Locksmithing/Rocky Mountain Safe


Hi, I have a vault with a door from rocky mountain safe,  the door has been working and the combo works but now the door will not close, the handle just turns around but the pins do not move , it seems to have slipped like this for many year but after a few turns would work, any ideas??  Also i do not know if this means anything but the handle on the inside does not move and I am not sure if it  supposed to in case you got locked in???

Hi Denise,

Many of the gun safe type manufacturers use various types of "clutch" mechanisms between the handle and bolt work, so that if the bad guys attack your safe or door, the handle will slip or rotate, so they can't force or apply force to the bolt work.

Generally this is considered a "security feature".    HOWEVER, just like anything else items like this require maintenance to work effectively and correctly.

As you have noticed, "it seems to have slipped like this for many years" should have been an indication that you needed service.

Unfortunately, mechanical issues are also hands on issues.    Meaning that at this point you probably need to have a safe technician from a local safe company check your door out.    If you don't have a local safe company, you can try to contact the manufacturer to see if they have someone in the area that they use or recommend.

If you still can't find someone, let me know where you are located (zip code) and I'll see if I know or can recommend someone in your area.

You are correct about the handle on the inside.    It is designed to open the door from the inside even if the door is locked closed, so that you don't get trapped inside.

The mechanism that releases the bolt work from the inside, may be another source of the problem that you are having with the door.    If it is not engaged correctly, then the outer handle may not work correctly.    Or if there is a mechanical problem with its engagement, your bolt work may not work correctly.

Unfortunately, the solution is still the same - mechanical problems require hands on diagnostics and solutions.    You will still need someone to check it out.    Hopefully it is something simple, and not an expensive fix.  


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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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