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Author Topic: Good Budget Gun Safe or Cabinet?  (Read 13253 times)

Raptor

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Good Budget Gun Safe or Cabinet?
« on: December 06, 2012, 12:16:39 am »
Finally got around to talking with Papa Raptor tonight about owning a gun. He said yes ( :woohoo ) provided I keep it locked up in a gun safe or gun cabinet when I'm not taking it to the range. Which I was going to to do anyway, so no problem there.

Now, I haven't yet decided whether I'm going to buy a handgun or a long gun. If I buy a handgun, I'm planning on buying a GunVault MultiVault, but Papa Raptor suggested that I buy a safe "that will hold the biggest thing I eventually plan to buy," so a long gun safe or cabinet would probably make more sense long term.

Here's the thing: I know next to nothing about safes and cabinets for long guns. Are there any good quality ones out there that won't break my bank? I'm not worried about theft or fire so much as keeping the gun out of the hands of my little cousins & the little kids from down the street when they come over. Would this Stack-On be all right, or should I look elsewhere?

I'd prefer the safe/cabinet have either a key lock or else a keyed override to the lock (I have lousy luck with electronic locks) and cost no more than $1000. Significantly less than a grand would be preferably. Is there anything out there that fits my bill? Thanks in advance.
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    Outbreak

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    Re: Good Budget Gun Safe or Cabinet?
    « Reply #1 on: December 06, 2012, 12:32:08 am »
    That Stack-on is about as strong as a gym locker. I know because my cousin has one for his guns...and a gym locker right next to it where he stores ammo.

    But your budget gives you room for quality and quantity. $1k will buy a decent safe, or a large safe. What I've noticed in my gun safe shopping is for a given price range, quality and size are inversely proportional. I found safes that were significantly larger than the one I chose, and for less money. I'm sure I could have found smaller ones that were even higher quality at that price point, or higher, as well.

    This looks like the Browning I have.
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    Nightcrawler

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    Re: Good Budget Gun Safe or Cabinet?
    « Reply #2 on: December 06, 2012, 12:39:27 am »
    I had one of those stack-on cabinets.  It's fine for keeping kids and snoopers out.  It won't stop a determined thief, but it'll keep Nosy Nelly from poking around your gun collection.

    But you can get a Stack On cabinet for a couple hundred bucks.  A grand puts you in real safe territory.  A Stack On is for if you're on a real tight budget, or move a lot (from one apartment to another), and don't want the hassle of trying to lug a gun safe all over the country.  If you're going to be in one place for a while, and can budget a thousand dollars, there's no reason you can't pick up a very decent safe from a variety of sources.
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    Outbreak

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    Re: Good Budget Gun Safe or Cabinet?
    « Reply #3 on: December 06, 2012, 12:53:32 am »
    I've moved my safe twice now. 550lb. I used an appliance dolly, a U-haul trailer, and a friend. It's not easy, or fun, and I wouldn't recommend doing it often, but it's totally doable.
    TexasOutbreak

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    StevenTing

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    Good Budget Gun Safe or Cabinet?
    « Reply #4 on: December 06, 2012, 01:12:16 am »
    I thought Liberty safe had a $1000 gun safe.  The Centurion or the Revere.  Online they retail for under 1K but I look for a local dealer as they can give you better pricing.  I got a Liberty Lincoln which retails for 2600 for only 1800 after tax and delivery. 
    Utah

    ksuguy

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    Re: Good Budget Gun Safe or Cabinet?
    « Reply #5 on: December 06, 2012, 01:34:04 am »
    Safes can vary wildly.   The cheap stack ons will probably work for keeping little kids out of it.   However, it is not going to do a damn thing to stop a real criminal.   You can find plenty of videos online where people are able to pop them open in a few seconds.    That being said,  it would probably work fine for your situation.  You aren't going to acquire a huge collection while you still live with your parents.   You can always upgrade to a much nicer safe once you move out and start expanding the collection.   

