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Liberty vs. Browning (safe dealers help!)

Discussion in 'Shooting Gear and Storage' started by Trent, Feb 14, 2013.

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  1. Trent

    Trent Resident Wiseguy

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    Looking to add another safe, and I've narrowed it down between a Liberty Presidential 50 or a Browning PP63.

    The local dealer in Bloomington can't deliver a Liberty that big, the Browning he can have drop shipped but there's no way in hell I can get that in by myself. So I'm also looking for a different local dealer to use in Central IL. :)

    Anyway what I'm looking for is advantages / disadvantages to the two designs. The Liberty has slightly higher fire protection than the browning, but the browning holds more guns. :)

    The rest of the stuff I really don't understand. Browning uses a lot of jargon on their site. (Uniforce, omni barrier, blah, bunch of blah marketing crap, just give me the damn specifications and spare me the invented terminology!)

    So, overall, given the price range of these safes, which is going to be more secure from intruders, more protective if a fire happens, and which is REALLY going to hold the most guns?
     
  2. heeler

    heeler Member

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    Keep looking is my answer.
    Of the two gun safes you have mentioned they both use 7 gauge or 3/16th of an inch if you want it in fractions for the safes body which is a good thing.
    They both use those built up "refrigerator" style doors and of the two Browning has yet given me any answers on just how much steel is in their door.
    At least the Browning uses outsides hinges which enables the user to open the door a full 180 degrees.
    As far as the jargon Browning uses what they are talking about in a nutshell is their terminology for the lock protection,bolt work reinforcement etc.
    Nothing special as most other gun safes that are in the higher end class use something very similiar.
    As far as security from theft goes they are probably close to the same with a slight edge going to the Liberty due to a known door thickness(7 gauge outer skin backed up by a rear 1/4 plate steel,who the hell even knows with the Browning) and they do have a little better locking mechanism than the Browning,not to be confused with the lock itself as they both use a S&G combination lock standard.
    I can't see either one being better than the other on fire protection.

    There are tons of info on this site about gunsafes.
    Research heavily before you commit.
     
  3. Teachu2

    Teachu2 Member

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    Check out http://www.summitsafes.com/denali.html and see what you think. The door on it puts 1/2" steel plate on the front of the door, instead of the refrigerator-style doors the others you mentioned have. Steel that doesn't protect the lockwork is useless, IMHO.

    I went to the local Liberty dealer, and he also had a Browning and a couple of Summit Denalis. I compared all three, and the Denali 60 was my choice. As an added bonus, it cost less than a smaller Liberty Presidential.
     
  4. Trent

    Trent Resident Wiseguy

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    So, the Summit safes are much stronger?
     
  5. melski

    melski Member

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  6. Trent

    Trent Resident Wiseguy

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    Ugh. According to their map, the closest Summit dealer appears to be two states away. (I'm in IL)

    That's a problem.
     
  7. Trent

    Trent Resident Wiseguy

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    Oh wow, Fort Knox has AR500 steel options. :)
     
  8. Trent

    Trent Resident Wiseguy

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    Oh my... those are also very EXPENSIVE.

    Wow.
     
  9. Teachu2

    Teachu2 Member

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    No, those are distributors. Call a couple closest to you and see if they have local dealers.
     
  10. tiamat

    tiamat Member

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    in the world of safes, you generally get what you pay for. security is not cheap. set a budget, and set some priorities. although, you say this will not be your first safe purchase, so you probably already knew that.

    as for comparisons, i'd say they're about equal. given that, i'd go with the browning and its external hinges, just for convenience.
     
  11. Teachu2

    Teachu2 Member

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    Somewhat true, but there are major differences among safes in the $4500 range. Some are built like safes, some like refridgerators. A layer of 1/8" outside with a 1/16" liner is marketed as "3/16" total steel walls" and doesn't resist cutting as well as a single 3/16" plate.

    If you can peel the outer layer and reach the lockwork, it's GAME OVER. If the doorframe is weak, it doesn't matter how strong the door is. If the door is 6" thick but made of thin materials, a door 2" thick made of better materials is a better choice.

    All that advertising isn't free - it's included with every safe the company sells. I never would have found Summit or Sturdy without this forum, and both ended up on my short list. In the price range I was looking at, they were the best constructed. There were far inferior safes for more money - but they sure had glossy brochures!
     
  12. Trent

    Trent Resident Wiseguy

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    What price range do Summit Denali's run for? They don't have prices listed.
     
  13. cbpagent72

    cbpagent72 Member

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    About $2800.00 for the smallest with gloss paint.

