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Old January 2, 2011, 11:06 AM   #1
zer010gic
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Gun Safe Advise

I am looking at purchasing a gun safe. My budget is around $3K. I have found 3 safes that seem to be inline with what I want. I live 6 miles from the fire department.

1. http://www.gunsafes.com/Winchester-S...-Gun-Safe.html

2. http://www.ableammo.com/catalog/prod...oducts_id=1159

3. http://www.gunsafes.com/Liberty-LX50...-Gun-Safe.html

I am looking for the best combination of security, size and fire protection, mainly in that order. High value would be a plus as well but not a priority. If you have other recommendations please let me know but supply justification.

Last edited by zer010gic; January 2, 2011 at 11:12 AM.
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Old January 2, 2011, 11:44 AM   #2
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In that price range, you might also want to look at:

www.sturdysafe.com Their safe's have 7ga bodies that can be enhanced as an option, tight tolerances, very strong doors, excellent fire protection that doesn't release moisture (I.e., no gypsum e.g. dry wall), lifetime warranty and great customer support

I've also heard www.summitsafes.com are nice but I have no first hand experience they come with 7ga bodies but internal hinges (external is better) Their Everett has external hinges and 1/4" plate on the body. Their fire protection is a combo of drywall and ceramic fiber.

AMSEC BF series safes seem to have a lot of pleased customers too and has a 1/2" plate steel door. http://www.amsecusa.com/Gun_Safes/BF_Series_Gun_Safes/

The Liberty Presidential is nice in that price range and has a 7ga body but internal hinges and dry wall as fire protection.

Of all of those and the research I had done, I bought a Sturdy and couldn't be happier. Good luck.
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Old January 2, 2011, 12:22 PM   #3
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www.sturdysafe.com Their safe's have 7ga bodies that can be enhanced as an option, tight tolerances, very strong doors, excellent fire protection that doesn't release moisture (I.e., no gypsum e.g. dry wall), lifetime warranty and great customer support
I like these guys and their safes look interesting but to get the size I want with fire protection it puts me over my ~$3k budget.

Quote:
I've also heard www.summitsafes.com are nice but I have no first hand experience they come with 7ga bodies but internal hinges (external is better) Their Everett has external hinges and 1/4" plate on the body. Their fire protection is a combo of drywall and ceramic fiber.
Cant find any pricing

Quote:
AMSEC BF series safes seem to have a lot of pleased customers too and has a 1/2" plate steel door. http://www.amsecusa.com/Gun_Safes/BF_Series_Gun_Safes/
For being a commercial security company they are missing some features I thought where important such as atleast 2 bolts on each side, as well as a cam system to keep pressure off the locking mechanism.

Quote:
The Liberty Presidential is nice in that price range and has a 7ga body but internal hinges and dry wall as fire protection.
Out of price range based on size. That's why I listed the Lincoln.
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Old January 2, 2011, 02:08 PM   #4
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I can understand your concern with the AMSEC BF safe, zero. I would strongly urge you to contact a fellow member, a1abdj. He is extremely knowledgeable on safes and is an AMSEC dealer.

http://thefiringline.com/forums/member.php?u=33339
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Old January 2, 2011, 02:13 PM   #5
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None of the safes you mentioned are going to provide any real security, or real fire protection, although they definately have the size.

These types of gun safes will give you limited security, and limited fire protection. Most gun safes are not designed to be high security, and most are using materials that are not found in any other real safe to obtain a high level of fire protection.

Sturdy is a great choice, especially when fire protection is not needed at all. They can delete their fire lining from their safes, and charge you less. You will get more security from a Sturdy than you will from many other gun safes on the market.

I hear the Summit name pop up now and again, but have never seen one in person, so my comments on them would be limited to what I can read on a website.

The AMSEC BF series is one of the best options in their price range, but their larger units are going to be outside your budget. The concerns that you mention are not really concerns at all. Don't base the importance of certain features on what gun safe manufacturers claim are important. If they knew what they were doing, they wouldn't be limited to building gun safes.

Of your choices, the Liberty would probably be your best bet. No great burglary protection, no great fire protection, but it is large and in your price range. Liberty also stands behind their warranty.
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Old January 2, 2011, 03:02 PM   #6
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Well after spending some time on the Sturdy Safe website I think I have learned a bit. Most of my previous gun safe studying was on the 6mmbr Gun Safe Article. I really like the Sturdy safe site and what they had to say. I spent time looking at their options and think I could deal with the 36W x 27D x 72H size safe. What all options do you guys feel is a must? Also how good is their fire protection material? Also I am willing to expand my budget ~$400.

