Locksmithing/Gun safe combo lock


Had to do the +\- one number on my combination to get it to open.
1.) is there something I need to tighten or have looked at in the mechanism to keep working  or will this be my number from now on?
2.) can a standard combination on a gun safe be switched out for a digital mechanisim? How hard of a task is this?

Hi Chris,

Safe locks are similar to watches.   Even the most expensive watch has to be adjusted slightly, occasionally to keep it telling accurate time.     Safe locks require basic services for the same reason - so that your combination is accurate, and more important - that it will open every time you dial the combination.

So what your first comments tell me, is that YES, your safe is overdue for service.

Second item,   In general, yes your safe can be modified to accept a digital lock.

As far as how hard a task this would be WILL depend on the locking mechanism (bolt work).    The cheaper safes (sorry - less expensive), may have bolt work and locks which have to be upgraded to accept the lock.

While there are a couple locks available which are pretty much "plug & play", installation still requires a bit of mechanical knowledge.

If you think you can do it - then by all means give it a try.    RULE #1 - DO NOT close and lock the door until after you have verified its proper operation.

Note:   I generally don't recommend removing locks or bolt work as a DIY item for the same reason I don't recommend using locksmiths.   Lack of training, knowledge and/or tools CAN result in a very expensive locked up safe.

If you want one of the better quality digital locks or perhaps a redundant lock (mechanical and electronic lock) then you would be better off having these installed by a trained safe tech.

Hope this answers your question.


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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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