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  1. #1
    Senior Member d.r.e. is on a distinguished road

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    Suggestions for building a gun vault?

    I keep running out of safes. Stores sell them, so it's not a catastrophy.


    On the other hand, there is a 9x6 room inside the garage on a concrete slab that I don't use. (The previous owner stored wine there, but the only bottles I have are empty )

    I've seen people refer to making vaults in their house. ---- Do people have suggestions for the right way to make a reasonably priced vault? I don't need "bank vault" quality, but it would be good if it would resist a couple of meth heads with sledge hammers for at least a couple of hours.

    The obvious thing I was thinking of was two layers of cinderblock with a 1/8" steel sheet between them and rebar through through the holes, sealed with concrete. And use a vault door.

    But I don't know if this is over kill, too weak, too expensive, or not very effective.

    Hence my question for the experts

  2. #2
    Senior Member ohiobuckeye is on a distinguished road

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    Keeping thieves out is only part of your problem. Rust can be just as devastating as a burglar, so climate control is an issue that must be addressed. Stable temp and humidity is a must.

  3. #3
    *** ColtForum MVP *** dfariswheel is a name known to all dfariswheel is a name known to all dfariswheel is a name known to all dfariswheel is a name known to all dfariswheel is a name known to all dfariswheel is a name known to all

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    As above, you really need a climate control system.
    A large gun safe will rust guns in hours if the system fails.
    A small country gun shop I knew was built in a concrete, earth-sheltered bunker with a large walk in safe room.

    One weekend the dehumidifier failed and apparently pumped humid air in.
    Every gun was covered with tiny droplets of water and were rusting.
    Do the climate system right and have some type of backup system as a "fail-safe".

    As for the safe itself.
    Cinder blocks are easy to break, but rebar, the steel plate, and some steel mesh will probably slow them down enough.
    Modern vaults usually include some heavy steel mesh in the walls, since this is very slow and difficult to get through when embedded in concrete.
    Sometimes, this is even better than solid but thin plate because it embeds in the concrete and it takes time to break the concrete AND cut small sections of the mesh that are exposed.
    Don't forget the ceiling, that's a favorite entry for thieves.
    Figure out some method of joining the walls to the floor, this too is a favorite method in.

    Cost depends on the materials, if you do the labor, and how secure you go with.
    One caution is to close the area off during construction so NO ONE neighbors or passer-bys can see what you're doing, or HOW it's being done. This includes "walk-ins" who are curious.
    Once in service, NEVER show ANYONE what's there.
    Even good friends or relatives have big mouths, often without realizing it.

    Don't YOU tell anyone that you have a safe.
    A relative of my wife had a gigantic safe full of guns and valuables in his house. He had a big mouth and bragged about it.
    One weekend while they were away, thieves came prepared with steel pipes for rollers on the floor, a stolen Ruger lift and a big truck.
    No guns were ever recovered and no trace of the safe was ever found. I suspect it went across the Mexican border within hours of being stolen.

    The idea is not to totally prevent a break-in. If they want in, and are prepared to deal with the construction or door, they'll get in.
    The idea is to slow them to the point where they can't finish before they get discovered.
    Also remember, neighbors unthinkingly watch burglars coming in and out of houses and just assume they're workmen or friends.

    Consider an alarm system.
    Often this can be something simple and even home-made.
    One friend had an old truck horn system and a pressure pad under the carpet in the only hallway leading to his gun room.
    The horn was located at head level in the hall behind an air return vent.
    When the pad was stepped on, the horn went off directly in your ear, with another on the roof, hidden in a fake exhaust vent.

    Make sure no one can see what's going on when you visit the safe. One man I knew had his where every time he opened it, people on the street could see. He was never hit, but not a good idea.

    One smart man I knew had a giant gun safe in a front window of his house.
    When he opened the safe, he closed the drapes.
    At all other times he had the drapes wide open and floodlights trained on the safe.
    Neighbors and police were told if the lights were off or the drapes were closed a burglary was in progress.

    Sounds strange, but the most secure safes are those the crooks can't work on in private. You can't break open a safe if everyone in the neighborhood can see you doing it.
    This is why a lot of jewelery stores and banks have the safe in the front window.

    So, an outer layer of cinder blocks with twisted rebar in the holes with carefully poured concrete to close the holes and bond the blocks together.
    To twist the rebar, just loosely wrap by hand, you don't have to twist tightly, just wrap to help prevent pulling individual bars out of the way.

    A second layer of blocks with the same twisted rebar and concrete as the inside wall.

    Between the layers a heavy steel construction mesh and concrete to bond it to the inner and outer layer blocks in a solid mass.
    If you want the steel plate, put it on the inside of the outer layer of blocks, on on the inner layer blocks.
    Separate it from the steel mesh with a thick layer of concrete, and if possible, cut irregularly placed occasional one inch holes in the plate to allow the concrete to lock it in place.
    Blowing crude holes with a cutting torch is fast, and the rough holes and molten metal slag makes the bond even better.