    I would recommend looking at some of the forum posts around the web, you can usually find some pretty good discussion about the topic from guys that work in the safe industry.  That's what I did when I was researching the subject.   I found the information from Frank Zykan (a1abdj is the screen name he uses on the forums),  was especially helpful.  He runs a safe and vault company near St. Louis and he answered a lot of questions for me through email.    His site is http://zykansafe.com/    I actually just ordered one of his BF rated safes today since I was in need of something larger and his seemed to offer the best value for the money.  I'll post a review when it shows up.   This site here also has some good videos about the same models:  http://www.sellerslock.com/safe.html      I also considered something from Sturdy Safe  and the AMSEC BF7240.

    One thing I realized is that even a relatively good safe that costs a couple thousand dollars is not going to stop someone that is determined, especially if they don't care about damaging the safe or contents in the process.    When plasma cutters and diamond blade saws are available at your local Home Depot for a few hundred bucks,  nothing that you can easily put in a house is going to stop a smart and motivated crook if they have sufficient time.   If you really want something great,  you need to be prepared to spend a lot of money, and build it into your house from the start.  Otherwise,  you are limited on what you can easily get inside.   
    « Last Edit: December 06, 2012, 01:45:18 am by ksuguy »
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    Grant

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    Re: Good Budget Gun Safe or Cabinet?
    « Reply #6 on: December 06, 2012, 08:04:22 am »
    One thing I realized is that even a relatively good safe that costs a couple thousand dollars is not going to stop someone that is determined, especially if they don't care about damaging the safe or contents in the process.    When plasma cutters and diamond blade saws are available at your local Home Depot for a few hundred bucks,  nothing that you can easily put in a house is going to stop a smart and motivated crook if they have sufficient time.   If you really want something great,  you need to be prepared to spend a lot of money, and build it into your house from the start.  Otherwise,  you are limited on what you can easily get inside.   

    Exactly, round here break-in's aren't super common, when they do, even the cheapest safes survive.   The few where the safes don't survive, it is because it was taken, or the safes were the object and pried into just as easily (with the right tools).
    Montana"I’d say the worst part of all this is the feeling of betrayal,           but I’m betting the part where they break in here and beat us to death might be worse.”

    seanp

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    Re: Good Budget Gun Safe or Cabinet?
    « Reply #7 on: December 06, 2012, 08:05:32 am »
    I have some of the Stack-On that I bought from Bass-Pro when they were on sale for $89.

    They are a *little* heavier than a high school locker.  For what I need them for they are fine.  But they are also in a purpose built room with a reinforced door and walls made out of concrete.

    They won't impress Papa Raptor if you are planning on having a stand alone safe.
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    Kaso

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    Re: Good Budget Gun Safe or Cabinet?
    « Reply #8 on: December 06, 2012, 08:58:29 am »
    ...Papa Raptor suggested that I buy a safe "that will hold the biggest thing I eventually plan to buy," so a long gun safe or cabinet would probably make more sense long term.
    I am going to disagree with this.  Buy the smallest safe that will hold anything you plan to buy in the next five years.  In that time, you will probably have moved twice, and will probably have been spending most of your money on living, rather than tons of guns.  IMO, an inexpensive eight-gun safe is plenty.

    In five years, hopefully you will be into your permanent (or semi-permanent) residence, and will be able to focus more on your hobby.  :D  It also means you will only have to move it once.  You will grow out of any safe - trust that - and this way, you are not spending any more than you have to, right now.  (I mean, don't take this wrong, but you still work at a grocery store - they don't pay all that well...)

    Anyway, that's what I would do.



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    huey148

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    Re: Good Budget Gun Safe or Cabinet?
    « Reply #9 on: December 06, 2012, 09:05:29 am »
    I am with Seanp in that my stack ons are behind an exterior security door mounted in my basement with a room that, while not concrete, is more than just 2x4's and sheetrock in its construction.  They do fine for keeping kids out and also meet certain state requirements in those places that require all firearms to be secured in a home.  Notice though that the cheap ones are sold as "security cabinets" and not "safes".  Stack on does make some heavier duty models around $350 that offer the same basic steel that is used in the larger safes composite doors but with just a single sheet of fireboard and fewer deadbolts and such.  That may be a good balance between your need with one gun and budget.


