Which safe to buy

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by kbb468, Jan 30, 2006.

  1. kbb468

    kbb468 Well-Known Member

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    I have been thinking about purchasing a safe for six years now (age of oldest boy). So now I am going to Make the move and buy one instead of just relying on a keyed lock on my reloading room door. I thought I would ask everyone here which safe I should considered between Stackon 13-20 conversion fire rated safe or the American Eagle fire rated safe? I can get either of these for the same price at my local sporting goods store.

    Thanks,
     

  2. 4ked Horn

    4ked Horn Writers Guild

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    Well it just so happens that I am a locksmith and I would be glad to answer any questions you have but I am unfamiliar with the specific features of each of these safes. (I'll try to look them up in the meantime). Could you post some of the detail comparasons you have, ie: one has internal hinges and the other dosent, or one has a Sargent & Greenleaf dial combo and the other combo is a no name brand.

    Let me know what your concerns about each one are and I will gladly to offer some insight.
     

  3. kbb468

    kbb468 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks 4ked Horn for the respones.
    This is all the information that I could find below.

    The American eagle: 510 lbs
    •Truelock internal hinges
    •Equipped with a heat-activated cold smoke door seal that expand at 200° F and continues to expand up to 20 times it's size virtually sealing the safe closed
    •Body 12 ga
    •group 1 manipulation , resistant electronic lock set on 3 layers of 60 Rockwell hard-plate
    •Sure-fire re-lockers, keep the safe locked even after the lock is removed


    The Stackon:
    •3-number combination lock with a drill resistant, hardened steel plate behind the lock
    •utilizes 5 large, live-action steel locking bolts and 3 steel dead bolts to provide 8 locking points
    •Solid steel, pry-resistant door and hinges are not internal.
    •up to 1,400-degrees F for 1/2 hour, interior temperature remains below 350-degrees F

    One of my concerns is what happens in the case of the battery going dead on the American Eagle safe. is it possible to open once battery is replace. I do like the speed it can be opened with the electronic key pad.

    I like the fact that the stackon is mechanical and there is no electronics to go bad.

    So looking at what I like and dislike along with the specs of each I am very confused.

    Thanks,
     
  4. LB

    LB Well-Known Member

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    There are many details and features in safes. They all cost money. I'm not familiar with either safe you list, but I would be very surprised if a battery replacement would mess up your settings? I have a Canon with electronic keypad and enclosed hinges. Most safes I have looked at had at least ten gauge walls and a 30 minute fire rating, but I think you can upgrade it yourself with some wallboard, if you think you need more time? I don't find the enclosed hinge to be a problem, as far as opening the door wide enough to access anything inside. If you put the safe in a corner, and bolt it to the floor, a crook will have only one side to hack through, which is a lot harder than "can opening" the rear. From what I understand, this is the most common method of entry, since all the mechanisms in the doors are difficult to defeat. If I lived in a remote area and was away for extended periods, I'd consider boxing in the exposed side to slow them down. I don't think a safe is ever foolproof? ......I take that back, my brother-in-law has a reinforced concrete bunker with a bank vault door. Now, that's secure.

    Good hunting. LB
     
  5. kbb468

    kbb468 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks LB,
    I call canon safes and they said the safes keypad will retain the code up to 10 years with out a battery installed. Also that the keypad is of group 1 which is what the bank vaults use today. So I think I am sold on the American Eagle by Canon safes. Thanks for the recommendation of mounting and securing it. The only problem now is; if someone breaks into my garage first. In there is every tool needed to get into the dawn thing. Now I need a Knack box for that stuff.

    Thanks,
     
  6. 4ked Horn

    4ked Horn Writers Guild

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    They both sound adequate. I will give you a few opinions and info that may help sort things out.

