I wish it was an original idea on my part, but most of us have seen the gun storage boxes in ads in the backs of the bird hunting magazines. A gentleman that I hunted with a few years ago had one in the back of his SUV and the concept of firearms safely stored yet with easy access was impressive.
I have priced the things and none of them are cheap, so being a thrifty (read: cheap) Yankee I’d thought about building one. Now I have an advantage over most because I’m a cabinet maker by trade with my shop only a hundred feet from our home. Materials left over from jobs accumulate in the attic of the barn and by poking around there certainly would be all that I needed.
So only a couple of days before my annual two week trip up to the grouse woods, I spent an afternoon putting together my gun box.
The outside of the box itself is ¾ inch marine grade mahogany plywood (yes, at almost three hundred bucks a sheet it was left over from a job). The bottom I left long enough to reach the front of the truck’s bed, so the thing wouldn’t slide forward when I avoid a moose or stop suddenly somewhere for a coffee. The drawer itself is ½” prefinished birch plywood, and the face of the drawer is made of butternut. Between the drawer front and the box I put weather stripping to form a gasket and keep out dust. Cheaper materials would certainly provide just as serviceable until, but, being a cabinet maker, the box had to look nice so that it looked like I knew what I was doing.
The drawer slides came from a pull-out pantry and are rated for 500 pounds. That is overkill. The drawer is 47” long, but the slides are only 28” full extension, yet they provide ample access. Long drawer slides are expensive and I didn’t want to purchase them if they weren’t needed.
I put a hasp on each side of the box that can keep the drawer shut when the truck is parked on a slope and also allow padlocking. Inside are four slots, two sized for twelve gauge side by sides, and the other two fit over and unders, pumps, or twenty gauge side by sides. The slots were all lined with terrycloth (an old towel) to protect the guns. Next to them I made three lift out boxes to hold shells, gloves, dog first aid things, and whatever.
During my trip the storage unit made life easier than I ever imagined, and the guns had never been so well protected. The truck’s tailgate when shut just touches the pull on the drawer’s front, securing the box when the tailgate is locked.
Now I wonder why I waited so long to build the thing.