November 14th, 2017

Consider Bore-Stores for Winter Storage of Fine Firearms

Bore-Store Gun Sacks

Wintertime, the season of cold and damp, is right around the corner. There’s already snow on the ground in some parts of the country. If you want your fine firearms to remain pristine and rust-free through the winter months, it’s wise to protect then while they are stored in a safe. You should protect blued surfaces with a rust-blocker. In addition, we recommend storing guns in protective sleeves. Our take on Bore-Store Gun sleeves is simple: They work great, so buy them and use them — for ALL your valuable firearms.

These thick, synthetic-fleece sacks cushion your guns, preventing nicks and scratches. The breathable fabric wicks away moisture, and the fibers are coating with corrosion inhibitors. I personally use Bore-Stores for in-safe storage with all my guns, and I have never had one of my guns rust inside a Bore-Store, even when I lived a stone’s throw from the ocean.

Bore-Stores are offered in a wide range of sizes, so you can find something to fit everything from a Snub-nosed revolver to a 32″-barrelled 50 BMG. Rifle-size Bore Stores can be purchased for $12.00 – $21.00 from Brownells. For long F-Class or tactical rifles, we recommend the 10″x52″ Scoped Shotgun Bag, Brownells item 132-000-003. You can also order direct from the Bore-Store manufacturer, Big Spring Enterprises, www.BoreStores.com. Big Spring will also craft custom sizes on request.

Consider Military-Style, Triple-Layer Bags for Long-Term Storage
While we prefer Bore-Stores for regularly-used guns, if you have heirloom firearms that will be kept in storage for very long periods without seeing any use, you may want to grease them up and place them in the thin, but rugged three-layer storage bags sold by Brownells. The bags are made from a three-layer laminate of polyester, aluminum, and polyethylene film, with a shiny silver exterior. Though the laminate is thin, the Brownells storage bags are puncture-resistant, and have a 0% moisture transmission rating so moisture can’t get inside. These bags are also resistant to petroleum-based chemicals and they won’t break down even in contact with soil or moisture.

3-layer Brownells storage bagHere’s one VITAL bit of advice for using these bags. Be absolutely sure, before you seal up the bags, that your guns are DRY and that all metal surfaces have been coated with an effective anti-corrosive, such as BoeShield T9 or Eezox. Brownells’ storage bags are inexpensive. A three-pak of 12″x 60″ rifle sacks (item 083-055-003WB) costs just $22.99 — under eight bucks a gun. That’s cheap insurance for rifles and shotguns that may cost thousands of dollars.

Get Your Guns Out of Foam-lined Cases — They Are Rust Magnets
Just about the worst thing you can do in the winter (short of leaving your rifle outside in the rain) is to store firearms in tight, foam-padded cases. The foam in these cases actually collects and retains moisture from the air, acting as the perfect breeding ground for rust.

Foam-lined hard caseRemember, those plastic-shelled cases with foam interiors are for transport, not for long-term storage. Don’t repeat the mistake of a wealthy gun collector I know. He stored four valuable Colt Single Action Army (SAA) revolvers in individual foam-padded cases, and locked these away in his gun safe. A year later, every one of his precious SAAs had rusted, some badly.

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November 5th, 2017

Free Plans for Heavy-Duty Reloading Bench

Reloading Bench Plans NRA American Rifleman

A while back, the American Rifleman magazine published an excellent article showing how to construct a rock-solid Reloading Bench. This bench is very well-designed, with many deluxe features, such as an upper drawer with fitted slots for die boxes, and large lower drawers with 100-lb rated slides to store heavy materials or tools. If you have good wood-working skills this would be an excellent project. You can download a detailed set of Bench Blueprints showing all dimensions and listing all needed materials.

CLICK HERE to Download Article with Photos | CLICK HERE for Bench Blueprints

The author, Dave Campbell, offers good advice on building the bench top: “I ripped a sheet of 3/4″ AC plywood into two 24″ wide pieces and cut them to 72″ long. Then I glued them together to form a 72″ long, 1 1/24″ thick top. The trick here is to keep the edges smooth and flat so that the laminate will adhere properly and without voids. I chose a light grey laminate finish for the top because it’s easier to see what I am working on and keep clean. If you have never worked with laminate, remember it’s prudent to glue and rout the edges flush before gluing on the top. The top was attached to the carcass with eight steel L-shaped angle brackets and No. 10×1 1/4″ wood screws.”

Photos Copyright © 2008 The National Rifle Association, used by permission

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April 10th, 2017

Long-Term Powder Storage — What You Need to Know

Western Powders Blog SAAMI Storage

Ever wondered about the stability of the propellants in your reloading room? There are some important things you should know about powder storage, to ensure consistent powder performance and safety. On its website, Western Powders (vendors of Accurate, Norma, and Ramshot powders) published an informative Q & A series entitled Dear Labby: Questions for our Ballistics Lab. Here are some excerpts that pertain to powder storage and shelf life. Worried that your powder may be too old? Western’s experts explain how to check your propellants for warning signs.

Proper Powder Storage

Q: I live in southern Arizona where it is very hot. I am told powders will become unstable if stored in an area not air-conditioned. My wife says no powder or primers in the house. Can powder be stored in a refrigerator? What about using a fireproof safe? I would appreciate your ideas. — M.C.

Lab Answer: SAAMI guidelines are pretty clear on issues of storage. They recommend storing smokeless powder in containers that will not allow pressure to build if the powder is ignited — ruling out gun safes and refrigerators.

CLICK HERE to Read SAAMI Guidelines for Powder Storage (PDF)

In their original containers smokeless powder’s lifespan is quite long, even in your hot, arid climate, typically longer than the average handloader would need to store them. Stored safely in a garage or outbuilding, your powder should last years. If you see the powder developing a reddish tint, or giving off a foul odor, it is time to discard it.