    First is the hinges. They are insignificant to the security of the safe IF the hinge side of the door has either bolts like you mentioned or a FULL LENGTH flange or lip that will prevent the removal of the door should the external hinges become removed. If I were to buy a safe that compared equally in every aspect to another except for the internal or external hinges I would get the external ones in hopes that the theives were idiots and wasted all their time busting the hinges. I would also locate the safe so the door would not interfere with a nearby wall for at least 90 degrees of opening.

    The heat activated seal is called an "entombescent seal". Comong from the word Tomb it will expand as you said and then become VERY heat resistant. Its purpose is to trap the moisture in a safe without alowing excessive pressures to build up. Why do we want to hold moisture? Well keep reading.

    The fire rating on a safe will indicate the ammount of time that a (sample test) safe was cooked before it was removed from the oven. Normally a UL Listed 30 minute safe will be put in the oven and brought up to temp on a very controled heat curve. It is then cooked for the ammount of time it is trying to be rated for. Half hour, one hour or two hours normally. It is then removed from the oven but the test is not over yet. As the safe sits there the internal temp is still being monitered. If the inside space of the safe goes over 350 it will fail the rating. It is monitered untill the inside begins a steady downward progression of temp indicating that it will not rise again. How can the inside temp continue to rise? Keep reading. This is the cool part and the part many people don't know.

    The sheetrock type liner used in most quality safes is there, NOT as an insulator (except for items leaning against the wall of the safe, but as a way to molecularly hold water. When the safe heats up the water is released into the safe. It creates an environment that is 100% humidity. In this environment the temperature CAN NOT rise above 212 degrees (if I remember my instructor correctly). The safe, if it were welded shut would explode. The seal and the little hole in te back that is sold as an electrical accessory hole are there to allow the pressure to remain low but still hold in the moisture. In a fire the handles will melt off and the safe will sit there and whistle and wheese but it wont explode. If there is not enough moisture to last through the cooking AND cooling phase the hot steel shell can cause the inside of the safe to rise above 350 degrees. This results in a fire rating failure. Since only one safe of that particular size and model has to be tested the safe company might spend the previous day blowing humid air into the safe for that extra bit of moisture for the test. Sneaky huh?

    That is why so many anti rust devices are sold for gun safes. If you live in a humid area I would invest in one of them. Also if you put papers in your gun safe I would reccomend placing them in a microwave rated zip lock type bag.

    I would only consider a safe with a UL or other reputable fire rating (one that gives a cook temp like 1400 deg for example. Also if the safe is in a basement or lower floor the temps will be lower in a fire than if it was on a top floor. This may be a 1000 degree or more difference. Also if located on an upper floor count on the safe falling through the floor. DONT PUT IT OVER A BEDROOM or a valuable item like a classic car.

    A 10 guage wall is thicker than a 12 guage wall but not much.

    Hard plate in front of the internal lock is good. Alot of hard plate is not that much better. If the crooks are going through the hard plate to manipulate the lock they will have the right tools to defeat it no matter how thick it is. It is there to keep regular drills out.

    Any normal electronic lock will allow a battery change from the OUTSIDE OF THE SAFE.

    At least one relocker is a must. Most good combo locks have one to seize up the lock if the face is drilled and the guts are punched into the body of the safe. Many locks have 2.

    I preffer a dial lock over the electronic for one reason. I want to feel the dial so I have a chance to feel the lock acting up BEFORE IT QUITS WORKING. Electronic locks just stop opening. Mechanical ones usually give you a sign. Some odd sound or a click or they become stiff to turn. An open safe is MUCH MUCH cheaper to repair than a locked and defective safe. A locksmith can often set your combo to one number making the safe very quick to open. It does not reduce your security as long as you never tell anyone you did this. If you tell then it is very easy to try all the numbers and get in.

