The Gun Safe thread

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The Gun Safe thread

Postby Weetabix » Mon Jan 08, 2018 11:04 pm

Someone mentioned needing a new safe. I sort of searched to see if there was a thread for this, but I couldn't find one during my distractable search. So, I thought I'd start one.

Background: Right now, I just have 3 StackOn cabinets. They've served me adequately. I don't have lots of valuable stuff. But I have an aggregate of stuff, some of which is worth protecting.

My parameters: It needs to go in the basement, so weight and size are controlling factors. I've gotten fridges and freezers in and out as a size limit reference. I plan to contact a safe moving company to tell me about what weight they think will go down the stairs, though I haven't done that. If I can get document-level fire protection, that would be nice, but it's not crucial. Price is a factor. Keeping a determined burglar out is not a factor. I'd like to discourage a burglar who is above the smash and grab level but I know I'm not going to stop a bank safe cracker.

My main questions are about brands:
- Are there any manufacturers I should definitely avoid because they are junk?
- Are there any manufacturers that have good price to performance ratios?
- Which manufacturers are great but charge you an arm and a leg for more than most guys need?
- What did you buy? Did you love it or hate it? Would you buy it again? If not, what would you buy instead?

For instance, Liberty Safes advertise heavily and seem great, but are quite spendy. Bass Pro has a fairly wide range of safes that mostly seem to have gun makers' names on them. I don't know if Red Head safes are crappy or decent or great. My general impression is that StackOn is low end, but I don't know if it's lower end than would serve my needs. Maybe the market is at a commodity level, and only features matter. I just don't know.

If anyone else is looking for a safe and has different criteria, feel free to throw that in the mix. This could end up being a resource thread for future needs.

Fire away!

ETA: Just found this site: Gun Safe Reviews Guy, but I haven't dug through it much. Post better links if you have them.
Last edited by Weetabix on Tue Jan 09, 2018 12:31 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Gun Safe thread

Postby First Shirt » Mon Jan 08, 2018 11:12 pm

I've got a Cannon safe, and with some mods, it holds 21 long guns, and 12 handguns. It's also proof against 1250 degrees for 90 minutes, so some of The Boss's jewelry, and a lot of irreplaceable documents are in there, as well.
But there ain't many troubles that a man caint fix, with seven hundred dollars and a thirty ought six."
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Re: The Gun Safe thread

Postby Weetabix » Mon Jan 08, 2018 11:28 pm

I guess that's another question I have - fire rating for paper vs. guns. I believe paper is 350 degF before charring, but I don't know what internal temperature they rate for firearms. I was planning on researching that, too. I'm OK having separate safes for paper vs firearms if necessary. One for both would be better, but it will all boil (ha) down to total cost of 1 vs. 2.
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Re: The Gun Safe thread

Postby randy » Tue Jan 09, 2018 2:36 am

I've made this a sticky to help keep it easily found for future reference.
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Re: The Gun Safe thread

Postby Weetabix » Tue Jan 09, 2018 5:10 am

Some things I've learned about gun safes so far:
- For security, you want at least a UL RSC rated safe. Most don't have that. But it only means it takes one person 5 minutes to break in with hand tools. Hate to think how little time lesser ones take.
- A B construction safe is better, but it gets expensive.
- Most gun safe makers go for features to differentiate themselves from others rather than going for security or better fire protection. Think whizbang gimmicky features.
- Sturdy Safes apparently go for more security than whizbang
- Weight matters
- Secure it to the wall or floor no matter how good it is. Easier to open when knocked over.
- Hide your good safe (even thought it's pretty) and have a decoy safe with cheap guns that's easier to find.
- Best to have 12 ga or thicker walls.
- Have a rated lock
- It might be best not to have ALL your valuables in one place. If someone gets in, they get everything.
- American Security, Sturdy, and some of the upper level Liberty Safes seem to be the easiest to find so far with all of that.

