Lesson 7: Drilling Locks - Part 3

Drilling the Retainer Bolts
When drilling for the sheer line fails, there is another option. Drilling out the retainer bolts will remove the lock from the door. From here you can use a flat-head screwdriver to draw back the latch and open the door. Drilling for the sheer line is the quickest and cleanest way to drill open a door lock but only works when the tailpiece and cylinder are functioning. When one of these mechanisms fails you will have to drill the retainer bolts from the lock. The retainer bolts are the two long screws found beneath the thumb turn. They hold the deadbolt onto the door. You can drill out the retainer bolts from the front of the lock. On most locks, the retainer bolts are found on the 3o’clock and 9o’clock position.

How to Drill the Retainer Bolts

      1. Put on safety gear.
      2. Set up your tools in an area around you. Pick out an appropriate drill bit to use. Establish where you believe the retainer bolts to be. Typically they are at the 3 and 9o’clock position. You will need to drill both of these. The retainer bolts hold the locking mechanism onto the door. By drilling out the retainer bolts, the front half of the deadbolt will fall from the door.
      3. Drill pilot holes to ensure you are hitting the retainer bolts. The retainer bolts will look like metal rods inside the lock.
      4. Drill the retainer bolts. You want to go in as straight as you can. Apply a light amount of forward pressure. If you apply to much pressure you will break your bit. Visually check your progress as you go. You are trying to drill the bolts so that they no longer connect to the front of the deadbolt.
      5. Once you have drilled the retainer bolts you should be able to remove the face of the deadbolt from the door. It may fall off easily or you may have to put in some force to remove the lock from the door.
      6. Once the lock is removed, insert a Flathead screwdriver into the latch where the tailpiece fits. Turn your screwdriver to draw back the latch. The door should now open.

Congratulations! You have successfully drilled a lock!

Series Navigation<< 07 Part 2 – Drilling a deadbolt cylinder07 Part 4 – When to Drill and when not to Drill? >>