Also how would it compair to a AmSec BF7240

Corey
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Old January 2, 2011, 03:09 PM   #7
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I'll leave the technical stuff to others and defer to the most common sound advice...

Buy a safe that's bigger in size than you really think you'll need that falls within your budget.
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Old January 2, 2011, 03:13 PM   #8
zer010gic
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Quote:
I'll leave the technical stuff to others and defer to the most common sound advice...

Buy a safe that's bigger in size than you really think you'll need that falls within your budget.
Thats what I am doing. Currently the smallest upright/long gun safe would be enough for my collection but I have vision to expand.
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Old January 2, 2011, 06:44 PM   #9
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Also how good is their fire protection material?
Zer0, Sturdy Safe uses actual fire insulating materials specifically designed to be thermal barriers. With the exception of foam (that cannot withstand extremely high temperatures like the 2300 Degree ceramic fiber can), there is nothing better for thermal insulation based on space requirements (e.g. less space needed for insulation leaves more space for gun storage). Unlike gypsum board (dry wall) or even insulating concrete (I.e., cement with an aggregate such as Vermiculite or Perlite), the fiber insulation doesn't release steam so it won't damage gun stocks etc. Sure there are some that will say a thermal insulating concrete can compete with high temperature fiber but in order to do so, double the volume of material is needed which is to say for every 1 inch of fiber insulation 2 inches of insulating concrete will be needed and unless you are talking about a really big gun safe, not much room left to store guns with a comparable concrete insulated safe (it's more complicated than that but essentially that's what it comes down to).
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Old January 2, 2011, 07:34 PM   #10
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Adirondack is a big fan of the ceramics, but the only safe manufacturers using them as their primary insulation are a few gun safe manufacturers.

There are thousands of safe (as well as file cabinet and vault door) makes and models with real UL fire ratings (the most stringent testing done on safes here in the US), all of which use some sort of "cement" as a fill material. Although not new technology, it is tried and true. Many of these insulations are effective with less than 2" of fill, whereas some take more. These fills can also add to the structural integrity and burglary resistance of the safe.

There are only a handfull of gun safes available with this type of construction. I have access to an unbranded "generic" safe that uses it, and it can also be found in the AMSEC BFs, Browns, and Graffunders.
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Old January 3, 2011, 11:09 AM   #11
zer010gic
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Any one know much about Pendleton Safes? I know they are a bit out of my price range but look interesting.


EDIT: Nvrmind they decided to change their line in 2011 and essentially eliminate the safe I would want.

Corey

Last edited by zer010gic; January 3, 2011 at 11:25 AM.
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Old January 3, 2011, 07:44 PM   #12
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I tried to do a lot of research before I bought my gun safe(s).
I talked to & visited local gunshops to see what they use and contacted my insurance loss risk carrier & asked them what they recomend and how to install it. For me, a lockable combination dial rather than an electronic combo best suited my needs. A slip clutch on the handles seemed to be better than shear pins because the pins don't shear,,,,which requires a locksmith to replace. A recessed door instead of flush mounted, handles centered in the door and internal hinges was my preference. Heavy gage steel on all other areas besides the door got my vote. A U/L fire rating helps.
My advice is to get a safe twice as big as you need, you will be surprised what goes in it. I suggest you put it in a closet with doors, frame it into the opening, bolt it to the floor and back against the wall.
Most safe attacks aren't on the door, they're directed on the sides, top or back with an axe & a lot of energy.
Nothing is burglar-proof. Given enough time, tools & energy, they will get in or carry it off.
The idea is to keep them out, or prevent them from carrying it off for about 2-hours, hopefully they will get tired, wear out their tools or get scared someone is coming home.
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Old January 4, 2011, 11:06 PM   #13
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Quote:
What all options do you guys feel is a must?
zer0,

If you are considering a Sturdy, I think a must from them is fire lining. As mentioned before, their fire lining material is a high performance industrial thermal barrier used in furnaces and kilns. It's even used in the most stringent U.L. listed fire rated structures there are U.L. class 125F x 4 hour media vaults (that's keeping the interior less than 125F with a humidity under 85% for up to four hour and 2000F exterior temp with an extended cool down time). Check out the video from a customer on their website that had their house burn completely to the ground; notice in the video that the paper inside the safe isn't charred which shows the interior stayed less than 350F.

With the fire liner, the gun safe you want is still less than 3K delivered but since you are willing to go over a little bit; I'd add on the 7ga plates to the sides (one side only if you are bolting it down in a corner for half the price) and the stainless steel plate over the locking mechanism.
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Old January 5, 2011, 11:37 AM   #14
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If you were buying a modular vault (with huge interior air volume), furnace, or oven, I would suggest using insulations commonly used on those items.

