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Thread: Gun Safes

  1. #1
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    Well, it is coming to the point that I need a Gun Safe, so like I do when I buy anything, I did some research. Oh how I wish I hadn't, cause its gonna cost me .

    Based on my research, there are basically two types of "safes" ---the typical Residential Security Container (RSC) of which all Liberty, Winchester, Sentry, and the like are classified as and the real deal SAFE. Basically to be UL listed as a Safe, it must meet their TL-15 rating:

    Classification TL-15:

    Signifies a combination-locked safe designed to offer a limited degree of protection against attack by common mechanical and electrical hand tools and any combination of these means.

    Construction Requirements

    • U.L. listed Group II, 1 or 1R combination lock.
    • 750 lbs. minimum or comes with instructions for anchoring in a larger safe, concrete blocks or on the premises where used.
    • Body walls of material equivalent to at least 1" open hearth steel with a minimum tensile strength of 50,000 P.S.I.
    • Walls fastened in a manner equivalent to continuous 1/4" penetration weld of open hearth steel with minimum tensile
      strength of 50,000 P.S.I.
    • One hole 1/4" or less, to accommodate electrical conductors arranged to have no direct view of the door or locking mechanism.

    Performance Requirements

    Successfully resist entry* for a net working time of 15 minutes when attacked with common hand tools, picking tools, mechan-ical or portable electric tools, grinding points, carbide drills and pressure applying devices or mechanisms.
    U.L. Label —Burglary Classification.


    Then there is the TL-30, which is similar to the TL-15 rating, but requires 30min for a buglar to get in.

    None of the RSCs (ie Liberty, Winchester, Browning, Sentry, etc) meet this rating. Check out this video on a "premium" RSC being broken into in less than 2 minutes

    http://www.graffundersafes.com/gallery.html (click on the security on sale link)



    So now I was all set on getting a Liberty and now there is no way in hell I will get one. Most of the RSCs have a 12gage sheetmetal wall (less than 1/8" thick) that an axe can go thru in no time, though some have a marginally better 10gage sheetmetal. The minimum rated Safe requires 1/4" thick steel plate with a 1/2" thick steel plate door.I think I'll be saving up for the Graffunder BF-28, which carries a TL-30 rating, a 1700F for 60min fire rating, and weighs 1500lbs. Now here's the kicker--$4700, roughly $3k more than a similarly sized RSC, but exponentially more secure.

    Is this too much overkill??

    From THR: This is a Liberty safe that shows what less than 5 minutes with an axe can do. The theif was gone before the police responding to the alarm got there.




  2. #2
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    Reverend73 wrote:
    Well, it is coming to the point that I need a Gun Safe,...I think I'll be saving up for the Graffunder BF-28, which carries a TL-30 rating, a 1700F for 60min fire rating, and weighs 1500lbs. Now here's the kicker--$4700, roughly $3k more than a similarly sized RSC, but exponentially more secure.
    Check some of the many threads with posts by CB900F over on THR. He'sda man on this subject.

    You can spend a lot more than $5K.

    I think it it's a complex decision. Defining the problem is the key step. Makes it much easier to solve and produces a lot less dissonance with the choice of solution.



    Reverend73 wrote:
    Is this too much overkill??


    Why, that's kind of ironic, R73.

  3. #3
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    Make sure when you're considering the cost of a safe, consider the worth of the materials you'll be protecting. Also, consider the cost of insuring those materials, and what you would receive back from insurance if they were stolen.

    For most people, a safe in their home acts more as a deterrent than it does as actual theft prevention. The average robber is going to break in w/o any knowledge of what he's going to steal, or how he's gonna get it. He just has the general idea that there's something of worth in the house (or at least he's hoping). Any large safe is going to cause most criminals to move on and take whatever else they can find and flee. Even if they've been nosey and KNOW whats in your safe (i.e. a couple thousand dollars worth of firearms), thats probably not enough for them to risk getting caught while trying to break into it.

    Now if I kept ~$300,000 of cash and priceless jewelry in my house, I'd be getting a TL-30 (or higher, if there is any) rated safe. I personally would be comfortable using an RSC for the any of the expensive items I own. Yeah, my guns are expensive and important to me, and I DON'T want them getting into the wrong hands, but insurance will replace them if they're stolen.