Clumps in Powder Container

Q: I ordered some of your Accurate 1680 powder back about in December. I just now opened it … and it is full of clumps. My knowledge tells me that means moisture. Am I wrong? I just now broke the seal and it has been stored in a ammo can with desiccant packs around it and a dehumidifier running 14-16 hours a day. I can’t imagine this being my fault, if this does indicate moisture. I don’t know if the pink part on the label is suppose to be red or not, but it is definitely pink, so if it was red I am wondering if I was shipped an old container? I hope that this isn’t bad and I am stuck with it…

Lab Answer: All powder contains a certain amount of moisture. When the powder is stored or during shipping, it can go through temperature cycles. During the cycling, the moisture can be pulled to the surface and cause clumping. Clumping can also be caused by static electricity if too dry or the powder has limited graphite content. You can break up the clumps before metering and they shouldn’t be a problem. This will not affect the powder performance, so your product is fine. Accurate 1680 labels are designed in Pink. As a side note, specification for testing powder is at 70° F and 60% humidity.

Shelf Life and Packaging Dates

Q: Does powder ever get to old to use and what identifying marks does your company put on the canister for when it is made, You have helped me out a while ago when I asked about keeping my cowboy shooting under 950 fps and it works great less stress on the hand and the recoil is very minimum. — R.B.

Lab Answer: On one pound bottles, the number is on the corner in a silver box. If the powder was poured today, it would read 012815 followed by a lot number. The whole number would look something like 012815749. Eight pound bottles have a sticker on the bottom with an obvious date code. The lot number appears above the date.

Western Powders Blog SAAMI Storage

SUMMARY: Powder can have a very long shelf life. You need to watch for changes in smell and color. A reddish tinge, almost like rust on the powder, is a bad sign, as is a foul odor, not to be confused with a normal chemical smell. Either of these signs indicate it is time to dispose of your powder by means other than shooting.

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March 28th, 2017

Store More Guns in Your Safe with Rifle Rod Kits

Gun Storage Solutions Rifle Rod Kit

Running out of space in your gun safe? Here’s a clever product that will allow you to store more long guns in your current vault. The plastic Rifle Rods from Gun Storage Solutions slip in long-gun barrels and then grip the shelf above using Velcro pads. This allows you to nestle your rifles and shotguns much closer together than with the conventional racks provided with most gunsafes. The rods are offered in bright orange or basic black. We prefer the safety orange rods (shown above with the Velcro “receiver” shelf liner provided with the Rod Kit).

Gun Storage Solutions Rifle Rod Kit

Rifles with narrow furniture (such as lever guns) can be placed very close together, saving lots of space. For benchrest or varmint rifles with wider fore-ends, you won’t benefit as much. Note that, in the photo above, all of the guns are fairly slim — none have wide fore-ends. Still we think these Rifle Rods could open up 12″ or more horizontal clearance in a medium-sized safe — that could easily allow you to store six (6) more guns in two rows, as shown.

Rifle Rod Kits Starting at $34.95
A kit with 10 Rifle Rods and loop fabric shelf liner costs $34.95 on Amazon.com, while the 20-Rod Kit with liner costs $69.95. That’s a lot cheaper than buying a new safe. A six-pack of additional black Rifle Rods costs $18.50 on Amazon. NOTE: To get the safety orange rods you may have to pay a few dollars more and order directly from Gun Storage Solutions.

WARNING: Always REMOVE Rod from barrel before taking gun to the range. Never place live ammunition in a gun with storage Rod in the barrel!

Product tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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August 18th, 2016

Chest of Drawers Conceals Sliding Gun Storage Compartments

Willa-Hyde Gun Storage furniture chest drawers Hide cabinet

Willa-Hyde Gun Storage furniture chest drawers Hide cabinetWilla-Hyde, producers of firearms concealment storage systems, has introduced a handsome 6-foot tall chest of draws that hides firearms on either side. The side storage compartments, which can each hold multiple long-guns and 3-4 handguns, slide out to reveal their hidden contents. These slide-outs are secured by a steel pin locking system, which can only be unlocked with the provided rare earth magnet key.

True Capacity — the manufacturer Willa-Hyde claims this chest will hold a dozen long guns (six per side). We think 7-8 total long guns is more realistic.

When fully closed, the chest of drawers, crafted from Adler wood, is indistinguishable from any other piece of fine furniture.

Dimensions are 72″ tall x 33″ wide x 19″ deep, and the chest of drawers weighs 240 pounds. Price is $1995.00 plus a $250.00 delivery charge.

Willa-Hyde Gun Storage furniture chest drawers Hide cabinet

Crafted in Texas, the Willa-Hide storage cabinets were inspired by the inventor’s wish to keep his firearms away from inquisitive children: “Concealed gun cabinets have quickly become a ‘must have’ for any gun owner. [This concept] began when our co-founder wanted an easy way to keep his granddaughter from finding his guns, but at the same time still be able to get to them fast and easily when needed.” For more information on the Gun Chest of Drawers and other Willa-Hyde products (such as the Hidden Storage Wall Mirror), visit www.Willa-Hide.com.

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December 1st, 2015

TEN TIPS for Winter Firearms Storage

winter gun storage tips

It’s December already. That means winter has definitely arrived — no doubt about it. If you plan to put away all or some of your firearms for the winter, here are TEN Tips for winterizing your firearms.