- Adding fire rating increases the cost a lot. Might be cheaper to put a sprinkler head over it. I'm thinking about a secured pex loop that, when it burns through, it sprays the safe. Then I have more money for more guns. :D
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Re: The Gun Safe thread

Postby First Shirt » Tue Jan 09, 2018 5:22 am

A friend used to put a pound of FFg black powder at the most likely places to torch his safe. When I pointed out that it would ruin his guns, he said "Yeah, but think what it'll do to the a$$hole with the torch!"
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Re: The Gun Safe thread

Postby Weetabix » Tue Jan 09, 2018 6:40 am

They did say don't store ammo in with the guns because it will ruin them in a fire. ;)
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Re: The Gun Safe thread

Postby evan price » Tue Jan 09, 2018 10:40 am

I've had great success with Liberty. A Fat Boy is on my list for upgrading from my smaller Liberty.
Look for perimeter locking bars on all four sides.
Make sure you anchor the safe securely.
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Re: The Gun Safe thread

Postby Langenator » Tue Jan 09, 2018 3:03 pm

I've got a Graffunder B16 that I bought in 2006. (The current model # for this safe is B6040.)

Anything by Graffunder is probably going to be overkill. Graffunder makes actual safes, not Residential Security Containers. Main body outer steel is 1/4" thick; outside of the door is 1/2". Thing weighs almost a ton (1890 lbs.)

Oh, and the 'B Rate' is their low end. http://www.graffundersafes.com/products ... eapon.html

OTOH, the likelihood of unauthorized persons spiriting it away from my house is quite small
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Re: The Gun Safe thread

Postby Weetabix » Tue Jan 09, 2018 6:24 pm

I had an opportunity to buy an old safe from a defunct gun store recently - 2,000 lbs, $500. Can't remember the dimensions, but pretty big. I literally had no where to put it except the yard. Floor strengths prohibited 1st floor storage. Stair strength and access prevented basement storage. Tiny garage prevented garage storage. It really sucked that I had to pass.

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Re: The Gun Safe thread

Postby Weetabix » Tue Jan 09, 2018 6:26 pm

Shared for your comments or use:

Organizing my gun security thoughts:

Security for me comprises preventing unauthorized access and loss from fire or theft.

Theft and unauthorized access overlap quite a bit. A thief would look specifically for things to steal in places he expects them. Unauthorized access could occur when looking for something else and finding a gun.

I could prevent theft by making guns difficult to find (hiding), difficult to get hold of (physical access prevention), by both, or by not owning them (sell ones I don't care about, hand down heirloom firearms earlier rather than later). I could prevent unauthorized access the same ways, but the needs would be slightly different. Hiding a gun on top of a bookshelf would prevent a child's physical access but not necessarily prevent a thief's. Some simple locks would defeat a child but not a thief. I can reduce theft by deceiving the thief with decoys.

A gun "safe" could be a cheap locker (Stack-On), an RSC, or a true safe. A true safe is cool, but at this time, I don't think anything's value justifies that. So, if anything, it's a cheap locker or an RSC.

If I bought a small true safe for the fun of dials, locks, and bolts, it will not be impregnable since I won't pay for that. That said, it might be best to keep only documents (birth certificates, titles, passports, etc.) in it along with some sacrificial cash since if at thief finds it, he'll assume there's something worth stealing in it and concentrate on it. I haven't any place great to hide one well right now.

Physical security (safes, RSC's, locks, etc.) serve to increase the time it takes a thief to access the valuables. It cannot prevent access by someone determined and prepared. One can increase access time by hardening security or by increasing the number of secure positions. So, one large RSC takes one man with hand tools (what level is his skill?) 5 minutes to break into. More RSC's multiplies the time.

I don't have a suitable location for a large RSC, so multiples may be the only solution. This aids in avoiding the inadvisability of storing everything of value in one place – all in one place means if the thief gets into that place, he gets everything.

Questions:
Do all guns need protection from fire to the same level? It would seem to be a balance of the likelihood of fire, the value of the firearm (sentimental or pecuniary), the need to access it, and the exposure to fire damage (e.g. is it in a concrete basement corner with non-combustible items, or is it on the second floor? Place valuable storage guns in fire protected safe. Cheap storage guns in lockers. Guns that need to be accessed will not be fire protected.

How can I further increase time/frustrate a thief? Secure stored bolt guns and their bolts separately. Tag each gun and bolt clearly so when I want to use them, they're easy to assemble. Keep a list of locations somewhere unobtrusive but not in either storage location.

Resolutions:
Purchase one fire-rated RSC with a listed mechanical dial because I like dials.

Place documents in the fire-rated RSC, but no other valuables. Store them elsewhere.

Distribute lockers/RSC and attempt to disguise or cover them so it's not obvious what or where they are. One locker of cheap guns is most visible as a decoy.