    The RSC safes you talk about are built to those standards because they suit their purpose (residential security) and it makes them more affordable. In a normal residential situation, I don't think the items secured will be valuable enough, nor will the risk of an experienced prepared burglar be high enough, to require a $5000 safe.

    Thats just my opinion :-).

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    HankT wrote:
    Reverend73 wrote:
    Well, it is coming to the point that I need a Gun Safe,...I think I'll be saving up for the Graffunder BF-28, which carries a TL-30 rating, a 1700F for 60min fire rating, and weighs 1500lbs. Now here's the kicker--$4700, roughly $3k more than a similarly sized RSC, but exponentially more secure.
    Check some of the many threads with posts by CB900F over on THR. He'sda man on this subject.

    You can spend a lot more than $5K.

    I think it it's a complex decision. Defining the problem is the key step. Makes it much easier to solve and produces a lot less dissonance with the choice of solution.



    Reverend73 wrote:
    Is this too much overkill??


    Why, that's kind of ironic, R73.
    I've read many a post by the famed CB900F, and yes, as far as I can tell, he is the man when it comes to safes.

    A lot of my "problem" is I have many long guns that are family heirlooms and/or I've just grown very attached to them and no amount of money will replace them. I am not the type that buys a gun, car, whatever and sells it and gets a new one every few years. When I find what I like, I get it, and keep it and then get attached to it. So its more than just money. So spending $5k on a real safe with real security is just fine by me. An RSC is just not going to cut it, based on what I've read and seen.

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    "Is this too much overkill??" -- Reverend73


    No, it's not enough, so it's certainly not overkill by any means. And a thief would only take a few minutes longer to get into it.

    Besides, 5-grand is not nearly enough to get a "real" safe...they start at $10K and go up from there, so forget your paltry $5K budget and double it...don't be such a cheapskate!

    BTW, I bet the axe was left out and availablecourtesy of the safe's owner...do not allow thieves to use your own tools on your own safe! Lock up the tools.

    And no, that's not being unneighborly. :P

    -- John D.

    (Liberty Presidential 25; Sentry G4211)






    (formerly of Colorado Springs, CO)

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    Oh, one more thing about tearing apart a safe with an axe...My dad's gun safe has always been in his closet, bolted to the floor and wall, with only about 5-6 inches of clearance on ONE side. There's no way someone could get a good swing at it...

    My g/f saidyou should get a cheap safe and put it in the closet. Then, you should keep the guns hidden in a random place in the wall, or maybe in the attic. Then just put a note in the safe that says "haha! BUSTED!". Sometimes keeping things out of sight and out of mind is a good security measure, too. If you have a giant safe, anyone and everyone will know that there's something valuable in there.

    I do understand exactly what you're saying about family heirlooms and such, and that's a very good point. Good luck deciding!!

    *edited for missing words *


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    Thats funny, my grandad kept his expensive hunting rifles wrapped in a sheet, under a blanket in the attic. The other, less expensive guns were kept in his gun cabinet.



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    Besides, 5-grand is not nearly enough to get a "real" safe...they start at $10K and go up from there, so forget your paltry $5K budget and double it...don't be such a cheapskate!
    This is very true if you are looking at new safes. However, there is also a market in used/preowned safes that are lots cheaper than retail price.

    You may want to give your local safe & lock dealer a call and see what they have in their used inventory. You just may be surprised what you find.

    A_Deuce

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    Heck, I may just end up "armoring" my gun/arts and crafts room (just kidding about the arts and crafts part) with a good steel door, reinforce the walls, multiple deadbolts. I don't know anymore. Everything I read just gives me more doubts and more questions. A real safe is very heavy, even the B-class Graffundle is 1500lbs, probably too heavy for my crawspace constructed house, guess it could go in the garage.



    The more I think about it, the more I like the idea of "armoring" the gun room. Get some 1/2" plywood, screw it on the walls, reinforce the doorframe, get a heavy steel door, bar the window, etc. I wouldnt have the fire protection though. Thoughts?

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    I think constructing a "safe room" sounds like a good idea. This would also allow you to do a little bit at a time and not have to spend all the money at once. Make a room that will not only protect your belongings, but that would also be a safe place to go in case of a home invasion, hurricane, tornado, etc. It could eventually be made fire-resistant.

    This is EXACTLY what I would do if I owned my own house.

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    Get a good insurance package...

    5k on a safe would be okay I suppose, but I would really need to find something worth it to store inside, it really does depend on what exactly you are protecting...

