Safe Recommendations and Help

Discussion in 'Technical Questions & Information' started by Mouton, Aug 28, 2009.

  1. Mouton

    Mouton New Member

    Apr 19, 2009
    Amelia Island, Florida
    Time for me to get a safe. I feel I have reached my capacity for long guns, 15 rifles and shot guns, although I may add a few more at the right price. Anyway, I need a safe and am looking for information as to what qualities this safe should have, size, weight, type of locking system, interior design, fire proofing, pistol and ammo storage.

    Thanks in advance for any input you can provide.

  2. Alpo

    Alpo Well-Known Member

    Feb 3, 2007
    NW Florida
    Get as big as you can afford. Get bigger than you think you will need. Don't believe the amount it says it will hold. I have one of these Figgered I would put my cheaper long guns in there, and open up some room in my big safe.

    Notice how they are arranged, in the pic? Along three sides of the box. Where the corners come together, you lose one or two of the supposed storage spaces, because the gun butts get in the way of each other. If your gun has a scope or is an AR, with the carry handle up top, or is in any way shaped different from a single-shot break-open shotgun, then it won't stand upright. It will have to lean back against the wall. That means the butt will be sticking out into the floor. Again, they get in the way of each other. I think I have eleven guns in that fourteen gun safe.

    I recommend you do NOT get an electric lock. Two reasons.

    First, I have a touchpad on my microwave. After a couple of years of use, it is obvious which four or five buttons I push the most. You've got 10 keys on the touch pad. That gives a huge amount of possible combinations. If four of them have obvious dirty fingermarks on them, it cuts the possibles waaay down.

    Second, I used to work at a gunstore where the safe we kept the machineguns in had an electric lock. Punch in the combination, turn the handle, open the door. When you shut the door, it automatically relocked, spinning the handle to shut. I don't know if all electric locks work like this. This is the only one I have experience with. After a few years of being opened 8 or 10 times a day, it refused to unlock. Wasn't the battery. Apparently the keypad was just worn out. Got that fixed. Couple of years later, it would not lock. Spin the handle, open the door, shut the door. Handle spins shut. Locking bolts slam home. Door is shut. But not locked. Just spin the handle to open it up again. Could not lock it. We transferred all the machineguns to one of the smaller safes, that had an S&G mechanical lock.

  3. Hammerslagger

    Hammerslagger New Member

    Jul 30, 2009
    Safes are a subject that I have (let's say) more than a casual knowledge of. This is designed to give one a brief general idea about safes; not to dot every "i" or cross every "t".

    First, Alpo gives good advice in avoiding electric keypad locks. I am not going to give safe compromising instructions, here; but let it suffice to say that electronic keypad type locks are inherently less secure than the basic S&G design mechanical combination locks.

    Second, the so called "gun safes" are more accurately described as "security cabinets" that will prevent of minimize fire damage, and deter entry and theft by thieves with little or no skill and/or knowledge of how to compromise them.

    The reality is that the most expensive big and heavily constructed (2000 pound) well known so called "gun safes" offer little more forced entry protection from a skilled attack than the 600 pound heavy sheet metal body products of some low end manufacturers. No "security cabinet" is going to stop a skilled attack for very long.

    A door with a front plate made of 1/2' steel, backed with a piece of armor plate to protect the lock, and secured with 16 or 20 case-hardened, chrome-plated, live locking bolts, and protected with a plate glass relocking trigger, may look impressive; but looks can be deceiving. No fortress is stronger than its weakest point. All high end gun safes that I have had the opportunity to examine have bodies much weaker than their impressive and sometimes needlessly sophisticated doors.

    A medium size gun safe body (3'Wx5'Hx2'D) constructed out of 1' steel plate with a 1.250" thick door would weight about 3000 pounds. It would qualify for the lowest safe industry "forced entry rating" of 15 minutes against a skilled attack that does not include the use of a cutting torch. I am not aware of any mass marketed "gun safes' that are this heavily constructed, or that use a lighter and more secure composite laminated design of steel, aluminum, and other tough materials, that could be expected to effectively defy a professional attack for a substantial time.

    Frankly, I would not expect a "top of line", high end "gun safe" to be significantly compromised in 15 to 30 minutes, as I would expect of some low end economy types. However, I am aware of a "top of the line" major brand gun safe being opened through its impressive door and locking bolts, and emptied in apparently less than three hours, while the homeowner was away.

