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Locksmithing/Cannot get a "Major" brand floor safe open


Ive tore my brains out for 8 hrs trying to open 2 floor safes made by Major manufacturing. I have the combination to both but they havent been used in over 18 yrs as lost combos and just found them yesterday. One is a round one inside an entry closet on a slab foundation and the other is a square one in the garage also slab foundation. Ive tried everything. They both have an arrow centered on the dial to show the right turn then the left turn. There is also a straight line indention on the dial to the left of the arrow. Question. Since I have combos and they are 4 sets each. ie. 71-22-7-46 Do I start lining up the first digits at the arrow or the straight line indention. Have tried both ways on both safes many many times and no matter what I do I get no results. Im going crazy. Wasted my whole day so been surfing the internet and tried a few suggestions like spinning dials several times to left then several times to right then starting but still nothing. Also another question. Do I just go Right then Left to next numbers  then Right to next numbers then Left to last set or is there the old spinning past the numbers like a locker at school or a Master lock you can put on a shed or something. Im at your mercy as I have tried everything and now I just dont know what to do.

Hi Rhonda,

Lets start off with the dialing sequence - if you aren't dialing the numbers correctly, even if you have the correct numbers it won't open.

You are going to use the index mark at 12 o'clock (arrow).   The 11 o'clock index (straight line) is a service index used for changing the combination.

The dialing sequence is:

4 times left to the first number, 71
3 times right to the second number, 22
2 times left to the third number 7
1 time right until the dial stops - should be around 46 - the bolts should be retracted and the door can be opened.   This is actually just a reference number and NOT part of the actual combination.

Note 1:   I'm assuming that the safe doors you are working with are the round, lift out type.    Major used varying points for the last number, based on the design and structure of the door, so pretty much every door is going to have a different "stopping point" or reference number, as the last number.

Note 2:   For the square door safe, the dialing sequence will be the same as above, however during the last turn, the dial should stop around 90.

Ignore most of the crap you read on the internet - while well meaning people will try to put out instructions for dialing combinations, they are ONLY indicating the way that THEY understand the dialing sequence and NOT necessarily the way that the lock works.   I read one earlier today, where the poster had indicated that he had more luck when he "pulled" on the dial - while I'm happy that it works for him, he is only doing this trick for HIS benefit and not that of the lock.

Note 3:   Left is counter clockwise, Right is clockwise.   DO NOT count the revolution of the dial, count the individual number as it arrives at the 12 o'clock index mark.   For instance, for your first number, you are going to turn the dial counter clockwise, stopping the FOURTH time the number 71 arrives at the index mark - or counting left to 71 once, 71 twice, 71 three times, stopping on 71 the fourth time it arrives.    Similarly, count the next two numbers the same way, though the direction of turn will reverse.    All of the extra dialing and/or spinning is ONLY for your benefit, and does nothing for the lock or the combination.

Note 3:   There are ONLY three reasons for a lock NOT to open, in order they are:  
1.  Incorrect dialing sequence, operator errors,
2.  Incorrect combination, wrong numbers
3.  Mechanical problems.

As it has been around 18 years since you indicated both safes were opened, and as both of them are installed in concrete, it is very possible that you have severe moisture and possibly rust or corrosion problems which are keeping the locks from operating correctly.  

If you still can't get them to open and/or there is a mechanical issue, then you will need to have a trained safe technician - NOT a locksmith - from a local safe company check your safe out.   Check your yellow pages under safes & vaults for a local company.   If you don't have any, let me know where you are located (zip code) and I'll see who I might know in your area.

Hope this helps,


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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

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

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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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