    A safe room sounds like borderline paranoia. You may want to consider moving altogether...

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    A_Deuce,

    Good point on the used safes...they never really wear out so a used one is just as good as a new one and some of the older ones are even BETTER!

    And sometimes you can get them free for the taking...usually, it's the old 5000 pound safe the owner (homeowner or small business person) doesn't want to hassle with moving it or payBIGBUCKS for a safe moving company to do it!

    -- John D.


    P.S. I second the "safe room" idea...in the event of serious trouble it can also serve as a family refuge from whence 911 can be called, etc..



    (formerly of Colorado Springs, CO)

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    Reverend73 wrote:
    I don't know anymore. Everything I read just gives me more doubts and more questions. A real safe is very heavy, even the B-class Graffundle is 1500lbs, probably too heavy for my crawspace constructed house, guess it could go in the garage.



    The more I think about it, the more I like the idea of "armoring" the gun room. Get some 1/2" plywood, screw it on the walls, reinforce the doorframe, get a heavy steel door, bar the window, etc. I wouldnt have the fire protection though. Thoughts?

    Defining the problem is the key step. Makes it much easier to solve and produces a lot less dissonance with the ultimate choice of solution. You're spending all your time on solutions, not the problem.

    A good specification of the problem you wish to solve will allow you to evaluate how various and sundry potential solutions will satisfy your needs. Also, a problem specification will allow you to eliminate unworthy solutions.

    This is a high-involvement purchase decision. It's hard to do. It's harder to do the way you are doing it.


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    HankT wrote:
    Reverend73 wrote:
    I don't know anymore. Everything I read just gives me more doubts and more questions. A real safe is very heavy, even the B-class Graffundle is 1500lbs, probably too heavy for my crawspace constructed house, guess it could go in the garage.



    The more I think about it, the more I like the idea of "armoring" the gun room. Get some 1/2" plywood, screw it on the walls, reinforce the doorframe, get a heavy steel door, bar the window, etc. I wouldnt have the fire protection though. Thoughts?

    Defining the problem is the key step. Makes it much easier to solve and produces a lot less dissonance with the ultimate choice of solution. You're spending all your time on solutions, not the problem.

    A good specification of the problem you wish to solve will allow you to evaluate how various and sundry potential solutions will satisfy your needs. Also, a problem specification will allow you to eliminate unworthy solutions.

    This is a high-involvement purchase decision. It's hard to do. It's harder to do the way you are doing it.
    Hank, I defined the problem -- I have lots of firearms that are family heirlooms and/or I've just grown attached to and no amount of money will replace them. Therefore I need a reasonably secure place to store them. IMO your typical gun safe is not as secure as one would think.

    The Solution to the problem is the problem now. I cant realistically put a real safe in my house as it would fall through the crawl space in short order andI do not want to put it in the garage. That leaves me with basically two options-- the standard RSC (ie Liberty, Sentry, Winchester, etc) or harden my gun room. Based on my research I can harden a room to exceed the security of an RSC for about the same cost but will have substantially more space for all my stuff as well as a resonably safe space in the event of a hurricane or similar natural disaster. The only thing you dont get is the fire protection. I can live with that.

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    nothing is perfect there is always a compromise

    If you think like a Statist, act like one, or back some, you've given up on freedom and have gone over to the dark side.
    The easiest ex. but probably the most difficult to grasp for gun owners is that fool permission slip so many of you have, especially if you show it off with pride. You should recognize it as an embarrassment, an infringement, a travesty and an affront to a free person.


    ~Alan Korwin

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    Agent19 wrote:
    when i built my house in LV i had the safes placed inside a wall and had a book shelf that would slide out to expose it can't steal what you can't find.
    That sounds very nice...

    One additional thought I had on the selection process for the OP's problem is that it points out a rather unnoticed detriment in the behavior of OCing. The information that you own gun(s) is pretty widely spread and so is the probability that the OCer's abode has, a) guns, and b) a RSC/safe/hardened room inside it.

    Just the way it is.

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    Here is an example of what I'm thinking of doing. Probably not this hardcore, but definately the door and a 3/4" sheet of plywood on the walls.



    http://www.rd.com/familyhandyman/content/19418/

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    HankT wrote:
    Agent19 wrote:
    when i built my house in LV i had the safes placed inside a wall and had a book shelf that would slide out to expose it can't steal what you can't find.
    That sounds very nice...

