View Full Version : Feedback on gun safes

February 20, 2001, 02:42 PM
Looking to eventually buy a safe and wanted feedback from owners.

Due to frieght cost I am pretty much looking at safes available in my area (Indiana).

I am considering:
Cannon, Browning, Winchester, & Frontier. I would probably rate them in that order from reviewing their brochures (Frontier being better built than Cannon. The benefits to Winchester and Frontier is that they are built in Indiana so you could drive the safe to the factory for repairs, fire damage, etc. (No $500+ freight!)

I wish I could remain under $1,500 but appears that $2,000 is the cost of most of these in a 18-20 gun average configuration.

Any feedback on these or other safes would be interesting.

February 20, 2001, 06:02 PM
Try the FAQ at http://www.recguns.com under safety.

They don't recommend specific safes, but have good article on what to look for, as well as some other resources. I've been pricing them myself and agree that $2000 is about right for a fire-reistant safe of that size after factoring in all the costs. You mat also want to look at Champion Safes. A dealer near here is elling a 60 x 30 x 25 fire resistant for $1200. Add in tax and ~ $200 for local delivery (inside the house) and it totals about $1500.

February 20, 2001, 06:33 PM
Moving to the Accessories Forum. Look for your post there.

Scott Conklin
February 20, 2001, 09:27 PM
Well, I don't know where you are in Indiana but if you're in the southern half call Switz City Guns. In additition to a damn good inventory of guns he's usually got a lot of Browning safes(and a couple other brands) on hand and if memory serves he's got the Browning safes around 18 long guns for less than $1500. He's supposed to be the biggest stocking dealer for them in Indiana and a year or so ago he was like 3 or 4 in the state for overall firearms inventory too.

Ask for John and tell him Scott sent ya. :)

Joe Klug
February 20, 2001, 10:44 PM
I tried to research gun safes as best I could before buying one last year. IMO, you are paying more for the Browning and Winchester names on their brand safes than you are for the features. I decided on a Cannon and am very happy with it. The features I liked best were the extremely strong door hinge, the better fire rating over most other brands I looked at, the flex interior that I can set up however I want and the electronic lock that comes standard as opposed to being a $150 option.


February 20, 2001, 11:14 PM
2nd Amendment,
Sorry, Northern Indiana in Marshall County. I have a Winchester and Cannon dealer withing eight miles of the house. Winchesters are made somewhere in southern Indiana and Frontier safes are made in Ft. Wayne.

The Frontier safes appear to have more attention to detail and appear to have better locking mechanisims but I haven't seen prices yet. It would be nice to be within driving distance to "deliver" a safe for repairs.

I also wouldn't mind a Liberty safe with the NRA logo but the shipping issue comes up. Also there is Kiesler's in Southern Indiana that deals in Ft. Knox and a dealer in Valporaiso I think. Of course I could order a John Deere logo 23 cu.ft. safe from the local John Deere dealer made by Liberty. It runs $1,300 +shipping but it doesn't mention fire protection.

February 20, 2001, 11:22 PM
Joe Klug,

Did you get the Cannon Ultimate Security Series or the Cannon Traditional Series. The Ultimate Series is quite expensixe but is rated at 1500 deg. for 45 minutes, The Traditional series rated at 1500 for 30 minutes.

Incidently the Winchesters are rated at 1550 for 30 for the tradition Series, Legend and Legacy rated for 1200/30.

Frontier is rated at 1500/for 50 minutes for the Fire Marshall! and 1,500/45 for the Desperado & 1,200/45 for the trail Boss and all of their other models.

Keeping in mind that there may be a better chance of fire thas theft I have been eyeing the ratings closely.

February 21, 2001, 02:21 AM
The first thing I did was check your profile to see if I could sell you my Browning. I coulda saved you mucho denaro. I need to sell it because I broke rule #1 of safe buying. Buy a safe at least twice as big as you think you will need. I have the rifle racks full, pistols lined up along the whole rifle rack sides back and center. I have pistols on the floor. The shelf is full of pistols. Every new gun I buy, I say, I can't fit one more derringer in here but somehow I rearrage things and I can get another one in. My own personal rule #2: Don't underestimate what is involved in moving a safe. Mine is only about 650 pounds which is small, the one I want is over twice that heavy. I am a 38 yo firefighter, and had the previous owner help me. I wouldn't do it again. I get a kick out of these guys worrying about setting them in concrete and bolting them to the wall. If you bought a real safe you could leave it out in your yard and dare someone to get it into a truck. One last thing, I see you are thinking about fire protection. Take it from me, don't listen to anyone that tells you not to bother with it. They will quote some ridiculous temperatures and times. If you live anywhere that has a fire department a house fire shouldn't last more than about 2 minutes after they pull up. The temperatures don't get anywhere near as high as most of the numbers I see tossed around. Maybe in an enclosed room that can't ventilate and with no attempt to extinguish, but not in your average house fire. Fire protection is good, buy it.

