Questions about a few safes

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Apr 20, 2012
First post from a new member, so go easy on me. I am looking for a 30-36 gun safe/RSC. More to keep the kids away from my guns than anything else. I have gone through a ton of posts relating to fire effectiveness and how long it will take my neighbors kid to break into my safe with an orange peel, some chewing gum and a nine iron.

I'm not looking to store the crown jewels in this thing, but I'm also not naive enough to think it won't have to survive a break in attempt or 30 minutes in a fire. I have champagne tastes with an Old Milwaukee budget.

I have been to Gander Mountain and Cabelas, but wasn't too impressed with the offerings from Liberty. I have also been to a local safe store that carries both Amsec, which i like but can't afford, and a Superior Encore safe that the sales guy was really excited about and seemed to be a good vales. I have seen one or two people talk about Pioneer safes, but there isn't much info to be found and they only seem to be available on eBay and i would assume they are made in China.

Not totally against Chinese made, but would prefer to buy American if possible. I don't have the closet space to be able to reinforce anything and the safe will be in my basement accessible through a walkout, so stairs won't be an issue.

I would like to keep it around $1200 if at all possible and i have looked all over in Minnesota for a used one with no luck.

Any help would be appreciated regarding the safes i mentioned or any other ones you can recommended.

Thanks again.
With the criteria of $1200 and American made that will fit 30-36 guns you will have to go used.
Since you say you only want to keep the kids out then I would venture to say that most 12 gauge gun safes will do that until the kids are big enough and resourceful enough to start using major prying tools.
Although I have never been too keen on the reinforced closet approach as security,on your budget I might.
Reinforce the inside walls with screwed on 3/4 inch plywood and change the door and frame out with a metal or heavy duty wood core fire door from a commercial building with a couple of good Medeco dead bolt locks and that will stop most of the little Katzenjammers in their tracks.
Used definitely sounds like the best way to hit your desires and your budget. There are usually many more safe dealers in your area than you think. When I first started doing research for myself, I found only 2-3 local dealers on Google. After getting referrals and digging a lot more, it turns out there are at least 8 dealers within a 50 miles radius of my house, and probably triple that number if I expand out to 250 miles.

While MN may not be as populous as CA, I have to imagine there are plenty of dealers. You may also try some of the more well known used dealers like Lacka Safe in Jersey and Empire Safe in NY. They will deliver anywhere, but delivery may kill any savings you get from buying used.

Not sure about the quality, but I know Big Horn makes a big deal about being the best value on the market. They claim to have a U.S. manufacturing plant, but for those prices I wouldn't be surprised if they were imported.
Thanks for the input. American made definitely isn't a dealbreaker for me, just would be nice. I have seen quite a few safe companies in my area and called on a few. None of them seem to have any used safes at all. The ones i see on places like Craigslist are roughly the same prica as buying new from some online shops.

I will say the Pioneer safe on eBay does seem pretty stout and a good value, but i don't think it has any bolts on the bottom of the door
I saw the cannon safe this weekend. Looked kinda cheaply made and i wasn't a huge fam of the SecureRam electronic locks on there
Yes,the new Cannons are cheaply made.
Everytime I pass by one while walking thru Academy Sports I rap my knuckles on one just to hear that hollow tinny sound.
There are far better choices.
Even the cheaper Mexican made Champions beat those things.
I just looked at those Cannon safes again and I just don't think I can get past what feels like a very cheaply made RSC. I think my two contenders are the pioneer safe on eBay for $1035, shipping included to my curb or the Superior Encore E-31 for $1199 plus tax, but with 90 miles of round-trip driving for me and a buddy.

I called 16 safe/locksmith companies in my area yesterday with no luck. I was told they see maybe 1 used safe per year.

Any thoughts on either the Pioneer or the Superior?
I dont know a thing about Pioneer but I have seen Superior safes and they do seem to be well built units.
Although at the price of the Encore I am sure it is an import.
Look at it this way,if you have to buy a low priced unit then make sure it has a minimum 12 gauge body and plate steel for the door.
The imported Amsec SF models have a 1/4" plate steel door.
Encore is owned by the guy that owns Champion. Supposedly made here in the US , but I wouldn't rule out Mexico either. The Pioneer is definitely made in china. I spoke with the owner yesterday and he told me that he used to build safes for over 20 years, but just couldn't compete with the pricing of the safes being built overseas, so he started building his in china as well to his specs. Seems like a solid safe, 1/4 inch plate door, 1/8 plate body, 60 minutes fire protection, 9 active 1 1/2 locking bolts, lagard combo lock, 2 relockers and 750 pounds.

Just a hard thing to buy something sight unseen like this. I thought I had seen a few people that owned both models and was hoping they could give me a bit more insight
Consider the SnapSafe or Zannoti safes that you can assemble yourself!

I just found out about them. I have paid many hundreds for riggers to install safes. With one or maybe more than one you can do yourself.

