Think SMALL: Opening a Meilink Hercules Wall Vault

Dec. 11, 2023
This job is made much more difficult because of the extremely small size of the lock

This job involves opening a Meilink Hercules wall vault by drilling. Drilling such a tiny lock requires skill and caution. The whole lock body is only about an inch and a half by two inches. Small means a small target when we’re trying to drill into there and penetrate. It’s a very, very small target.

There are a couple of different options for this job. You have to choose which method to use.

One of the ways is to come up underneath. You’ve got the small dial right there. You drill outside the dial and you kind of angle in to the lockbody and the wheel pack. Because it’s so small and compact, that’s very difficult to do – or do accurately. You have to guess how thick the safe is and what angle you’re going to need.

The fence is at the top and, on this particular model the bolt is going to the left. Because the fence is up top, if you drill up underneath, then you have to do a transfer hole or you have to transfer, which means you line all the gates up at that hole and then do the math to figure out where your fence is so that it can drop in, or you just keep thumping them incrementally.

You can start off where you are. So if the lock is at 50-25-20, then you could do 51 or you could go back – whichever way you’re trying to go – and then you go up a sequence of numbers or down a sequence of numbers to get that transfer to roll around. Basically, every time you line them up, they’d be lining up each time all the way around the lock until eventually you get where that fence is and they’d fall in. Or you can do the math and try and get there a little quicker.

Take it from the Top

I didn’t want to do that. Manipulation and transferring just don’t work for me. I’ve got to get in, see and feel to know what I’m doing, and then I’m confident moving forward. So I chose to come in from the top.

The combination dial was on zero. I came in on 5 away from the opening side or away from the lock bolt towards the hinge side and came in at a decent angle. I don’t have an angle meter so it’s hard to give an exact measurement, but the photos show the drill and the angle that we used. It’s not quite 45 degrees, maybe like a 35-degree angle. That put me right where I needed to be. It put me right at the fence. The scope hole came right in.

Next time I would not angle in. I angled in toward the wheel pack but I also tilted in toward the lock as well.  So if I’m on 5, I drilled in toward the crow’s foot or the indicator up on top where you line the combination up. I would not lean in so far next time because I showed up right at the fence. Any closer and it would have damaged things and drilled the fence off. That would not have been good!

This allowed me to see the edges of the wheels, the drop-in point and the fence; it allowed me to see everything. I was able to dial it right in, extract that combination right as we were dialing it in and get a medical-grade scope in there. A 30-degree scope was all that I used for this one because the angle was already there. It just popped right open.

It worked out great – no damage to the wheels. I serviced the lock, took it apart, cleaned all the parts, made sure there were no rough burrs or edges and removed some metal and pieces of drywall. Cleaning everything out is a very important step. If you need to, you could change the combination.

Put everything back together and then run the combination several times to make sure there’s no wheel drag and make sure nothing’s hanging up. That’s going to be your biggest challenge here – actually putting the lock back into service after you open it. I don’t think they make these locks anymore. You’d have to buy them used off of eBay or something.

That is the Meilink wall vault opening process. Choose your best way to do it. It is less conspicuous to come up from the bottom. It’s an easier repair. It’s probably better for some safe technicians.

I prefer coming in from the top, straight down. It’s much more risky with greater chances of damaging the lock. That can happen.

The size is what causes the difficulty.

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Wayne Winton is the owner of Tri-County Locksmith Services, located in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. For more information, check out Wayne’ and

About the Author

Wayne Winton

Wayne Winton is the owner of Tri-County Locksmith Services, located in Glenwood Springs, Colorado.