couples? I just saw a safe on Craigslist that they claimed was drilled by a smith, and just needs the new lock installed. I called about it just out of curiosity because the lock on the safe was a mechanical one. The lady said the safe was her husbands and that they got divorced, and she didn't know the combo to the safe. She wanted to know what was inside, and hired a smith to drill it.

    If I do get the electronic lock, that sucker is going to get changed out for a mechanical the second it shows any sign of malfunction. I already called a locksmith about the cost of swapping from an electronic lock to a mechanical. We really only have a couple locksmiths close by that have experience working on safes. One guy quoted me $180.00 materials and labor to do the swap for an S&G mechanical. He said if I was locked out of the safe......all bets are off, and he would most likely have to drill it.

    He also told me that most of the swaps he does are the other way around........from mechanical to electronic. I assume that would be job security for a locksmith switching customers safes to electronic locks. If I was a smith, I would do the swap, but would certainly tell the customer the pit falls.......that way I could live with myself.

    I'm thinking if I had an electronic lock, my wife would be in the safe allot more. I'm not sure I would like that. I wonder if she would believe that guns breed when enclosed in dark places?
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2009
  4. lebowski

    lebowski Member

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    Even if this dollar amt is correct (unlikely), you're ignoring the massive inconvenience of not being able to access your guns and whatever else you keep in there until a locksmith comes out, in the event it breaks while the safe is locked shut.
     
  5. Keizer

    Keizer Member

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    By the way, what is a good mechanical lock to swap over to if and when??? I know S&G, but what exact model number would be a direct replacement in an AMSEC BF series? They are a direct replacement correct? No modifying needed?

    I'm sure S&G makes both low end and high end mechanical locks correct? I would want something extremely reliable, and smooth turning.

    Also, why is it that these cheapo electronic keypads that are part of a whole house alarm system, or the ones that open a garage door are so reliable? Yet, the ones on safes aren't? I have had the same plastic push button electronic key pad for my home alarm system and it has never given me issues in the 14 years I have had it installed. Same goes for my garage door keypads.

    What exactly is it in the gun safe electronic key pads that malfunction? Or is it the lock that messes up?
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2009
  6. a1abdj

    a1abdj Member

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    In my experience, they are equally reliable as most of the other brands.

    Not as many, but there also aren't as many safes using them.

    It happens. We also drill a lot of safes after deaths, and for local law enforcement agencies.

    Most of the time they will now show signs. Electronic locks are well known for working one day, and not working the next.

    Boats don't pay for themselves ;)

    The S&G 6730 is the workhorse of the industry, although they make other nicer models.

    They do. Most of the locks found on gun safes are at the lower end of the spectrum.

    The lock AMSEC uses on their BF series is a lower end lock, but is quite nice compared to some of the lower end units with brand names.

    You can have a keypad failure, but that is usually an easy fix. The locks fail as well, and they are usually a bit more messy to fix.
     
  7. Keizer

    Keizer Member

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    So, say I get the electronic lock to make my wife happy, and get the ball rolling on the safe order. Then, I later convince her that we should swap the electronic lock for a mechanical. You being a lock smith, what are the chances of getting a discount on the swap if I gave you the brand new electronic lock. Would that be a rude thing to ask a locksmith? Or would he be happy to trade?
     
  8. a1abdj

    a1abdj Member

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    I can't speak for others, but a used lock has no value to me except parts, and I have boxes full of them.
     
  9. Keizer

    Keizer Member

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    Well, I called him and asked. I can't believe he answered on a Saturday evening. He said he would give me $60.00 off the bill if I gave him the E-lock. But, he would want to swap it out right when I got the safe so the lock would be new. I'm assuming otherwise he would be like you, and have yet another used lock.

    He said that swapping over to the mechanical lock would require no special fitting/modifying. But, he did say that switching from a mechanical to an electronic does sometimes require some slight shaving. Is this true?

    By the way, the smith that I have been talking to was on this list that you provided in another thread. Where you type in your location, etc, and it pops up with smiths in your area. Do you know what I'm talking about? I assume because they are a member of some type of special organization. EDIT: I found it on his web site. It says he's a member of "Safe and Vault Technicians Association (SAVTA)"

    Also, would I void my warranty in any way by having the lock swapped out? I assume there would be a new warranty with S&G? What about AMSECS burglary warranty if I had the lock changed?
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2009
  10. lebowski

    lebowski Member

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    It makes exactly zero sense to buy the safe w/ an electronic lock with the intention of having it switched to a mechanical.

    Just buy the safe with the lock you want in the first place.
     
  11. Keizer

    Keizer Member

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    Yeah, that's my logic too, and if I were a single man with just myself to worry about, it would be a done deal. But, when you are asking your wife to give up a big chunk of the walk in closet, then she gets to participate in the features.

    I am working on her about the mechanical lock.
     
