I would like safe/vault recommendations

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Post by Tim:H11 on 6/3/2019, 6:38 pm

I've never bought a gun safe before and I'm looking to buy my first. I would like something thats fire resistant, something that holds at least 10 long guns and plenty of shelf space for pistols. I have more pistols than long guns. The problem is that what I'm finding generally cost a lot more than I had planned to spend. What are some of your choices or recommendations for gun safes?
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Post by NuJudge on 6/3/2019, 7:01 pm

If there is any chance you will move, you might want to think about a sectional safe such as a Zanotti.  It comes with the pieces nicely boxed so curious neighbors won't know what it is that is dropped off in your driveway, and the pieces are not too big or too heavy for a normal person to pick up and carry into your home.  Assembly or disassembly takes an hour or so.  If you already have another safe combination memorized, they will set it to that same combination.  

https://zanottiarmor.com

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Post by pgg on 6/3/2019, 8:43 pm

The problem you're going to run into, and it's nearly insurmountable, is that the vast majority of fire protection labels stamped on "gun safes" are 100% pure unadulterated bullshit. They print FIRE SAFE on the box and fabricate some minute or hour rating, but precious few manufacturers submit their products for independent third party testing.

Worthwhile fire protection starts with safes that have concrete-based fill in their walls. I'd be very wary of any models that use passive insulation, no matter how they phrase it or dress up the concept. Real temperature regulation in a fire depends on water vaporization / phase change. Safes insulated with drywall / gypsum board will emit water and are OK, but they tend to have sheet metal frames which rapidly warp and distort in fires, creating gaps which render that insulation almost useless. Concrete fill has high water content and the evaporation, phase change, and calcination absorbs a great deal of heat AND offers better structure to resist deformation of the body during a fire.

Problem #1 is that none of this is cheap. Problem #2 is that all that steam may keep your guns cool enough to survive but rust them to destruction anyway.

You'll see burndown pictures that purport to "prove" that a safe protected its contents, but the truth is that a burndown is a very uncontrolled experiment and there's no way of really knowing how much heat the safe was actually exposed to, for how long. Some safes survive because of luck. Sometimes shoeboxes of photos buried under junk in a closet survive burndowns too. That doesn't make a shoebox a good fire safe.

The bottom line is that fire protection is not a problem that can be solved cheaply or reliably in consumer level gun safes. The best fire protection for your guns is a concrete-fill safe on the lowest floor of your house, a monitored alarm, and a nearby fire department staffed 24/7.


If you want burglary protection, my opinion is that your best bet is to find a used safe on Craigslist or from a local locksmith that has an actual TL rating. I found an ugly, old freakishly heavy TL30 safe at a locksmith for under $2000, delivered. They serviced the lock and set the combo for me. Somewhere in its life it got a fresh coat of battleship gray paint. It has some rust along one edge. It's hideous. But it's a real safe. The $300 box store "safe" and the $80 security cabinet next to it are equally good at keeping kids and smash-grab thieves out.

The alarm, IP cameras, good door locks, and two lazy but obnoxious dogs (who are about to be joined by a pair of rottweiler puppies) are equally important pieces of the burglary protection scheme.


One option for excellent burglary/fire protection is a floor safe set in the concrete foundation of your home, but unfortunately these are just too small for long guns. And they're a pain in the ass to get into and out of. In our last house, we had a fairly large one installed. It cost about $600 for the safe and installation. They chopped a hole in the foundation, dug out some dirt, put the safe in, poured concrete around it, and rolled the closet carpet back over it. We kept documents and other small seldom-needed valuables in it.

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Post by Wobbley on 6/3/2019, 9:04 pm

Champion is one brand worth looking at. A lot of the others are shiny window dressing.
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Post by joy2shoot on 6/3/2019, 10:10 pm

pgg wrote:... on the lowest floor of your house ...
and not in the middle, but near a corner or exterior wall.  Because if the structure completely burns down, most of the burning embers will accumulate in the center and will roast anything underneath.

