How To Open A Winchester Safe Without The Combination

Ryan Womeldorf
by Ryan Womeldorf
Losing or forgetting your Winchester safe combination can be a disaster if you don’t know how to bypass it. Luckily, there are a few ways to open your Winchester safe without a combination, but the easiest one is with a safe key. Whether it be using your key or prying it open, let’s take a look at how you can open your Winchester safe without a combination.

A safe can be a sound investment in protecting the things that are most valuable to you. It is the extra layer of protection that we desire to keep those truly valuable and important items as protected as they can be.

But what happens when you lose the combination? Does that mean that you are trapped without access to your valuables? For a dial safe, you can use the emergency key, remove the panel, or crack the safe by force. Digital safes have similar options and will need to be opened manually.

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Why Would You Need to Open a Safe without the Combination?

If you have the combination to the safe, why would you need to learn how to open it without one? Well, things happen in life and there may come a time where you forget what the combination is. Keeping it stored in a secure yet accessible location is important, but it is still possible to lose that combination.

So, if you want to gain access to your valuables, you will need a way to open the safe otherwise. That can mean an emergency key, removing dials or panels, or even cracking it open. The latter is a last-ditch effort and should only be done when there are no other options.

Opening a Winchester Dial Safe without the Combination

There are two main kinds of safe out there: dial and digital. The dial safe is the older model and has a dial that is turned in sequence to unlock it. There are plenty of methods out there, but most of them involve damaging the safe.

Doing any damage to your safe should be the absolute last thing to try. There are other methods that can work when it comes to opening a dial safe without the combination.

Step 1: Find the Emergency Key

The first thing that you should do is try to locate the emergency key for the safe. For just about any safe out there, you will have received an emergency key for just such an occasion. If you forgot the combination, you would need to remember where you keep the emergency key.

The emergency key is as good as a combination. Without it, you are left to find other methods for opening the safe. Try to be responsible by keeping the key in a well-hidden spot whose location you will remember.

Step 2: Remove the Dial Panel

If you can’t recall the combination and you don’t know where the safe’s emergency key is, don’t lose hope quite yet. Start by removing the panel covering the safe’s dial. This is pretty easy and can typically be done without the use of any tools.

Do not use a tool or household item to pry the panel cover off. Using a tool to pry the cover off can potentially damage the panel and compromise the integrity of your safe. Remember, you want to get into the safe, not damage it along the way.

Step 3: Find the Notch

When you have the dial panel removed, take a look underneath of the dial itself. You should be able to find a small, rounded notch. This is where you would use the emergency keyhole. The keyhole itself is meant to blend in with the rest of the safe, so it may take some time for you to spot it.

Generally speaking, manufacturers will use different locations for their emergency keyhole. If you can’t find it on the bottom of the safe, it could be on the side. Just give the safe a once over to determine the location of the keyhole.

Step 4: Using the Key

When you have located the keyhole, insert the key and turn it until the safe pops open. Make sure that you return the key back into its original position before you remove it from the emergency keyhole.

If you do not return the key back into its original position, the safe may not lock. You also run the risk of the emergency key failing entirely the next time that you need to use it. Take the extra time to ensure the key has been properly turned.

Opening a Winchester Digital Safe without the Combination

More modern safes can also come with a digital keypad. Though the principal is the same – using a combination to open the lock – the execution may be slightly different. Keep the code for your safe in a secure spot.

Even doing so, you may forget the combination or lose it. While it isn’t the end of the world, it will make getting back into the safe a much more difficult endeavor. Keep that in mind and be extra careful so as to not misplace the combination.

Step 1: Emergency Key or Reset Button

Some digital safes will come with an emergency key. If yours doesn’t, then you will need to press the reset button to return it back to the original settings. To start, you will have to locate the bolt openings on your safe.

The bolt openings can generally be found on the back portion of the safe, though it may depend on what model you have. Some of the smaller digital safes out there have bolt openings on their base instead, so give it a quick once over.

Step 2: Inspect the Bolt Openings

When you have found the bolt openings on your safe, use a flashlight to shine light through each of the openings. Check each of the bolt openings to find one that lets you see through to the interior keypad of the safe.

You will need to locate the keypad before moving to the next step. If your safe came with a user manual, try looking it over if you can’t find the safe’s interior keypad. Depending on your model, it could be in a different spot than you thought.

Step 3: Use a Rod or Hanger

When you finally know which bolt opening to work with, you can move on to the next part. You need something long and thin – a rod or coat hanger should work fine – to fit into the right bolt opening. A coat hanger in particular is a good option as it is thin and steady enough to get the job done properly.

Whatever you want to use, you can. Push the hanger or rod into the safe in order to hit the reset button on the safe’s interior keypad. The reason the interior keypad is so tough to get to is that it is not meant to be reset regularly. You might have to hold down the reset button for 10 seconds or longer in order to institute the reset.

Step 4: New Combination

When you have properly reset your safe, it is time to set the new combination. To do this, you simply punch in your new combination on the interior keypad before hitting the “set” button. Most digital safes project a beeping noise when the new combination has been properly set.

Should you not hear that beeping noise, you may have to hold the “set” button down again. Hold it down for a good 10 seconds or so as you did in the previous step. If you don’t hear a sound after pressing down the button again, you can safely assume that the code has been properly set.

Step 5: Remove the Rod

With the new combination set, you can take the rod out of the safe. Put the new combination in on the exterior keypad of your safe to ensure that you punched it in currently. Should the safe not open with the new combination, you will have to repeat the process from above.

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How To Open A Safe Without The Combination

Other Ways To Open A Winchester Safe Without The Combination

Brute Force

When all else fails, there is always the option to go with brute force to open the safe. There are a wide range of methods that you can use to crack the safe open, but just keep in mind that it will damage the safe in the process.

For the most part, cracking the safe involves some kind of hole drilling while picking the lock from the inside. Drilling is typically only effective for older safes as modern designs are impervious to lock picking from any angle.

Blow Torch

On a more modern safe, you may have to use a blowtorch or saw. This is the absolute last thing that you should try as it will irreparably damage the safe, requiring replacement. Moreover, it is dangerous to use a blow torch unless you are an experienced, skilled professional.

Take it to a Locksmith

Speaking of professionals, you can always bring your safe to a professional locksmith. They may have methods for opening the safe that will not do permanent damage to the safe. Even if they have to, it is better to get your valuables out than having them stuck in the safe.

Keep in mind that this can be something of a pricey endeavor. If your safe is heavy enough, you may not be able to bring it to a locksmith. You can call them out to your home, but that may involve extra fees and costs.

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Ryan Womeldorf
Ryan Womeldorf

Ryan Womeldorf has more than a decade of experience writing. He loves to blog about construction, plumbing, and other home topics. Ryan also loves hockey and a lifelong Buffalo sports fan.

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