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Old July 17, 2010, 05:47 PM   #1
LOUD
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Gun safe : combination lock or digital electronic

Im also thinking of buying a gunsafe , whats the the best most secure locking system, If this has been discussed before I apologize ,Im fairly new here . LOUD
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Old July 17, 2010, 06:19 PM   #2
willrussellville
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go to the store

Go to the store and try unlocking some of the ones with the round tumblers! After several unsuccessful attempts with the store employee coaching me, I chose the keypad and boy is it simple!
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Old July 17, 2010, 06:27 PM   #3
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Based on what I've read, and experts I've talked to, they offer the same amount of security. However the electronic locks are more prone to breaking and have a limited life span.

I'm also curious as to which one has a better survivabilty rate during an attempted break in? In other words if someone can't get in to my safe, and doesn't want me to either, is one lock type more easily disabled (sabotaged) then the other?
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Old July 17, 2010, 06:41 PM   #4
4V50 Gary
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Mechanical. Electronics go kaput more frequently.
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Old July 17, 2010, 06:57 PM   #5
Morgo
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Digital keypad for sure.

I had a combination lock on my first safe but as I visit the range 2-3 times a week and am constantly getting firearms in and out of my safe the combination dial lock got old real fast!

All my new safes are Digital lock or just keyed.
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Old July 17, 2010, 06:58 PM   #6
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Me too. Mechanical.
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Old July 17, 2010, 07:04 PM   #7
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I vote mechanical, I have less trust in the electronic keypads and mechanism.
The membrane and soft touch pushbuttons will not last forever and I'd hate to have to break into my own safe!
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Old July 17, 2010, 07:59 PM   #8
robthebuilder
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S&G mechanical. I open mine every day, it's easy as pie after you do it a few times. It also has a key lock to keep the dial from spinning.
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Old July 17, 2010, 09:00 PM   #9
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mechanical - the digital ones seem cheap to me.
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Old July 17, 2010, 11:11 PM   #10
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Well I know there are people here more qualified to answer this than myself but if I had my choice I'd go with a good mechanical lock. At a minimum, the S&G 6730 or equivalent which would be a UL Listed group II commercial grade lock. For not much more though, a UL Listed group I lock can be had such as the S&G 8410.

A good mechanical lock will last generations and is a time proven technology. A group II lock will prevent the majority of people from entering by why of figuring out the combination but there is a select few that can figure it out in around 30 minutes believe it our not. They do this by painstakingly charting the position of the gates on the disk by the subtle feel of turning the dial slowly and feeling the fence hitting the highest disk's gate (again not many people can do it but someone with a little training and practice can.) This type of attack is particularly troublesome because the owner might not detect the theft for a long time.

On the group I mechanical locks there is an additional mechanism that holds the lever/fence away from the gates on the disks to prevent feedback from being given to an intruder by way of the dial. UL has these types of locks rated to take an expert 20 hours to open so for a gun safe in a private residence, it is pretty much impregnable by this means.
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Old July 18, 2010, 12:47 PM   #11
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locks

I have both types and I have had both types fail. The mechanicals that failed were in Cannon and Graffunder safes and the digital in Cannons. None had received hard use and the mechanicals were only a few months in use. All the locks were S&G.
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Old July 18, 2010, 01:50 PM   #12
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How hard is it to get access to your safe when a lock fails? I'm curious because the nearest locksmith is 45 miles from my weekend home.
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Old July 18, 2010, 04:21 PM   #13
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Mechanical. It just happened that the safe I bought came with a digital and the salesman had taken it off to demo the safe with a mechanical lock.

