Input needed from hunters - Gun Cabinet project

  • Advertise with us

« back to Designing Woodworking Projects forum

Forum topic by Randy Sharp posted 01-18-2011 10:42 PM 10349 views 1 time favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Randy Sharp's profile

Randy Sharp

363 posts in 3940 days

01-18-2011 10:42 PM

Thanks in advance for your advice.

I am building my second gun cabinet from the Popular Mechanics plan.

The first time, I applied the specs for the 6-gun butt rest panel, which called for 4” centers between guns.

For those of you who are multi-gun owners, can I reduce the space between the butt rest slots to allow for more slots in the panel without “crowding” becoming an issue? I’d like to get 7 or 8 guns in this cabinet, if possible.

Note: The guns are rifles and single-barrel shotguns.

Thanks again,

Randy Sharp

-- Randy, Tupelo, MS ~ A man who honors his wife will have children who honor their father.

18 replies so far

View TheDane's profile


5590 posts in 3930 days

#1 posted 01-18-2011 10:49 PM

Depends on the gun. Bolt actions might be tight … wouldn’t think you’d have a problem with semi-automatics.


-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View CharlieM1958's profile


16281 posts in 4486 days

#2 posted 01-18-2011 10:58 PM

Randy, when in doubt I always go the visual route. I’d enlist a couple of helpers and stand all the guns you would like to store next to each other as close as they will comfortably fit, take a measurement of the amount of space required, and see if that fits within the parameters of the plan.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View okwoodshop's profile


448 posts in 3442 days

#3 posted 01-19-2011 12:49 AM

could you stagger the holes for the butt rests by a couple of inches so that the bolts don’t line up even?

View 8iowa's profile


1591 posts in 4029 days

#4 posted 01-19-2011 01:21 AM

I’ve seen rifles that have an indentation on the side, just forward of the wrist, from the bolt on the rifle next to it. Storing the rifle with the bolt open helps to reduce space, or take the bolts off and store them separately. Just make sure that you know what bolt goes with each rifle.

A scope doesn’t necessarilly take more width, but might require more depth in the case.

-- "Heaven is North of the Bridge"

View William's profile


9950 posts in 3110 days

#5 posted 01-19-2011 01:49 AM

As an owner of multiple guns, and multiple gun cabinets, please do not do this. I actually booted a gun cabinet out because the slots were too close together. Once fateful day, I just decided I would rather stand my guns up in the corner than to deal with a gun cabinet like that one more time. The slots were too close together and if you weren’t careful (a little TOO careful actually) part of guns hit against one another while removing a gun. Slings got tabgled up with each other. On more than one occasion with that cabinet, a sling caught on a gun next to the one being removed and I had one gun in my hand while another gun was falling out fo the cabinet for me to try and do a circus act of holding onto the one gun while keeping the other one from hitting the floor.
If I buy a gun cabinet, the FIRST thing I look at, before even deciding if I like anything else on it, is to make sure the slots for the guns are far enough apart to be sure not to cause problems. I honestly believe that making the slots closer to each other in your cabinet will be nothing but a haedache that will make you regret it down the road. If you want more storage capacity, you’ll have to make the cabinet wider.


View ND2ELK's profile


13495 posts in 4041 days

#6 posted 01-19-2011 02:36 AM

All my gun cabinets where the guns stood upright was made with a board in the bottom with 1” foam glued on it and wrapped in felt. The guns could be angled left or right or straight. You could also move the guns slightly in or out for scopes or side to side for bolts. I would make your cabinet wider if you want more guns. I have listed my gun cabinets through out my projects if you care to look.

-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

View Damage Inc.'s profile

Damage Inc.

41 posts in 3136 days

#7 posted 01-19-2011 03:46 AM

Negative. I’m with William on this one. If you have anything in there with a bolt or semi auto action you will run into problems.

Also, if you pack them closer together it will be harder for the casual oberver to look at the side profile if they are looking and not touching. Besides guns are meant to be at the ready, not crowded.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18461 posts in 3943 days

#8 posted 01-19-2011 11:30 AM

What I have done is not cut out for the butts to sit in, just leave a flat or sloped surface. For the spacing holder up above, use dowels. Drill a bunch of holes about an inch apart so you can adjust for thin vs wider guns.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Randy Sharp's profile

Randy Sharp

363 posts in 3940 days

#9 posted 01-19-2011 04:50 PM

Thank you all for the great feedback. These are all excellent ideas and thoughts.

I will widen the cabinet by 4 inches. And, because the butt rest panel is an insert, I will make two. One per specs of 4 inch centers (for seven guns) and one with 3 1/2 centers (for eight guns). The cabinet is being made in Mississippi and transported to Nebraska. My son-in-law can decide which works best for him.

For the barrel rests, I will make two, one to match each panel insert.

Thanks again for the advice. It was extremely helpful!

-- Randy, Tupelo, MS ~ A man who honors his wife will have children who honor their father.

View samiam's profile


28 posts in 3071 days

#10 posted 01-24-2011 11:54 PM

Don’t do it!!! Your client will be much happier. I have a “28 gun” safe by specs but you couldn’t get 22 guns in if you tried and it bugs th ** out of me. If this person is having you build a cabinet he must have some guns he’d like to protect and not get scratched just dragging in and out of the cabinet. Do him a favor and build it so he can buy any gun and put it anywhere in the cabinet.

View dbhost's profile


5767 posts in 3499 days

#11 posted 01-25-2011 12:19 AM

I like a bit of space between my rifles to allow for the optics, and depending on the particular rifle, the bolts. Not to mention my big old hands…

-- Please like and subscribe to my YouTube Channel

View Randy Sharp's profile

Randy Sharp

363 posts in 3940 days

#12 posted 01-25-2011 12:39 AM

Here are the two inserts. My son-in-law now has choices! Again, thanks for the input. It was very helpful to hear sound advice from fellow craftsmen.

-- Randy, Tupelo, MS ~ A man who honors his wife will have children who honor their father.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18461 posts in 3943 days

#13 posted 01-25-2011 05:35 AM

Might want to ask what and how many he’s puttiing in it. For shotguns, 3’’ should be fine to maximize the space, 4+ for the rifles.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View ScottN's profile


261 posts in 2947 days

#14 posted 01-25-2011 04:14 PM

Hi John…I’m new here but I’m not new to woodworking. I’m just curious as to why you would crowd the guns together instead of customizing the cabinet to the customers needs? Like modifieing the plans a little making the cabinet wider and adding a second door? I would suggest adding a few extra gun holders for future gun purchases.

-- New Auburn,WI

View Knothead62's profile


2600 posts in 3228 days

#15 posted 01-25-2011 04:49 PM

Speaking from experience and as a hunter education instructor, all firearms belong in a metal safe or heavy metal locker. Our teaching and student manual says to lock firearms securely away and store ammunition locked in a separate location. Gun locks and cable locks may prevent someone, like a child, from using it immediately. Thieves can still steal the guns and remove the locks later. From experience- my father and I had a nice pine gun cabinet with the glass front. There was a lock that prevented the glass panels from sliding, much like the doors on a store display. Someone broke into the house by breaking the lock on the patio door and broke the glass on the gun cabinet. They stole the guns but left the ammunition (they must have had a room temperature IQ). Three of the guns stolen were my late grandfather’s. One of the guns was a very rare rifle caliber. I bet whoever wound up with it had a hard time finding cartridges for it! Obviously, the three were irreplaceable! I now have a heavy metal locker, secured to the wall. The gun cabinets and racks I see here are nice but an open invitation to thieves.

showing 1 through 15 of 18 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics