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Locksmithing/Have key and combo and still cant open


I was a BIS safe with the key and combo but still cant open the safe. It has been at my company for 10 years and never used. I was told that I could have it and given the combo and key that came with it, bit they could not open it as well. What is the procedure with opening this safe? I attached a photo for the type of safe reference and the combo is 812060

Hi Ronnie,

The key lock on this safe is kind of like a dual custody lock - one person could have the combination and the second person could have the key.   In the case where one person has both, the key lock would be for a second level of protection.   This lock can be left in the locked or unlocked position, though it HAS to be in the unlocked position for the safe to open.

The combination lock on this safe is a cheaply made straight tail piece lock.  Due to its construction there are actually TWO combinations which will allow the safe to be unlocked.  The factory only gives you one of these combinations.  The reason there are two combinations is primarily due to the construction of the lock and the fact that it can be dialed either LRLR or RLRL   The factory isn't hiding anything they simply send the combinations for all of these safes with the same set of instructions and therefore only one of the combinations.

I've seen these safes with both three and four wheels, with the last wheel as the drive wheel.   I'll provide both dialing sequences.    As you have only provided what I assume are three numbers, I'll start with the three wheel lock first.

3 times Right to the first number,  81
2 times Left to the second number,  20
1 time Right stopping on the third number,  60

Turn the key lock all the way clockwise and try the handle.   If it doesn't unlock turn the key all the way the other direction and try the handle.

If it still doesn't open, then reverse the dialing instructions above or LRL instead of RLR and test it again.

If the lock has four wheels then the dialing sequence would be:

4 times Left to the first number, 81
3 times Right to the second number, 20
2 times Left to the third number, 60
1 time Right stopping at the last number - I'm not sure if you have any further combo info.

Follow the instructions for the key lock above.

If it still doesn't open, then reverse the dialing instructions above or RLRL instead of LRLR and test it again.

If it still doesn't open, then you may NOT have the correct numbers it may be time to contact a local safe company to have their safe technician either test the combinations or to open the safe and recover the correct combination.
If you have the correct numbers, it WILL open using one of the above sequences.

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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