Barrel Crown1. Bore Cleaning and Coating — Clean your barrels and neutralize any solvents you may have used. Then run a couple patches with a corrosion-fighter down the bore. We recommend Eezox or CorrosionX. Eezox leaves a glossy dry film shield with excellent rust resistance. CorrosionX is more like a conventional oil, but with special anti-rust additives. Other products may work well too. Just be wary of the “all in one” products that have a strong solvent, and don’t use any fluid that contains ammonia — this can actually promote corrosion. Here’s a test of various anti-corrosion products: Rust Block Comparison Test.

2. Crown Inspections — After cleaning the barrel, inspect the crown with a magnifying glass. If you see any unusual wear, abrasion, or “shark’s teeth” at the very outer edge of the rifling, make a note — it may be wise to recrown the barrel next spring. Before you place your rifle in the safe, we recommend putting a piece of electrical tape or blue masking tape loosely over the muzzle to protect the crown. This is just to protect the delicate crown during handling — you are NOT trying to seal off the bore.

Bore-Store Gun Sacks3. Optics Storage — If your gunsafe is crowded, you may wish to remove the optics and rings from your rifles before winter storage. You can use a white crayon to mark the ring position (on the rail) for next season. We recommend that you store your optics inside a warm part of your house, where temperatures and humidity are relatively stable.

4. Trigger Group — Inspect your trigger assembly. Trigger housings accumulate dirt, grit, and oily gunk over the course of a season. If you have some basic mechanical skills, you may wish to remove the trigger from the hanger and clean it per the manufacturer’s recommendations. Don’t flood it with any kind of thick oil.

5. Bolt and Action — Clean the gunk off your bolt and raceway in your receiver. Put a thin coat of anti-corrosion product on the bolt, and re-grease the lugs and camming surfaces as recommended by the manufacturer. Don’t forget the fasteners and pins on the action and scope rail — these may not be stainless even if you have a stainless steel receiver.

Bore-Store Gun Sacks6. Use Thin Gloves — When oiling firearms during the winterization process, we recommend you wear thin latex or nitrile gloves. This will prevent you from leaving skin oils and acids that can actually promote corrosion. This will also protect YOU from any chemicals in the corrosion-blockers you put on your guns.

7. Applying Surface Protectants — For blued firearms, put Eesox or other rust-fighter on a cloth and wipe the barrel and exposed metal. Eezox works best with a couple light coats. Don’t forget iron sights, bottom metal, trigger guards, bolt handles, and sling swivels — they can rust too if not protected. Use Q-Tips or small swabs to reach small, internal parts.

Bore-Store Gun Sacks8. Use Gun Sacks — We put rifles and pistols in Bore-Store Gun sleeves. These thick, synthetic-fleece sacks cushion your guns, preventing nicks and scratches. The breathable fabric wicks away moisture, and the fibers are coated with corrosion inhibitors to help fight rust. Bore-Stores are offered in a wide range of sizes, so you can find something to fit everything from a Snub-nosed revolver to a 32″-barrelled 50 BMG. Rifle-size Bore Stores can be purchased for $9.00 – $22.00 from Brownells.com or Amazon.com. While we prefer Bore-Stores for regularly-used guns, if you have heirloom firearms that will be kept in storage for very long periods without seeing any use, you may want to grease them up and place them in the thin, but rugged three-layer storage bags sold by Brownells. Here’s one VITAL bit of advice for using these bags. Be absolutely sure, before you seal up the bags, that your guns are DRY and that all metal surfaces have been coated with an effective rust-blocker, such as BoeShield T9 or Eezox.

Foam-lined hard case9. Take Your Guns OUT of Foam-lined Cases — These common foam-lined cases are Rust Magnets. This may be the most important Tip in this article. Just about the worst thing you can do in the winter (short of leaving your rifle outside in the rain) is to store firearms in tight, foam-padded cases. The foam in these cases actually collects and retains moisture from the air, acting as the perfect breeding ground for rust. Remember, those plastic-shelled cases with foam interiors are for transport, not for long-term storage.

10. Make Your Gun Safe Ready for Winter — If you don’t have a Goldenrod (or equivalent), buy one. Sold as a “dehumidifier”, the Goldenrod is a simple electrical element that can maintain temperature in your gun vault. This helps prevent moisture in the air from condensing on your guns. A small incandescent light-bulb can help as well (just make sure it cannot touch any flammable fabrics or objects). In addition, you may want to purchase Dessicant packs to put inside the safe to absorb moisture. If you have an electronic keypad for your safe, we recommend replacing the batteries at least once a year.

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March 2nd, 2015

BedBunker — Sleep on Top of Your Gun Collection

Bedbunker gun safeHere’s a firearms storage vault with an unique, “stealth” design. The “BedBunker” from Heracles Research Corp., provides secure storage for up to 32 rifles and 70 pistols, in side-by-side locked steel compartments. BedBunker modular safes are designed to replace the box spring under twin, queen, or king size mattresses and are compatible with most standard bed frames. The BedBunker is equipped with eight 1″-diameter threaded legs for height and leveling adjustments. NOTE, the weight of the BedBunker is supported by the eight metal legs, NOT by the bed frame.

Bedbunker gun safePros and Cons of BedBunker Design
The patented, under-mattress design of the BedBunker has many benefits. Number 1, the safe is in a “stealth” location that thieves may ignore completely. The best gun safe is one that doesn’t call attention to itself. Second, an installed Bedbunker is very large, very heavy, and very difficult to move. Third, Bedbunkers take up no extra floor space, since they fit within the “footprint” of your bedframe.

What are the negatives? First, BedBunkers are very expensive. The $6070.00 Cal-King-size BedBunker is more than twice as expensive as a typical gunsafe of equal (1500 lb.) weight. The lighter weight “LT” Bedbunker Queen is more affordable at $1998.00, but the $5470.00 price of the regular Queen Double-safe unit will easily buy you two (2) large conventional, floor-standing safes.

