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Purchased a locked safe, and need advice on affordable safe cracking!

Discussion in 'Shooting Gear and Storage' started by leadcounsel, Jun 3, 2013.

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  1. leadcounsel

    leadcounsel member

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    A real adventure awaits! (Yes this is gun related because I may find a gun inside, and it also helps others protect their gun safes...).

    I bought an old 1400 lb safe made by Gary. Appears to be a business style safe with a top access round door for small safe drops/access to top compartment, and also a main square front door, but that handle is broken off. Both are combonation style locks.

    The safe appears to be steel with concrete fill for weight and/or perhaps fire proofing. It was stored outside for some time. Safe is rusty on the outside, and the owner said that when he moved it some water drained from the bottom. It's about 2'x2'x3' in size.

    Safe probably has no more value as a 'safe' but I would like to preserve it as much as possible without total destruction. Cutting a hole in the back or prying the doors open IS an option if feasible. I definately need to access this bugger.

    I'm thinking realistically this was probably a small business safe, designed for employee drops. So theoretically it could and most realistically would contain paper money and coin money. It could also contain some precious metals or gems, if it were in that sort of business. Perhaps some jewelry. And possibly a handgun for protection for the business if they were robbed. I know that's all likely fantasy, but it's a cool adventure.

    If it contained any of these items, I fear that the paper money and any iron/steel metals would have been destroyed by the water. But coins, PMs, and jewels would survive...

    Anyway, who here has any experience or contacts in the safe opening business or can give me affordable options for getting into this safe?
     

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    Last edited: Jun 3, 2013
  2. Texan Scott

    Texan Scott Member

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    Thermite. 3:1 ratio Iron(III) Oxide and Aluminum, both finely powdered and mixed. Magnesium ribbon makes good fuse. A bit of Barium Peroxide makes great primer if you can source it. (Caution: VERY reactive oxidizer!)

    Stuff burns ~ 2200° F. Light the fuse and stay WELL CLEAR.

    DO NOT LOOK DIRECTLY AT THE REACTION.

    Be safe.
     
  3. mljdeckard

    mljdeckard Member

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    Not that the thermite idea isn't fun, because it is, and I would know,

    I would get in the yellow pages and start calling locksmiths. Are the hinges exposed? I suppose you could torch them off.
     
  4. leadcounsel

    leadcounsel member

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    Locksmith will run me $450 per lock. Not worth it.
     
  5. mljdeckard

    mljdeckard Member

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    Lay it on its back, torch, circular saw. :)
     
  6. rondog

    rondog Member

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    Can't help you, but I'm curious, how much did you pay for it? Seems like quite a gamble, ya pays yer money and ya takes yer chances.
     
  7. leadcounsel

    leadcounsel member

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    No torch. But for a saw blade, would a grinding style blade work best? And how many blades and hours of work would this take?
     
  8. rondog

    rondog Member

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    You'd probably need one of those blades for sawing grooves in concrete. Eye and ear protection and protective clothing/gloves would be wise too. If a blade comes apart it could be ugly.
     
  9. tarosean

    tarosean Member

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    your not going to be able to preserve it cheaply...



    if it were me.. a case of sawzall blades and a couple cases of beer... might be able to split it. The Beer is of course for your refreshment cause you will work your tail off...
     
  10. Dope

    Dope Member

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    I'd give it a go with an angle grinder with a metal cutting disc (or 10). They will probably wear down fast but they'll probably get you where you want eventually. I've cut through steering knuckles on fullsize trucks with them (1"+ solid steel). Maybe cut off those hinges, probably the fastest way without risking the contents.

    Dope
     
  11. rondog

    rondog Member

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    I'd still vote for a thin blade in a good circular saw. A grinder disc is too thick, and he thinks it's concrete-filled. I wouldn't waste time or money on a sawzall.
     
  12. leadcounsel

    leadcounsel member

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    Now I'm thinking a worm drive circular saw and a few carbide bits for cutting through steel and concrete...

    Cut a square 1'x1' out of the side or back of the safe.
     
  13. breakingcontact

    breakingcontact Member

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    Maybe I've watched Breaking Bad too much, is there a chemical solution?
     