    Sent from my SPH-L900 using Tapatalk 2
     
  14. PowderKeg

    PowderKeg Member

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    Liberty or Browning

    Of the two you list, I'd toss the Liberty right out of consideration because of the internal hinges, especially on a safe of that size and heavy door. If the Liberty doesn't have a floor flush with the bottom of the door opening, that's another con IMHO. I believe the Liberty's door surface is flush/even with the outer door frame and not recessed - third strike. The Browning at least doesn't have any of those negatives. They both use layers of fireboard/gypsum as an "insulator" - strikes against both of them in my book.

    Since you've already noted (and blown off) all the confusing marketing jargon, no need to point that out any further. Continue to ignore it and concentrate on the basics.

    I recently bought a 3627-6 insulated Sturdy Safe and am VERY pleased. If you'd like to read my reasons for choosing a Sturdy over so many others, let me know and I'll post them, but I don't want to threadjack uninvited and sound like a sales pitch. At least compare some other brands besides the Liberty to the Browning before making a decision. FWIW, AMSEC ran a very close second to Sturdy in my final decision.
     
  15. Trent

    Trent Resident Wiseguy

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    By all means, tell me about the Sturdy. Summit looks nice, and I like the way their presentation is on their website, but the closest dealer they list is in Ohio, and when I called them, it was a gun shop, they weren't really interested in helping me (being two states away..). Closest dealer for Fort Knox is over 2 hours away. But, as mentioned, they're damned expensive and I can't see any reason WHY they'd be so much more expensive.

    So, whatever I choose, it appears it'll be an internet order, sight unseen, with curbside delivery. I can round up some sturdy friends. They are all short on one caliber of ammo or another, so payment will be easy to work out.. ;)

    PS I don't even care about a paint job.
     
  16. heeler

    heeler Member

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    Research Trent and dont rush.
     
  17. Jim K

    Jim K Member

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    If you will have trouble getting a safe into an area (weak stairs, narrow doors, etc.) consider a modular safe, like Zanotti, which can be assembled in place. The pieces are not too heavy to be manipulated by one strong man or two moderately strong people.

    The big drawback is that due to the modular construction, they have no fire-resistance, but then some safes that claim to be fireproof or fire resistant aren't.

    Jim
     
  18. Trent

    Trent Resident Wiseguy

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    No stairs to get through, sliding glass door 0-grade in the basement. The main problem of engineering I face is rolling it around the back of the house. The back yard has a slight grade to it (5-10 degrees), which will tilt the safe sideways as it's moved. There's not enough room for a truck to pull up back there. So I'll have to move this thing about 100 yards. The first half of that is paved, the last 50 yards ... will be interesting. And somewhat frightening.

    I have a feeling if I have a 2000+ pound safe fall over sideways while rolling it through the back yard, I'm not going to get it back up without some SERIOUS engineering..

    On the bright side, the chances of someone ever getting that thing out of here in a heist (without half my neighbors opening fire on them while they try to wrestle it around in my yard), are slim to none, even if they manage to somehow get it detached from the concrete slab it'll be bolted to. I already know before purchasing it, that if I ever sell the house, the safe will be part of the deal!
     
  19. vtail

    vtail Member

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    Trent:

    Buy a couple of sticks of Schedule 80 1/2 inch PVC, and cut into sticks a little longer than the depth of your safe. You should have around 15 to 20 sticks.

    If you can tip the safe back and get a few of these under the safe, you can roll it like you won't believe on any hard surface, including plywood. Just lay down several sheets of plywood and keep moving the plywood and PVC across the ground.

    You can also pull the safe around on grass while upright on a piece of plywood like a sled if you can attach a cable to the plywood and something like a pickup. Just go slow and take your time.
     
  20. Teachu2

    Teachu2 Member

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    Trent (funny, that's my name, too) - Since there is no dealer in your area, you might want to call Summit and see what they'd drop-ship one to you for. Mine was ~ $600 less than the big Liberty Presidential in the textured gray that my wife wanted. The Denali 60 is also bigger than the Liberty.

    I would rent a forklift or a tractor with loader forks that will handle a ton of weight. Use a heavy strap to lash it to the mast, keep it low, and go slow. My D60 weight 1700 lbs empty. You will also need a pallet jack and a couple of strong helpers.

    Mine was delivered by a three-man crew with a liftgate truck and two pallet jacks. They loaded it on a pallet jack and rolled it around the house on the concrete driveways, then passed it from one pallet jack to the other across the threshold to avoid damage.

    Sturdy makes a good safe, and makes them in Fresno, about 100 miles north of my home. It's an oddball design, but not the only one I've seen. Liberty makes one with the offset handle, too. I considered buying a Sturdy and hauling it home myself, but I liked the Summit better. The dealer charged $250 to deliver, install, and bolt it down - which I consider a bargain.

