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Author Topic: New Safe Review  (Read 5715 times)

ksuguy

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New Safe Review
« on: January 01, 2013, 03:40:26 am »
As promised here,  I'm ready to give my initial review of my brand new big gun safe.

I've been needing a new safe for awhile and I spent a great deal of time researching my various options.   I wanted to get something large with a decent level of security, but that wasn't outrageously expensive.  However, this was something I was going to have for a long time, so I didn't want to go too cheap and sacrifice quality.   I budgeted a few thousand dollars since that seemed to offer me several options without getting into insanely expensive and heavy vaults that I wouldn't be able to get into my house anyway.  After consulting with some local movers,  I determined that the biggest I would be able to get into my basement was about 72x40x29 and 1500lbs,  give or take a little.     

After a lot of research, I had it narrowed down to a few options:

1.  Large Fort Knox Defender with various upgrades
2.  Large  Sturdy Safe 4827-6
3.  Amsec BF7240
4.  Generic BF rated safe from Zykan Safe and Vault

The Fort Knox probably offered the best cosmetic and fancy features (lights, shelving, fancy paint, etc.).   However,  I would have needed a few upgrades to get to the level of security I wanted.   It was also the most expensive,  and would have ended up costing me at least $4-4.5k,  plus shipping and installation from the nearest dealer in Tulsa.

Sturdy offers a nice product and they were a serious contender.   They offer the thickest steel, and very large safe sizes.   However, they were also pretty expensive once I added on all the options I wanted, plus installation costs.  Their safes were also the most utilitarian and basic.  I wasn't too concerned about looks, but they were definitely the worst in that department.

Amsec is probably pretty close to the Fort Knox in terms of cosmetics and nice features,  but once again they can be pretty expensive and there are high shipping and installation costs.  Probably looking at $4-4.5k for one of those.  The steel is also a little on the thin side, even though it does come with the concrete lining.   

I eventually settled on the safe from Zykan.  It seemed to offer the best bang for my buck and was the best all around value.  Frank was very helpful and answered all my questions.  He's a frequent contributor on various forums and knows his stuff about safes.  I found that he doesn't go out of his way to push the stuff he sells,  and he will often recommend competing products based on a person's individual needs.  He was very upfront with all the positive and negatives of my various options and he freely admitted that in some areas, the other options were better.    I went with the biggest model he had available, the 7240.  It's 72" high, 42" wide, and 29" deep (including the handle), and the weight is somewhere around 1600 lbs.   Total cost to get it delivered to my garage was $2937.    I did get a small discount by paying with a check instead of a credit card.  If you need a good safe,  I would definitely recommend him.  He also sells many other kinds of safes, and he's one of the few guys in the country that can restore an antique vault door for you.  http://zykansafe.com   

Once it arrived,  I hired the only local company I could find that handles safe moving.   My house is a split level,  so they needed to drop it 3 feet from the garage floor into the basement and then roll it into my office.   The steps were not capable of supporting that kind of weight, so the plan was to use a ramp and roll it down.  They made an attempt on Friday to move it,  but had to call it off when they realized it was just going to be too dangerous.   It was just too steep with no margin for error.   They came back today with a longer ramp and a different dolly.    They laid the safe on the dolly sideways and carefully lowered it down the ramp with all 6 guys holding the weight in check.  It was a tough job, but they got it done.   After that, they rolled it on the dolly across the living room area,  and used some pvc pipes and brute force sliding to get it into the final position in the corner of my office.  The job was a little expensive at $500,  but I couldn't have done it myself.  It was hard enough for 6 professional movers with special equipment.  This thing is not coming out of here easily.  It may get sold with the house if I ever move again. 

Initial impressions are very good.   The safe is solidly built.  It has two 1/8" steel plates with concrete between them.   This should provide better fire and burglary protection than the drywall found in most safes. Door fits well without large gaps, and swings very smoothly.  It also comes with fully supported bolt work and glass relockers,  usually you have to step up to TL-15 rated burglary safes to get that.  It also comes with 4 bolt down holes.   I'm pretty much at the upper limit for security with what I can get into my house.   If I wanted more,  I would have to build a dedicated vault room out of reinforced concrete and buy a vault door,  or pour a new foundation and build an addition on to my house that is capable of handling a giant high end safe from Graffunder or a TL-30 from Amsec.   

Here are some good videos from another place that has the same model for sale:  http://www.sellerslock.com/safe.html

I went with the basic textured black finish instead of the glossy.  I'm glad I did,  there were inevitable scuffs and scratches trying to get this thing moved, and this paint job will be easier to touch up than the glossy.   I also went with the standard mechanical lock instead of the electronic.  Electronic would be more convenient and easier to use,  but I just feel better with the extra reliability of the mechanical.   I don't have to worry about getting locked out of my safe if the batteries die.

The interior is pretty plain,  just standard shelving with cheap beige carpeting.   It did come drilled with a hole for electrical access and a Dri-Rod dehumidifier.    I went to Home Depot and got an outlet, junction box, and replacement power cord and made my own power setup.  Now I have two outlets available for whatever I want in there.  I also grabbed some white LED Christmas lights and strung those along the back wall for interior lighting.  They work pretty good, but I think I might want to change those to some rope lights at some point.  I'm also thinking of buying a larger dehumidifier.  It came with the small model, but this safe is big enough that it probably could use the larger one.   I don't care for the shield logo on the front.   I'd rather have it plain so I can put my own decals on there.  I think I might be able to get it off pretty easily, it's only held on with some rivets.

