Advanced technique for finding the second number on locks with more than one sticking place

On some locks, it may be possible to find the second number, using the following technique. This technique works best on locks where it is always noticeably harder to first turn the dial left at a sticking place. The basic procedure will go a lot faster if you know the second number, since there are only 17 combinations to try instead of 340.

This technique may take some practice to learn. Even then, the lock must cooperate with you by having its second number at a usuable sticking place. I have found that the locks cooperate often enough that this technique is worth a try. It is helpful to try this technique out on several practice locks (locks with known combinations) first.

Locate all the sticking places on your lock. Make a note of the numbers at the ends of the sticking ranges. For example, on one lock the sticking ranges are:

2.5-3.5
6.0-7.0
9.0-10.0
12.5-13.5
16.0-17.0
19.5-20.5
22.5-23.5
26.0-27.0
29.25-30.0
32.5-33.5
36.0-37.0
39.25-0.25

Turn the dial at least two turns to the right, stopping just past a sticking place. Now, turn the dial left and stop, very carefully, just beyond a sticking place. (Examples: for the sticking place 2.5-3.5, stop at 2, then left to just after 2.5, for the sticking place 39.25-0.25, right to 38 or 39, then left until just after 39.25. Pull the shackle hard and turn the dial left to the other end of the sticking place, and note how hard the dial is to turn. Continue to pull just as hard on the shackle, turn right to the beginning of the sticking range and left again to the end of the sticking range. Did the dial turn just as easily when you turned left the second time? If yes, the sticking place is, quite likely, around the second number. Use the number closest to the middle of the sticking range as your second number. (If the middle is half way between two numbers, use the place half way between as your second number.)

If the dial was easier to turn, just turn left to just inside the next sticking place and test it. Keep trying sticking places until you get half way around the dial. Then, turn the dial two turns to the right and stop just before the sticking place where you left off.

To recheck your work at any sticking place, turn the dial one turn to the right, then one turn left to the begining of that sticking place, and try again. Repeat as many times as you need.

If you have not located the second number, you have a second chance. Repeat the process with reversed dial directions as follows:

Turn the dial at least two turns to the LEFT, stopping just after sticking place. Now, turn the dial right and stop, very carefully, just past the end of a sticking place. (Examples: for the sticking place 2.5-3.5, stop at 3.5, for the sticking place 39.25-0.25, stop at 0.25. Pull the shackle hard and turn the dial right to the other end of the sticking place, and note how hard the dial is to turn. Continue to pull just as hard on the shackle and turn left to the end of the sticking range and right again to the beginning of the sticking range. Did the dial turn just as easily when you turned right the second time? If yes, the sticking place is, quite likely, at the correct second number, but reached from the reverse direction.
Subtract 3 from the number in the middle of the sticking range and use that number as the second number. (For 0, 1, and 2, add 40 first and then subtract 3. Example: you found 1, add 40 to make that 41, and then subtract 3. Your second number is 38.)

Continue trying sticking places, going right (instead of left.) About half way around the dial, spin the dial twice left to just beyond the sticking place where you left off, and proceed from there.

List the possible first numbers that go with your second number. Start 6 marks after your second number, count by 2, and end 2 marks before. Example: second number 3, start with 9, then 11, 13, 15, etc., ending with 1. Dial the first and second numbers normally (as if they were the correct first and second numbers in the combination,) and then right to a test sticking place to check if they are the correct numbers. If so, locate the third number. If not, redial the cumbination normally, using your next possible first number.

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