Unless you are a steelworker, machinist, or work in construction, it might be surprising to learn there is more than one type of steel. And the type of application for which the steel is being used will determine what type should be used. That’s how we determine the best gun safe steel.
What is Steel Exactly?
Steel comes in four types:
Steel is a not a metal found in nature (elemental); it must be made. It is an alloy created by combining iron and carbon, which are elemental materials. With the right balance, you get a very strong and reasonably-priced metal suitable for gun safes. The carbon counterbalances iron’s tendency to crack under pressure because it is a brittle metal that does not bend. By adding carbon to iron to create steel, you get added tensile strength. This means the metal now has a little more flexibility that allows it to take a hit without cracking, which is important for gun safe metal.
The carbon content in steel ranges between 0.002 percent and 2.14 percent by weight for an iron-carbon steel alloy. Mild or low carbon steel has between 0.05 percent to 0.25 percent carbon content with 0.4 percent manganese content. This is a less strong, but the trade-off is that it is easier to shape. Its surface can be made harder through carburizing (adding carbon).
Different metals can be added to steel to strengthen it or enhance its qualities and form different types of alloy steel. Adding chromium, nickel or tungsten makes steel even stronger. The addition of chromium makes steel rust resistant; e.g. stainless steel. Some higher-end safes are made with chromium steel. Tool steel is also made by adding higher amounts of chromium or carbon.
American-Made Steel is Most Dependable
Much of the foreign steel available may not have the same carbon levels found in American steel and regulated by the steel industry. In fact, some steel may have higher levels of boron that can cause the steel to crack and fail.
Gauge Always Matters
The best gun safe steel also needs to be thick. At a minimum, it is recommended that you choose a safe that is built with 12-gauge steel. The lower the gauge number, the better, but you can also expect to pay a higher price for a safe made with thicker steel.
Liberty only uses American-made, high-quality gun safe steel that is pickled and oiled for added strength and corrosion resistance. The pickling process removes mill scale and impurities that can lead to rust. Oiling keeps the surface of the steel protected from rust and it is manufactured into our wide range of gun safes designed to fit any budget.