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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've decided to get a gun safe (I can make it a business tax deduction so that helps).

I've looked at the Fortress Braun (40x72x28) at $1750.00, delivered and set-up for $150.00 more (local pricing in Tennessee).

But since I've waited this long, I can wait a little longer.

I'm very interested in what others have or would recommend around this size.

Frankly, there's so much BS out there on gun safes, it's like listening to a lot lizard trying to sell used cars.

Any advice from the real world?

Thanks to all.

Stephen

By the way, I am impressed with the courtesy and demeanor of this group. I'm glad to have discovered you all. It like talking with friends.
 

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Very good question! One I have myself, and I am looking forward to other's answers, especially if they have had the unfortunate experience of being burgled or fire-stricken -- did your safes protect your stuff?

I have been researching getting a safe for both my firearms and important documents. Things that I learned that I did not get from reading the usual gunsafe literature...

- Most safes are designed to be either fire-resistant or burglary resistant. A few are designed to be both.
- If a safe has been listed as "UL Tested" without a rating -- it probably means it was tested by UL, but didn't pass the test! A safe that did pass the UL tests will be listed with the appropriate rating, e.g. Class 350 - 1 Hour rating or TL-15.


Fire safes:
- Paper starts charring somewhere above 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Computer media melts at temps above 125 degrees F. (You do back up your home computer, right?)
- Haven't found at what temp guns start to suffer damage.
- Average housefire is supposed to be around 1250 degrees F, and last about 15 minutes, on average, depending on who you consult. Business fires are hotter. So to protect papers and computer media you need a safe that can keep the interior temp below 125 degrees F for more than 15 minutes in a 1250 or degree or hotter fire. The most common UL ratings seem to be for 350/30 minutes and 350/60 minutes.
- Fire safes have thin metal (or even plastic) inner and outer walls with lots of fire insulation between.
- Some safes also are rated for 30 foot drop. This is a test that simulates a safe falling through the 3rd floor of a burning building and landing in the rubble at ground level. Upside down. Without breaking open. And maintaining temp below 350 or 125, as appropriate.

Burglar-resistant safes:
- UL "B-rated" safes are basically locking metal boxes that have not been tested, just meet some minimum specifications.
- TL-15 safes are rated to resist opening with common handtools and burglary techniques for a net working time of 15 minutes.
- TL-30 is same as TL-15, except a few more tools are used for 30 minutes.
- TL-15 X 6 means all 6 sides of the safe were tested.

=> The things that seem to make a safe more burglar-resistant -- i.e. thick steel -- work against the fire-resistant aspect, and vice versa. For a safe to do both, seems like it will end up being big (for its capacity) and $$$.

If you go to Google or Alltheweb.com and search on "Fire safe ratings" or similar (be sure to include the word "ratings" you will find several sources from which I gleaned the above.


"War Story." When I was a teen, my mom was treasurer of my home county. Her office was in an old (1870s, I think) courthouse, on the opposite end of the building from the Sheriff's office. Her office also had an old safe, I am sure it was pre-WWII vintage and maybe much older. Outside dimensions were about 4 feet by 4 feet by 4 feet, but the interior opening was maybe 1.5 cubic feet. As we found out later, it was basically two steel boxes, one inside the other, with several inches of concrete in between. This sucker was thick and heavy!

One weekend night, some guys broke into her office and, using axes and sledges and chisels, CHOPPED their way into the safe. Note location of Sheriff's office above. No one heard a thing thru the several offices and thick walls between the Sheriff's office and the Treasurer's office. Mom came to work Monday morning and found a mess left behind. The burglars got maybe a couple hundred dollars in cash (because Mom was very diligent about depositing excess cash daily in the bank) and a bunch of checks. Of course the guys got caught because they hung onto the checks.

Look forward to other's experiences.

elb

p.s. And yes, this is a very pleasant forum to visit, compared to many.
 

