Choosing a basic, low cost, gun safe. Recommendations.

hawkman71

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I'm looking for a first gun safe. We have a small home with not much room. I have maybe five or six long guns at the moment and a half dozen handguns.

Primarily, I need a gun safe for these reasons, possibly in order of importance to me:

1. Just keeping guns inaccessible to my kids or their friends or anyone else in the house. (1b. I'd like to store some personal papers and things like that in there as well.)

2. Keeping the guns organized and in one spot

3. Theft protection.

4. Fire protection.

To keep guns out of reach, a simple metal cabinet would suffice. Yeah, a crowbar would take 10 seconds and no fire security...

A $500-750 gun safe isn't much to write home about. The 12-gun Pro Vault on sale for $549 at Cabela's has some poor reviews...

The Cabela's safe pictures also is 750 and a 34-gun safe... Like appealing.

I know. Buy one twice as big as needed. Get electronic and manual locks...

What's the minimum you'd have to spend too get where I should be?
 

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Dunndm

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Personally, I’d go with the 34 gun. Even if you don’t plan to get more guns. The extra space is always nice. I thought to myself “I’ll buy one for what I have” it’s now outgrown and I had to buy a bigger safe and now I have 2 safes which is kinda annoying. Go with bigger, and safe yourself the headache of needing something more later.
Just my 2 cents.


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bsnedeker

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They thing to remember about these gun safes is they build the doors pretty stout, but the sides and backs are just thin sheet metal. If someone breaks into your house and wants your guns they are most likely going to get them. I'd buy a good cabinet and bolt it into a corner....that's what I did.
 

CorbLand

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I got one of these as I still live in an apartment and we arent settled down. I need something that was easy to move but would provide decent protection from theft and fire. It has fit the bill so far. I also bought a cheap cabinet to keep less important stuff in. Mostly ammo, powder, spare scopes, etc.

 

LuvDog

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Nov 30, 2021
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I have a 24 gun safe that was quickly outgrown, but I'm looking for another 24-30 gun safe instead of one massive one. I'd rather have 2 that I can move around if needed versus one gigantic one.

To be honest, it's not really about theft protection. I have added insurance for that. Its more about compliance in my state and also an added level of fire protection.
 

Haakon14

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Based on your requirements and looking for minimum cost, I think you're in the right ballpark: $750-$1250 depending on size, features, etc. I've liked Liberty safes, whether branded as such or Cabela's by Liberty branded. I won't go down the nightmare that is Bass Pro acquisition of Cabela's.....

A few things to remember/consider regarding your requirements.
1. Most respectable safes will keep guns secure, better than cabinets, for reasonable security with regards to kids, friends, etc. Don't give them the key/combination.

2. Keeping the guns organized and in one spot - this is all about getting the biggest size you can fit/afford. It doesn't take long to outgrow a safe.

3. Theft protection: See #1 above - this is also true for general theft protection. If someone is coming for the safe and are prepared, have time, tools, etc., they will get in. For minimizing the risk of theft of contents during a random house burglary, most safes will do the job as long as they are heavy enough that they can't be walked off with.

4. Fire protection: If there is a small fire in your house that is put out quickly, they will help protect your contents. If your house burns down, don't expect the safe or its contents to survive regardless of fire rating. This is from real life scenarios observed by a hunting partner who is an insurance agent and has seen too many of these tragedies play out.
 

Macht

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I got one of these as I still live in an apartment and we arent settled down. I need something that was easy to move but would provide decent protection from theft and fire. It has fit the bill so far. I also bought a cheap cabinet to keep less important stuff in. Mostly ammo, powder, spare scopes, etc.

Did you bolt that to the floor? I'm also in an apartment (upstairs), so I'm a bit hesitant to try and bolt down. This does look like about the size I'm after though.
 

CorbLand

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No. I just put a case of water on top of it so it doesnt tip over when I open it. I am going to have a hard enough time explaining the 1/4 inch lag bolt I put in the wall to hang up my swan, I didnt feel like explaining anymore holes.
 

Macht

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No. I just put a case of water on top of it so it doesnt tip over when I open it. I am going to have a hard enough time explaining the 1/4 inch lag bolt I put in the wall to hang up my swan, I didnt feel like explaining anymore holes.
That's a good idea. My head is kinda in the same place. I'd rather avoid putting holes in anything if it can be avoided.
 

Marble

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Take the amount of long guns you have to hunt with and then think about how many each kid will have. Then at the least, double the number. A 34 gun safe CAN hold that many, but they get damaged banging into each other. The final number has to be figured out by you.

And look at different models and brands. The layouts are the biggest thing for me.