    Mine was $4399 + tax and delivery. It's 72x50x27" , 8" wider than the 50 cu ft Presidential. Your pricing may be different on both.
     
  21. Trent

    Trent Resident Wiseguy

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    Thanks for the tips, guys!

    At this point I'm starting to lean towards a Denali. Sure wish there was one closer than 2 states away for me to look at. :(
     
  22. cbpagent72

    cbpagent72 Member

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    There are online dealers of summit safes that have a reasonable delivery price.

    try westcoastsafes.com

    Sent from my SPH-L900 using Tapatalk 2
     
  23. PowderKeg

    PowderKeg Member

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    Trent,

    Ok, since you asked, I started out wanting to keep the investment for a safe to @ $2500 or less, but finally went up to $3000 to get a larger size (and I'm glad I did). I've been looking at safes for years but have never been completely satisfied with what I've seen at countless gun shows, farm shows, state fairs, big box stores, gun/safe shops, etc. Came darn close a time or two, but never parted with the funds. My reasons for finally choosing a Sturdy 3627-6 with firelining , and being very satisfied once receiving it, in no particular order:

    - External hinges were a must, along with the heaviest gauge body I could find in my price range. Most other safes I looked at were no more than 10 gauge (majority were 11 and less), the Sturdy is 7. For more $$$ I could have requested even heavier gauge for the body but I was already pushing my $$ limit hard.

    - Wanted a plate steel door recessed into the frame. Also wanted as small a gap as possible around the door edge and frame to minimze the opportunity to pound in a wedge or prybar. Every safe I've looked at had varying gaps of up to a 1/4” and maybe wider. On the Sturdy, I can just slip a folded over piece of notepaper between the door edge and frame on the locking bolt side, and double-folded on the remaining three. That's tight. The door edge is very slightly beveled to allow the door to open/close with that tight a clearance.

    - Sturdy makes an additional bend on the inside of the door frame that many other manufacturers don't do (at least I've seen very few). This means the bolts are engaging/contacting on both a bend and a flat face, instead of just the edge of the body after the last bend - more contact area per bolt on the door frame when locked.

    - The simplified and robust linkage design. Sturdy has moving bolts only on the opening side of the door, none on top or bottom, and fixed on the hinge side (like many others). The handle and lock are offset to the side in-line with the linkage and bolts. Far far fewer pins, cables, arms, bars, links, etc to have potentially bind up, slip, break, shear off, come loose, whatever leaving you with a 1000 lb+ paperweight holding your guns hostage. Just search the archives and other sites for the myriad of linkage problems others have encountered. My boss recently got locked out of his Bass Pro safe when a pin let loose in the handle. Fortunately, after numerous calls to the manufacturer, figuring out which linkage version he actually had, parts going through the mail, etc he was able to get it back working without a locksmith/safe specialist. He was lucky. If you don't have the complicated/complex linkage, you don't risk the problems. Also, the long locking bolts are supported in three places when locked down - against the extra bend and flat on the door frame and the two places where the bolts extend through each side of the thick housing covering the linkage. Finally, the linkage is very smooth in operation. One consistently inconsistent thing about all those safes I've looked at was the feel of the linkage in operation. Some were downright gnarly and very rough/grinding/almost binding up, while many others felt very sloppy, clunky, and loose. Far too many felt like a lockout waiting to happen.

    - The door on the Sturdy pulls down tight when locked down - there is a very very slight shift that can be sensed when you pull back and forth on the handle, but I sure can't see it - it may just be the slight play in the linkage necessary for it to function. Virtually all other safes I've looked at have had varying amounts of slop with the door closed and locked, some not real bad, but too many were "HOLY CRAP!". How do you get something unstuck/broken off/busted into? You get it moving. More slop = more movement = a better chance to break into it.

    - Sturdy uses a combination of high temp ceramic wool and glass insulation blankets to fireline their safes. Yes, firelining is an extremely volatile subject for gun safe discussion, but I take a simple approach to it. I believe that a product designed to be used as an insulator is a better option than a product that was designed to temporarily retard the spread of fire on walls in a building. Does Sturdy proclaim "X degrees protection for Y hours" documented by some little known third party (and definitely not U.L.) test lab using a proprietary procedure? No. Sturdy got together with the local FD and Arson folks to test various combinations of materials during training burn-downs until they settled on their chosen combination. Ultimately, hot enough for long enough is going to heat up and destroy anything contained in a thick steel box regardless of the insulator used, but I'd rather bet on a true insulator tested/selected in real-world scenarios over one that insulates incidentally and was “proven” in a lab oven. Why do so many use fireboard? Because it's cheap and easy to work with and doesn't need a steel inner liner to contain it - just cover it with carpeting and go. Concrete and concrete-like fillers are a third option in a select handful of safes, and while much better than fireboard, those safes still came in second to Sturdy for me for other reasons. Take a look at the Sturdy site for a real-world total burn-down involving a customer's safe and what was found when it was opened.