    If one wants significant protection against a potentially skilled attack a (5'x3'x2') safe is likely to weight more than 5000 lbs. and cost more than $12,000. Bigger "Jewelers" type safes can weigh much more and cost $25,000. If you are a serious collector with a $500,000 or more valuable collection you need this kind of protection as well as a state of the art security system.

    Otherwise, you may find that medium range economy "gun safes" are going to afford you as much practical protection as more expensive models.
  4. ARB

    ARB New Member

    Jan 23, 2009
    Mid Missouri
    My, Redhead is working well. I waited for them to go on sale at BassPro. Now, after reading Alpo's remarks, I'm a little concerned about the electronic pad. I don't open ten times a day, so maybe it'll last a bit longer.
  5. Doc1911

    Doc1911 New Member

    Jun 29, 2009
    Lots of good advice here. Two more pieces of advice, get a larger one than you will think you need. A "combo" lock is nice: (1) you have the quick access of the Electronic lock (if you have one of the better ones which can't be compromised) and (2) the dependability of the regular combination lock.
  6. starman

    starman New Member

    Dec 23, 2008
    My 2 cents on this subject is install a floor safe and cover it up with a throw rug. Out of site out of mind.
    If your handly with basic tools try this for a weekend project.
    Rent a concrete saw and jack hammer head for the garage floor, oh yea send the wife off for a few days of vacation. Cut your preferred size of hole and remove concrete. Build forms from plywood to create the walls and floor. Buy you some quickcrete and start mixing and pouring. you will want to create the top of the walls lower than your existing garage floor. This will allow the steel door to be flush with you existing floor.
    You will need to install j-bolt hinges into the walls while the concrete is wet. Now if your a metal worker or have a fab shop nearby you can cut the door weld hinges on to it and make the lock pocket recessed inward to the door. This will allow a very strong padlock on if you like pin lock to be used. Best feature of this whole idea is once finished its flush with your garage floor and you simply put a throw rug over it. No one will even know its there.
  7. Mouton

    Mouton New Member

    Apr 19, 2009
    Amelia Island, Florida
    Thanks for the imput....lots to digest.

    Starman, we have a high water table here so the sub floor level safe while a great idea and one I could do is not in the picture for me.

    I guess the idea of a medium cost safe is the way to go as I already have a decent security system (sound and motion sensitive) backed up by my five shot security system when I am home. I don't have a high dollar collection, I just want to keep some amateur burglar from getting to them quickly.

  8. Islandboy

    Islandboy New Member

    Feb 21, 2009
    Off the right coast
    Spent 26 years in the electronic security industry, and have an old fashioned "locky" working for me, and between us, we could beat anything. We both used to get asked where we were at certain times when it looked like someone knew what they were doing.
    WE used to joke about it over a drink on occasion.
    The better electronic keypads are two part, two boards that talk to each other, the inner one recieves key info punched numbers from the outside one. The inside one releases the bolts. No simple circuits between them, digital communication. Having said that, fast entry is a plus. They usually have a keylock backup under the battry comparment which is usually under the keypad in case an amateur smashes the outer keypad. usually the serial # is required by the Manufacturer and they will replace the keypad.
    I taped the beeper off however, I don't want a neon sign over my head when going for the 12ga.
    What I'm looking for are the stud wall cavity lock boxes, 16" x 4-5' for stuff like shells or quick access temp storage.Just to complement my Sentry 800 lb'er
    Stack-on claims to make 'em, but ain't yet made 'em.(??)
    I want at least 4 of them.
    Anyone else make 'em?
  9. Hammerslagger

    Hammerslagger New Member

    Jul 30, 2009
    If you have a safe with and electronic keypad lock, make sure that all of the individual keys get pushed about the same number of times to protect the integrity of your combination. Alpo "hit the nail on the head" in his post relative to this.
  10. ARB

    ARB New Member

    Jan 23, 2009
    Mid Missouri
    Islandboy, I don't live in MO, it's somewhere else, far, far away. I like Starman's idea.
  11. johnlives4christ

    johnlives4christ Former Guest

    Apr 28, 2008
    check out cannon gunsafes. in my opinion they are the best, with the best warranty.
  12. Islandboy

    Islandboy New Member

    Feb 21, 2009
    Off the right coast
    Hey ARB, MO? Starman's idea is good agreed.
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