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Hello & Welcome,

Theres a Safe Thread on Page 2 of this section that might help some.

Take Care,
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks. Good ideas there. I'm going to try local locksmiths and see if I might be able to find something second-hand.

Regards,

Stephen
 

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I would look for a buisness type safe, rather than a "gun safe". I got lucky and found a safe that came from a Wynn-Dixie supermarket. It is the size and shape of an average gun safe, but the walls are of a lot thicker steel. The sides are around an inch and the door is is 1-1/4". It's a TL-30 rated safe. When you look at "gun safes", if the walls approach 1/4", it's pretty thick for a "gun safe".

The trouble is finding these safes, since they don't come in stores. A friend of mine has a nose for them. He finds them at sites where they are remodeling or tearing down old businesses, and asks about safes. Often, they offer them to him if he will take them away. His Dad runs the gas company in that part of the state, so he has access to trucks with hoists/lifts, so that part is easy- for him.

I have seen them advertised in ad papers, under the "Misc Buisness Equipment" section. But it takes a lot of looking.
I think it's worth it, hwoever.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Good idea!

In thinking about my situation, I'm much more concerned with the safe being burglar resistant than fire resistant. I live only a few miles from a station house, with a hydrant in my front yard. Also, the safe would be on the ground floor basement on concrete, not subject to falls.

Though my thinking might be wrong on this, fires would seem to be hotter initially the higher you go. Only if the entire structure collapsed and made a bar-b-que pit would the safe be subject to extreme heat for a long period of time. If I'm wrong about this, please tell me. I didn't work arsons unless they were homicides so I'm not aware of the specifics of how fires really work.

The quest continues!

Regards,

Steve (Since Mr. Camp often uses his first name of Stephen, I'll defer and just use Steve. It was good enough for the three ex-wives.)
 

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Good idea!



Though my thinking might be wrong on this, fires would seem to be hotter initially the higher you go. Only if the entire structure collapsed and made a bar-b-que pit would the safe be subject to extreme heat for a long period of time.
One of the sources I read on fire safes said that, because heat rises, within a single room of a burning house the floor temperature could be 100 degrees while eye-level could be as much as 600 degrees. Therefore most fire safes are designed to be as close to the floor as possible, with many being "in-floor/below floor" designs. I don't know if you can extrapolate this to an entire structure, but would make sense to me that the top would be hotter than the bottom - at least until it collapses.

I'll probably get a fire safe first for documents. I have several other locking boxes for firearms to discourage burglers. Altho somebody here in San Antonio is advertising a 8 foot by 10 foot vault for sale from a closing business. Not sure how I'd carry it home tho... ???

elb
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
After a lot of consideration and private discussions, the Cannon T43 and T54 are at the top of the "new" gun safe list. I heard a lot of disconcerting information about "Pentagon" safes--so much that I've taken them off the list for consideration.

Pricing is very close between the Heritage, Liberty, and Cannon. The Cannon has an excellent warranty which seems to give them an edge.

Since this is a one time and lifetime purchase, I'm trying to get the biggest bang for the buck.

I'll let you know what I decide. Still open to any suggestions (except those from the ex-wives).

Regards,

Steve
 

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I usually don't pay a lot of attention to the advertisements that appear at the top of the page just under the masthead, but when I came back to check this thread, I was amused to see that whatever software creates the ads is obviously paying attention to this thread's subject. As I write this, the four ads showing are "Gun Safes," "liberty gun safes," "Finger Print Safes," and "Fireproof Media Safes." :)

I'll be interested in Steve's report on whatever safe he chooses.

elb
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I ordered the Cannon T54 this morning. It seemed like the best deal.

Now I've got to buy stuff for the insides!

Regards,

Steve
 

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I took a different approach: cheapie safe, good alarm system. Figured that nothing will keep out a pro, so the amateur burglar is the real problem. First he has to find it, then break in, all before the cops arrive. So he'll probably grab the TV, sound system and computer and book it.
 
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