View Full Version : Gun Safe Questions

January 11, 2013, 05:15 PM
I just got a gun safe installed and setup (Liberty Lincoln). This is the first real gun safe I've owned.

I'm curious about a few things...

Is it a good idea to store ammunition and/or reloading components (powder, primers) inside this? I'm thinking more about fire than theft for this question. The alternative is to store them in a locked cabinet elsewhere which provides no fire protection...on the other hand, I don't know if storing these things inside the safe means it is more likely that if there was a serious fire, the other items in the safe would be damaged by burning powder/primers blowing up/etc.
I have a Sentry 1150, which is one of those cheapo fire lockboxes. Would it actually provide additional fire protection if I put it inside the safe? I was thinking I could store important papers inside it. That way if the safe was compromised by fire, there would be a last line of defense for another 30 minutes or whatever it's rated for. I'm only thinking of this because I already own the Sentry. (This is probably unimportant - I'm talking about things like passports, not millions in bearer bonds).
We have small children, so I've told my wife that we need to be vigilant that the safe remained locked if not in actual immediate use. With all my gear inside, I think it's a little unlikely that a toddler could pull everything out, squeeze inside, and close the door. I'm not even sure it can be locked from the inside. I'm wondering though if there is anything I've overlooked in terms of small child safety. Not quite the same as an old abandoned refrigerator but still, always better to be safe than sorry. The safe is already in a room where kids don't normally go and the door is closed, albeit not locked.
Where do you keep your combination? :-) So I got a manual and there's a sticker in it with the combo. Liberty has a "combo vault" thing where you can register and store your combo online but I'm not thoroughly sold on this. On the other hand, I can see telling my wife the combo, years later she forgets it, I get hit by a bus. I'm thinking of sealing the combo in an envelope without any address or identifying info and giving it to a trusted relative.
My wife said "looks great. Now let's pray if someone breaks in, we're not at home." Her point is that a thief could point a gun at our head and say "open the safe". Well, nothing is perfect security...

January 11, 2013, 05:26 PM
Congrats on your new safe. The recommendation that I have always heard is Ammo and powder should not go in a metal container. I have always heard keep it in some sort of wood container, so if there is a fire, the pressure is released easier. I think you are right one with the child safety thing. Just keep it locked. My cat likes to get in my safe and squeeze into the back. That is a little bit of a pain, but children are a little easier to stop from doing that. I have my combo stored with family elsewhere in a bunch of files in case someone needs it some day. As far as family safety goes, the best thing is to not let everyone know what you have. If you can, put your safe in an area out of view. If you have someone come over that needs to be in the same area as it, I have always just thrown a sheet or something over it. I'm sure they assume its just an antique cabinet we don't use or something like that. Make sure you bolt your safe down also. If you have the resources and it works with your house, you could always a little locking closet type thing for the same to be in.

Enjoy your new safe!

January 11, 2013, 05:31 PM
Also not perfect, but you can put the combo with the other information you have describing all your bank accounts/passwords etc. Encrypted with a password on your computer or in your safe deposit box--something like that.

They won't lock from the inside generally, but I'd hate to have a kid crawl inside then have some responsible adult come along and lock it w/o checking. I'd keep it locked when not in actual use.

Don't store your ammo in the safe with your guns.

The sentry firebox should keep stuff protected a lot longer inside the gunsafe in the event of a fire. It's probably more than simply additive protection, since the inside of your gunsafe won't reach the outside fire temp for quite some time.

January 11, 2013, 05:40 PM
Oh yeah, musher - it didn't even occur to me that I could keep it in my PasswordSafe safe. I keep that encrypted file on Dropbox and also keep a copy on Tarsnap, so it's very well backed up. Good idea.

January 11, 2013, 08:07 PM
i remember when growing up one of the first things i saw going into friends and family houses was a glass gun cabinet standing within prob 10 ft or closer of the front door more often then not unlocked if it even had a lock. and as far as i can remember there were few if any gun accidents, school shootings, mass shooting in general. what he hell ever happened to us that we have to be so scared to have guns. everyone of my children know where my guns are where the ammo is [right damn beside the gun] because they know how to use them and would use them if needed. states making laws that said we have to keep guns in locked safes. I want my rights back.

