A Complete Guide on How to Open a Master Combination Lock


The use of padlocks is a convenient way of keeping your items safe. Most people opt for a master lock, which gives them tighter security from intruders. However, many people have gotten to a crossroads after forgetting their master lock combination. There are many standards methods of opening a master combination lock. Some people choose to go the destructive way by opening the padlock through bolt cutters, shim, blowtorch, and even locksmiths. However, you don’t need to use the destructive way to open your master lock because there is a safer method, the old-school combination cracking. This is the most elegant and non-destruction way to use. Note that you can use the old-school method and still spend countless hours to get the right combination. This is quite a long time. The following is a complete guide on how to open a master combination lock using a shorter time. A standard master lock with 40 digits has 64000 combinations. That would take the average human about 177 hours to crack randomly. Here are a few simple steps to follow to open your master lock successfully.

1. Determine your Master Lock’s Model

Determining the model of the master lock is critical in cracking a master lock. The reason behind this is that you may find yourself having spent time trying to crack a master lock, yet the steps you are following do not apply. In other words, certain models may need additional or distinct procedures according to their configuration. Therefore, you need to confirm your lock model, which you can check at the back of your lock. There are some cases where it may not be possible to crack your master lock, an example being a lock whose model starts with 800 and 902. However, this should not discourage you from trying if your model begins with these numbers because it may also work though this is not guaranteed.

2. Clear the Lock

The thumb rule for cracking any lock is to establish a standard point from which you can launch your cracking process. When it comes to the master lock, the starting point is clearing the lock. To clear the lock, you should start by spinning the dial a minimum of three or four times, ensuring you pass the zero mark every time. You should spin clockwise and ensure that you stop on the first number of the combination. Next, spin the dial again clockwise, one full turn passing the first number you had stopped at and stopping at the combination’s second number.

3. Crack the 3rd Number in the Combination

After clearing the lock in the cracking procedure, the next step is to look for the 3rd number of your combination. This may sound a little bit odd. You could be wondering why not start by cracking the first number in the combination. However, you must start by finding this number because it has only a single possibility, while cracking the other numbers has many possibilities. So how do you go about cracking the third number? You need to start by applying tension to the shackle of the master lock. Note that shackles come in many different lengths and widths depending on the padlock. Here you need to use one hand to grasp the lock to apply tension. You should then use your finger to push on the shackle upwards. At this point, while upholding the same upward pressure, you need to start rotating the dial gradually but this time in an anticlockwise direction. Note that chances are the dial will get stuck on the zero mark once you apply force, hindering you from rotating it. If this happens, worry not because all you need to do is release the force you have applied on the shackle and rotate the dial to the first or the second number on the list in a counterclockwise direction, which means turning to the left. You can reapply the pressure on the shackle upward and once more try to rotate the dial anticlockwise. This way, the dial will leave the zero mark where it could have gotten stuck.

4. Find the 1st Sticking Point

While rotating the lock’s dial in the anticlockwise direction as per the step above, you will find yourself reaching a point where you cannot rotate the dial freely. You will notice that the dial is stuck in a groove between 2 numbers. You should, however, try to turn the dial slightly clockwise (right) and to the same position once more as you hold the pressure on the shackle. This is now your 1st sticking range. You should note down the two stopping points in this grove. For instance, let’s assume that when spinning in the anticlockwise direction, the dial stopped at 5 and 7 when you spun in the clockwise direction. This means that your sticking range is between 5 and 7. The next step is finding the sticking point, that is, the mean of the sticking range, which is number 6. It is possible for the dial to stop halfway (a number with a decimal point). In our case above, you may find the dial stopping between 5.5 and 7.5, meaning the sticking point shall be 6.5.

5. Find the 2nd Sticking Point

Having found the first sticking point, our next objective is to get the second one. To achieve this, you have to start by releasing the shackle tension and then turning the dial slightly clockwise past the 1st sticking point, 6 or 6.5 in our example above. The turning should therefore be past the highest number of the sticking rage of the 1st sticking point. If we are to use our example above, it should be past number 7 or 7.5. This ensures that you have escaped the first sticking point. At this point, you can repeat the process of getting the sticking point by reapplying the upward tension on the shackle and turning the dial in an anticlockwise direction until it jams again. This way, you shall obtain the second sticking point.