Space isn't really a concern and there are no plans to move at all, so I think I will stick with a welded safe. The zonatti looks nice, but at close to 2 grand for the size I need, I think I could maybe find something with heavier steel.
The best decision I made selecting my safe was the decision to go with one that's 6' tall vs. the more common 5' tall. If you go that route, make sure it'll fit through doorways.
I've got one of the smaller (non rifle) Amsec 2 hr safes. It is built like a tank. Even though it's only about 18" tall, it still weighs 300lbs.
I am giving serious consideration to a 72 inch safe for sure. I know Amsec makes a great safe, especially the BF series, but unfortunately out of my price range unless i get lucky and stumble across a used one
This lock is troubles

Superior's are nice, especially the master series with 1/8th inch body and 3/8 steel plate door. The Encore is built in mexico. Decent safe but no solid steel plate. An easy way to determine if a safe is built in the USA is to take note of the pallet its on. If its a wooden pallet, most likely its USA made although there are a few exceptions. However if the safe is on metal skid stands its most likely built in mexico or china. If your considering a mechanical lock I would recommend an S&G. If your looking for electronic, lagard is a nice lock
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I apologize for not chiming in sooner to offer my two cents. I own a Superior Master series M40 and I am thrilled with it. Beats anything put out by Liberty in my opinion. With that being said, yes Superior is owned by the same company that makes Champion, they are made in Provo UT. Whatever you go with, as long as it serves the intended purpose you should be fine, I cannot believe that you are having trouble finding a safe in MN, I grew up in Minneapolis and my step father was a locksmith, there are plenty of locksmiths in the twin cities area that you can call and as about a used model.
Also if you have not ruled out a made in china model and there are some good ones out there, consider looking at Steelwater, they have a well built model and they claim to stand behind their product. Look around, you will find what you need.
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Commodore99, When I was looking for a safe I used Craigslist in Minnesota. Found and narrowed my search to three used safes. I opted to go with a sportsman safe made in California from the 1970's ($900.00) I hired piano movers and for $400.00 they moved it from St Cloud to Shoreview and put it into the home where I wanted it. The movers said it was 1200 Lbs. The seller also said it was over 1,000 Lbs. I like older items, and did not want an e-lock. I do not have faith in an e-lock 30 years down the road. I was very happy with the used safe. More safe for the money (came with golden rod and lights) . I think paying to have help moving it is smart.


Honestly I think at the price your are at, your going to have to consider a Chinese safe. There are some good ones that fit the bill nicely. Whatever you do before you order one, make a template of the footprint of the safe and see if it will fit where you want it to go. I made a template out of scrap plywood and I placed it on the floor at the door where it was going to come into the house, then I slid it across the floor where it had to travel making sure it would fit around the corners without touching the walls. If you make a template out of cardboard just remember that cardboard bends and steel safes do not.
Please let us know what you went with, I hope you have good luck in finding what you need.
Take a look at Sturdy Safes. They are made in the USA out of 7ga steel. They make very plain and basic looking safes, but tough. When my sister and her husband wanted a gun safe that is what I recommended. We were not disappointed and I would absolutely recommend them to anyone. The videos on the sight down at the bottom of their homepage; they are great! Love the one where they try to open the door with the forklift.

Their basic safe, the model 2419 starts at $1220:

If you are not moving I would keep searching craigslist. Search keywords like Diebold, Mosler, TL15, TL30.

I found a sweet deal a couple years ago on a Diebold TL15 where I keep my handguns and silencers in. Just keep looking.

Thanks for all the help everyone. The safe issue has been on the back burner for the past few weeks due to some other unforeseen issues that are now resolved. I still haven't bought one yet, but I did buy two new guns this weekend and now I really need to get something and quick.

I still think the superior brand is a great option for the money, but I really want the Master or Supreme line. Thicker steel and they just plain look cool. I know that shouldn't really enter into my decision, but I can't seem to keep it out. I am approaching $2000 to get into that line and while I can afford it, the wife would probably cut off the other one so she could have a matching pair in the jar above the fireplace:uhoh:

I know the Bighorn on sale at Costco isn't close to the same caliber, nor is the Pioneer on eBay, but I just can't help feeling I need to draw the line somewhere and make a decision.

Just for kicks, anybody got an Amsec BF6636 they want to sell for $750??????? Can't hurt to ask right?

Looks are certainly important, if it were not, all safes would look the same, dull boring boxes of steel. your going to be looking at it for a long, long time, so you might as well make a purchase that not only you are happy with but your wife as well. One of the "selling points" that I used to get the wife on board with the idea was that not only will the guns go in there, but our other valuables as well.
I am a Superior fan and I honestly wish I could have afforded the Supreme line, and now they have the Ultimate line. Spend the extra money, and get what you want, it's going to be with you for the rest of your life.
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