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Post by LenV on 6/3/2019, 11:57 pm

I have several. The Mesa won't break the bank too bad and should do what you require. They give specs that say they weigh about 800lbs (Slate filled) but I think they weigh the pallet and box it comes in to get that. Much closer to 600 lbs. I rely on sensors and security system to stop the guns from burning. And insurance just in case. The "Stack On" is a much better built safe but too short for long guns. AR would fit. I built the shorter one right into the bench and bolted the big guy right thru the floor and framing of home. The Mesa holds 10 long guns fairly easy and is deep enough for longer revolvers.

https://www.zoro.com/mesa-safe-company-gun-safe-144-cu-ft-electronic-mbf6032e/i/G7591245/

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Post by Steve Brown on 6/4/2019, 12:41 am

USA made Browning have a UL rating.

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Post by inthebeech on 6/4/2019, 4:47 am

I have the above mentioned UL listed Browning.  It holds 12 rifles and has three shelves.  Measures 30 x 30.  If you want to drive to the Charlotte NC area, it's yours for $500.  We can do the pics and stuff if you're serious.  I do have the necessary key to change the combination for new owners.  Bring help.  It is a beast (approx 600 pounds).
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Post by weber1b on 6/4/2019, 7:24 am

Tim:H11 wrote:The problem is that what I'm finding generally cost a lot more than I had planned to spend.
Buy once, cry once. I felt the same way. Get what you want in terms of space, features and quality and don't look back. Don't underestimate your ability to fill it once you've bought it. Go a little bigger and you won't have to buy another one so soon.

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Post by Dr.Don on 6/4/2019, 8:27 am

Perhaps fire protection should not be your primary concern.  If you really have a home burn down, unless you are a serious collector the $ loss on guns will be minor compared to other losses.  The real issue is protection from theft.  For that you need something that is hard to break into and weighs too much to carry away.  It doesn't really take too much deterrence against the typical burglary, which is most often a drug-driven fast smash-and-grab.
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Post by dapduh2 on 6/4/2019, 9:02 am

Cabelas and bass pro shops have good selections if you have one nearby. I’d wait for a holiday sale (maybe July 4th). I got mine last Labor Day when cabelas had a sale. A quality safe is pricey but it’s worth it. I got one larger than I thought I’d need and it’s already full. If I could redo it I would pay the local moving company $200 to transport and move it in the house for me. I have it located in the corner of the garage and that took an hour to slide into place with the limited help I had

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Post by Allen Barnett on 6/4/2019, 10:58 am

Buy one twice the size you think you need cause firearms tend to follow shooters home like lost puppy dogs.

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Post by dapduh2 on 6/4/2019, 11:06 am

Allen Barnett wrote:Buy one twice the size you think you need cause firearms tend to follow shooters home like lost puppy dogs.

Haha right? I was in mine two weeks ago and the wife walked by and said “I don’t remember it being that full”

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Post by PhotoEscape on 6/4/2019, 11:42 am

I'm with Dr. Don on this - if you have fire loss, you'll deal with much bigger issue than your guns. So, child safety and theft protection are two top priorities on my list, and then "wife" protection next, - I made a mistake with my last one, and put it in my home office, where she can see inside when I open it. Smile Most of my safes are by Stack-On, in particular I like Elite Shooters with electronic lock - https://www.stack-on.com/product/48-shooters-safe/
AP
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Post by dronning on 6/4/2019, 11:45 am

Beware when the wife says hey honey get the big one, you know you will fill it up, just leave me a little space for my jewelry.  I didn't care if she had access because I tell her every time I buy a gun, and hey her guns are in there too.  The problem was how much space her jewelry takes up!! LOL
- Dave

She doesn't have a ton of jewelry, but it has to be "displayed"
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Post by mikemyers on 6/4/2019, 3:39 pm

Tim, the best information I could find on buying a safe is described here:

https://www.6mmbr.com/gunsafes.html

I think you'll find it useful; I know I did.  If nothing else, it allowed me to ask the right questions while looking for what to buy.
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Post by LenV on 6/4/2019, 6:31 pm