    As for a "proper" safe, I too have been meaning to get one but where I live does not exactly have a high crime rate (relatively nil) so I keep putting it off.  My LGS always have the Centurion 20's on sale for around $600, but if you look at a lot of videos on YouTube those will just keep lazy thief's out...but they do offer fire protection and the 20 gauge steel they use is still better than the pressed sheet metal stack on uses in its cheap lockers.

    One word of caution with your budget, most stores will take on a hefty delivery charge...
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    ksuguy

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    Re: Good Budget Gun Safe or Cabinet?
    « Reply #10 on: December 06, 2012, 09:11:21 am »
    Really big safes are a pain to move too, especially if you have stairs to deal with.   The one I just ordered is over 1500lbs and it needs to get into a basement.   I decided to hire a moving company that has the experience and equipment to do the job for me, and that is going to end up costing me $400-500.     

    The one I got is pretty much the upper limit of what I can get into the house.   If I wanted to spend double or triple the money, I could have stepped up to something really nice from Graffunder or a TL-15 or TL-30 safe from Amsec.   However,  those weigh so much that it wouldn't have been possible to get it into the house.   With something like that,  you have to plan ahead and make sure you have a way to get it in without a lot a stairs and that the floor can support the weight.     At that point,  it's probably going to be more cost effective to construct a dedicated vault room out of reinforced concrete and buy a vault door.    I'm seriously considering going that route if I ever build a house.  However, I've got to finish paying off the current house and my rental property first before I can think about doing that.   
    Kansas

    huey148

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    Re: Good Budget Gun Safe or Cabinet?
    « Reply #11 on: December 06, 2012, 01:17:55 pm »
    hell, even the 400 lb Centurion 20 style safes are making me think about finishing my staircase into the basement with risers between the steps and bolting a few 2x4's in the center of some of them to move one down into the basement....
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    Re: Good Budget Gun Safe or Cabinet?
    « Reply #12 on: December 06, 2012, 01:53:09 pm »
    Fortunately my new house makes the basment move possible.  It is a split level and there is a door from the garage straight into the basement with a drop of only 3 feet.  At my old house, the stairs were tall and narrow with a landing and extremely tight corners.  Made it an absolute b____ to get large items into the basement.      In fact, that was one of the major things I liked with this new one and pushed me to move when the opportunity came up.

    Moving a 1500lb safe scares the crap out of me and that's why I'm hiring professionals. I just have visions of the stairs breaking and the thing crushing me.
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    Coronach

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    Re: Good Budget Gun Safe or Cabinet?
    « Reply #13 on: December 06, 2012, 02:27:02 pm »
    As has been discussed, there are two reasons to have safes; keeping out kids and casual snoopers/thieves, and keeping out determined thieves.

    You're looking for #1. #2 will not be cheap, or easily moveable. As Outbreak said, you can do it, but it won't be easy, and until you get someplace relatively settled, it's just not worth it. Buy a stack on or Sentry cabinet-style locker and be done with it, and make sure your guns are covered by insurance.

    I have a decent-sized collection, and I don't own a proper safe. I am in the process of finishing my basement, which will have a gun room, but until then I have security cabinets, handgun "vaults" and insurance. They are designed to keep my kids out.

    Mike
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    Outbreak

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    Re: Good Budget Gun Safe or Cabinet?
    « Reply #14 on: December 06, 2012, 07:32:58 pm »
    I made my most recent move as easy as possible. From the trailer to the final location was about 15 ft with a vertical rise of 3 inches, no corners, hallways, etc. I just put it in the garage.
    TexasOutbreak

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    Re: Good Budget Gun Safe or Cabinet?
    « Reply #15 on: December 07, 2012, 08:22:25 pm »
    Here are some good videos about safes to watch:







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    Precious Roy

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    Re: Good Budget Gun Safe or Cabinet?
    « Reply #16 on: December 09, 2012, 02:16:23 pm »
    I helped a friend get into a stack-on cabinet which he lost the keys for.  Took under 30 seconds with just a crowbar and a small sledgehammer.  Popped right open.
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    Re: Good Budget Gun Safe or Cabinet?
    « Reply #17 on: December 09, 2012, 10:05:48 pm »
    Yep. It will not keep out a thief with tools. Of course, to get to a safe that will do a good job of delaying/deterring a thief with tools, you're talking significant weight and money.

