I can't decide between a black or clear interior. What is everybody else getting?
Clear interior is the favorite by a large margin. It is easier to see inside the box with a clear interior.
Why are the boxes "Sold Out" so often?
We are a small shop. When large orders come in, they tie us up for a week or so, and then we play catch up with orders for folks that have already paid for their box. I know that when I pay for something, I want it pretty much then and there, not 2-3 weeks down the road.
It is so much better for the customer to pay for a box and then get it, as opposed to paying for it and then having to call every couple of weeks....or longer, and ask, "When am I getting my box?"
If you would like a particular box, call and ask to be put in line for the next available 4-Gun or whatever model you would like. No money required. When it's done, I'll call you. It usually takes about a week to get your box done from scratch. If the money you set aside for the box has since gone to refinish the cat or upgrade to a newer and faster wife (or husband), I understand. Just tell me. No harm done. The only box I want to have a deposit on is the 5-Gun.
I hate Paypal and their policies, how else can I pay?
You can send a certified check, personal check, use a credit card by calling us directly, or Money Order. Personal checks have to clear before the box is shipped.
What are the boxes made of?
With the exception of the pine fingers, which hold the pistols, the entire box is made of Baltic Birch plywood. It's the highest quality plywood available at a decent price. Also, I have yet to find a plywood that is straighter, stronger and lighter than Baltic Birch. If you are considering building one of these cases, I would highly recommend you use it.
Some of the boxes made 5-10 years ago were partially MDF. My personal 3-gun Compact Bullseye box is almost completely MDF and is over 10 years old. Although a bit heavier than current boxes, they are much smoother in appearance, and equally as rugged.
What about a box made out of 1/2" or maybe even 3/4"? My very first pistol box in 1977 was a thing of beauty. Found it at a gun show if memory serves me correctly. Made out of 3/4" high-grade plywood, a carefully beveled front door that met cleanly on 3 sides, a fine grain leather handle inset into the top of the box, nicely done gold metal trim, fitted gun tray with 3 crafted fingers to hold the guns, and finished nicely in clear varnish. A gorgeous SOB. The problem? It weighed a bloody ton!!! 20 pounds empty.
A 1/2" box is a reality, as I have seen many of them built by shooters, and many of our boxes contain quite a bit of 1/2". Boxes consist of 1/4", 1/2", and 3/8" in various forms. Remember what you are doing with gun box...it goes from the car to the bench.....sometimes it sits on the ground waiting to be put on the bench. It spends 99.9% of it's time riding in your car or sitting on the bench.
If I had my choice, I would make every box out of MDF. Why? Because the stuff is straight and stable. It makes great doors, is super smooth, and is rugged. Why don't we? Because folks get all wound up about MDF falling apart and it weighing more than birch. Well, it doesn't fall apart, and a pound or two doesn't really make that much difference. Regardless, we don't make them out of MDF anymore.
Weight is really important to me. I want the lightest box possible...what can you do?
Our latest box is made out of a tempered hyperlite phased carbonite incrementally injected with helium at all flexible junction points. The boxes weigh less than the surrounding air and must be tied down to keep from floating off even when fully loaded. What????? NOT REALLY!!!!
There is a functional limit on how light a box can be constructed. A full-size box, built with 1/2" and 1/4" birch ply, weighs in at over 7 pounds without coating, magnets, felt, screws, a knob, hardware, and strap. Add those items and you gained at least 3 pounds, It's not possible to build a box any lighter without compromising strength and longevity.
The two factors that make a box miserably heavy are ammo and guns. If you shoot three guns, you just added at least 10, if not 12 pounds of weight to the box. A box of .45 weighs over 2 pounds, .38 or 9mm. just a bit less. so, 4 boxes of .45, 2 of 9mm, and then a couple boxes of .22, which adds only a pound. That's 11 pounds of ammo. Add oil, patches, rod, solvent, etc..
With guns and ammo, you just made your 11 pound box weigh 34 pounds. Not good for one's back.
You have little choice about lugging your guns. They must go in the box. But, balance yourself out with an ammo can or bag that carries all your daily ammo needs. It feels better and your back will thank you.
How do I pay for a box?
You can use the Paypal feature, send a Money Order, a personal check (we have to hold them for 7 days), or you can use a credit card. If you use a credit card, please call us directly.
How long will the box last?
Our boxes have high-grade plywood, replaceable parts, and a refinishable interior and exterior. Unless you are going to submerge the box in water on a daily basis, or use it as a jackstand, the box should outlast your shooting days.
Wondering how long a wood box will last? I have a Pachmayr box that is, in my estimate, at least 50 years old. It had a cloth exterior over really poor grade plywood. It reeked of some kind of horrid glue used to put on the cloth. It looked heinous with the cloth hanging off it in shreds but still worked perfectly. I recently stripped it of the cloth and coated it. It looks pretty darn good.