Standard Queen-size Bedbunker System with Key Locks
Bedbunker gun safe

We also have concerns about the standard Bedbunker locking system. We don’t think the key locks are as secure as a typical UL Group II (or better) safe lock and we don’t think the vertical lift doors (with small cross-bolts) would withstand a pry-bar attack as well as a premium gun safe equipped with multiple, large-diameter cross-bolts on all door sides.

Bedbunker Vault Systems — More Security, More Money
If you want higher level of security, Bedbunker does offer super-deluxe horizontal safes with combination locks and twelve 1″-diameter cross-bolts. But the Queen Size Bedbunker with combo locks and cross-bolts costs a whole lot more: $9470.00. (NOTE: There is currently a $1000 off promotion on this Queen unit, giving a net cost of $8470.00).

Cal King Bedbunker with Combination Locks and Vault Doors. Click to Zoom.
bedbunker1502

For more information, visit www.bedgunsafe.com, or call Heracles Research Corp. of Spokane, WA, at (509) 624-2555.

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April 1st, 2014

Tech Tip: Keep Cartridges Horizontal During Long-Term Storage

Ever wonder why fine wine is always stored on its side? That’s not just for looks, or easier access when the sommelier (wine steward) visits the wine cellar. Wine bottles are stored horizontally, at a slight angle, to prevent the wine from oxidizing:

By intentionally storing a wine on its side, you will help keep the cork in constant contact with the wine. This will keep the cork moist, which should keep the cork from shrinking and allowing the enemy of wine, oxygen, to seep into the bottle. When oxygen comes into contact with wine the result is not good – the wine starts to oxidize and the aromas, flavors and color all begin to spoil“. — About.com

wine rack ammo storage

Ammunition Should Also Be Stored Horizontally
So what does wine have to do with shooting? Well, it may surprise you, but over time, our cartridges can spoil, just like wine can — though not for the same reason. We don’t have the issue of oxygen seeping past the bullet (the “cork” as it were). However, when ammunition is stored nose-up or nose down, problems can arise. In a nose-up or nose-down configuration, over a long period of time, the powder column will compress, and the powder kernels can actually break down. This can lead to erratic ignition and/or dangerous pressures.

wine rack ammo storage

To avoid the problems associated with powder column compression and kernel break-down during long-term storage, take the time to orient your cartridges like wine bottles, i.e. placed flat on their side. Of course, this really isn’t necessary if you burn through your ammo relatively quickly. But, if you are storing cartridges “for the long haul”, take the time to arrange them horizontally. That may require a little extra effort now, but you’ll reap the rewards down the road.

This tip courtesy Anette Wachter, www.30CalGal.com.
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March 12th, 2014

AR-Friendly Tactical Range Box from MTM-CaseGard

MTM tactical AR 15 range boxWe’ve always liked the capacious, durable range boxes from MTM-Casegard. And now there’s a special “Tactical” version for AR shooters. This detachable-lid Tactical Range Box features a magwell-filling “action block insert” to support your AR securely during cleaning. Magwell posts like this have been used for years by AR gunsmiths. It’s a fast and convenient way to secure an AR.

The Tactical Range Box also comes with two adjustable cradles that will support most conventional bolt-action rifles and lever guns. These plastic cradles are gentle on fancy stocks, and they can be removed and stowed in the bottom of the box during transport.

MTM AR15 Range Box

The Tactical Range Box uses a two-piece design. The removable top storage compartment holds oils, solvents, brushes, patches, and small accessories. Unlatch the top box to reveal a large, deep storage area that will hold tools, earmuffs, ammo boxes and other larger items. MTM Range Boxes are big enough to hold pretty much everything you need at the range, except your front rest and rear sandbag. Midsouth Shooters Supply offers the MTM Tactical Range Box (item 008-TRB40) for just $39.85. Like MTM’s standard Shooting Range Box, the Tactical Range Box is well-built and much less flexy than generic plastic tool-boxes. Check out the features of this range box in the video below.

For more info, contact MTM® Molded Products at (937) 890-7461 or visit MTMCase-gard.com.

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February 26th, 2014

Hot Deal: Plano All-Weather, Heavy-Duty Rifle Case

Looking for a tough, heavy-duty gun case for under $100? Check out this Plano All-Weather Rifle Case for $72.15. It shares many features of a much more expensive Pelican case at a fraction of the price. An O-Ring runs all around the lid, providing dust protection and a watertight seal. The bottom-level foam is pre-configured into little cubes, so you can easily customize the case for your rifle (no “hot-knife” work required). The interior size is 43″ x 13″ x 5″. That’s big enough for most tactical rifles. For long-barreled competition rifles, you will want to detach the barreled action from the stock — and then place them in two different slots (one for the stock, one for the barreled action.) We’ve transported long-barreled F-Open rifles in cases like this — just separate the rifle into two parts first.

Plano Tactical Gun Case foam O-ring Pelican
Click Photo to Zoom

This Plano All-Weather Case offers a lot of value for the money. A similar, 44″-long Pelican model 1720 case retails for about $200.00. The Plano offers most of the same capabilities of the Pelican, for about one-third the price. Both cases are watertight (with O-Ring seal), both cases have pressure release valves, and both cases have strong “gorilla-proof” outer shells. Note: For just $63.15 Plano also offers a smaller All-Weather Tactical Case with a 40″x16″x5.5″ interior. (Plano gun case prices are subject to change and do not include shipping.)