6. Find the Rest of the Sticking Points

Having obtained two of the twelve sticking points, you need to look for the remaining ten by repeating the same procedure to crack the 3rd number in the combination. Ensure that you record all the sticking points as you had done with the first two.

How to Crack the 3rd Number in the Combination Using the 12 Sticking Points

Having recorded the 12 sticking points, it is time to crack the third number. Here is how you should go about it. You may have noticed that seven of the twelve numbers are fractions while five of them are whole. You should cancel the numbers that are fractions and remain with the whole numbers. If the steps were well followed, you will find that these numbers end with similar digits except one, which is called the lucky number. An example may be 1, 11, 21, 29, and 31, meaning that 29 is our distinct number and hence the third number. It is important to repeat the procedure if all your numbers apart from one do not end with a similar number. Note if you have two numbers that end with a different number from the rest, it will be hard to tell the lucky number. If you make assumptions, the procedure may not bear results.

7. Crack the 1st Number in the Combination

As aforementioned, cracking the other numbers leaves you with ten possibilities. To begin with, you have to divide the distinct number or the third number by four. In our case, it is dividing 29 by four. When you have divided, your concern shall be the remainder which is 1. 29 cannot be divided by four; you will have to divide it by 28 and have one as a remainder. It is also important to note the remainder you get should only be four numbers (0, 1, 2, and 3). You should tell there is a mistake if you get a different remainder from the four you are supposed to get. With the remainder (1) in our case, we can get the ten possible numbers by adding 4. You add four to 1 you get five; then you add four to five, and so on. In our case, this is what you should get 1, 5, 9,13,17,21,25,29,33 and 37. You now have the ten possible numbers that you will have to use later, together with the third and second numbers.

8. Crack the 2nd Number in the Combination

Having cracked the first number, you should be able to crack the 2nd number. To crack the 2nd number of your combination, you go back and check the remainder you used in the above step. In our case, the remainder was one. You are supposed to add two to one (1+2). However, you should note that if your remainder had been two or three, you would have been expected to subtract two from it. From what you get either through addition or subtraction, you should add four as you did with the remainder in the first step when you were cracking the first number. For example, in our case, we had one as a remainder. Therefore, it should be 1+ 2, which is three. You take number three and add four to it and continue adding the results until you get the other ten possible numbers. However, you should ensure that three is your first number on the list. In our case, here is what you should have; 3,7,11,15,19,21, 25,29,31,35 and 39. You now have the second list of the ten possible numbers.

9. Crack the Combination

You have now cracked the first and second numbers, the answer being these ten possible numbers in both cases. You also have the third number, which was the lucky number (29), in our case. You have now reduced the normal possible 64,000 combinations to 80 possibilities. It is, therefore, now easy as you can try all the combinations until you settle for the one that works. This is how to go about it. You rearrange the results you got by putting the first possible ten numbers, the second possible ten numbers, and finally, the lucky number as we have indicated below following the calculations we made above:

  • 1, 5, 9, 13,17,21,25,29,33,37 (First 10 possible numbers in the combination)
    3,7,11,15,19,21, 25,29,31,35, 39 (Second 10 possible numbers in the combination)
    29 (the third number in the combination)

You should then start trying the numbers out. In our case, we start with 1,3,29 followed by 1,7,29 you move on to the last number before picking on the 2nd number in the list, which is 5,3, 29 followed by 5,7,29 and so on. If you are lucky enough, you will not go through the 80 possibilities before cracking the combination.

Points to Note when Trying Different Combinations

You must start by clearing the lock, which you achieve by rotating the dial a minimum of 3 times in the clockwise direction before trying the combinations. After clearing the lock, you should rotate clockwise and get to the first number, 1 is the number in our case. Next, you should rotate the dial anticlockwise past your 2nd number, which is 3 in our case, until you come back to it. Lastly, rotate the dial again in a clockwise direction until you get to the third number, which is 29 in our case. The first combination may fail to work; you should continue trying all the combinations without skipping any since you don’t know which combination will work for you. You will not take long to find the magic combination, meaning that you will have been able to crack the master lock successfully.

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