As a testament to how rugged the boxes are, I was hauling eight of them from California to Arizona in late September 2011. I had a plugged fuel filter in my truck and had to change it before I crossed the desert on I-40. I couldn't reach the fuel filter standing beside the truck, and it was too hot in the engine compartment to lean on the engine. I simply grabbed a 3-gun Standard out of the back, layed it over on its side, and voila, I had a nice step stool. No damage to the box, and I weigh over 200 pounds.
Why are they so expensive?
Because they are very difficult and time-consuming to build. It takes us at least 6 hours to build each of the standard boxes, and longer for the deluxe version due to the recessed handle. Add a drawer to the box and that time goes up by an hour. We build them 4 or 5 at a time. And remember, the 6 plus hours for each box is with doing this for almost 30 years! Ask your local cabinet maker to build one and see what he would charge. Each box takes over 100 pins (tiny nails) and every piece must fit properly.
I have built a boat, dozens of cabinets, lots of furniture, several kayaks, and a strip-built canoe. None of those were as difficult to design and build as these cases.
Remember the Pachmayr box? They were made into the 1980's out of wood, then came out in plastic, and then were discontinued. I sold dozens of them when I was in the gun business in the early 80's. When the last of them were around and still coming from Pachmayr, they were over $200.00 retail. Why? Because the demand was low, and the cost to produce them was very high. They were essentially handmade. Go to the first few pages of the Gil Hebard Pistol Treasury and look at the list of shooting box manufacturers he describes. I've never heard of most of them and I have been involved with Bullseye since the 1970's.
At the time of this writing, I believe that the Saunders box, sold by Larry's Guns, is the only other wood Bullseye box on the market. Mr. Saunders is a shooter who makes a very high quality box that retails for just a bit under $200.00 as of this writing. I have yet to see one in person, but if Larry's Guns is carrying them, they are guaranteed to be a high quality pistol box. I recommend you evaluate the box on the Larry's Guns website before purchasing here.
Can I get a custom box, like for my Free Pistol?
Yes, but I need about a week's advance notice, and you must detail exactly what you need, including muzzle configuration of your pistol. To get the muzzle configuration is really quite simple. You can trace around the barrel and email me the design. Why is this important? Because the fingers in the gun tray must grip the barrel or slide to hold the gun in place and keep it from slapping around in the case. Free Pistols have no slide, so they are typically gripped by the barrel.
I recently built a box with an extra gun tray to hold air pistols of varying heights. Not a major undertaking and there was no extra charge for the custom fingers. Extra gun trays are $50.00 each, plus $10.00 shipping. Contact me directly for this option.
Why is the finish not warranteed? Why can't you cover them with the stuff that Pachmayr or Hyscore used to use?
As of November 1st, 2011, we are back to coating out boxes with Linex. Tough stuff. You will find it hard to wreck the finish, even if you drop the box. To warranty the finish would be cost prohibitive given the cost of shipping the boxes. Even if you do damage the coating, grab yourself some yellow wood glue and a Sharpie. Dab on the wood glue until you're satisfied with shape of the repair, then wait for it to dry. Once it's dried, hit with the Sharpie.
Remember the Pachmayr box I previously described? It had what is essentially called Durahide, a vinyl wallpaper-like material. It would wear out after about five years or less of consistent use, and was almost impossible to replace. It also is a hand-applied material. I'm sure that if it was so easy and cheap to apply, someone would be building these cases and covering them with it. Gun-Ho used a similar product to cover their boxes. Linex should last the lifetime of the box.
What if something breaks on the box?
Everything on the box is over-engineered, and I have thrown these boxes around to test them, intentionally dropped them off my bench when they were fully loaded with gear, and tried to wrench off the doors. They got beat up but survived the trip and were easily repaired. Everyone worries that the doors are going to break off when their box hits the deck. Doesn't happen often. I dumped a 4-gun off the bench not long ago, and I couldn't find any damage. I also dropped a 3-gun and it landed on the corner of the door. A bit of judicious sanding and the ding was not noticeable.
My own box tumbled out of my brothers truck a couple of months ago and landed on a corner. A little judicious use of the black Sharpie and all was well. But things happen, like the wind knocks the box off the bench and breaks off the door, or, your now former buddy shoots a big hole in the box and renders it unusable. If that happens, send it to me and I'll replace the door and/or fix the hole at no charge. You pay the shipping both ways.
Every case is constructed with common machine screws, nuts and washers. Every single screw and nut on the box is readily available if lost. There are no special fasteners to snap off and lose.