Plano Tactical Gun Case foam O-ring Pelican
Here are comments from actual owners/purchasers of the Plano Tactical case:

This gun case is everything I expected. Latches very securely and is durable enough to handle laying in the bed of my truck bouncing down a dirt road. The foam is nice because it allows for almost exact shaping to your rifle and accessories. I plan on ordering 3 more. You can’t beat this price. — Coach

The absolute best without busting my wallet. NOTHING wrong with this case….nothing. Clamps are solid and do not slip open when bumped. Key locks are ordinary but if someone wants in, they will find a way….we all know this. I padlock where any hole is available. I own three for different rifles and I will order more if needed. You will not go wrong with owning this model/price gun case. Satisfied! — SF67n2

I was looking for a case for my Sig 556 Patrol SWAT and was considering Pelican cases. I found this on Amazon and thought I would take a chance. It is absolutely incredible. It has the pressure relief valve and a quality latching system- not difficult to open, but not weak either. I laid out my gear and pulled the foam and could not be happier. Considering I paid $76 w/free 2-day shipping there is absolutely no way to have made a better choice. The newer version has Yellow or Red trim, but I love the Blackout Tactical look of this case — grab them while you can. – SigFreak

Plano All-Weather Tactical Rifle Case Features

  • 43″X13″X5″ Interior
  • Watertight Seal
  • Draw-Down Latches
  • Key-Locks on Latches
  • Pressure Relief Valve
  • “Pluckable” Foam
    Allows Easy Customizing


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December 3rd, 2013

Bookcases With Secret Storage Compartments for Valuables

Everyone should secure their firearms and valuables in a safe place. For most folks, that means getting the biggest, heaviest gun safe they can afford. There is another school of thought, namely “hiding in plain sight”. The theory here is that you hide valuables inside common, every-day items that would not attract the attention of thieves. A hollowed-out hardback book is a classic example.

Well here’s the “book safe” idea carried one better — an entire full-size book cabinet fitted with hidden storage. Some clever wood-workers have come up with custom-crafted cabinets with secret compartments. We first saw one of these cabinets on Glocktalk some months ago, and now matthew [at] archangelwoodworks.com has created a large, elaborate wooden bookcase that contains multiple secret compartments. The patent-pending QLine SafeGuard Shelving System “is available in your choice of wood or custom colors. Dimensions can be altered to suit your needs. Shelving or compartments are customizable for your specific application.” QLine Design also offers media centers and coffee tables with secret compartments. Watch the video to see a half-dozen secret shelves, drawers and vertical compartments built into the QLine SafeGuard bookcase. Watch all the way through — it gets more and more amazing….

Video Reveals Secret Compartments — Check it Out

Credit Steve of the Firearm Blog for finding this YouTube Video.

Smaller, Custom Cabinet with Secret Compartments
If you’d like to see a smaller cabinet with hidden compartments, check out Hidden in Plain Sight thread from 2012 on Glocktalk. That thread features a custom oak cabinet with a lock-secured secret shelf on the top and two hidden compartments on either side, with slide-out vertical drawers. We like the idea of hiding locks under movable wood covers — for an added measure of security.

Secret Storage Cabinet

Secret Storage Cabinet

EDITOR’S COMMENT: We still recommend a heavy, steel-walled quality gun safe for storage of firearms. A wood cabinet offers no fire protection, and “hidden in plain sight” systems are only useful until thieves get wise to the gambit. Still, clever engineering (and impressive word-working) went into the cabinets shown above. This style of cabinet could be a good option for storing smaller items such as knives, cameras, watches, and laptop computers if your regular gunsafe is already full to the brim.

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December 9th, 2012

Cheap Tricks with 35mm Film Canisters

While many of us now favor digital photography over “old-fashioned” 35mm film, don’t toss those old 35mm film canisters, especially the clear Fuji-type with secure snap-in lids. Small plastic film canisters have a multitude of uses for the shooter and reloader.

Here Are Some of the Things You Can Do with Film Canisters:

1. If you weigh powder charges after throwing them with a manual powder dispenser, throw the charges first into a film canister and then use that to drop the powder into the measuring pan on your scale. The canister will catch every kernel of powder. If you throw charges directly into a weighing pan, powder can sometimes bounce out. Using the film canister will help keep spilled powder off your loading bench and floor.

2. Store extra sets of foam ear-plugs in the canister. You never want to be without ear protection. This editor has four film canisters filled with plugs. Two go in the range kit, one goes in the car’s glove compartment, and a second stays in a lock box I use to transport pistols. This way I never find myself at the range without ear protection.

3. Place your smaller cotton patches in film canisters, marked by caliber. If you use the water-tight Fuji-style canisters, you can even pre-soak the patches with solvent. You can have one canister for wet patches, another for dry patches. That saves time when you’re at the range, and avoids spillage. One caution–some solvents may react with plastic, so test this first before you put a solvent-filled canister in your range kit.

4. Use film canisters to hold your neck bushings, sorted by caliber. With a permanent marking pen, you can mark the side or top of the canister with the bushing sizes, or caliber.

5. Store your favorite Bolt Grease (for rifles) or anti-seize compound (good for pistol slide rails), in the canister. You don’t need to fill it all the way up — a little dab will do ya. We only recommend this with the snap-top Fuji canisters.

6. During transport, Protect your muzzle with canisters. When shipping a rifle or barrel, slip the film canister over the muzzle, then secure it with electrical tape. This will protect the precious crown of a match barrel from dings or damage.

There are countless other uses for 35mm film canisters. We invite readers to respond with their own tips on using these handy containers. If you don’t have some stashed in your workshop already, you can get empties for free at most film processing centers. The clear plastic Fuji canisters are the best — you can see what’s inside and the lids are watertight.

