You are here:

Locksmithing/Unsure of dialing sequence


QUESTION: I have a Gary Safe #71594 that I inherited from my mom. The combo is L-31, R-60, L-16. My mom couldn't get it to open, so she had a safe tech come out and he opened it right up. That was years ago and I need to know what I'm doing wrong, as I also cannot open it with these numbers.


The dialing sequence for your safe is:

4 times Left to the first number, (31)
3 times Right to the second number, (60)
2 times Left to the third number, (16)
1 times Right until the dial stops (around 90).

Note:  Left is counter clockwise, Right is clockwise.   DO NOT count the revolutions of the dial, count the individual number as it arrives at the 12 o'clock index mark.   For instance you would turn counter clockwise (left), stopping the FOURTH time the number 31 arrives at the index mark.

If you still can't get it, you may want to go down to a local safe company, so they can show you the dialing sequence on one of their safes.   This way you won't have to pay someone to come out to open yours.

Hope this helps,

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Wow! Thank you for the hasty reply!! However, it still won't open. The fourth sequence, "turn right until the dial stops, around 90", is giving me trouble. The dial does not stop, and if I stop it at 90, it still doesn't work. Thank you for all your help! I'm really trying to not spend money on this project!


If the lock is set up correctly, and if you have the correct combination, and if you are dialing it correctly, and if there are no mechanical problems with the lock, it should open.

However if any of the above conditions exist, it probably won't unlock.

There are only three reasons a safe lock will not open, they are:

1.  Incorrect dialing sequence, operator errors,
2.  Incorrect combination, wrong numbers,
3.  Mechanical problems.

If it still won't open, then you probably will need to have a safe tech check it out.   If they are able to get it open with your combination, then have them show you what you are doing wrong.   If the combo won't open the safe, then the numbers may not be right, or may not be in the correct order.

When making the last turn to the right, the dial will physically stop, if the combo has been dialed correctly.   90 is simply a reference point as this is around where it should stop.

Dial your combination again, correctly, and this time turn the dial slowly to the right.   If you make a complete revolution and it doesn't stop, then you will need a safe tech.

Sorry it's not working for you.


All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Terry V. Andreasen (Andy)


Safe and Vault related Questions; Antique Safe Repair and Restoration; With over 42 years in the Safe & Vault industry, if I can't answer your question I know where to get the answer. Current Project: Restoration of an Ely Norris Cannonball Safe from the early 1900's. Will answer Safe & Vault related questions concerning age, value, restoration, moving, opening & repairing, parts, operation and history. Note: It is not my intention to teach you to open safes or to provide information which may aid in the unlawful opening of a safe. I will not give out drill points or information which I deem inappropriate.


44 years in the Safe & Vault Industry. Owner and Service Manager for one of the largest Safe & Vault companies on the West Coast. Graduate of Lockmasters Safe Lock Servicing, Safe lock Manipulation and Safe Deposit Lock Courses. Graduate of Locksmith Institute. Certified Instructor for the California Locksmith Association teaching Basic and Advanced Lock Servicing, Basic Safe opening and Repairing. Factory Trained by AMSEC, LORD Safes, LeFebure, Mosler, KabaMas, LaGard and Sargent & Greenleaf Author of "The Coffee Table Guide to Antique Safes".

SafeCrackers International and the National Antique Safe Association Safe & Vault Technicians Association (SAVTA)

The Coffee Table Guide to Antique Safes

Graduate of Locksmith Institute 1972 Graduate Lockmasters Safe Lock Servicing 1974 Graduate Lockmasters Safe Lock Manipulation 1975 Graduate Lockmasters Safe Deposit Lock Servicing 1985 Instructor Certified - California Locksmith Association - 1985 Factory trained by AMSEC, MAJOR, STAR, Johnson-Pacific, Kaba-MAS, Allied-Gary, ISM, Lord, Brown Safe, EXL, Mosler, Diebold.

Awards and Honors
2009 - 2015 - Listed in AllExperts Top 50 Experts. All Expert Categories - Safes & Security Containers, Locksmithing, Antique Safes. Retired US Army Chief Warrant Officer (CW4), with 39 years of total service. With numerous awards from Vietnam, Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom. US Navy - 1971-1981 US Army Reserve 1984-2013 US Army Retired

Past/Present Clients
US Secret Service, FBI, BATF, Local Law enforcment agencies, Diebold, Hamilton Pacific, Red Hawk Int., Chubb International, Bank of America, Wells Fargo Bank, Mechanics Bank, El Dorado Savings Bank, many Credit unions and smaller banks. McDonalds, Togos, BurgerKing, TacoBell, Carls Jr. FoodMaxx, SaveMart, Lucky's, Albertson's, Raley's, Safeway, NobHill, Bell Markets, PW Markets. Great America, Century Theatres, Cinemark Theatres, UA Cinemas, and many homeowners and small businesses. Provide warranty service for lock and safe manufactures. Service Area is Northern California (Fresno to Oregon and Western Nevada)

©2017 All rights reserved.