Locksmithing/Mosler Vault


Mosler Vault
Mosler Vault  

Full Door image
Full Door image  
I'm working with a not for profit arts organization in Butte, Montana.  The organization is located in an old bank.  I've taken on the task of finding out the best way to open a Mosler Vault door.  I have discovered that the last known person to use the safe was a lawyer that died in the 1960's, and the combo died with him. So, who knows what is in there. I'm betting on legal documents and his personal stag film collection and, perhaps, some mad money in case he had to flee ( Butte was a notoriously corrupt mining town).

Before I hire someone to drill a hole in the door, is there anything else I should try?  

The vault is from the 40's, I think. A tag at the top reads that it has a "fire class 2HR" door and a # 22603.  On the dial is this # 9399-15

Hi Dark,

Your Mosler Vault door was built around 1948  (1947-1949).

The lock that I would expect to find on this door, would be a Mosler model B-6, three wheel, hand change type lock.    The dialing sequence for this lock would be:

4 times Right to the first number,
3 times Left to the second number,
2 times Right to the third number,
1 time Left slowly until the dial stops - should be around 10.     Turn handle to open.

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 if your first number is 50, you would turn the dial clockwise (Right), stopping the fourth time the number 50 arrives at the index mark.

As far as OPTIONS that you have - basically you have two.    First - you can test dial the 1,000,000 possible combinations that the lock has available until you find the correct combination that will open the door.    Set up a spread sheet using the 100 numbers on the dial, and three positions - one for each of the combination wheels, and then start dialing as above.
Your second option would be to contact a safe technician from a local SAFE company - NOT a locksmith.   Generally locksmiths do NOT have the training, knowledge or tools to work on safes or vault doors without causing excessive damage, and or charging exorbitant fees.

Unfortunately I don't have any names within about 500 miles that I would recommend you to use, which means that you may have to use a local locksmith to open the door.    The closest company that does any type of safe work would possibly be:

Art and Ray's Lock and Safe, LLC
218 West Main Street
Missoula, MT 59802

I can't vouch for their services as I don't actually know this company or the individuals that work here.    You would have to discuss rates and options available before letting them do the work on the door.   As they are about 120 miles away they would incur some drive time to and from the job site, so their trip charge may be as much or more than the labor.

While I don't try to price fix - cost to open AND repair the door should be around $300 to $400 plus the trip charge.    Open ended type bids generally indicate hidden charges or that the locksmith or safe tech really doesn't know what they are doing.
If you have any questions concerning quotes - feel free to run it by me first.

Note:   As replacement parts are not going to be readily available, the lock on this door needs to be opened as damage free as possible, so that NO parts should be necessary.   Drilling - when done correctly should NOT damage the door or the lock.    Any unnecessary damage - again would indicate someone who doesn't know what they are doing.

Total time to open AND repair the door to fully operational capability shouldn't take more than THREE hours max.

While manipulation of the lock is also a possibility, chances are you are not going to have anyone available in your area.   Even then, manipulation is NOT a guarantee - meaning that you would pay for the service and NOT the result.    If you have someone that can manipulate and they are successful, then there would be no damage and no repairs.

You can also check your local yellow pages under "safes & Vaults" to see if there is anyone else in the area that you can use.

Hopefully this gives you some guidance.  


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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 AllExperts.com

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)

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