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November 25th, 2012

RAD Fast-Access Modular Gun Lockers from Caron Forensics

Caron Forensics produces a modular, rapid-access gun storage system that can place your defensive arms “at the ready”. Caron’s RAD (“Rapid Access Defense”) storage units are specifically designed for the fast presentation of defensive weapons in both home and office environments. RAD units come in two sizes: a 2-foot-long model, RAD2, and a 4-foot model, RAD4. They are surface-mounted horizontally or vertically, ideally in a concealed location, such as a bedroom closet, or office store-room. RAD lockers can store defensive weapons safely away from both children and thieves, while still providing gun owners with quick access. Download RAD Gun Locker Descriptive Flyer.

RAD gun storage
RAD gun storage

Watch RAD Product Demo Video

Weapon mounts clip to the twin rails inside RAD lockers. Accessories designed to hold weapons (such as the magnetic clip) have a protective plastic or foam coating. There are rubber-coated rifle/shotgun hooks, plus specific mounts for handguns, flash-lights, holsters and other items.

RAD gun storage

RAD cabinets feature a strong key-lock latch to keep unauthorized persons out. A unique gas spring deployment system opens the cabinet with a short pull, enabling the use of both hands to quickly access multiple tactical items.

EDITOR’s Comment: Of course, RAD units are NOT designed to replace a large, heavy-walled gun safe to store a collection of firearms and other valuables. RAD units provide only basic security (and fast access) for one or two defensive arms in a home, garage, or office.

One nice thing about the RAD2 is you could mount it on a wall with a false conduit and a “High Voltage” sticker. A would-be thief would never think it was a gun locker.

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November 8th, 2012

NSSF Video Explains Ten Rules of Gun Safety

NSSF Gun SafetyThe National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) has produced a GUN SAFETY Video that presents 10 fundamental rules of safe gun use. The video covers basic safe gun handling procedures, and it also explains how to transport guns safely, and how to secure them properly at home.

We know this stuff is familiar to most of our readers, but we recommend you watch the video as a refresher. Segments show how to safely unload different types of handguns and shotguns. That’s helpful for a rifle guy who may not have much familiarity with other types of arms. The video also explains how you can keep a handgun safe from kids and guests in the home, while still having quick access in an emergency. This video won’t win an Oscar, but it provides good, logical safety advice. If you help run a shooting club, you may want to embed the video into your club’s webpage.

YouTube Preview Image
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September 24th, 2011

Texas Firm Builds Custom In-Vehicle Storage Systems

Plastix Plus, a Cypress, Texas-based business founded by a volunteer fireman, is a leading builder of custom storage systems for Fire Departments, Police Agencies, Emergency Response teams, and Federal Agencies such as the U.S. Marshals and the FBI. Using CNC design and thermal plastic welding technology, Plastix Plus can create an infinite variety of in-vehicle storage systems with trays, bins, boxes, shelves, and lockable secure storage. Below is a Plastix Plus storage system fitted in the back of an SUV. Note the AR-type rifles stored in a sliding compartment with fast-access locks.

Modern Plastics Are Superior to Wood or Metal for Vehicle Storage
While other companies offer storage systems for SUVs and trucks, these are usually fabricated from wood and metal. Plastix Plus President Mike Snow says that the Vycom Hitec HDPE ½ inch-thick plastic used by his company is a superior material. In an interview with Tactical-Life.com, Snow explained: “When you have a $7,000 item like a Jaws of Life tool, metal on metal is not a good combination when you are carrying it in the truck and deploying it. The tool gets destroyed by the metal bracket designed to hold it. Plus, you have high moisture situations with fire fighting, so you need to worry about rust. The Hitec material is moisture-resistant and very forgiving for emergency tool transport.”

Likewise the Hitec plastic is easier on fine gun finishes than metal boxes, and it won’t warp or absorb moisture like wood can. Snow says that his plastic storage systems will last for decades. By contrast, Snow says some fire departments that opted for wood storage systems have been forced to replace or rebuild their storage units after just a couple seasons.

Plastix Plus hopes to expand to the general consumer market, providing custom in-vehicle storage solutions for trucks, RVs, and SUVs. Plastix Plus can match the exact dimensions of your vehicle, providing your choice of drawers, bins, and locking compartments, including gun storage lockers. A custom Plastix Plus storage system is not cheap. But it may be a smart purchase — when you consider the value of the guns and gear you haul around. Your investment in multiple match rifles (with scopes), along with fancy rests, electronics, and accessories, could easily top $15,000.

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August 14th, 2011

Handgun Storage Options for Your Gunsafe

handgun safe rackThere are many ways to store handguns in gun safe. including hanging your handguns on the inside door panel with Velcro straps or Velcro-equipped sleeves. Some folks try wood pegs for the triggerguards. The problem with these methods is that it’s just too easy for Velcro to work loose, or a peg to come out. End result is a dropped pistol. Also, placing your handguns on a door makes them highly visible. That’s a bad idea if your safe is placed in an open area such as a garage or game room.

Our first choice is to place handguns in lockable, sliding drawers inside the safe. Tucked inside silicon-treated Bore-Store bags, and then laid flat inside a drawer, handguns are safe, secure and out of sight. Unfortunately, few safe-makers offer sliding drawer options. If you have a large-enough safe, you can fit your own lockable drawer unit or small file cabinet with locks. These can be purchased at office supply stores or Home Depot type outlets.