Leave one cheap long gun in master bedroom closet. Thieves look there first. They may take it and run without looking for other stuff. Probably put a shotgun I don't care about in there. That way, I have an accessible home defense long gun as well.

Leave one cheap handgun in bedside table drawer for same reason?

Reassess these when the grandson starts walking. (N.B. get more grandchildren)

Thieves tend to use your own tools to break into your containers. Secure sawzall, cutters, pry bare, etc. in a non-obvious location. I don't use them often, so they need not be absolutely conveniently available to me.

Bolt all containers to floors/walls.

Now, to choose the RSC.
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Re: The Gun Safe thread

Postby randy » Tue Jan 09, 2018 7:01 pm

Don't forget to use a layered defense.

Harden your outer perimeter (doors, windows). Time spent getting into the house is less time to work on the safe(s)

Consider alarms. Lots of relatively cheap systems these days that don't require monthly monitoring fees and give you control from off-site.
Loud alarm audio and flashing lights attract attention and distract goblins from spending time opening a safe, especially if they can't be sure if the cops has been notified or not.

Cheap web cams with off site/cloud storage . Have prominent signs letting potential goblins know they are under video surveillance (even if they are not, some old, dead web cams can be just as useful as functional ones for this)

Such measures will whittle away at the potential threat population as many go looking for softer targets.
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Re: The Gun Safe thread

Postby Jered » Wed Jan 10, 2018 3:05 am

I have one pistol that I keep in a safety deposit box along with a collection of various identities.

Because reasons.
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Re: The Gun Safe thread

Postby HTRN » Wed Jan 10, 2018 3:47 am

You have terrible timing, until recently, Costco was running a sale on a big cannon safe for 800 bucks. Yeah, yeah, RSC and all, but until you get into mid four figures for something like an Amsec, they're all pretty much the same.
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Re: The Gun Safe thread

Postby Weetabix » Wed Jan 10, 2018 5:17 am

Sadly, the nearest Costco is 200 miles away and I can't fit big. Maybe Greg could bring me one.

But thanks for the encouragement. ;)
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Re: The Gun Safe thread

Postby Kommander » Wed Jan 10, 2018 5:40 am

Some of you might remember that in 2009 I had my apartment broken into. The Cabela's safe with an electronic lock did it's job and I am geussing the burglers we're not happy as they didn't get much for their trouble because of the safe. I do think that I should have gotten one with a dial instead of electronics as the burglers could have just smashed the key pad of they had been feeling spiteful. Also like everyone says get the biggest one you can afford so you don't have to leave anything out.

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Re: The Gun Safe thread

Postby BDK » Wed Jan 10, 2018 6:23 am

A) See if there are local safe makers. They are often good values

B) Used commercial safes will almost always be be better, if you find one.

C) honestly, a concrete walled room, a metal door and a good deadbolt lock set up/one of those browning Security doors

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Re: The Gun Safe thread

Postby HTRN » Thu Jan 11, 2018 10:22 am

Weetabix wrote:Sadly, the nearest Costco is 200 miles away and I can't fit big. Maybe Greg could bring me one.

But thanks for the encouragement. ;)

You could have ordered it through their website, and had it delivered. :roll:

BDK wrote:C) honestly, a concrete walled room, a metal door and a good deadbolt lock set up/one of those browning Security doors

There are better options than browning, either buy a used bank vault door, or buy a new amsec door - they run around 3500 dollars. If its a concrete block room, filling the blocks with mortar with used carbide inserts always struck me as an extra spiteful "fuck you" to clever burglars, along with a stainless steel inner liner.
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Re: The Gun Safe thread

Postby Netpackrat » Thu Jan 11, 2018 1:06 pm

HTRN, I would tell you that you are an evil fucker, but you probably get that a lot.
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Re: The Gun Safe thread

Postby Greg » Thu Jan 11, 2018 10:37 pm

Netpackrat wrote:HTRN, I would tell you that you are an evil fucker, but you probably get that a lot.


He's OUR evil fucker. :lol:
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Re: The Gun Safe thread

Postby Greg » Thu Jan 11, 2018 10:38 pm

Weetabix wrote:Sadly, the nearest Costco is 200 miles away and I can't fit big. Maybe Greg could bring me one.

