This is a video review of the Bighorn Classic Model 19ECX (formally known as the 19ECB and the sister safe to the UAB19ES) safe from Costco.com. It’s often on sale for $599 (regular price of $799). In my opinion, this safe is just about the best bang for your buck at this price range. Sure, there are more secure safes out there with additional features, but you’ll be paying significantly more. If this is your price range, then take a serious look at this safe.
With a few simple modifications, this safe will go from great to outstanding! In this video, I will discuss how I added power outlets to the Bighorn Classic safe and how I changed the digital SecuRam lock that came with it to a manual dial lock. I trust the old tumbler locks far more than I trust the digital push button locks. Especially in the case of an EMP.
Replacing the Digital Lock with a Mechanical Dial Combination Lock
I called Bighorn and they told me they used to replace the digital locks on these safes with mechanical ones at the customer’s request, for an additional fee. However, things have changed and I was told that was no longer an option.
Here’s the deal: In an EMP, the outside of the safe can act as a large antenna (it’s all-metal). If you have a significant amount of induced energy flowing around the outside of the safe, you better bet a lot of that will be going straight into the lock. That original electronic lock the safe comes with is made up of a fragile little circuit board and small little microchips that aren’t meant to handle any significant power fluctuations. You could be looking at being locked out of your safe when you need what’s inside the most! That’s why I changed out the digital lock to a hand dial one.
Sargent and Greenleaf (S&G) 6730 Lock Kit – A Direct Replacement
Here’s the lock kit I used. It’s available on Amazon Prime. It is a direct replacement for the original digital lock it came with. The bolt holes line up perfectly. It’s all metal and quite a nice, smooth operating, high quality lock.
UPDATE: The only trouble I ran into when replacing the digital lock with the mechanical lock (I forgot to mention on the video), is that the re-locker plate bolt holes don’t line up exactly when bolting it up with the new mechanical lock. The re-locker plate is bolted to the backside of the lock.
The re-locker plate is really just a simple piece of metal and the issue is very obvious when you are attaching the unit to the safe with the provided bolts. Just take a drill and drill out one new hole in the re-locker plate and you will be good to go! It’s a very easy fix. Don’t be afraid of this step, it’s super easy and very obvious what needs to be done when bolting it to the safe.
VIDEO: How to Install the S&G 6730 Lock
5 Year Update on the Safe
It’s now been about five years since I bought my Bighorn safe from Costco. I have to say, I am still very happy with the safe and I really have no complaints. The S&G 6730 mechanical lock I installed, using the video above as a guide, is still working fantastically! It’s smooth and easy to operate every time. The safe is now bolted down to both the floor and the wall, so there are a total of 8 bolts holding it in place. It’s very secure.
I really don’t have any complaints at all. The only negative thing I have to say after five years of ownership is that I feel the need to stress the point that when you compare safes, don’t trust the manufacturer’s assessment of how many of one type of item it will hold, just focus on the number of cubic feet inside the safe (this one is 19.1 cubic feet). The is a much more accurate way to compare the interior size of two safes.
The interior looks just as good as the day I bought it and so does the rest of the safe. After 5 years of use, I am still very happy with this purchase.
Useful Links Regarding this Safe:
The factory manual for the safe can be found here:
Bighorn Classic Safe Manual for Models 19ECX/19ECB/UAB19ES
Here’s the safe at Costco.com:
Bighorn 19.1 Cu Ft Safe
Here’s the same safe at Amazon.com (compare to Costco’s price above):
Bighorn 19ECB Safe
The Sargent and Greenleaf 6730-100 lock that I used to replace the electronic lock:
Sargent and Greenleaf 6730-100 Safe Lock Kit
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