As far as fire rating, I have seen 100s of home burnt to the ground. Not one prevented the guns from being toasted.

It is super rare to have a safe broken into, more common to have the entire safe taken.

When that happens, there is usually a wall that goes bye bye too.

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DavePwns

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Buy an old used one on Facebook Marketplace with a mechanical dial, you could easily find a quality product within your price range with some looking
 

Rich M

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Check out Sams and Costco - they carry safes, 20+ guns. Maybe try Tractor Supply or other places. I'd stay clear of gun shops and Cabelas unless there is a really good sale going on.

https://www.samsclub.com/p/36-gun-fire-proof-waterproof-safe-gloss-metallic-exterior/prod25603407
I like this one.

Research the safe and see if there is a backup key. We had a key pad go once and were able to buy a backup key from the manufacturer. Both my safes have backup keys (keep em in the opposite safe). After that adventure (unable to get to our computers in safe to pay bills and such) - I would not buy a safe that didn't have a backup key.

Also - check the fire ratings. You can keep important papers in the safe but you need to have 60-90 minutes at X degrees. Some safes will advertise for floods too - the fire proof material will also swell with moisture and seal the safe to water.

Yes - bolt that sucker down with the best anchors you can get. Make it as difficult to remove as possible - bolts, 500# of ammo, make em earn it. Used to live on the 2nd floor of a condo building and had the safe bolted to the concrete 2nd floor - was a 3 or 4 inch thick concrete floor. Do a little drilling to see what you have - go slow and easy so you don't put a hole in the bottom guy's ceiling.

Don't advertise that you have a safe - keep it in a closet or corner that isn't readily visible. Cover it (refrigerator box works nice) if you have workers/office party in the house, etc. Keep the neighbors from seeing it when you get it delivered - moving blankets or whatever. Don't put the box out at the curb with the advertisements visible (better yet - cut it into pieces and use it for your next trip to the range). Amazing how nothing will happen if no-one knows its there.

Anyway, it is a good purchase and you'll be glad you did it.
 

Marble

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For the fire ratings, don't trust them. See my post above. In several hundred home fires the only papers that survived were in a floor safe that was in concrete.

A Fire rated box in a fire rated safe will help, but if your entire home burns, the entire contents will be destroyed.

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Ocnandmtns

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Nov 25, 2020
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Bozeman, MT
Last weeks Hunt Backcountry podcast episode 323 had a CEO of a gun safe company as the guest and makes some interesting points. I bought my first safe 2 weeks ago and wish I’d heard the podcast before
 

Silveroddo

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BluMtn

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Consider that one gun w/ scope counts as two guns when figuring capacity. And yes, I don't know how it happens but when you buy a gun safe and put all your guns in there the next time you open it up there are 5 more guns in there that were not there the time before. They breed like rabbits. So get the largest size you can afford. Also as far as fire ratings are concerned, those are nothing but a marketing piece. As mentioned above I have been in several homes that burnt up and when you open the safes the contents are toast. They are rusted beyond repair, barrels bent from heat, and the stocks are either melted or chard. Paperwork will be chard and water soaked.
 

zacattack

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Aug 23, 2018
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Michigan
I'm looking for a first gun safe. We have a small home with not much room. I have maybe five or six long guns at the moment and a half dozen handguns.

Primarily, I need a gun safe for these reasons, possibly in order of importance to me:

1. Just keeping guns inaccessible to my kids or their friends or anyone else in the house. (1b. I'd like to store some personal papers and things like that in there as well.)

2. Keeping the guns organized and in one spot

3. Theft protection.

4. Fire protection.

To keep guns out of reach, a simple metal cabinet would suffice. Yeah, a crowbar would take 10 seconds and no fire security...

A $500-750 gun safe isn't much to write home about. The 12-gun Pro Vault on sale for $549 at Cabela's has some poor reviews...

The Cabela's safe pictures also is 750 and a 34-gun safe... Like appealing.

I know. Buy one twice as big as needed. Get electronic and manual locks...

What's the minimum you'd have to spend too get where I should be?
I got a job box, you know the ones they keep tools in on construction sites. I think it measures 24x24x48, I currently have 5 rifles and 2 shotguns in it. If I built some shelves it could probably hold twice that many. I think the first holes in it are about 16” off the ground, so I figure my basement would really have to flood before anything got wet. It will probably last in a house fire about as well as any of the other safes less than $1000. I bought it on Facebook for $200, bought two padlocks for it and it’s good to go. It’s also easier to find a place for as it lays flat, a blanket or table cloth and it looks like a coffee table or something. Once my boys are older I’m sure we will outgrow it but for now it works great.

Just something else to think about.
 
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