January 11, 2013, 08:30 PM
Locking up guns isn't a fear issue so much as a cost benefit analysis.

January 11, 2013, 08:44 PM
One thing I was taught as a youngster (a younger youngster) by my mother, was how to keep important numbers hidden in plain sight.

Grab a contacts book, the kind you keep phone numbers and addresses written in. Make up a name that can be either related to what the number is, or just completely random, and make up a phone number using the important number you want to keep hidden.

So for a safe combination of say, 11-12-13 or whatever, you could do this,

John Browning

Just an idea. I've never really had to use this, as I prefer safes with a key, and can generally remember important numbers.

January 11, 2013, 08:56 PM
Well I keep most of my guns and ammo in the same safe together. But I also went with a very high rated fire safe. Which I think is worth every penny for the piece of mind. I also have young kids which my 2 boys if they had the chance to go inside probably would but the safe cant close or lock itself with the handle in the open position at least I dont think so. But how I avoid them going inside of it is if Im standing there with the door open its fine if I have to leave I lock the safe I dont care what I have to do. I lock it before I leave to room.
Now with the gun to the head and being told to open the safe, I have 2 out of the kids reach even on a chair they couldnt get them but they are in reach for me just in case I need them for protecting me and my family and I also have a nice size dog as a first defense....lol
But that is just my thoughts. Good Luck.

January 11, 2013, 10:24 PM
I'm not in favor of laws requiring guns be kept locked up because in general I don't like government intrusion at that level, it's not applied to other areas of life, etc.

But I do think there is a social responsibility in not doing something stupid. A glass gun cabinet next to the front door is just asking for someone to steal your guns. If someone steals my TV, I file an insurance claim and get a new TV. If someone steals my guns, they could do grave harm with them. That wouldn't make it my fault, but I feel a little nobler if I keep them as protected from theft/misuse as is reasonably possible.

I lock up my guns so (a) they don't get stolen, (b) there is no unauthorized access (kids), and (c) they have a good chance of staying unharmed in the event of a fire.

The city I live in does have a law that does make parents responsible if children misuse a firearm. I have no problem with that.

January 11, 2013, 10:45 PM
i dont know guess its just a differnt world we live in now.....seemed like alot of things we did saw had as kids we dont have or can do now....and no my guns are not by my door but they are not locked up either. they are not out in the open but if needed its about a 5sec thing to get them out and used. just hate seeing what our country has become.

January 11, 2013, 11:28 PM
On that we agree.

January 12, 2013, 12:49 AM
Don't store ammo in your safe, or a loaded weapon, either. In a fire, the boxed rounds will throw shrapnel all around the safe, and the loaded rounds will fire out the muzzle of the weapon, and either ricochet inside the safe or punch a hole in it and anything in the way on the other side.

As far as the kids go, they may be strong enough to swing the door open enough to get their arm or leg inside, then lose control of the heavy door. Keep it locked when adult is not present in the room to watch 'em.

In the event of a fire, you want to throw your Sentry paper box out the window and follow after it.

January 12, 2013, 07:34 AM
Gunsafe in one location, ammo stored elsewhere.

It may or may not be a good thing, but there is only one loaded firearm in my house and that one is on my person.


Before anyone points a gun at me, I have already acquired *my* target.

January 13, 2013, 10:59 AM
So do you recommend that ammo be stored in its own fireproof safe or stored in some other container? Seems to me it would be smarter to have it in its own fireproof safe.

4V50 Gary
January 13, 2013, 11:01 AM
Agree that ammo should be stored in a separate container.

January 13, 2013, 01:17 PM
But do you put the ammo in a fireproof safe or wooden box or other container? And why?

4V50 Gary
January 13, 2013, 05:46 PM
Keep your ammo in a separate safe (RSC) that is used exclusively for ammo. I would use ammo cans just to make it easier to move things around.

