Sunday, October 26, 2014
Moving gun safes - a few lessons learned
Some years ago I wrote an article about the safe storage of firearms, where I discussed so-called 'gun safes' (which are really classified as 'Residential Security Containers' or RSC's rather than true 'safes', the latter being by definition much stronger, tougher and heavier than the former). I haven't changed anything I recommended in that article, but recently I've moved house, and had to move several gun safes around. I've learned (and re-learned) a few lessons by doing so.
First is the usefulness of a so-called appliance dolly or hand truck. I bought this model some years ago. It's designed specifically to move heavy, unwieldy items, with an 800-pound weight capacity, and comes with added features like a ratcheting strap and stair-climbing treads at the base. Those features meant it wasn't cheap, but it's proved to be worth every penny I paid for it. It's served me well through three relocations (so far) and a great deal of heavy lifting for friends as well, and is still going strong with no signs of weakness or imminent failure.
Over the past couple of months it's been used to move three safes and several other heavy objects, earning its keep and then some. The big advantage of a dolly like this is that once one gets the weight of the item balanced above the wheels, it's relatively easy for one or two people to keep it in equilibrium while another pulls or pushes the dolly. When you're talking about several hundred pounds of gun safe, that makes all the difference.
However, when something's big and heavy even a dolly doesn't mean it's simple to move around. We took my old gun safe from my former residence to the house of a friend today. It weighs about 450 pounds unloaded, according to factory specifications. It took four of us - three adults and a teenager - to maneuver it out of one house, hoist it into the load bed of a pickup truck, unload it at the other end, and then get it up several steps and through the front door to its new home. A few tight corners and narrow doorways made life interesting. All of us were well and truly knackered by the time we finished.
On the other hand, due to my partial disability (incurred after I'd bought my previous gun safe), and given the fact that I expect to move at least once more (and possibly several times) during the next few years, I decided I was going to replace my large (Liberty) gun safe (capacity 24 long guns) with two smaller (Cannon) units, each rated to hold about half that number. The wisdom of this decision showed in the ease with which the new units were moved into our new home. Being so much smaller and lighter than the full-size safe I had before, one person could handle wheeling them around on the appliance dolly, and only two were needed to hoist them into and out of a pickup truck's load bed. That made life much easier.
There's also a security benefit to having two smaller safes. I've put them in different rooms, concealing them inside clothing closets. That way, if a thief finds one, he may spend all his time trying to open it rather than look further for a second unit (at least, I hope so). I've secured both safes to the floor, so it won't be easy for an 'opportunist burglar' to get into them. (Remember, if you own tools that might be useful to a burglar trying to break into your safe, secure those tools as well! You don't want to make his job any easier, after all.)