But thanks for the encouragement. ;)


Funny, just when I also am finally getting around to looking at something more secure than the gym locker type Stack-On cabinet I have now.
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Re: The Gun Safe thread

Postby Weetabix » Thu Jan 11, 2018 10:45 pm

The $800-1000 RSC rated safes with UL 1078 locks at Bass Pro are looking good to me right now. Liberty safes are much more expensive for the same ratings. Although, I think some of those have 11 ga walls rather than the 12 ga walls of the Bass Pro safes. There's a shop not too out of the way that's having a sale, but I can't tell from their online info whether they have any ratings I'm looking for. I'm texting with a guy not to far away that has a Liberty-made safe on armslist, but again, I haven't received the rating info yet.

And, HTRN? Send me a boatload of cash, and I'll start considering your excellent suggestions. :lol:

ETA: Oh, yeah - the doors on the Bass Pro safes come off. That would be a bonus in moving it into the basement and maybe eventually getting it back out.
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Re: The Gun Safe thread

Postby Netpackrat » Fri Jan 12, 2018 1:06 am

A public defender of my acquaintance, has been professionally aware of or involved in a number of cases involving firearms theft from safes. He said the only one where they successfully broke into a safe on-site, was at an unattended remote cabin where they had time to work on it. All of the others, they physically removed the safe and transported to a location where they had time and equipment to break into it.

Bolt it to a concrete floor if at all possible. Try to put it in a closet where it is difficult or impossible to attack the sides, top, and back. If you have to put it in a garage, try to build something like HTRN described around it.
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Re: The Gun Safe thread

Postby Rich » Fri Jan 12, 2018 4:04 am

Greg wrote:Funny, just when I also am finally getting around to looking at something more secure than the gym locker type Stack-On cabinet I have now.


Let me save you some money. Keep your Stack-On. And hanging out around the edge of the locked door, artfully drape a couple of very dirty athletic socks and a crusty jock strap. Thieves will be afraid to touch it. ;)
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Re: The Gun Safe thread

Postby Greg » Fri Jan 12, 2018 2:11 pm

Rich wrote:
Greg wrote:Funny, just when I also am finally getting around to looking at something more secure than the gym locker type Stack-On cabinet I have now.


Let me save you some money. Keep your Stack-On. And hanging out around the edge of the locked door, artfully drape a couple of very dirty athletic socks and a crusty jock strap. Thieves will be afraid to touch it. ;)


But they'll still break in, just this time they'll be looking for my cell phone and wallet. :x
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Re: The Gun Safe thread

Postby Precision » Fri Jan 12, 2018 3:36 pm

My local costco has several sizes of the Cannon. They had the BIG one for $800 and medium sized one for $500 and a small one for 350 or so. You might want to check. I got the $500 when they had a sale and it was $400.

They aren't SAFES, but they are good against most of what you want. My mid sized one on about 600# empty. 60x36x20
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Re: The Gun Safe thread

Postby HTRN » Mon Jan 15, 2018 2:20 am

Netpackrat wrote:HTRN, I would tell you that you are an evil fucker, but you probably get that a lot.

Lately, ive gotten it from work, it started when i mentioned my "better to be judged by 12 than carried by six" philosophy, along with "fighting fair is fighting stupid". Who knew? :|

The carbide inserts do a wonder on chopsaw blades, and you cant cut stainless with an O/A torch. :ugeek: :twisted:

If you want to get really nasty, a mtion detector triggered co2 bottle with a delay, and a hidden disable is one of the funner things i thought up, but alas its horribly illegal under various mantrap laws, so dont do that. :mrgreen:
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Re: The Gun Safe thread

Postby TheArmsman » Mon Jan 15, 2018 2:32 am

What happens if you try to cut stainless with an O/A torch? Do bad things happen?
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Re: The Gun Safe thread

Postby evan price » Mon Jan 15, 2018 2:47 am

TheArmsman wrote:What happens if you try to cut stainless with an O/A torch? Do bad things happen?

It won't cut.
Flame cutting doesn't actually cut with the flame. The flame preheats the iron then the oxygen blast burns the iron.
Stainless forms stable oxides that don't burn.
However if you put a mild steel welding rod on the area you want to cut that will burn through the stainless.
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Re: The Gun Safe thread

Postby HTRN » Mon Jan 15, 2018 3:12 am

If theyre smart and determined, theyll get in, no matter what you do, the idea is to make it as difficult and unpleasant as possible. :ugeek:
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