Anyway on to the pictures.     
Kansas

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    HideWithPride

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    Re: New Safe Review
    « Reply #1 on: January 01, 2013, 12:05:52 pm »
    Thanks for the review!
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    coelacanth

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    Re: New Safe Review
    « Reply #2 on: January 01, 2013, 01:47:56 pm »
    Yup.  Nice write-up.  Thanks.   :thumbup1
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    coyotesfan97

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    Re: New Safe Review
    « Reply #3 on: January 02, 2013, 03:29:56 pm »
    I can't even imagine trying to move a 1600 pound safe downstairs.  It sounds like $500 well spent to me!  It was hard enough moving my 650 pound Ft Knox from the garage to its resting spot inside. 

    Good review!  Zykan sounds like a good option :thumbup1
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    Coronach

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    Re: New Safe Review
    « Reply #4 on: January 02, 2013, 04:24:11 pm »
    As bad as moving a 1600 lb safe downstairs would be, moving it up would be worse.

    Mike

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    ksuguy

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    Re: New Safe Review
    « Reply #5 on: January 02, 2013, 05:29:04 pm »
    I also like that it has 3 hinges.  The smaller sizes have 2,  but the extra heavy door is much better supported with 3. 

    These same safes are also sold by a few other vendors, usually locksmiths and safe guys.  Some of the other ones I know of are Seller's Lock in Minnesota and Mike Griffin in South Carolina.  Zykan is the only one that does a lot of internet business around the country though.

    It was a bit more expensive than going to Gander Mountain and picking up a Liberty Fatboy,  but I think the extra money was worth it.

    Kansas

    ksuguy

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    Re: New Safe Review
    « Reply #6 on: January 07, 2013, 11:39:44 pm »
    Frank recommended I leave the safe open for a few days so it could air out and get rid of any mustiness.   I also threw in a closet deodorizer I got at Wal Mart.  By tonight, I figured it had aired out enough and moved my stuff into it.   

    Big thumbs up on the advertised size!   It was sold as a 40 gun safe,  and it will easily meet that goal.   Unlike some safe companies that ridiculously overstate their capacity, this one seemed to be right on the money.    On each side of the safe there are racks that hold 5 rows of 3 long guns vertically, and a U shaped 10 gun rack in the middle.   I was able to get 13 long guns into the rack on the left side of the safe.   They were in there tight,  but over half of these were rifles with scopes and/or pistol grips.   I was only able to use one slot of the row closest to the door.   I had an AR in there that was just taking too much room, and I couldn't close the door if I tried to use the other two slots.    In the center U-shaped rack,  I was easily able to use all 10 slots.   Once again some of the rifles had scopes and pistol grips.    Haven't even touched the rack on the right side yet.

    On the upper shelf,  I was able to comfortably lay an AK, M1 Carbine, shorty AR, and my Crusader Sterling.   Might be able to get more up there if I add some horizontal racks.  There is also room for me to stick in another layer of shelving for another 3 or 4  carbine length rifles or SMGs.     

    I did find that I am going to have to move up the middle level of shelving a few inches.   My Turkish Mauser, Mosin 91/30, and beat up old Wingmaster are too long and won't fit under there.   Easy to do, it's just a matter of moving the clips up a few slots on the mounting brackets.   I put a few handguns on that shelf for now,  but those will be moved to the door once I get a door organizer installed.   I'll probably buy the one Liberty makes for their largest model, it should fit ok.   I wish I could get the Amsec PDO ,  but those are only available on new Amsec safes.  You can't buy it as an aftermarket product. 

    Looks like I won't have any trouble getting everything in there, and I'll still have some room for future expansion.   
    « Last Edit: January 08, 2013, 12:54:14 am by ksuguy »
    Kansas

    huey148

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    New Safe Review
    « Reply #7 on: January 08, 2013, 07:41:23 am »
    Pics?
    Huey's Gunsight  http://www.hueysgunsight.blogspot.com

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    ksuguy

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    Re: New Safe Review
    « Reply #8 on: January 08, 2013, 08:57:42 am »
    Sure, I'll take one after I get home tonight.   
    Kansas

    ksuguy

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    Re: New Safe Review
    « Reply #9 on: January 08, 2013, 07:36:54 pm »
    Here are some pictures.   First one is a far away shot of everything.   I made my own power setup with an outlet, junction box, and spare power tool cord from Home Depot.  Then I ran some cheap LED Christmas lights up behind the shelves.   They work, but I am really thinking of changing those to rope lights so it isn't so cluttered.   The Dri-rod is also plugged in down there.    You'll notice I moved up the middle shelf to fit the Mauser, Mosin, and Wingmaster on the right.   I did find that I couldn't put the Mauser and Wingmaster in the very back.  They were still too long to turn and go up through the rack.  In order to get them in the rack,  I had to move them 1 slot further towards the front.   

    Next two are the middle and left racks.   Everything fits pretty easily in the middle, even though 3 of the rifles have scopes, one of which is an AR with a scope.   Additionally there is also another AR with a Harris bipod, a VEPR with pistol grip,  and an FAL in there.  The Yugo SKS is also in the middle because the folding bayonet was too wide to fit through the slots on the side racks.  The left side is pretty tight, but that does include 7 rifles with pistol grips,  including one with a scope too.  I'll probably look at shuffling them around a bit more to optimize the space, maybe get some rifle rods too just to keep them more upright.   

    Top shelf is the short carbine length long guns, and the middle has a few handguns which will go on the door later.  I can easily fit at least one more shelf in there too if I would like.           

    All in all, I'm very pleased.   Normally the advertised capacities are way low,  and if you add scopes and PG's it really cuts down on the number.   This one is laid out well enough that I was able to easily get everything in there,  even with over half my stuff being large and awkward.     Now I just need to get crazy and buy a Barrett to use up my extra space!
    Kansas

    Coronach

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    Re: New Safe Review
    « Reply #10 on: January 09, 2013, 08:26:27 am »
    Christmas lights? Nice. That works really well.

    Mike

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