    - I really like the open design of the Sturdy interior - I got the standard #2 with side shelves. If I use the side shelves I loose space for 5 long guns. My long guns, including scoped bolts and EBRs, all fit comfortably without jam packing them in tight against each other. With firelining, floor is flush with the bottom door opening, so no lip to knock butts on. No wood/carpeted paritions needed to support shelves taking up space and forcing guns into tight confines.

    - Delivery included placing the safe in the garage, provided it was accessible with a pallet jack and smaller freight truck. From there I could arrange to move it how and where I needed to without prying eyes. It came wrapped in cardboard and looked like a big refrigerator on the pallet.

    I'll cut this off now, since I'm REALLY getting long winded.
     
  24. Cesiumsponge

    Cesiumsponge Member

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    Do you like green or brown paint better?

    Practical differences are none between most of these gun safe manufacturers. They're all generally built in such a manner to accomodate the consumer market. That is, they're built around price and weight limitations. Weight is directly proportional to security level (and material expense). When you cap the weight, you cap the amount of security you can put in your safes. The market shows this level of security tends to be 7-10ga sheet steel bodies and maybe 1/4" plate on the door.

    None of the gun capacities are accurate. Browning and Liberty both use a different laboratory to get their fire ratings so it can't be compared. At this product level, you're getting variations on the same theme so pick whatever seems most convenient for your intended use and access. You're just getting a variation of gauge steel construction with some cosmetic differences and boltwork differences.

    Sturdy is the only one of a couple safe companies in the gun safe market that use ceramic wool. The ceramic wool is probably much better than using drywall, but it's not what commercial products use to protect cash and critical paperwork. UL-cerified fire safes and burglary safes use a concrete aggregate which varies in composition, depending on application. There is a reason for that and it's been continuously proven around the world in millions of real-world cases for over a hundred years, from the Great Chicago Fire to modern data safes.

    Internal hinges are to be avoided on all safes. They're there for WAF (Wife Acceptance Factor). Guess what space the hinges occupy? The space where drywall fire barrier should be. They carve out the fire barrier to fit the internal hinges. I hope you like having a direct pipeline that goes fire -> steel safe body -> your guns.

    The AR500 steel upgrades on Fort Knox are pointless. For that kind of money, you can buy a real safe, not a residential security container. In the $4,500 range, you can find UL labeled TL-15 and Tl-30 safes that withstand power tool attack, even on all six sides. For $4,500 in the gun safe world, you will still only find safes that are UL certified to prevent a pry attack for 5 minutes with a 18" prybar. No gun safe with a RSC will circumvent a serious attack, otherwise you bet they'd be the FIRST to slap on a TL-15 or TL-30 rating on their product. There are only a handful of gun safes that actually have such construction or label, and none of them are box store brands.

    Given these types of high security safes are quite heavy and not worth dealing with, you're better off increasing your security level by buying several smaller consumer gun safes instead of one gigantic one. Splitting your eggs in two or more baskets maximizes the probability of your collection surviving a fire or escaping the efforts of a thief. You'd both need a thief with the ability to break into a gun safe AND a thief that knows you have more than one central safe to be completely burgled of your collection. This assumes he has infinite time. Add in a security system and you've got your bases covered.
     
  25. Trent

    Trent Resident Wiseguy

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    Man, excellent stuff, guys. I'm receiving a lot of education here about a topic that I really know nothing about.

    I'd tossed around the idea of getting two safes and setting them side by side, bolted to the slab, and getting sizes that'd fit the back of the room they're going in. This would prevent side or back attacks on either safe without A) digging up the ground with a backhoe and coming in through the exterior of the house, or B) taking out a major support wall to get to the other one.

    In that design only the top and front would be exposed. There'd be no way to get traction on the safes to pry them out or remove them. That would cover physical attacks aimed at removal AND attacks with power tools except from the front (door) and top.

    (One rule of security in networking is you assume the attacker has unlimited time and resources, I imagine it's not so different with physical security).

    The goal is to make it as absolutely, positively, difficult as possible for them to get your stuff (or data, or whatever).

    Thoughts on that arrangement? How secure are the tops of the Sturdy or Summit safes against power tools/torch attacks?
     
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