  14. mljdeckard

    mljdeckard Member

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    Or drill a hole in the top, fill it with water, and drop in a 1/4 stick. :)
     
  15. Mike J

    Mike J Member

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    I'd vote for a side grinder with a metal cutting blade. It would get you in. A torch would be the easiest option if you knew someone you could borrow one from though.
     
  16. gamestalker

    gamestalker member

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    I'm quite familiar with those safes and can can tell you right now that there is no short cut to getting that safe open. I've had a dozen or so different variations of those business safes and it will no doubt require you to have a professional get it opened. As for prying it open, good luck, those safes are pretty stout and have very heavy locking lugs, probably on all four sides, if it's like any I've seen.

    GS
     
  17. leadcounsel

    leadcounsel member

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    If I'm able to get into the main bottom door/compartment (either using a professional locksmith or cutting my way in) will I be able to get the contents from the top section - for instance can I rotate a section to cause the items to 'drop' into the lower section?

    I'm trying to determine whether I can avoid the need to crack/open both top and bottom sections separately.
     
  18. JRH6856

    JRH6856 Member

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    That is what I was suspecting and the lugs pretty much rule out going through the doors by cutting the hinges (that's why the hinges are exposed--they present no security risk). Burning through the back or sides might require some exotic cutting rods which can get pricey. But so can carbide or diamond saw blades. Do you know anyone with an airplane? You could try dropping it. :evil:
     
  19. JRH6856

    JRH6856 Member

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    The two compartment drop safes we used were separate compartments. Really two separate safes in a single steel casing. Some of them even had a third locked compartment inside the lower safe.
     
  20. xxjumbojimboxx

    xxjumbojimboxx Member

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    I dunno what steel is going for these days, but id certainly take it to the scrap yard when i was done... even at a buck a lb... nice chunk
     
  21. beeenbag

    beeenbag Member

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    Wow, lots of advice about metal with very little experience obviously. Here goes...

    If the safe is carbon steel it will be easy to cut through either with an oxy acetylene torch or angle grinder cutting wheels ( they will not be too thick as a grinding wheel and cutting wheel are two different things, a standard cutting disk is very thin). Once you get through the outer shell you will come to meet either concrete or sheet rock, get a nice heavy hammer, a few flat chisels and go to work. If you contact another layer of metal repeat.

    Now if the shell is stainless or something like that, you could still use a torch or a cutting wheel, just keep in mind the torch will melt it but not cut it and thewheels will exhaust faster. No "exotic cutting rods" required.
     
  22. JFtheGR8

    JFtheGR8 Member

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    Would it be possible for you to drill some inspection holes in it first to see if there is even a need to cut it open? I don't know if you can get ahold of a fiber optic camera to look around inside or not. You might be able to get a cheap one from Harbor Freight. I'd want to know for sure before hiring a locksmith.


    Posted from Thehighroad.org App for Android
     
  23. buckstrucks

    buckstrucks Member

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    Be careful using a torch, if it is concrete fill the tiny air bubbles trapped in the concrete can pop and frag out particles n such. I would use a cut off wheel on an angle grinder, a 6incher will be good. Cut a 1'x1' one square out of the back or bottom then remove that layer of metal, then go to town with a bfh and chisel. I rate this as a 4 beer job.
     
  24. blarby

    blarby Member

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    Can you mechanically agitate the safe to see if anyting is sliding around in there ?

    FWIW- any businessman worth his salts empties a safe before discarding it.

    If you plan on being able to use it as a safe afterward, call the locksmith. No other way is going to get you admittance AND reuse.

    If not, the bottom is always the weakest point, and there is very little additional hardening from corners, additions, etc. I would tap 4 holes using a good steel boring bit, and make 4 long cuts using a carbide recip saw.

    After you find the contents, use your newfound riches to pay to have a locksmith reset the tumblers, and a welder put a new plate on the bottom. If its been outside in the rain, you may need new locks althogether. If thats the case, tapping the locks from the outide would likely do you no good for entry, as the release mechanism is likely rusted shut.

    Last option : call your closest major PD with a bombsquad, and ask the senior officer to provide a nice training aid for his guys, and a case of beer for the story....
     
  25. 76shuvlinoff

    76shuvlinoff Member

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    ^ This would be the cheapest first step to indicate the level of further investment.
     
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