Scott Conklin
February 21, 2001, 07:44 AM
Now ya see I was going to say fire protection is entirely over rated. I've not seen the FD around here actually save a house in a couple years and the only two safes I've seen cracked open afterwards hadn't actually "burned" the guns but had sweated and steamed so much the guns were corroded up and blackened beyond any hope of cosmetic salvation. Good enough to shoot I suppose but down right fugly.

The worst part about that was the insurance company attitude. I'd just as soon have had mine utterly destroyed as have to argue about 'percent' of damage and such as these people did.

Gunpowder - Ft Knox is the other one he carries at Switz City. They all seemed to have that odd satin pebbled finish and a much thinner outer door skin than the Brownings. They did have the electronic locks though, which I keep hearing are a wiser move than the mechanicals no matter which brand you purchase.

February 21, 2001, 06:21 PM
My advice for a safe is to check out the various sizes and when you find the one you think is adequate buy one size larger. When I got my safe it was much larger than I thought I would ever use but a couple of years later and its just about bursting. When you have a safe it's amazing the things you (and your wife) will find to put in it.

I didn't get fire protection. My home is in the country and the local volunteer fire department are great neighbors and fine fellows but response times are not great. One of them once told me that "they've never lost a basement yet" meaning the rest of the home burned to the foundations. My safe is to keep break-in artists from getting my guns. In the event of a fire, I'll take the insurance company's money and go out and buy new guns.

Unless you and a couple of friends can qualify for NFL line jobs and you have proper heavy duty moving equipment pay the extra money to have the safe installed. It cost me $100 to have the safe delivered, installed and lugged to the floor. When I watched the two guys wrestling it down my stairs to the basement I realized it was among the best money I'd ever spent.

Joe Klug
February 21, 2001, 08:16 PM

I got the Traditional Series. I can't remember which model number (and the sales brochure is long gone) but it's next to the largest one. I had to special order it since I wanted the matte finish instead of the glossy paint. (This helped save some money also)

I understand about paying attention to the ratings. I was doing my best to compare "apples to apples". That is, comparing safes in pretty much the same price range. If you do that the Cannon looks good.

I wouldn't have minded getting an even better model (more security / better fire rating) but I had to keep some kind of budget in mind:) I also took the advice of forum members and got a size that was at least double what I was originally thinking of. Worked good as I've already just about filled it.:)


Mike Baugh
February 21, 2001, 09:54 PM
Gunpowder , try a Sams club . I bought my Liberty , with Remington logo , there for $899 . There is a Liberty safe store 2 miles away and they had the same safe for $1400 . I picked up mine in Indianapolis . I think there is a Sams in Goshen and FT. Wayne . Good luck , Mike...

February 22, 2001, 07:10 AM
Mike Baugh,

Visited the one in Mishawaka 2 weeks ago. Didn't see one then. Did yours have a fire rating and what size was it?

Mike Baugh
February 22, 2001, 02:49 PM
Gunpowder , when I purchased mine they did not have the fireproof models in stock . Mine is the Liberty Lincoln model , I believe it is 30"x25"x60" , and has the Remington logo on it . About a month ago the Indianapolis-Fishers store had the fireproof ones for $900 . They were brown exterior with the single lever handle . Call the different locations and see what they have . Make sure to open the cardboard wrapping and check them before taking them home , 2 I looked at were scratched pretty bad where the had been hit with the fork trucks as they were placed in the store . I hauled mine home in a mini van and had no problems [it weighed 600lbs] . Good luck , Mike...

February 25, 2001, 03:48 AM
Well........I have no answer to your question.........but figured this link would probably help ya out anyway.........the concensus seems to be.......PAY FOR INSTALLATION !!! ;).


(Well.......being the internet dork that I am I can't get the link to work........but check out the general discussion forum at 1911forum.com.....there's a good thread on safes)

Double Naught Spy
February 25, 2001, 10:44 PM
I spent a bunch of time evaluating safes. Contrary to what most dealers will tell you about gun safes, they are more akin to strong boxes than what most people think of as safes. Because of the expense of getting what I needed, I simply went with one that provided very good fire protection.