If you have limited space in your safe, we recommended the vinyl-covered metal handgun racks from Versatile Rack Company. The 4-Gun rack has approximately the same footprint as a single handgun laying flat. These racks have a strong, welded-steel frame, vinyl-coated to protect the finish of your pistols. We’ve found these work for virtually all size handguns, both semi-autos and revolvers, even when the guns are placed in Bore-Store bags. In fact the fit is just about perfect if you first place a handgun in a Bore-Store bag, which provides about 1/4″ of padding all around the gun.

handgun safe rack

Versatile now offers multiple models, with capacities from a single handgun up to 10 pistols. These can be purchased directly from Versatile, starting at $69.99, but other vendors sell them for less. MidwayUSAhas Versatile racks at these price: $12.49 (2-gun, item 953403) $19.99 (4-gun, item 953075), $24.49 (6-gun, item 275638), $32.99 (8-gun, item 111468). Click HERE for a 360-degree view of the 4-gun unit. There is also an optional stacking unit, shown below.

handgun safe rack

One of the better “on-door” solutions is “The Holster”, a door-top rack from Rack ‘Em Racks. The top bracket secures to the door edge with self-tapping screws. Handguns are held muzzle-down in a plastic-coated wire frame. The installation is quite secure and this system gives you very fast access to your handguns. However, this unit requires that you adjust the top shelf of your safe to fit below your longest-barreled handgun. And, unless you have a very deep safe, you have to clear off most of the items on one side of the top shelf, to avoid interference when you close the safe door. Still, Rack Em’s vertical door rack is a smart design, one that uses space much more efficiently than a door full of separate wire brackets or pegs. Price is $39.99 at Cabelas.com.

Rack 'Em Holster Pistol Rack

One other interesting design is the rotary handgun rack. Hyskore offers a 9-Gun Rotary Pistol Rack (item IJ-229069) that looks well-built, and is fairly compact. Like a carousel, it spins to allow easy access to your handguns. It features foam-padded cradles, and an oak-verneer finish. The price is $45.99 at MidwayUSA,. Unfortunately, with a compact 12″-diameter base, there is not enough clearance for scoped revolvers or pistols with red-dot sights. And, from a safety standpoint, we’d rather see the pistols stored muzzle-down than muzzle-up. Still it looks like a clever, compact design that will work with most handguns.

Hyskore 9-Gun Rotary Pistol Rack
handgun rotary rack

An even more efficient use of space is achieved with a two-tier “bunkbed-style” pistol rack. This will hold a large collection of pistols in a relatively compact space. Gun-Racks.com offers two-tier pistol racks with 10-gun ($104.00), 12-gun ($115.00), or 16-gun ($125.00) capacities. For five ollars more (per size) you can get an elevated model with mag storage. These racks are crafted from wood, with soft Rayon fabric on the sections contacting your guns. These well-made racks pack a lot of guns in a small space. However, the barrel slots are only 2.5″ apart. So you do get a very compact footprint, but the trade-off is a tight fit on larger handguns.

handgun two-level safe rack

If you have large hunting handguns with top-mounted scopes, or bullseye pistols with fat target grips, consider the Hyskore Modular Rack which holds guns with the barrel on top and level, so there is plenty of clearance for scopes. Hyskore racks are made of soft, closed-cell foam that won’t scratch metal and won’t absorb moisture. Guns are stored in individual foam bins that can be connected together horizontally.The width of each individual bin can be adjusted to fit even very wide target grips. Hyskore racks come in sets of three foam bins. Using 3/16″ threaded crosspins, you can combine the bins into one, long secure unit running the full width of a shelf.

CLICK HERE for Hyskore Rack DEMO VIDEO

handgun safe rack

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September 12th, 2010

BedBunker Gun Safe Offers Stealth Storage

Bedbunker gun safeHere’s a new gun storage vault with an innovative “stealth” design. The “BedBunker” from Heracles Research Corp., provides secure storage for up to 32 rifles and 70 pistols, in side-by-side locked steel compartments. BedBunker modular safes are designed to replace the box spring under twin, queen, or king size mattresses and are compatible with most standard bed frames. The BedBunker is equipped with eight 1″-diameter threaded legs for height and leveling adjustments. NOTE, the weight of the BedBunker is supported by the eight metal legs, NOT by the bed frame.

Bedbunker gun safePros and Cons of BedBunker Design
The patented, under-mattress design of the BedBunker has many benefits. Number 1, the safe is in a “stealth” location that thieves may ignore completely. The best gun safe is one that doesn’t call attention to itself. Second, an installed Bedbunker is very large and would be difficult to move. Third, Bedbunkers use floor space that is otherwise wasted.

What are the negatives? First, BedBunkers are very expensive. The $4200.00 Cal-King-size BedBunker is more than twice as expensive as a typical gunsafe of equal (1500 lb.) weight. The $2200 twin-size BedBunker is more affordable, but the $3700 price of the Queen Double-safe unit will easily buy you two (2) conventional large safes.

Bedbunker gun safe

We also have concerns about the Bedbunker locking system. We don’t think the key locks are as secure as a typical UL Group II (or better) safe lock and we don’t think the vertical lift doors (with small cross-bolts) would withstand a pry-bar attack as well as a premium gun safe equipped with multiple, large-diameter cross-bolts on all door sides.

For more information, visit www.bedgunsafe.com, or call Heracles Research Corp. of Spokane, WA, at (509) 624-2555.

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August 16th, 2010

Chrysler Offers Ram Pickup with Built-in Gun Compartment

Chrysler is offering a lockable gun storage compartment on its new series of Outdoorsman pickup trucks. These trucks can be configured with twin, lighted, lockable and watertight “RamBox” compartments — one on each side of the truck bed. The dual RamBox option costs $1895, and for $205 more Chrysler adds internal, vertical cradles that hold two rifles or shotguns. These cradles can be rotated 90 degrees to hold up to six fishing rods.

Outdoorsman Ram Truck Rambox

We think Chrysler’s built-in gun storage is a very cool feature — for the man who has everything. It will certainly create envious looks when you roll up to the shooting range in your new truck. From a practical standpoint however, it might be better to forgo the gun cradles in favor of open storage in both side-boxes. You could then use both lockable side compartment for any purpose. When you need to haul firearms, simply put cased guns inside one or both side compartments.

