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Safes-BigHorn, Canon or Liberty

Discussion in 'Shooting Gear and Storage' started by graysonbornhunter, Jan 2, 2011.

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  1. graysonbornhunter

    graysonbornhunter Member

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    I've been looking at an on-sale BigHorn Classic safe at Costco. Need some advise about a safe. Looking for fire protection along with burgerly. The safe would be hid in the house so more worried about fire. Loooking to spend less than $1,000. Any advice is helpful.
     
  2. a1abdj

    a1abdj Member

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    None of the above will give you any great burglary or fire protection, although it will certainly be better than nothing.

    The Bighorn will be Chinese, and the Cannon or Liberty may be Chinese, depending on which model you're looking at.

    If you're looking at a US made Liberty, I would go that route, for the warranty alone. Both Liberty and Cannon have great written warranties, but Liberty will actually answer the phone or return your call.
     
  3. rondog

    rondog Member

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    I've pretty much narrowed my lust down to Ft. Knox and Amsec. Are those two brands good? Close to being "real safes"?
     
  4. a1abdj

    a1abdj Member

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    The AMSEC BF series is one of my favorite safes in its price range. The AMSEC HS series are actually real safes outfitted as gun safes.

    Fort Knox makes decent safes, and is now offering custom upgrades to allow buyers to beef up their safes a bit. With the Fort Knox safes, you're paying a premium for the name and the "bling".
     
  5. TNT in Round Rock

    TNT in Round Rock Member

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  6. Shadow 7D

    Shadow 7D Member

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    A1abdj
    is there anywhere (on the interwebz)
    where someone has cut a real safe wall apart and explained what works and what doesn't


    Also, on fire insulation, is it the thermal mass or is it a thermal break that insulates a true fire safe?
     
  7. graysonbornhunter

    graysonbornhunter Member

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    What safe would you go with that would give you the protection?
     
  8. a1abdj

    a1abdj Member

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    Not that I'm aware of. Most of us in the business believe that we should limit the amount of information we release that could help a criminal defeat a security product. Although some manufacturers have made videos of them defeating steel sheets, there's nobody that I know of that not only shows the defeat, but then goes on to explain the hows and whys.

    I'm not a scientist, nor an engineer. I can say that both methods are used in different safes. Some of the materials used in safes absorb heat, and other materials do not conduct it easily.

    That would depend on what is being protected.
     
  9. Shadow 7D

    Shadow 7D Member

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    sorry, let me refine my question,
    is there a place where you could see a gunsafe wall, compared to a composite (real) wall, and a laminated (composite fake) type safe.
     
  10. reddogIII

    reddogIII Member

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    Grayson, I'm a locksmith up here in Alaska. I sell Amsec and Liberty safes. I agree with everything that a1abdj says, and have generally agreed with him on his past posts as well. However, there is another safe on the market you might consider: Summit Safes. Check their website (www.summitsafes.com) and you will be able to find a dealer near you. I would stay a long ways away from the Bighorn, as from what I have seen they are very poorly made. Cannon's warranty looks good on paper, but they will not honor it up here in Alaska. Liberty's warranty is excellent, as is Summit's. Amsec does have a great safe in their BF series and is also warrantied.
     
  11. a1abdj

    a1abdj Member

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    I hope this is what you're looking for. If not, let me know.

    These first photos represent, by my definition, true composites. This would be the construction method in which a hollow body and/or door are constructed, and the void is then filled with a cement type of material. In some cases this fill is intended to be a fire barrier, in some cases a burglary barrier, and in some cases a combination of both.

    This first photo is a cutaway of the AMSEC BF wall construction. This depicts an older model.

    [​IMG]

    This photo is a cutaway that shows a cross section of a Graffunder where the door meets the body.

    [​IMG]

    This photo shows a cross section of what most gun safe manufacturers call a "composite", where steel is wrapped around a piece of gypsum board (or two). This is what makes the doors look so thick and secure.

    [​IMG]

    This is a drawing on Liberty's site. They were even kind enough to show you the sloppy gaps in the insulation.

    [​IMG]

    This is a photo showing how Liberty actually constructs the doors depicted in the drawing above.

    [​IMG]

    As a quick side note, I would also like to point out why one should pay close attention when looking at samples from manufacturers. Just like their literature, sometimes the samples overstate the construction of their products.

    This photo shows a cutaway of a Dakota (welded, not modular) safe. Their website claims that their safes use 12 gauge bodies. I'm confident that the display cutaway is using steel thicker than 12 gauge.

    [​IMG]
     
  12. GlockFan

    GlockFan Member

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    I purchased the Bighorn from Costco this past year and paid $799. So far so good. Yes I know it is not a real safe, isn't made in the US and the are other out there that are better. I did like the the sides were 10 Ga. But for my price range it was a good pick. I also had the requirement that the doors be removable and it didn't weight to much. You have the weight the factors that are involved in picking one that matches your needs. I can send you pictures of mine if you're interested.
     
  13. wgsigs

    wgsigs Member

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    Sorry for the hijack, but does anybody know who makes the Made in America Cabela's safes and if they are any good?
     