Since you are looking at safes, I would suggest using insulations commonly found in their construction. There are only three places you will find ceramics in the safe industry: A few gun safes, the interior compartments of UL listed data safes, and on the doors of the occasional non-UL listed safe where the manufacturer does not have the ability to construct a door with cast materials.

Don't take my word for it, ask any other professional in the safe business (not gun safe business). Every UL rated fire safe, vault door, and file cabinet on the market uses cast material. I am assuming that is because it is the only material that will pass the test.
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Old January 5, 2011, 12:24 PM   #15
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Yes good advice. Ask a professional that understands fire protection.
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Old January 5, 2011, 12:55 PM   #16
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Quote:
Ask a professional that understands fire protection.
There are two huge companies that are involved in the construction of fire rated safes, vault doors, and filing cabinets.

Fireking International has been in safe business since 1951, and had sales over $100,000,000 in 2006. Although they have expanded into other security areas, their fire rated products still represent a large portion of their offerings. They can be reached at 1.800.457.2424.

Sentry Group has been in the safe business since 1930. They are the largest manufacturer of fire rated products in the world, and have recently acquired other large safe manufacturers. They can be reached at 1-800-828-1438.

Call the professionals that understand fire protection, and ask them what materials they use.
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Old January 5, 2011, 04:39 PM   #17
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I should have clarified; call a professional that understands fire protection, fire protection materials, heat transfer etc that doesn't have a bias towards something they sell or manufacture.
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Old January 5, 2011, 05:18 PM   #18
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I should have clarified; call a professional that understands fire protection, fire protection materials, heat transfer etc that doesn't have a bias towards something they sell or manufacture.
Because clearly, the guys that build this stuff have no idea what they're talking about.

The largest manufacturers don't know what they're talking about. Every other manufacturer of these products doesn't know what they're talking about. Guys who work with these products every day don't know what they're talking about. Even UL doesn't know what they're talking about.

We get it. You're an engineer that has something to do with furnaces. You're paid to do that. You're biased towards whatever materials you use when designing furnaces.

The next time somebody wants to know what works in furnaces, they should contact those in the furnace business.
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Old January 5, 2011, 05:33 PM   #19
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Safe

I would say Get the Third One. It Seemed to Have the Most Room. And a Nice Seperation Between The Gun Compartment, Ammuntion, And the Cubby For Cleaning Items (ECT.). I say get the Third One For Sure.
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Old January 6, 2011, 06:39 AM   #20
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We get it. You're an engineer that has something to do with furnaces. You're paid to do that. You're biased towards whatever materials you use when designing furnaces.
I didn't say anything about my background here, you must be remembering another discussion from another site.

Quote:
Because clearly, the guys that build this stuff have no idea what they're talking about.

The largest manufacturers don't know what they're talking about. Every other manufacturer of these products doesn't know what they're talking about. Guys who work with these products every day don't know what they're talking about. Even UL doesn't know what they're talking about.
I'd say UL (Underwriters Laboratory I.e. a third party test lab) does know what they are talking about because they have setup tests that none of these large gun safe manufacturers can pass. Yes we both know there isn't a gun safe that has an actual UL fire rating which should make a customer wonder what are all these ratings they show on their gun safes about "Mercury Class" etc? Pretty big numbers for temperature and exposure time but no UL sticker ... seems like they are not being very honest.

Quote:
The next time somebody wants to know what works in furnaces, they should contact those in the furnace business.
Heat transfer works the same in either direction whether you are trying to keep heat in or keep it out. I have heat treat furnaces with steel shells that you can put your bare hand on after cooking the contents for 8 hours at over 1000F. I'd think a furnace manufacturer would make a pretty good fire rated safe.

Pictures and videos says it all: complete burn down of a residence, and a safe filled with paper that survived. That's with just 2 inches of fiber on the sides and back 3 inches on the door, top and bottom of the safe. Sturdy offers a double insulated safe with 4 inches top, bottom sides and back that could survive a very intense fire.









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Old January 6, 2011, 08:15 AM   #21
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RE: OP

I would not buy any of those. The minimum recommendation for body steel is 10 gauge, and even then is vulnerable to an axe attack from the sides. I'm sure a1abdj has pictures of safes ripped open from the side.
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Old January 6, 2011, 11:00 AM   #22
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I didn't say anything about my background here, you must be remembering another discussion from another site.
I remember it well. You were giving the same bad advice there as you are here. Neither ceramic insulation, nor gypsum board insulation, will provide proper fire protection from fire.