For more information on Chrysler’s Outdoorsman pickups, which start at $28,350, visit the Chrysler Truck Blog. Ram Outdoorsman trucks go on sale 3rd quarter 2010 (just in time for hunting season).

Outdoorsman Ram Truck Rambox

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August 8th, 2009

$688 Liberty Gun Safe from Sam’s Club

Sam’s Club is offering one of the best deals in gun safes right now — a 60″ H x 30″ W x 22″ L Liberty Centurian safe for $688.00. That is the store pick-up price. The safe weighs 520 lbs. and has 23 cubic feet of exterior volume. Walls are 12 gauge steel and the safe is fire-rated for 30 minutes at 1200° F. The lock is a Sargent & Greenleaf electronic, one of the best units in its price range. This very same safe is sold by Liberty Dealers for $999-$1099.00. If you’re able to get this safe home on your own, this is an excellent value from a respected safe-builder. I’ve got a friend who purchased one of these safes and I helped him install it and set up this interior. I can assure you that you’ll have trouble finding more safe for the money. I consider it better than a $1000.00 Canon I used to own.

Centurian Libery Safe

Note, you’ll have to call your local Sam’s Club for availability and exact price. If it’s not available at the closest outlet, try other nearby Sam’s Club stores (you can search for availability on the Sam’s Club website). Typically a Sam’s Club outlet will get a half-dozen of these and they’ll sell out in a few days. Also, we want to caution people that this safe, while far more secure than a typical “security cabinet” with a locking key, is a far cry from a serious 1500-lb commercial-grade safe. On the other hand this safe is just about the biggest size that can be easily handled by a couple non-professional guys working with a furniture dolly. The unit is delivered on a wood pallet — we recommend leaving the pallet on until you get the unit inside and positioned. Then remove the wood and bolt down the safe through the four holes are pre-drilled in the bottom (these are hidden by the carpet).

Here’s a review from a buyer who purchased this Liberty Safe at Sam’s Club: “We really shopped the competition prior to purchasing this safe. For the fire rating and the storage space, this was consistently $200-$600 less than many of the other membership retailers in addition to ALL sporting good stores (even the Mega stores.) The safe is packaged well and the instructions are pretty thorough also. The mechanics are as good as any gun-store-bought safe, better in most cases. The S&G lock is easy to program and use. Just be sure the lock handle is twisted all the way counterclockwise [after you close the door]. The modular interior is great. We store some paperwork, ammunition and of course firearms in the safe and there’s more than enough room. Sam’s Club is untouchable on the price of this safe. Do the homework yourself — it’s the best value for the money anywhere.”

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January 3rd, 2009

January Bargains on Recommended Products at MidwayUSA

Now through the end of January, Midway has three items on sale that caught our attention.

Dewey 44″ Cleaning Rods for $25.99
First, MidwayUSA has marked down Dewey nylon-coated 44″ cleaning rods from $31.49 to $25.99. The sale price applies to both 22-26 caliber rods (item 971244), and 27-34 caliber rods (item 268904). For most target rifles, a Dewey rod is a very good choice when considering both price and performance. Dewey rods have nice handles, good bearings, and durable nylon covers. Plus Dewey stands behind its products. The 44″ length should work with barrels up to 28″ (without muzzle brake). Note, however, these rods have a male tip, so you’ll need an adapter (which Dewey provides) for use with male-threaded jags.

Dewey Cleaning rod

Lee Universal Decapping Die for $7.99
There are many situations when you may want to remove primers from fired brass without running them into a sizing die fitted with a decapping rod. We often do this with pistol brass that’s slated to be loaded in a progressive press. Popping the primers first allows you to clean and inspect the primer pockets before loading the brass — and it also reduces the effort to run the progressive. If your rifle brass is dirty, you may want to de-cap before sizing. Lee makes a simple, inexpensive decapping die that every reloader should have. It will quickly pop out a primer without touching the rest of the case. The Lee Universal Decapping Die will work with cartridges from 17 Fireball all the way up to 45-70. However, NOTE that the decapping pin supplied with this Lee die is TOO LARGE for LAPUA BR and PPC flash holes — you’ll need to either turn down the pin, or decap with a different tool for the Lapua cases with .059″ flash-holes. With the exception of those cases, the Lee decapping die works very well and it’s a bargain. This month at MidwayUSA it’s on sale for just $7.99 (item 136543).

Lee Universal Decapping Die

Bore-Store Synthetic Fleece Storage Sacks
In this Editor’s opinion, Bore-Store storage bags are the best option on the market for storing rifles, shotguns, and pistols in a gun safe or storage cabinet. They are much less bulky than soft gun cases, so you can fit more guns in your safe. The thick, synthetic fleece pile cushions your gun, safeguarding against dings and scratches. The fabric is breathable, so moisture doesn’t collect on the gun, and the fabric is treated with silicone AND a rust inhibitor. I have Bore-Stores for every firearm in my collection. Over the years they have kept my rifles rust-free and protected fine metal and wood finishes from scratches. MidwayUSA now has a wide variety of Bore-Stores on sale. For example, the 46″ Scoped Rifle case (item 570-349) is marked down from $13.49 to $9.99. This will fit rifles with barrels up to 28″ and maybe 29″ with a little stretching. The 42″ AR15 Case (item 360-601) is marked down from $15.59 to $10.49. This case is extra-wide, with plenty of clearance for pistol grip and carry handle. Other Bore-Stores for handguns and shotguns are on sale through the end of January.

Bore-Store Fleece Gun Bags

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