  12. heeler

    heeler Member

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    A1abdj,
    I went Friday to the dealer to try and get an idea when my safe will arrive.
    I am not being hit with a shipping charge because I am waiting for them to bring in an 18 wheeler full of safes.
    If i had wanted it right away then i could have had in days but i did not want to pay 3-400.00 for shipping.
    That might be why they can sell for less than you.
    This place is the largest independent gun dealer in the country and has four locations in town as well as a gun range.
    They are big.
    I think perhaps Amsec sets different prices for large and small dealers.
    Anyway 2299.00 plus tax is the price they charged me for the BF 6636 and I paid it in full.
    Again that was with the mechanical lock and textured paint,which i chose in Sandstone.
     
  13. Keizer

    Keizer Member

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    You have to pay sales tax on a safe in your area? How many states have the no sales tax on gun safes rule? Here in Wa state, there is no sales tax on gun safes.
     
  14. a1abdj

    a1abdj Member

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    Ah.

    They aren't a safe company. They are a gun company. That explains a lot.
     
  15. Keizer

    Keizer Member

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    Can a person basically get any dial and ring they want to fit any of the S&G locks? How exactly does it work? If I went with a mechanical lock, how would I get a dial and ring like the one in my pic? I wouldn't need the keyed day lock option shown. I got this dial off the Liberty gun safe web site.
    lvl2-pg9.gif

    Is this some cheesy piece of junk? If so, what would be a good replacement with that same style?

    Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2009
  16. heeler

    heeler Member

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    Keizer..Yes I paid 7.25% tax.
    I also ordered mine with the nifty stor it shelve that fits inside the door.
    I wished we did not have to pay that tax.
    It would have been 8.25 per cent in my county but the store i bought from is in another county so i got that one per cent break.
    I was out just slightly over 2500.00.
     
  17. Guns and more

    Guns and more member

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    Here is my thinking.
    I open the safe every day. I like having it open (unlocked when I'm home).
    I know I would not take the time to spin the dials and open the safe.
    I got the electronic lock. I love it (so far)
    I also thought when someone is pounding on your door, your adrenaline is pumping, and it's dark, spinning those dials isn't going to be easy.
    I can open my safe in three seconds.

    To each his own.
     
  18. a1abdj

    a1abdj Member

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    If your safe has an S&G lock, you can go to S&G's website and look at all of the parts there. Once you have a model number, anybody like myself can order it for you. It's rare to be able to order a safe with optional lock parts already installed.
     
  19. lebowski

    lebowski Member

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    I guess it depends on your philosophy ... you already said you leave your safe open when you're home, so why would you need to "spin the dials" (btw there's only one dial) under pressure? According to your own daily habits, it's already open.

    Personally, I don't keep all my primary defensive guns in the safe. The majority of my guns are in the safe, but my carry gun is either on me or in my nightstand. I usually have my 870 near the nightstand (out of sight but quickly accessible to me) as well. This would not change regardless of which lock type is on my safe.

    It's all a matter of convenience - what's more inconvenient to you, "spinning the dials" every day, or risking having to call a locksmith at a random time in the future. I tend to believe things often fail when you need them the most, I'd rather have the reliability of the mechanical lock and I deal with the extra 5-10 seconds of lost time per day (I too open my safe every day, I have not found the mechanical lock to be a deterrent to doing so ... I have also found that after a few days of opening it daily, "spinning the dials" doesn't take as long as it did at first).
     
  20. INMY01TA

    INMY01TA Member

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    +1, one reason I went with the mechanical lock.
     
  21. Keizer

    Keizer Member

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    Exactly what I do. Why would anyone cripple themselves by keeping all their guns locked up? If you have children, then educate them, don't keep them in the dark. My 12 year old son can probably name more guns than most adults. Plus he can shoot.
     
  22. LRHOGFAN

    LRHOGFAN Member

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    I pulled the trigger today on an AMSEC BF6636. Should be here in about a month. I am hoping the delivery process goes as smooth as I anticipate.
     
  23. Keizer

    Keizer Member

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    Ok, I went and looked at a BF 6030 gun safe up at a supplier north of me. They are beautiful gun safes but I noticed two things. The first thing I noticed is when I pulled one of the plugs off the floor that covers where you bolt it down. I noticed there is just sheet rock in there, and not this drylight that is advertised in the walls. Why is that?

    The second thing I noticed is that both side walls and the back wall bulge slightly. Now, this is probably something most people wouldn't even notice, but I saw it right off the bat. I was a journey level machinist for years, so stuff like that sticks out for me. Is this because of the way the drylight is injected into the walls? This store had a bunch of wooded yard sticks for measuring the safes if you needed to. I laid one of these yard sticks on edge on the side and back walls. They definitely bulge out some in the middle. I thought maybe it was just that paticular safe, so I tried it on another BF 6030 and it was the same way. The front door wall of course was very flat.

    Other than that, they are very nice.
     
  24. lebowski

    lebowski Member

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    I think you'll be happy with it ... do they place it inside your house or is it curbside delivery?
     
  25. LRHOGFAN

    LRHOGFAN Member

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    Curbside delivery. It is going into the garage and I am holding out hope that I can talk the driver into helping me get it about where it needs to be and I can take it from there. I plan on getting some hockey pucks to set it on. Planning on drilling four pucks out at 1/2" and placing those where it is to be bolted down and maybe use a couple of more pucks to distribute the weight and keep it off the ground. Anyone have any better recommendations than the hockey pucks, I am all ears?
     
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