Most of the gun safes will boast a 1/4" plate thick on the door, and may a reinforced plate around the locking mechanism. When you check around the other specs, you find something like two layers of 1/8" thick plate on the sides, back, top, and bottom, usually with some insullation between the layers. The 1/4" is good for the door, but if I were a crook who wanted in the safe, I would not try the door. Just a few minutes with a sledge hammer, heck maybe 30 minutes with a quality claw hammer and you could be removing the contents. Most safes for guns are glorified strong boxes, plain and simple. They are meant to thwarf fire and cursory thieves who are there with limited time or who need to remain stealthy. The safes are great for keeping children out of the guns.

Don't be too alarmed by the claims of quick entry. Even high security safes as you would find in jewelry stores can be thwarted in a short amount of time, say 30 minutes, by two guys with sledge hammers. I saw this demonstrated at a jewelry show. Granted, the guys with the hammers knew what they were doing, but so too would determined criminals. They also bypassed the door with its extra plating that was resistent to drills.

My suggestion to you is to find a safe with a good fire rating that fits your needs as best as possible and then work to have that safe concealed as best you can within your home. Criminals don't steal what they can't find. Then, don't boast that you have the safe. No one needs to know that you own a safe with the possible exception of your insurance company that might give you a break on your coverage. Check with the company first and they may be able to steer you to safes they deem as fitting their requirements for protection and the break in your insurance. Or, they may not.

If the store does not deliver the safe, then get a good dolly that will carry at least 100 lbs more than what the safe weighs. Have the spor ready for the safe when you get it home so that you don't waste time with a safe, rental dolly and / or truck. I would suggest you invite two of your most trusted and strong friends or trusted family members to help. You don't want to be under powered when it comes to placing a safe next to a wall or transporting it through your home. With what safes weigh, they can quickly damage dry wall, door jambs, and floors by their sheer weight and momentum if you happen to misguage placement or a turn.

February 25, 2001, 11:09 PM
"With what safes weigh, they can quickly damage dry wall, door jambs, and floors by their sheer weight and momentum if you happen to misguage placement or a turn"

Forget all that, what will it do to YOU if it gets away from you. How about something like slipping on the steps and having the safe come down on top of you. Take my advise, buy from someone that delivers, and pay the extra $100 or whatever.

February 27, 2001, 10:38 PM
Mike Baugh:

I looked at one at my local Sam's yesterday for the same price--$899. Best I can tell based on the specs, though, it is this safe, a Remington:


Didn't see any information about Liberty on the safe. In fact, the specs on this particular model I saw are a bit different from the ones on the Liberty Lincoln.

I'm not arguing that your model isn't a Liberty. I just wanted to point out that Sam's seems to carry Remington brand safes as well.

Good Guy
February 27, 2001, 11:01 PM
originally posted by 444
Forget all that, what will it do to YOU if it gets away from you. How about something like slipping on the steps and having the safe come down on top of you. Take my advise, buy from someone that delivers, and pay the extra $100 or whatever.

Ditto. 5 years ago, I had mine delivered and placed for $50. It's worth a $100.

Then I went ahead and played "Good Guy" and helped a friend move his 1300 pound safe last year. My back hasn't been the same since. Never again!

February 28, 2001, 09:10 AM
I got a quote from one dealer for almost $200 to deliver and place in the house. Haven't made up my mind yet. I am going to the gun show next week to look at the two different dealers in my area.

Joe Klug
February 28, 2001, 11:15 PM

Depending on where you want the safe placed (up or down stairs is a real pain) and how heavy it is, $200 or so may be quite reasonable. Mine weighs 1,000 pounds empty and it was well worth the delivery and installation fee. Be sure to pick out a spot you like for the safe in your house. If you get a big/heavy model you -won't- be moving it to redecorate.:)


February 28, 2001, 11:21 PM
Joe Klug,

Does the door on the Cannon come off. I have read that most doors come off in the unlocked position reducing the weight significantly.

Joe Klug
March 1, 2001, 11:10 PM

No, the door on the Cannon safe will not come off. It is attached by a very large, full length "piano" style hinge designed to hold about 5 times the weight of the door. This was another selling point for me of the Cannon line.

The models that have doors that come off will tend to have the door "sag" over time requiring adjustment to the hinges to correct fit.


4V50 Gary
March 3, 2001, 12:56 PM
Concur with paying for delivery and installation as it is not worth a lifetime of medical bills, pain & suffering from moving it yourself.

Smart thieves won't attack the door as it's the strongest part of the safe. I've read at ar15.com where someone's Fort Knox (gauge steel sides) was broken into and the guns removed. The thieves used the owner's electric saw, carbide blades and cut a 6" opening from which they could remove the guns. Lesson: Safes buy you time from burglars. Don't shorten your time by making your power tools and sledgehammers readily available to them. Lock them up in a cabinet (besides, power tools, like electronic goods, are readily marketable).