The perfect wife...And safes

1. She knows what the guns really cost. (has to type list for insurance)

2. She noticed that the "Mesa" was getting full so bought me the "Stack On" for Birthday.

3. She has no use for jewelry but fond of old coins.  cheers
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Post by lyman1903 on 6/7/2019, 10:26 am

Liberty is a very good 'safe', 

one thing, while you, I and every one else calls them a safe, they are actually Residential Security Containers,  if that matters, 


if you have the space, and time, look around for a used store safe, 

I have a 20's vintage safe I use for my pistols that came out of a Candy Store way back when, 

a Liberty Franklin 35 for the rest, 


and yes, the rating (quantity) is the actual number of guns you can fit in the safe,  if you have all single shot rifles or shotguns with no scopes, pistol grips, etc, 

however, with creative stacking, you can usually get double the amount in a safe,  sometimes more
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Post by pgg on 6/7/2019, 6:07 pm

Buying a safe with REAL fire protection and REAL security is usually not going to be cost effective when compared to simply paying for a monitored alarm and insurance for a gun collection.

Some guns are simply irreplaceable though, either for sentimental value, or for legal reasons. A pre-86 transferable machine gun is not the same loss risk as an equally expensive collection of bolt action rifles. That bucket of whale chum who shot a bunch of people in Virginia Beach used a suppressor. What are the odds President Kamela Harris and Vice President Elizabeth Warren will try to ban other NFA items?

I keep my ARs and pistols, even the stupidly expensive ones, in a RSC. The NFA stuff and a pistol my father gave me stay in the TL30 safe.

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Post by zanemoseley on 6/7/2019, 6:57 pm

Firearm insurance is stupid expensive. If you can't get something nice up front go cheap from TSC and save pennies for a nice one. I got a 36"x66" American Security BF with the HF 4 gauge inner liner, it's got a poured fire lining concrete mix and has a solid 1/2" front door plate. I have a friend with 2 huge old safes, had a skid steer or something to get in place, my safe is 1300 pounds so I bet those are 3000 pounds or more.

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Post by LenV on 6/7/2019, 7:37 pm

Firearm insurance is not that expensive. I have it as an addition to my home owners. It costs around 150.00 a year and that's pretty reasonable for peace of mind. My primers cost more then that a year.

Len
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Post by WesG on 6/7/2019, 9:40 pm

I have a Browning I bought way back in the 20th century. Nice piece of hardware, but no insulation or door seal.

And now 2 Liberty's. One from around 99, and the other from last Christmas. Both solidly built, fire rated. And in the near 20 years between them, they still haven't figured out how to stagger the notches in the racks so you can put rifles in with the butts in between each other.

I knew that going in to the 2nd, and I'll rework it like the first eventually. And slope the floor like the Browning so the rifles lay back in the notches.

Just dumb. Seriously. Stupid. Asinine. Pick your own anti-superlatives to add to the list.

Nice hardware, solid, nice finish, although the new one has a tinny dial that doesn't spin with a flick of the wrist to near the next number in the combo like the old ones.

Honestly, I'd buy a 3rd and deal with the interior foibles, but downsizing the useless and no.longer interesting crap out of my life is more sensible.

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Post by john bickar on 6/7/2019, 11:04 pm

Hi, friends!

A reminder that this forum is public. I appreciate the freely-shared information; however, remember that not everyone who has access to the Internet has good intentions.
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Post by WesG on 6/7/2019, 11:43 pm

If that was directed at me, my apologies. Yes, I have been drinking. Single barrel Russell's reserve and George Dickels sour mash. In caffeine free diet coke ... yuck.

In my defense, I'm overweight for a large Penske truck, and my wine/whiskey cellar is open 24/7 vs the range, which is only available 2 days a week to burn up stale ammo.

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Post by john bickar on 6/7/2019, 11:52 pm

Not directed solely at you, and no apologies necessary; just looking out for my buddies, several of whom are in this thread and posting details about their security arrangements.

I was going to PM but there are too many of you, so I went with the PSA.

Semper vigilans.
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