You are here:

Locksmithing/Greenleaf Sargent Data safe


I read your advise on the data safe the guy had in a house he bought.
I have a safe we (at work) wanted to save so I cut the back and the combo was on a paper in the safe and nothing else.
Now with the combo I still cant get it open!!
The combo says R-4-0, L-4-56, R-3-27, L-2-62
This dont match the 4,3,2,1, that you told Jorden.
I have tryed every possable combo 5,4,3,2, and 4,3,2,1, still no luck
I think Im having trouble clearing it and or where dou you start the combination at 0 or just clear it by going back and forth and go from where ever to the first 0 and that is 1-0 then go 2-0, 3-0, 4-0 and that is the first number!


First you do not have a "Sargent & Greenleaf" data safe!   While the lock may be from this company, they did not make the safe.

If the lock is a Sargent & Greenleaf lock, then unless it is a "TRUE" left hand lock the dialing sequence will be:

4 times left to the first number,
3 times right to the second number,
2 times left to the third number,
1 time right until the dial stops.

Unfortunately, people tend to write down combinations the way that "THEY" understand them and NOT necessarily the way they actually work.    There are ONLY three reasons that a safe lock will not open, in order they are:

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

As mentioned, most people tend to either write the combo down as "THEY" understand it, and while they may actually turn the dial the correct directions, they simply don't understand their lefts from their rights.   Turning the dial to the left - the numbers appear to get bigger as they approach the 12 o'clock index mark.   Turning the dial to the right, the numbers would get smaller.
Second problem is that many people may tend to "CODE" their combination, so that if someone finds it, it won't actually work.   without knowing WHAT they use for their "coding" process, all you can do is guess.   With a standard S&G lock this would give you a possible 1,000,000 guesses - only one of which would be correct.

In the case of the combination that you have written for your combination, "IF" it is the correct combination, it would appear to be written down "BACKWARDS" to me, so the actual combination would be either 62-27-56, or possibly 26-72-65.   So you would dial it as:

4 times left to the first number, 62
3 times right to the second number, 27
2 times left to the third number, 56
1 time right until the dial stops.

or as:

4 times left to the first number, 26
3 times right to the second number, 72
2 times left to the third number, 65
1 time right until the dial stops.

NOTE:   While they may have been using "0" as a reference point, it is NOT part of the combination - the dial will actually come to a positive stop, at which time you can turn the handle to open the safe.

Also, there is NO starting point - ever hear the story of the man who was told to stand in the corner of a round room???    There is no starting point on a circle!!!!   The numbers are for YOUR reference, NOT the lock.

Simply start dialing counter clockwise (left), stopping when the FIRST number (62) arrives at the 12 o'clock index mark, the fourth time.

Note:   You are NOT counting the revolutions of the dial, you are counting the actual number as "IT" arrives at the 12 o'clock index mark.

If you still can't get it to open, then you are either continuing to make a dialing error, or the numbers are not correct.   At this point, you WILL need to contact a safe technician from a local safe company to have them check it out, and/or open the safe for you.
If you don't have a local safe company, let me know where you are located (zip code) and I'll see who I might know in your area, that I can recommend.

Hope this helps.


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.