I asked him to install the mechanical lock and I would buy it. No regrets.
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Old July 18, 2010, 11:46 PM   #14
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I timed myself tonight and I did my lock in 13 seconds. I doubt I could improve on that time by more then a second or two...
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Old July 19, 2010, 06:43 AM   #15
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I probably could do 10-15 seconds on my mechanical lock, without stress, but thats way too long to keep any defense mechanism in!!!
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Old July 19, 2010, 07:43 AM   #16
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Quote:
How hard is it to get access to your safe when a lock fails? I'm curious because the nearest locksmith is 45 miles from my weekend home.
The guy who sold and delivered my safe said they would have to drill the safe to get it open, if I forgot the combination. So I suppose it depends on what fails.

I got mechanical, because I was expecting it to be more reliable, and no complaints so far (Cannon safe, 11 years old). My first concern was battery life, however, the one I looked at had a set of battery terminals on the outside in case the inside battery ran down, so some thought has been given to common problems.

Lee
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Old July 20, 2010, 11:09 AM   #17
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Mechanical here too. The extra effort to open it is negligible.
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Old July 20, 2010, 12:33 PM   #18
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Electric combo works best for me. It's easier for me to remember a sequence, rather than typical combo. So far I have been very pleased with mine.
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Old July 20, 2010, 12:56 PM   #19
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As a pro, I prefer the mechanical locks myself.

With that said, there are advantages and disadvantages to both types of locks. Just like the safe purchase itself requires a careful consideration of the task at hand, so does the choice of a lock.

If you have any specific questions about either type, I would be happy to address them here in this thread.
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Old July 20, 2010, 04:27 PM   #20
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It seems a bit crazy to market a safe that will last centuries yet a locking mechanism that has a life of about 4 years ( info from a locksmith in my area)
I have seen safes in the back room of local hardware stores that I know are over a hundred years old and still working , I can get a good deal on a "Fortress" safe made by Heritage safe co but the size I like has an S&G numerical keypad which i like superficially but its ability to still be working for my children I have NO faith in. Am I being too hard on this or anyone think this is ok......... LOUD
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Old July 20, 2010, 05:07 PM   #21
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+1 for mechanical.

I bought a safe about the same time another local gun owner did. We both took delivery within a day of each other. Mine has a mechancial dial lock with a key-lock to lock the dial. His is a S&G digital lock.

He returned from the range and after cleaning his rifle, went to put it in the safe. The lock failed to work. It was day 308 of owning the safe and he was trying to put his .308 away. On my safe, I can pre-dial one or more of the combination digits, then lock the dial at "0" with the key. To open the safe, unlock the dial and finish dialing the last or last two digits.
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Old July 22, 2010, 03:28 PM   #22
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I vote for mechanical. Tried and true. It is not that difficult to operate!
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Old July 23, 2010, 03:29 PM   #23
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Well I guess someone has to be shoved under the bus so here I go.... I like the electronic I don't need to turn the lights on to open the safe. And I'm not trying to shove the numeric pad into next week. A light touch is all that's needed. As for the batt. its replaced from the outside. If I feel the key pad looks shabby or isn't working well, I would call a locksmith or the manufacturer. Since it can be replaced easily I don't think its much of a problem. Also most of the electronic safes can take 2 combo's put in 2 and don't repeat any #'s in both combos. Now I will tell you that I've only had them about 4 years but they get used daily and several times on the weekends. Still look new and work great. I would check the warranty of the manufacture and go with the best I could afford. I do have 2 safes one upstairs one downstairs if one fails I'm still armed!
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Old July 23, 2010, 03:47 PM   #24
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Mine has the basic S&G II mechanical. The drawback is that it can start to "walk" after a while a number either way of the original, and if I go too fast turning the dial, it might take me a few turns. All in all, I would take it over ANY electronic gizmo, especially when there is a battery involved or the possibility of some form of EMP rendering it useless

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Old July 23, 2010, 05:14 PM   #25
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Well I have decided to go with mechanical combination, It was delivered today ,man is that thing heavy , they used a fork lift to put it in myreloading area. I got the Heritage safe company Fortess Braun made in Idaho ,right in the good ole USA. It wieghs over 1000 pounds and holds way more guns than I presently own ,but that means I can expand right ?Thanks so much for your input! LOUD
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