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Thread: Gun Cabinet Sizing Help

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
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    North Dakota
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    Gun Cabinet Sizing Help

    I'm trying to determine the inside dimensions needed for a 10 gun cabinet that stores the guns vertically. One plan I found for a six gun cabinet puts the inside dimension at 37". For ten it would be around 57". That seems awfully wide for a cabinet proportionally that will be around 70+ " tall. Does any one have any advice on the layout sizing? What about storage horizontally? Would that be a better solution for ten gun storage? Ten seems like it will become one massive cabinet. I was hoping to have storage underneath. Maybe a horizontal orientation on top of a separate cabinet like the size of a side board? Or forget the large storage underneath and make one run of drawers on one large cabinet which would make the proportions look better as it would not be so tall. Ill try to find some picture examples, but any advice would be appreciated.

    Thanks!
    My woodworking theory: Measure with a micrometer, Mark with chalk, Cut with an ax.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
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    Fairbanks AK
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    694
    I think it is imporant to know the widths of the rifles you are talking about. Decent manual bolt action hunting rifles are going to have some extra width compared to say a lever action cowboy gun or a gas bolt semi auto. If you are building this cabinet for a specific collection, Bob's your uncle.

    I have a pretty good mix of stuff, and find 3 inches on center for the comb works for just about everything. The valleys in between comb teeth are 4.5 inches off the wall to accomodate my larger scopes, 13-14 inches of floor depth between front and back wall will accomadate my collection. If you want to store a black rifle with a large scope and a large magazine both mounted you will need more floor depth probably, I don't have one of those.

    Comb height off the floor is a bugger. Some of my forestocks are longer than the entire barrel on other rifles. The top of the comb pictured is 30.5" off the floor. I just have a comb like this in my home office closet.

    I would consider making two cabinets to hold six rifles each from what I know so far...
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2020
    Location
    West Central Illinois
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    149
    I agree with the point that you need to understand the guns. Built my nephew one a few years ago and it was based on his specific guns. Things like how the body is shaped or even barrel differences will influence the layout. Cookie cutter stuff comes from overseas, hopefully not my shop.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2008
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    Peshtigo,WI
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    987
    Would you consider a lazy susan inside of a square cabinet? With the proper angle it should accommodate all types of long guns.
    Confidence: The feeling you experience before you fully understand the situation

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    E TN, near Knoxville
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    10,697
    Quote Originally Posted by Bryan Cramer View Post
    I'm trying to determine the inside dimensions needed for a 10 gun cabinet that stores the guns vertically. One plan I found for a six gun cabinet puts the inside dimension at 37". For ten it would be around 57". That seems awfully wide for a cabinet proportionally that will be around 70+ " tall. Does any one have any advice on the layout sizing? What about storage horizontally? Would that be a better solution for ten gun storage? Ten seems like it will become one massive cabinet. I was hoping to have storage underneath. Maybe a horizontal orientation on top of a separate cabinet like the size of a side board? Or forget the large storage underneath and make one run of drawers on one large cabinet which would make the proportions look better as it would not be so tall. Ill try to find some picture examples, but any advice would be appreciated.

    Thanks!
    You want to store or display? Just long guns or pistols too? Ammo, knives?

    I don't know about cabinets, but for comparison my gun safe is 30" wide, 59" tall, and 23" deep, outside dimensions. There are pockets in the door for pistols and such and a large shelf near the top, the full width of the inside. It has combs to support 12 rifles/shotguns vertically but I usually only keep 6-8 inside. The 12 combs are arranged in a "U" shape on just one side of the safe. I think space would be too tight to store 12 rifles comfortably.

    The thing is, all the long guns are in just 1/2 the space. The other half is taken up by shelves for ammo. These shelves are removable providing access to combs to hold 12 more rifles. If I took out the shelves there would easily be space for 6-8 rifles on each side.

    If designing a cabinet I think I'd do a mockup and mount supports on a piece of plywood to hold actual firearms and see what layout and spacing "feels" comfortable for 10 guns. You could also visit a place like Tractor Supply and look at their gun safes and see what kind of features you might like in your cabinet. The Tractor Supply here always has them and some are large. (A friend of mine has four gun safes in his house and the largest is almost 6' wide - I have no idea how he got it into his basement!)

    Also, I'd prefer a secure safe over a cabinet. I knew a guy who had several cabinets full of guns and someone broke into his house and carried them all off. My gun safe is bolted to the floor with concrete anchors and to the wall with lag screws. Seems more secure for guns, ammo, documents, other valuables.

    BTW, everything inside my gun safe is covered with a soft, fuzzy, padded material. This protects the metal and prevents the butt end of the stock from sliding on the floor. Something like that might be good for a cabinet too.

    JKJ

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Millstone, NJ
    Posts
    300
    You definitely want to consider rifles going in. I have a few cabinets and 2 of them are filled with primarily hunting type rifles. These all have thinner stocks so the spacing is comfortable. My third is filled with more accurate stuff which means they are wider. This makes the cabinet more cramped. If with is an issue you could arange the racks like this(/ / / /) So that everything is accessible and visable

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    McKean, PA
    Posts
    13,464
    My Dad made a cabinet that holds 10 guns vertically. the inside dimension is 38 inches. The outside dimension is 39-3/4 inches. The gun section is 52-3/4 inches tall. Overall height is 64-1/4 including the two storage drawers. It held rifles and shotguns.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    Northern Florida
    Posts
    375
    I agree that you should consider a gun safe unless you're really confident in your security measures. Safes also add some fire-proofing and storage for valuables besides guns. However, you'll be very disappointed how many rifles you can really get in a "10-rifle" safe. Transporting and installing one are also serious issues.

    If you know those are all the rifles you will have and they will continue to look the same, that helps a lot. If you sometimes add or remove scopes, carry handles or pistol grips or change stocks or barrel lengths that can make a difficult problem worse. Scopes really mess up the traditional gun cabinet because either the scope is what's leaning against the wall or the support for the barrel is deep, eating up floor space.

    I don't like the U-shaped configuation John describes but I don't know a better way to do it and make efficient use of the space, which is very limited after adding the shelves. Without the shelves, I'd consider 2 U's if you have more than 24-26" interior width.

    You can store them in rows but if you have to move guns to get at others, you need a place to put the ones you move. You also need support for the front row.

    Storing some guns muzzle-down may help since it reduces the number of bulkier stocks competing for floor space.

    If you have only a few with long barrels, you can notch the upper shelf for the barrels. But if you will always have to move those to get to others, that's a nuisance and if you're setting them by the hinged side of the door because that's the only available space, you really don't want to forget and close the door on them.

    If you're OK with a flat single-row cabinet, that would be the easiest to build and easiest to use at the cost of inefficent use of wall space and lack of security.

    Good luck. If you decide to get a gun safe, "Which gun safe should I buy?" is a really good topic to start an interminable thread with.
    Last edited by Alan Rutherford; 05-03-2021 at 6:11 PM.

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