  14. A1armorer

    A1armorer Member

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    A safe simply becomes an oven during a fire. The insulation will delay the increase in internal temperature. My safe in the shop has bolts that extend into the thick frame on two sides. I chose this style of safe to allow time for the Sheriff to arrive once the alarm has been activated.
     
  15. a1abdj

    a1abdj Member

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    Cabela's sells privately labeled safes made by Liberty, Champion, and Cannon, depending on which one you're looking at.
     
  16. jessegpresley

    jessegpresley Member

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    I've read bad things about Sportsman Steel Safes.
     
  17. graysonbornhunter

    graysonbornhunter Member

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    I want to be protecting long guns and handguns in the safe. Looking for fire and burgerly protection?
     
  18. Ultra

    Ultra member

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    I've heard some great things about Sturdy Safes over on another message board. Supposed to be really well made and a great deal. And they're made in the good old USA.
     
  19. heeler

    heeler Member

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    All one has to do is search gunsafe threads here and you will see many vigorous debates about gun safes.
    I own an Amsec BF but would not turn my nose up at a Sturdy.
    Either of these safes simply blows away the Bighorn,Cannon,and most if not all Liberty's.
    Save up a bit more if it's possible and buy one of these and you will be much happier in the end.
     
  20. icecold1

    icecold1 Member

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    i'm also in the market for a new safe.been looking at the superior master series models.anyone have any info on them as to how they compare to a amsec bf ?
    they seem to be made from thicker steel all around with 1/2" door and 3/16 sides.they also appear to weigh more given comparable models.
    any input?
    thanks
    pete
    ps here is a link to what i'm looking at
    http://superiorgunsafes.com/supremeSeries.php
     
  21. a1abdj

    a1abdj Member

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    I can only tell you how they compare based on what I see on their website.

    They do not have a 1/2" door like the AMSEC. They have a door similar to the B rate safes that we well that use multiple plates with a 1/2" cumulative thickness. The AMSEC would have the door advantage here.

    They do have a thicker body than the AMSEC, but don't way what is behind it. Keep in mind that the cast fill in the AMSEC also adds to the burglary protection. Even many modern day vault doors have very little steel, and are mostly concrete. My answer here would be that it depends on what is behind their wall. If they are also using a cast insulation, then they would have a stronger body than the AMSEC. If they are using gyspum or ceramics, they would probably offer slightly less protection than the AMSEC. As far as gun safes go, 3/16" for a body is fairly heavy.

    The fire protection offered would also depend on what they are using. They don't mention it on their site.
     
  22. icecold1

    icecold1 Member

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    thanks for the info i was thinking the door was 1/2' plate on the superior safe.

    i like the amsec bf safes but i'm not sold in the drylight fill.being in construction we use similar products and they are not rigid like concrete and not nearly as durable.to be honest id buy one tonight if it was a concrete lined shell.but since it's not i'm leary of the thin metal sides.
    i'm more worried about a brute force/grinder/sledge hammer type of attack,i will have the safe in the basement so even in a fire as long as it has some fireproofing it should last.i'm also thinking of putting a automatic sprinkler head above it.
    maybe i need to spend a bit more or maybe a sturdy safe would fit the bill?

    do you have any recommended safes in the 5k area sized at approx 48 wide 30 deep 72 high? that would likely take a 15-30 min brute force attack and also have some fire protection.

    back to researching:mad:
    thanks
    pete
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2011
  23. a1abdj

    a1abdj Member

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    11 gauge steel is only 6/100ths of an inch lighter than 3/16. By time you add the fill and the inner steel liner, and you're certainly getting better protection than the 3/16" steel alone.

    There are all sorts of fill materials used in safes. The fill in the AMSEC is more robust than gypsum board or ceramic wool, but it is not the same as a true burglary resistant fill.

    Even though the bodies of most safes are the weakest, the doors are the most often attacked. The grinder would probably be the most effective tool on your list against your average gun safe.

    There are used burglary rated safes that would probably fall into that price range not counting delivery. You mention a basement, which can be a difficult installation for a 4,000 pound safe.

    On the new side you're not going to find much in that price range that is a good safe with true ratings.

    Another option would be to buy multiple smaller safes. Two AMSEC BF6030s instead of one AMSEC BF7250. It takes twice as long to break into two safe as it does one, installation is usually easier, and you're really not spending that much more.
     
  24. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    Layout of my new house favors two safes, maybe three if I need the room after "thinning the herd" as I plan to do.

    I will comment that my elderly uninsulated Treadlock protected the guns in it from the fire that did not destroy but did total my old house. That room was not incinerated but there were melted range bags in the floor.
    Anything is better than nothing.
     
  25. icecold1

    icecold1 Member

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    thanks for the quick reply as for the gauge difference 11 ga appears to be 1/8th inch steel so it is pretty robust.but still 33% thinner than the 3/16 some people are using.
    basements here often have walkout patio doors on ground level,so weight is not really a huge issue.
    i do like the 2 safe idea maybe i'll go this route as the large amsec dosent really fit my house that well.
    thanks
    pete
     
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