January 14, 2013, 12:45 AM
If your house is on fire, expect termperatures of 1500-2000 degrees for an hour. Your ammo is not going to survive that, absent a very expensive locker. Better to just lock it up separately and be cognizant of fire hazards, look at your electrical panel, flammables storage, things like that, and make adjustments as needed.

January 14, 2013, 01:31 AM
i can speak with a little personal experience as far as ammo & fire. i had a detached garage that burned to the ground two years ago. it was a HOT fire too. in one of the hot spots, i had 3 50 cal ammo cans on a shelf. one was 820 rds of 5.56 green tip, the others were 240 rds of greek m-2 ball 30.06 from the CMP. there was also a 500 rd case of barnaul 7.62x39 in cardboard. the 7.62x39 started first & ended up scattering about 1/2 of them onto the floor, where they survived at the cooler temp level. a couple of the rounds that went off punctured one of the cans of 30.06, allowing it to get hot enough inside to ignite 64 rounds.the rest of the ammo in that can, although needing some cleanup, shoot fine. the ammo in the other two cans survived without a scratch. the cans warped up pretty bad & the seals melted, but inside contents were protected.

best advice i can give is store all ammo in mil-spec cans & keep them low on the floor if possible where temps wont be as high. thats how i have all of my ammo stored now.

here are a couple pics of the can that was punctured & the leftovers of the 64 rds that ignited.

January 14, 2013, 01:47 AM
I have been keeping my ammo in a safe, but after reading this thread, I am now considering moving all my ammo to my outdoor connex storage container. The container is insulated and air tight!

January 14, 2013, 02:53 AM
I keep my handguns loaded and in the safe...all handguns always loaded. gun(s) are not always in safe, but that is where they end up(example: tv late at night a weapon is closer than locked in safe).

I keep all ammo in safe as well but I double ziplock bag them to save space and for whatever air quality I can get. I keep rifle rounds and shotgun shells in same safe. my safe isn't big enough for shotgun and rifle, so they go in locked pelican case unloaded w/no ammo that can be opened with found/hidden key. the safe has an electronic code.

January 14, 2013, 09:51 AM
I keep my handguns loaded and in the safe...all handguns always loaded. gun(s) are not always in safe, but that is where they end up

The problem with this is that the interior of your safe can get hot enough to cook off ammo. When you add a chambered weapon to the mix, it may fire. Since most gun safes use relatively little steel, you run the risk of somebody getting shot.

This isn't to say that you should unload the guns, but you should be mindful of this fact, and orient them accordingly. Keep them pointed in a safe direction, even inside the safe.

January 14, 2013, 11:29 AM
Ammo storage would be best away from your living quarters.

Anyone have a copy of the regulations followed on base? I've forgotten the numbers...

January 17, 2013, 02:39 AM
I might have to reconsider my situation, but I must admit I am skeptical and/or slow to do so(at least at this point). I remember being on a thread a couple years ago about this, and the opinions were different. You all make some good points however, and I do appreciate the advice/info though. I would like to add that I do not store guns/ammo in garage, attic, or the basement. The amount is not high either...just enough to be ready w/minimal reloads to protect our family and/or to enjoy at range/hunting without having to buy anything first.

The part of our dwelling w/the goods have AC in warmer months and heat in the cooler months, so I don't forsee any issues but I am taking these posts seriously.

*the other thread I am remembering: people were actually saying ammo thrown on a fire could not injure anyone(obviously I would never do that), but i guess you all are speaking about firearms being loaded which poses different circumstances....
my handguns are revolvers and stainless steel for the most part too(no blues), so I am not sure if that makes a difference or not

**shortly, I plan on readjusting the direction of the firearms or double-checking them to maximize a safer sleeping position for the handguns.

January 17, 2013, 10:30 AM
This video shows what happens when bulk ammunition is destroyed in several different ways, not just fire. It's a little long, but should dispel some myths and concerns about bulk ammo storage. I would try to store ammo in a separate cabinet/containers if possible just to reduce possible damage to your guns and surroundings.

SAAMI - Sporting Ammunition and the Fire Fighter (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3SlOXowwC4c&feature=player_embedded)