    One additional thought I had on the selection process for the OP's problem is that it points out a rather unnoticed detriment in the behavior of OCing. The information that you own gun(s) is pretty widely spread and so is the probability that the OCer's abode has, a) guns, and b) a RSC/safe/hardened room inside it.

    Just the way it is.
    Hank, while you are correct, I do not think it is as "widely spread" as you say. I don't even think my neighbors know that I OC. Just posting on the internet that you have guns is probably as detrimental. That is a good point however, one that I have thought of. I probably will not be posting pics of my hardened room

  19. #19
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    Reverend73 wrote:
    HankT wrote:
    One additional thought I had on the selection process for the OP's problem is that it points out a rather unnoticed detriment in the behavior of OCing. The information that you own gun(s) is pretty widely spread and so is the probability that the OCer's abode has, a) guns, and b) a RSC/safe/hardened room inside it.

    Just the way it is.
    Hank, while you are correct, I do not think it is as "widely spread" as you say. I don't even think my neighbors know that I OC. Just posting on the internet that you have guns is probably as detrimental. That is a good point however, one that I have thought of. I probably will not be posting pics of my hardened room
    Widely is meant relative to any other alternative...

    Posting on the Internet in a gun forumunder an assigned username is not so bad. Hard to track down since the IPs and IP server geo-locationare not easily determinable. (That's why it was such a bad thing for BobCav to have posted dhoney'sIP geo-coordinates a couple of months ago...)

    As a general comment, the less any people know about your firearms, including whether you have a safe (RSC, real safe, etc.) the more security you have. I agree with what DreQo said earlier, the typical burglar is not going into a house prepared to bust open a safe or even an RSC.

    But if the burglar knows ahead of time that there is a gun safe there....

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    I probably will not be posting pics of my hardened room
    Well don't tell us all your secrets, but it would be nice to hear how it goes, what the general costs are, and major problems you run into, etc. The hardened room definately sounds like your best choice, though. And hey, once it's finished, you should put some police line tape on the door, and a spiderman poster....that way it'll just look like a kid's bedroom from the outside! :celebrate

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    Reverend73 wrote:
    I wouldnt have the fire protection though. Thoughts?
    The next time you see a firefighter, ask him when was the last time a house burned to the ground in your area.

    :P

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    The last time a house completely burned down around here was last week. I sent a guy out to open two safes that had fallen down into the debris in the basement (hot embers), The safes turned out to be empty but appeared the 1 hr UL fire rating was adequate.

    The UL RSC rating was created primarily at the request of the gun safe manufactures so they would have a UL burglary rating to help sales. The RSC rating is basically resistant against an attack with a common hammer and screwdriver. This is the rock bottom of burglary ratings.

    TRTL60x6, Tool and torch resistant on all sides and in a gun safe size will cost you $15,000 -25,000. The protection afforded by a UL rating diminishes over time through improved tools and techniques. A TL30 safe manufactured in 1974 will not provide near as much protection as a TL30 safe manufactured in 2006! But for insurance purposes once rated, always rated.



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    I should add: The UL fire ratings and the Gun safe manufactures ratings are not directly comparable. a UL 1-hr class 350 safe is much better protection for documents that a 1-1/2 hr 1200 degree manufactures rating. Although; paper may be safe at 350 degrees many other things are not. So take mfg. fire ratings with a grain of salt.

    Also, A non rated burg safe with 1/4"steel thickness and a decent lock mechanism is by far, better that a UL RSC rated safe at 1/2 that thickness. Do not confuse door thickness specifications with metal thickness on the door. Some mfg. say 1-1/2" thick steel door. That may actually be 1/8" steel slab; 12ga sheet metal and the rest fire fill material.



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    One of my first jobs was at National Security Safe Co. in American fork, Utah. Our top of the line safes were made with 1/4 inch plate steel, and fire proofing material to boot. Then they sold out to Liberty Safe and guess what we started manufacturing? Garbage. The end result "looked" the same, but the fire rating and security left more to be desired. My brother used to work at Fort Knox Safe Co. in Orem, Utah. He says they still build a good safe.
    "An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life." Robert A. Heinlein

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    Ft. Knoxis pricey, but their "safes"are just RSCs, too.

    Still, IMO there is nothing at all wrong with buying a good RSC...or, even a bargain priced Sentry or Stack-On.

    -- John D.



    (formerly of Colorado Springs, CO)

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