    Lastly, most gun safes are informally rated as a "TL5". This is a tool resistance rating. What it means (as far as a UL rating goes) is this: Using tools commonly found in a residential garage, it will take longer than 5 minutes to create a 6"x6" opening in THE DOOR. The UL tecnitions can try any tool on their "common tool" list for 5 minutes. They even get to see the inside of the door to plan their attack and the time only is counted when the tool is in contact with the door. And they can try as many different tools as they want. So they get 5 minutes with a hole saw and if that dosen't work they get 5 minutes with a hammer and chissle then a drill and a sawsall and an axe and the list goes on. So this is a fairly encompasing rating. Most commercial safes have a TL30 rating. But remember, THIS RATING IS ONLY FOR THE DOOR. The sides of the safe can be made from cardboard and it will still get this rating. If they also rate the walls it will have a rating like TL30x6 or TL60x6 meaning all 6 sides. The comercial rating tool list is also a bit more comprehensive. There are also torch (TH) and explosives (TX) ratings. There has never been a safe that has gotten a TL,TH,TX 60 x6 UL Labs rating but I understand they have a criteria outlined for testing it if someone wants to give it a try.

    Hope this helps you make a decision.
     
  7. 11B2CV

    11B2CV Member

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    Excellent information.
     
  8. RDM416

    RDM416 Well-Known Member

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    Kbb468,

    Two things....

    First, set a cutting torch next to the safe.

    Second, put a note on the door; "Caution, 2lbs of black powder are packed around the lock and hinges of this safe. Cut open at your own risk, owner not responsible for dismemberment or death"

    Only you will know if it is really there!

    /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/cool.gif /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/tongue.gif /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif
     
  9. 4ked Horn

    4ked Horn Writers Guild

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    Funny thing you mentioned it. I have asticker on my safe that simply reads "Caution: Black powder inside."

    Maybe I do. Maybe I don't. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smirk.gif
     
  10. LB

    LB Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, I agree. Very interesting information. I'm just wondering about a torch entry, or explosives, to get into a "gun" safe? Seems like it would mess up the valuables?

    Another thing I didn't think of is ruined papers, that's a good idea to place them in a microwave pouch. I have some bonds in there, too. I never thought they might incinerate, or be otherwise ruined? Actually, my wife uses the safe more than I do, on a daily basis. She's always in there for jewelry, but she only gets one shelf.

    Good hunting. LB
     
  11. 4ked Horn

    4ked Horn Writers Guild

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    Yep if you had some collectable guns that were worth a ton a TL30x6 would probably be plenty even if everyone in town knew that you collected them. This should be the minimum safe for a jewelery store. They make small ones that have this rating and they should always be bolted to the floor.

    Another thing to consider is a decoy safe for the jewelery. This might be the gunsafe you already have with your guns and a few jewels in it and then have another well hidden safe with the majority of the most valuable jewels in it. That way if you or your spouse is ever threatened with harm if you don't open the safe you can satisfy the crook and not loose thousands of dollars worth of untracable stones and gold.

    Or do what I do and just don't buy any jewelery. I love being married to a woman that would rather have a new shotgun than a new ring. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif
     
  12. Guest

    Guest Guest

    My recomendation is to have a look at Fort Knox safes from Orem Ut.I have sold several brands while working in a local sporting goods store and forun that they have the best construction and are very resistant to forced entry and have very good fire protection with a good warrenty.
     
  13. kbb468

    kbb468 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for all of the helpful information. I never knew that selecting a safe would be a valuable leaning lesson. I like what 4ked horn said about a combination lock giving a warning rather than just not working with any signs of problems and also having the lock set to 1 no. for faster access. I am under the constraints of a budget of $600.00 and so I have to make my selection very careful. The selection should be able to accommodate 10-12 firearms and have storage selves also. Thanks again.
     
  14. lovdasnow

    lovdasnow Well-Known Member

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    this is a great post! I've been looking for a safe for a while, and this info is great.
    I've been looking at the fort knox also, they seem pretty sweet, but everytime i have 1K to spend how I want I always seem to end up with another gun /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smirk.gif good, but bad.

    4ked horn what do you think about fort knox safes? what would you reccomend for a good safe around $800-1200?
    thanks,