Safe Quandary

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Apr 6, 2013
Hello all - I have been a lurker for a while and finally decided that I needed to make a post and get some input.

We moved to a new house and most definitely need a gun safe (RSC). I will jump to the chase: there are only two places for it - the basement or the garage. I would prefer to not have it in the garage due to overall security concerns. The problem with the basement is that it is a non-walkout and has stairs with a nice landing and 90 (ish) degree turn.

I spoke with two local dealers and both said they did not want to mess with it since their stair crawlers would have trouble with the turn. They said maybe it could be done manually but you would never get it back up. That kind of left me scratching my head - they did not even want to come look at it (as I stood there with checkbook in hand).

So here is where I am:
1. Still would look for a smaller/narrower safe - something like a Rhino 56 or AMSEC SF5424 (import, I know), where I could remove the door. I would just need to find a local safe moving company in Northern VA that could authoritatively tell me they could get it down there before I go ordering something.

2. Go with a Zanotti - I can certainly get a much bigger cabinet but may end up costing even more - not to mention the year-long wait. No fire protection at all, either.

3. Back to the garage. Again, my least favorite option as the garage see temperature fluctuations, is visible to the outside, not as accessible, less secure than inside the home, etc.

I would love any input on other gun safes I might look at, moving companies/dealers in the NoVA area, or similar experiences you all might have had. The Highroad looks like where it is at for intelligent gun safe discussion.
Many home builders do not design their homes with the need to move a safe in mind. The types of machines that we use to move them do require a minimum amount of clearance above and below it, which is rarely found on stairs with landings.

Can it be done? Sure, but there are several issues. If light enough, it could be man handled, but my insurance company requires that we use the machine. If the safe is heavier, it could be rigged, but my insurance company prohibits me from rigging inside any residential structure. In some rare cases, you can build a temporary platform gain the space.

What it comes down to, is that it could probably be done, but you're not going to want to pay to have it done by somebody like me. You may want to try a regular moving company, as their insurance would allow them to wrestle it down by hand if they thought they could handle it.
I'll bet there'd be a market for a shell that made a safe in a garage look like a freezer or refrigerator.

I wonder if you could get a junk fridge and make one?
The current AMSEC catalog lists the SF5924 as 514lbs. If one were to assume the door was 1/3 of the total safe weight then removing the door would reduce the body weight to 343lbs. That is within the weight limits of a refrigerator dolly. It may also be possible to remove the shelving and maybe the interior linings to shave off additional lbs.

You would have to decide on if its safe to move given the environment and amount & quality of help available.
Thanks a1abdj. Checking the SAVTA site there is a local safe dealer/services guy and I might inquire with him (for his thoughts as well as movers I might consider in the area). I imagine he will have the same insurance issues you speak of - and that explains the responses I might have received.

I guess, assuming a "yeah, we can do it" response, I would also have to consider the possibility of moving. Gravity would be working against me moving out of there. Not to mention that I could very well end up needing two smaller safes eventually (x2 on the cost).
Go for #2 - Looks like a good application for a modular safe, especially if you ever want to get it out of the basement. There are other brands, but these are probably the best quality.
I have never seen one in person, but I don't typically see negative reviews from actual owners. I do see lack of fire protection as a negative, but I see mixed commentary on how effective the protection on most gunsafes is really. I know Zanotti used to sell a fire protection package (I assume just fireboard panels) but stopped.

Either way, I am kind of leaning in this direction (even if just slightly).
Fire protection on a basement gunsafe is a waste of money - first the house burns and buries the RSC in a bonfire, then the Fire Department flood it to extinguish the embers....
Fire protection on a basement gunsafe is a waste of money - first the house burns and buries the RSC in a bonfire, then the Fire Department flood it to extinguish the embers....
I suppose that is true, but I guess a lot would depend on lots of variables like where the fire was, layout of the house, response time etc. Right? I still feel like that is a better option than the garage from a security standpoint.

For what it's worth, I am less than a mile from the fire station so I highly doubt I would ever face a complete burn-down.
Absolutely better for security. My point is that you should forget about fire and concentrate on security - because "fire protection" is just extra weight in your situation. If your RSC in the basement needs fire protection, you won't have enough to do any good, so why?

The Zanotti is probably the best answer to your situation, unless you want to build a vault in the basement.
Thanks for the replies everyone. I am leaning toward the Zanotti despite the long wait. I have yet to hear anyone who has one say much negative about them.

I talked to the local Ft Knox dealer at the local gun show yesterday (again) about moving their smallest down the stairs. He had previously said "you might want to look at Zanotti. I sold a few of them and they were great. " but was less up on the Dakota. This time he did an about face - in a weird way.

The thing I have to resolve is the relocating system on the Zanotti. The website says the zanotti has multiple relockers, and Mark confirmed on the phone - but I have now seen two photos that don't show any evidence of the mechanisms I am used to. Perhaps I need to give him a call again.
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