Home High Security and Challenge Locks (1041) Attacking the Bowley

(1041) Attacking the Bowley


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My vises are made by Panavise, a U.S. Company.  The one with the wide jaws is the model 350.  The smaller one is the model 301. Both have the 312 Base mount – www.panavise.com



  1. Design question Bill, Is the slot in the inner cylinder wide enough to accommodate the locking pins?

    The reason I ask is because having looked at the Bowley video it becomes apparent that there are 2 shear lines in that lock. The normal one to open the lock, but also a second one to allow the inner cylinder to turn. The top of the key achieves alignment with that second shear line. This being the case, I would have to question the purpose of the actuator slot. Is it there to drive the actuator, or is it simply there to give the key the 2 positions required to accommodate the 2 shear lines?
    Once the key is pushed into the slot, the pins drop onto the key, once down they lock inner and outer sleeves together don’t they?
    If that’s correct it gives to 2 attack options.
    1 File that bump key down so its flat, cut a slot in the back end and fit it to a Kronos. If the dropped pins do drive the actuator and the Kronos does it’s magic you can actuate the lock with the Kronos.
    2 Simply turn the inner cylinder with a long flag pick until it lines up with the pins and see if they fall out. It would be something of a design flaw (I’d bet it’s not the first time you’ve come across one of those!)), but looking at their video, the only thing stopping those pins and springs falling into the inner cylinder is the key!
    Option 2 is a one way trip, but hey! the lock is open.

  2. Wow ! Now that’s a nice tuff lock !! Is that “stainless” ? Does BOWLEY make any other type of locks (ie., padlocks etc)?? I get Boli’s (Stromboli’s) at my local pizzeria . . . …lol

  3. Bill: Looking at your bump key more closely, I think it’s flawed. I don’t think it bumps pin 1 at all. It only operates on pins 2-5. There’s no tooth behind pin 1.

  4. Bill: Ryan says elsewhere that each lock has a long pin to prevent bumping (which would be pin 3 on your key). It has to be all the way down to open the lock (i.e., the key doesn’t have to touch it at all). So if the bump key is touching that pin at all the lock won’t open. Theoretically if you use those rubber washers and the bump key retracts completely after the bump you could still bump it, but this makes it harder.

  5. Wouldn’t it be better to take the key and shave off the part that sets the pins? This would cause the pins to fall into the rotating cylinder. Which might allow you to push the key in and get it to turn. It looked like there was enough space for the pins to fall down into the rotating cylinder without the key setting them in place.

    1. I don’t think the pins fall down into the cylinder. I think it’s like any other lock in that there is warding to stop the key pins from falling too far.

    2. After some more thought, I think you’re right that the key pins can drop down really low into the rotating cylinder. Surely, though, they must have designed it so that the driver pins are long enough that they don’t get below the shear line.

  6. That key is really thick. Imagine that you had five of those bump keys, each with just one tooth, and each 1/5th the thickness so that when you stack them together you get something that looks like the bump key. Now you can wiggle each bump key separately by one pin spacing width. You would be single-pin-picking, but with a pick for each pin. It’s an idea.

    I think the end of the tumbler lock is approaching. They will be supplanted by electronic locks soon. Even with this lock, all you have to do is set up a spy cam to take a picture of the key when the user unlocks the door. If you have a picture, you can make a key.

      1. From what I found, the key is .080″ thick, so you could stack five .015″ half-diamonds next to each other. Each half diamond would work on one pin. I think the half-diamond would have a steep back so that it wouldn’t interfere with the adjacent pin. You want it steep but not so steep you can’t pull the “key” out. I’m thinking you might have a thumbscrew for each half-diamond sliver so you could move them in and out.

  7. Odd video I ever seen, Looks like a “Bump” or “Picking” proof. I guess we will have to wait for one to improvise the new picking technique and see if they can find a way to pick the lock open. I guess the drilling will do the job, on the other hand, I don’t like the looks of key cause, if you pull it out of the pocket and it will tangled the fabric of your pant and tear the fabric.

    Let me know if you succeed the picking of the lock, I would love to buy or make a new picking tool.

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