    Cabinets keep out the curious. Insurance is a must.

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    Raptor

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    Re: Good Budget Gun Safe or Cabinet?
    « Reply #18 on: December 09, 2012, 11:24:57 pm »
    Thanks for the advice, guys.

    I wound up buying a RapidVault handgun safe from Knox Court. Not the best option out there, I know, but I didn't have much in the way of choice. There was only one vendor at the show selling safes, and the only long gun safe they were offering was that Sentry Safe Home Defense model that only holds one long gun and one handgun. So that was out. And there wasn't much in the way of selection for handgun safes, either the RapidVault, another model that looked less secure than my Jr. High Gym locker (and that's saying something), or a simple lock box that had no way of mounting it to a wall or drawer. I was committed to buying one because I'd already bought the SIG, so I went with the RapidVault.
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    jimbob86

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    Re: Good Budget Gun Safe or Cabinet?
    « Reply #19 on: December 10, 2012, 01:30:48 pm »
    All a safe will do is buy time..... some more than others.

    Given enough time and tools, a bank vault is not secure.

    The Stack-on cabinets will keep out the unmotivated amatuers....... pro's won't be deterred by a $1,000 500+lb safe: conversely, if they find out you have one, they'll deduce you have something worth far more than $1,000 to put in it!

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    Re: Good Budget Gun Safe or Cabinet?
    « Reply #20 on: December 10, 2012, 04:57:53 pm »
    Have your parents check with their insurance agent and see whether or not firearms are covered in their policy. A lot of policies will cover guns up to a certain amount. Since you just have the one, you're almost certainly under that dollar value if guns are covered at all. Their insurance plus your little vault covers all of your bases. The gun is kept secure from the curious and if it gets stolen, its value is covered. You're fine.

    Mike
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    Re: Good Budget Gun Safe or Cabinet?
    « Reply #21 on: December 28, 2012, 07:04:03 pm »
    Got my new big safe today.  The freight company was nice enough to leave it in the garage for me.   Unfortunately this thing is so big and heavy, the movers were not able to get it into my basement.  They are going to come back on Monday with some extra equipment.   

    Initial impressions are very good.  This thing is a beast,  much higher quality than the crappy Liberty stuff I saw at Gander Mountain.  I was also pleasantly surprised that it came with a dehumidifier rod.  I wasn't expecting that at all.  I'll have a more detailed review on Monday once I can get it in the house and play with it and take pictures.   
    Kansas

    StevenTing

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    Good Budget Gun Safe or Cabinet?
    « Reply #22 on: December 28, 2012, 11:06:46 pm »
    Hey I like my crappy Liberty safe. 
    Utah

    ksuguy

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    Re: Good Budget Gun Safe or Cabinet?
    « Reply #23 on: December 29, 2012, 12:15:16 am »
    I think the older ones were better.   I remember looking at them a few years ago and they seemed pretty good.  However, the ones I see on the floor over at Gander Mountain now just don't seem as good.   Less steel,  thinner doors,  bigger gaps, etc.    Even so, I think they would be adequate for most peoples needs.   However, I figured if I was going to step up to a really big safe,  I might as well spend a bit more money.     

    The one I got has a few things that could be better, but I knew about them in advance.  They were pretty minor, and I'd much rather have the lower cost than fancy frills. 

    1.  The paint job is pretty basic.  Just flat textured black.  On the other hand,  no fancy glossy paint to get messed up in shipping.
    2.  Interior is also pretty basic.  It's functional, but it doesn't have nice touches like drawers, pull out racks, built in lighting, etc.
    3.  Doesn't come with a door organizer.   However, I can probably add one later.   I'm thinking one of the ones liberty makes for their large models will fit.
    4.  Don't really like the cheesy logo placard on the door.   I'm thinking about popping that off and just putting some decals on it or having one of my friends that does hot rod pinstriping paint something on it for me.   

    Kansas

    StevenTing

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    Good Budget Gun Safe or Cabinet?
    « Reply #24 on: December 29, 2012, 01:00:38 am »
    Hmmm mine has all of the stuff your looking for and doesn't have a placard.  Maybe is just gander mountain.  I got mine factory direct since they are based in Utah. 
    Utah

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