    Thieves get in through the walls or ceiling, or the door.
    Buy a good door, and figure out ways of shrouding the door edges so they can't get a good swing at the hinges or corners.
    One favorite entry is to "peel" the corners of the door or the safe itself, so use heavy steel plate embedded in the concrete as shrouds to keep them from the door's weak points.
    Last edited by dfariswheel; 03-10-2009 at 11:20 AM.

  4. #4
    Senior Member d.r.e. is on a distinguished road

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    Nice details! The heavy steel mesh, the walls joined to floor, and the alarm are great points. This seems like a really good trick:


    Quote Originally Posted by dfariswheel View Post
    If you want the steel plate, put it on the inside of the outer layer of blocks, on on the inner layer blocks.
    Separate it from the steel mesh with a thick layer of concrete, and if possible, cut irregularly placed occasional one inch holes in the plate to allow the concrete to lock it in place.
    Blowing crude holes with a cutting torch is fast, and the rough holes and molten metal slag makes the bond even better.
    Seems easy enough to get things wrong that I'll try looking into someone local. For a reasonable job, what would you expect the rough cost to be? About $5K or quite a bit more? (Not counting the cost of the vault door.)

    Part of the reason for a vault was the the climate control seemed easier to do than a bunch of different gun safes.

    Thanks again for the thorough walkthrough. It'll get used if I can get the funds to build.

  5. #5
    Senior Member d.r.e. is on a distinguished road

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    Quote Originally Posted by dfariswheel View Post
    One weekend while they were away, thieves came prepared with steel pipes for rollers on the floor, a stolen Ruger lift and a big truck.
    No guns were ever recovered and no trace of the safe was ever found. I suspect it went across the Mexican border within hours of being stolen.
    Forgot to ask: did he not have it bolted to the ground? Or did they use the lift to rip it off?


    In your opinion is a good, high-quality, large safe bolted to a concrete slab a better approach than a vault in terms of cost/security?

  6. #6
    *** ColtForum MVP *** dfariswheel is a name known to all dfariswheel is a name known to all dfariswheel is a name known to all dfariswheel is a name known to all dfariswheel is a name known to all dfariswheel is a name known to all

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    Of course the fool didn't have it bolted down.
    He figured it was so heavy, no one could steal it.
    His big mouth insured they would come prepared.

    Price-wise, the difference between a big safe and a conversion room is going to depend on the safe and how much the room would cost.
    Unless you do the work yourself, (concrete work on that level you usually can't) a good, big safe is probably the better option.

    A safe is a safe, and a big one bolted to the floor and if possible the walls isn't going anywhere.
    The best option there is to put it into a concrete corner and bolt through the floor and both walls.
    Unless they get it open, it ain't movin' if you bolt it right.

  7. #7
    Senior Member needsmostuff is on a distinguished road

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    Talking

    Get a BIG truck and come see me.




  8. #8
    Senior Member GUNKWAZY is on a distinguished road

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    D.R.E., this is all you need.
    Just imagine how many fine guns can fit inside.
    As a matter of fact, send me your full address and I'll send you one.
    I'll also need the dates & times that you'll be home so it can be signed for.
    Heck, it even weighs in at an astounding 150 pounds. You could even bolt it to your drywall for added security.
    Nobody's gonna steal that sucker.

    http://www.amazon.com/Stack-Double-S...ef=pd_sbs_sg_2

    Jeff (GUNKWAZY)

  9. #9
    Senior Member d.r.e. is on a distinguished road

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    Ah, ok. Well, I like bolting things to concrete, so that's no problem. The main issue is how to hide a big safe, but that's something I can handle.


    Are there any large safes you particularly like in terms of cost/capacity/security? It'd be nice to have get some ballpark estimates to compare to.

    Though, the thought of being able to walk into a secure vault and actually look at all the guns easily has a real charm.

    Thanks again for the experience / insight.


    Quote Originally Posted by dfariswheel View Post
    Of course the fool didn't have it bolted down.
    He figured it was so heavy, no one could steal it.
    His big mouth insured they would come prepared.

    Price-wise, the difference between a big safe and a conversion room is going to depend on the safe and how much the room would cost.
    Unless you do the work yourself, (concrete work on that level you usually can't) a good, big safe is probably the better option.

    A safe is a safe, and a big one bolted to the floor and if possible the walls isn't going anywhere.
    The best option there is to put it into a concrete corner and bolt through the floor and both walls.
    Unless they get it open, it ain't movin' if you bolt it right.

  10. #10
    Senior Member GUNKWAZY is on a distinguished road

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    D.R.E.,
    I know you said you wanted to walk in, but what about sit down on a fat couch ?
    This place melts my cheese it's soooo damn cool.
    No, it's not Charlton Hestons collection.
    It makes my mouth water it's so, so, so, I want it.
    I feel like Homer Simpson with drool just pouring out of my mouth when I look at these.






    Jeff (GUNKWAZY)
    Last edited by GUNKWAZY; 03-10-2009 at 07:07 PM.


 

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