You can post photos of safes using these insulations that have survived. So can I. It's called luck. If these insulations worked effectively, they would be found in UL listed safes.

Quote:
Yes we both know there isn't a gun safe that has an actual UL fire rating which should make a customer wonder what are all these ratings they show on their gun safes about "Mercury Class" etc? Pretty big numbers for temperature and exposure time but no UL sticker ... seems like they are not being very honest.
Who's being dishonest? A manufacturer has their product tested however they want it tested, and post a sticker showing their results on the door. So long as the sticker doesn't say UL on it, it's not dishonest.

Consumers do not properly educate themselves on safe construction, ratings, etc., and just assume the manufacturer has their best interests in mind. That's why I'm here.

I don't see many gun safe manufacturers posting "big numbers" on their safes. Most gun safes are being tested in the 1200 degree range for an hour. UL is testing safes at 1700 degrees for an hour.

Quote:
Heat transfer works the same in either direction whether you are trying to keep heat in or keep it out. I have heat treat furnaces with steel shells that you can put your bare hand on after cooking the contents for 8 hours at over 1000F. I'd think a furnace manufacturer would make a pretty good fire rated safe.
The heat transfer may be the same, but the end results certainly are not.

In the case of a furnace, you have a heat inside of an enclosed area, and a large air volume outside. In the case of a safe, you have a lot of heat outside, and a small volume of air inside.

A 1,200 degree fire outside of a safe is going to heat the air inside of the safe faster than a 1,200 degree furnace is going to heat up the room its in.

Quote:
Pictures and videos says it all:
They just show one situation. Liberty shows photos of a safe that "survived a California wild fire". Just luck. I can show you safes that were UL listed for 4 hours that were just about melted in the same fire.

It is true that ceramic insulations will give you some protection. So will gypsum board, sawdust, cardboard, styrofoam, and even just plain old air. The problem is that none of these insulation perform as well as cast insulations, which is why real fire safes are built the way they are.
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Old January 6, 2011, 01:14 PM   #23
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The problem is that none of these insulation perform as well as cast
insulations, which is why real fire safes are built the way they are.
No ceramic fiber will perform much better that's why it is used exclusively in structures with the highest UL fire rating there is which is media vaults class 125F - 4 hour or keeping the interior less than 125 degrees F with less than 80% humidity for an exterior temperature to just over 2000F. And, there isn't a safe on the market and definitely not an exclusively cast insulated safe (they have to put an inner liner of fiber or foam in those to achieve the class 125F rating as you know a1abdj) that can achieve the four hour rating.

http://www.firelock.com/overview1.htm

Ceramic fiber panel walls:

"High temperature protection:
Vault panels constructed from spun ceramic material capable of withstanding temperatures well above 2000°F for five hours of testing."



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Old January 6, 2011, 02:20 PM   #24
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No ceramic fiber will perform much better that's why it is used exclusively in structures with the highest UL fire rating there is which is media vaults class 125F - 4 hour or keeping the interior less than 125 degrees F with less than 80% humidity for an exterior temperature to just over 2000F.
It is not used in all structures. It is used in some.

Let's look at that big room you just posted a photo of, and lets compare the exposed surface area to the volume of air inside of it. Then, let's look at the surface area of a safe, and compare that to the volume of air inside of it.

Just because a material works well for one use, does not mean it would work well for another.

By the way, that door shown in your photo uses cast insulation, and would have the same, or better rating than that of the modular panels.

Quote:
And, there isn't a safe on the market and definitely not an exclusively cast insulated safe (they have to put an inner liner of fiber or foam in those to achieve the class 125F rating as you know a1abdj) that can achieve the four hour rating.
Sure there is. I don't know if they still build them (I'll have to look), but you could buy a 4 hour 125 degree safe that was all cast. It was not rated for data, due to humidity.

What you're confusing here is the specific purpose of a data rated safe, which has the additional burden of controlling humidity. All data safes are simply a cast fire insulated safe with an additional ceramic lined insert sealed to prevent the moisture from the cast safe to enter.

In this case you have a safe, using cast insulation, that keeps the interior temperature at or below 350 degrees when faced with a 1700 degree or higher fire. The ceramic insert then keeps its interior below 150/125 degrees when faced with the external temperature of 350 degrees.

You can always find a single example, and twist it to fit your explanation. I can show you hundreds or even thousands that fit mine.

We are not talking about vaults or data safes. We're talking about safes somebody would place in their homes.
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Old January 6, 2011, 02:30 PM   #25
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WOW, I'm learning more about safes than I ever thought I would. I will be in the market for a safe in the next year or so and will bookmark this thread to reference.
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