Why aren't the gun trays on drawer slides?
I have little interest in placing an additional pound of weight, or adding additional cost to a customer, in a pistol box simply to ease the movement of a drawer that is slid maybe three or four times times over the several hour period when visiting the range or at a match. Neat idea, but it doesn't make a lot of sense. Yes, it will keep the drawer in if you fail to lock down the drawlatch of the door, but it 35 years of going to the range, I don't remember ever seeing someone dump out a drawer.
But what about an aluminum shooting box, aren't they the best?
There are several makers of quality aluminum shooting boxes. I love the look of them when new. They are more expensive and are virtually impossible to keep in nice condition as they sustain dents and dings that are difficult to repair. Even I like the idea of an aluminum box, but in practice, they have issues, including the same problem that wood has......weight. To me, there is just something about those old Pachmayr boxes that I loved, and I have tried to duplicate them as best I can with todays materials.
Why can't I just build one of these boxes on my own?
You bet. It'll take a few weekends to do it right, plus about ten hours of design time to get it working and looking right, especially the door. Plus, you'll need the right tools. That'll run you about $500.00 for the least capable of tools. Then find the hardware and finish the box properly. When you're all done, you'll have a pistol box of equivalent quality to ours, perhaps even better. Plus, you'll have the satisfaction of knowing that you built it with your own two hands for $800.00.
I am selfishly suggesting that you don't waste your time, effort, and your money. Look critically at our pistol boxes, and compare them to what is available on the market. We think you be highly satisfied with the quality and capabilities of our pistol boxes.
Are the boxes perfect?
Nope. The finish doesn't always go on perfectly. Some customers want a smooth finish, others want it pebble-grained, and others want no finish. I'm darn picky about my personal shooting box, and change styles often. The door fit is a critical component that we spend much time getting correct and is sometimes not close enough for a customers exacting tastes. Wood quality today is a constant question, and doors take a "set" at times as they wood dries, making a gap where to door meets the box. It is usually not noticeable, but it drives me batty, so I make every effort to set the doors before they leave the shop. These boxes are difficult to produce, and as I have said before, I make them the best I possibly can.
I use a 3 gun Compact box myself on most times I hit the range. It's wonderful. Lightweight, compact, holds all my ammo and scope. Is it perfect? No. Why, you ask? It doesn't have room for rain jacket. It can't hold four guns. It can't hold four or five different boxes of .45 ammo, so for ammo testing, or full 2700 matches, it has limitations, and you wind up carrying a little ammo can or bag with you. It doesn't have a back door. I can't use a full-size scope on it.
I often switch to a 2 Gun. Why? Because I don't feel like lugging around the 3 Gun and I can put a full-size scope in it for easier viewing targets of at 50 yards. "But you can do that with a 4 Gun!!!" Yep, you can, but then you have to lug the bigger box around, and, I can almost guarantee you will stuff more gear into it. Then, you need to break out the "Geezer Cart." That's the way we Bullseye shooters do business. Get it? There is no "perfect box."
I have designed and made these boxes as light and strong as I can possibly make them. I have spent years modifying and changing the gun trays, the fingers that hold the guns, the height of the boxes, and I feel that the boxes are at their best design at this time.
How come the gun fingers bind a little?
Because they are designed to bind. We used to use smooth aluminum rod and then threaded it on the end. This made the fingers slide very easily....it was beautiful. But then we discovered that if you have another gun in the box, it wants to drop down deep between the fingers because there is no resistance....the finger is sliding on the rod. So then you are holding several guns at once and trying to put your other gun in as well.
If you lift the fingers ever so slightly as you move them, it takes the weight off the threaded portion of the rod and voila!, the fingers slide easily! Drop them back down and they will grab slightly.
Why don't we do the tray and fingers like Pachmayr used to? Because it is not the perfect system either. Pachmayr used a system that fixed the fingers, but allowed them to slightly rotate from from front to back on an individual basis. Super idea. Very difficult and time-consuming to build. I have two Pachmayr boxes and neither hold the guns securely in the fingers even when the knob is cranked down tight. Our design holds the pistols in place regardless of movement.
But I can wait and find a used Pachmayr, Gun-Ho or Hyscore box on EBay, can't I?
Yes, you certainly can. Pachmayr wood boxes all suffer from the same malady, and that is that they are NOT tall enough to hold scoped pistols. You can modify them, and I have one that is modified to carry scoped pistols, but, when they are modified, the box now has the requirement of no large objective scopes, because they won't fit in the box with the modified height below the gun tray. The Durahide covering on the used Pachmayr boxes usually is history and must be removed. I suggest removing all of it while wearing a good respirator and then sanding it down to the bare wood. Prime it, then shoot it with a can of Stonecoat from Ace Hardware or Home Depot, and you are in business.
Hyscore Pistol Boxes leave much to be desired unless heavily modified. Gun-Ho are quite serviceable, and if one can find a good one at a reasonable price, I would scoop it up. Just make sure the gun tray is not worn out and the fingers hold the guns securely.
How do I mount a Gil Hebard Scope Mount on my box?
If you have a wood shooting box, use the Hebard Mount as a template on the outside of the door. Mark the holes with a pen, pencil, or something sharp. Now, I know what you're thinking....."Hmmm, 10-32 screw supplied with the mount (by the way, I've seen Hebard Mounts with an 8-32 screw, a 1/4-20, but the latest manufacture appears to be a 10-32)....AHHH, I'll just use a bit that is slightly larger than the diamter of that 10-32 screw." Negative Ghostrider, use a larger drill bit. Why? Because there is no way a person can drill those holes exactly right on target and then try to put those screws in. You're going to strip out the holes in the mount, or thrash the screws, perhaps both. You need some room for those screws to move around. When you screw in the screws, the head will cover the larger hole and the tension of the screws will hold the mount tight on your door.
Also, Hebard mounts come with blade, not Phillips heads on them. Do yourself a huge favor and throw those away. Go to the hardware store and pick up four 10-32, NOT 10-24!!!!!, screws, 1/2" to 3/4" long, depending on the thickness of your door. Pick machine head screws. Make sure to bevel the hole on the outside of the door. This will set the screw head flush with the door and improve the appearance of the box.
All of our boxes have the option of having the Hebard mount installed here. We charge $52.00 for the mount and installation, complete. If one figures that the mount is available all over for about $36.00, then add shipping of $4 or $5, then add the agony of installing it...drilling the holes, wrecking the finish...it just makers sense to purchase one installed. We have installed over 200 of them, so we know how to do it right.
How do I maintain the box?
You don't have to do much. You should wipe down the box on occasion so it doesn't collect oil and debris from shooting that can transfer to your clothing. An annual inspection to make sure all screws and nuts are firmly in place is also a good idea. Try not to tighten down the lock mechanism screws too tight. This causes binding and your key won't turn.
Will you warranty a used one I bought from someone else?
Yes, I sure will.
Do you have used boxes?
Yes, from time to time we get trade-ins or boxes that were experimental. When we get them, they will posted on the website.
I have a Gun-Ho Box. The gun tray is broken. Can it be replaced?
Yes, a drawer can be made to replace the broken one. This is a "talk to me directly" event. I need to explain how to measure for the replacement. It's not cheap either...$50.00 plus $10.00 shipping. Why so expensive? This a 2-3 hour event to make a replacement drawer and is an entirely a handmade event.
Industrial felt is used on the fingers and tray bottom? Why not regular felt? How come it's not glued down?
Yes, we started using I/O carpet in early February, 2013. We then abandoned it in May after realizing it just doesn't look all that great. Tough stuff, can't wear it out, but difficult to apply. We are now using industrial felt. The reason we went away from regular felt is that after several years of hard use, finger felt wears out, leaving a wood-on-metal situation that is not desirable. The same applies to the tray bottom. The heel of the gun bears down in one spot and wears a hole in the felt. Not okay in my book. If you are using your box so much that you wear out the felt, call me, and I'll send you some at no charge.
We don't glue down the felt in the ammo area and tray areas as it is so much easier to clean when it's not glued down. Just pull it out, beat it clean and put it back in the box. If you want to glue it down, touch a spot of yellow or white glue in each corner, or ask me to do so before shipping.
Why is shipping so expensive?
UPS, Fed Ex, and the Postal Service are not friendly folks when it comes to shipping a gun box. Sending one to Canada is even worse. There is no Parcel Post rate Internationally, so they have to go Priority Mail. $90.00 is the cheapest for a 3-Gun. Nasty!!!! 99% of all boxes are shipped through the FedEx. It saves about $10.00-$20.00 in shipping to do so. We insure all boxes. This is the same reason the boxes will come to you in a cut-to-fit box. It doesn't look pretty, but it keeps the shipping cost down and the multiple layers of cardboard protect it as well. Plus, as one increases the size of the box, the shipping costs go up. We sell 90% of our boxes in the Eastern United States. It is not uncommon for shipping to be in excess for what we charge the customer.
How about the Postal Service Flat-Rate boxes? Unfortunately, even their largest box does not fit even the 2-gun.
What if I don't like the box?
If you don't like the box, send it back. You will get a full refund, including shipping. The lone exceptions to this guarantee are International orders, custom boxes, and Super Deluxe boxes. The Super Deluxe boxes can be returned, but you must absorb the return shipping.