Ballistic Lock Picking

Warning: I never condone my own behavior, so don’t take the following as advice.

My wife has this sweet vintage 1948 utility trailer that she loves hauling stuff around in.  It was her grandpa’s, and now it’s all her’s.  She was raised in the ‘hood (a crime ridden neighborhood), so she’s constantly paranoid about this sweet trailer getting stolen.  Therefore it HAS TO HAVE A LOCK ON IT AT ALL TIMES!  We were pulling a load of our kids’ bikes on a dusty logging road.  The dust was too much for the lock, and it jammed the mechanism.  I tried cleaning it to no avail.  The next day when I got home the trailer was still locked to the Expedition and the key was broken off in the lock.  Someone tried brute force.  That’s not good with brass keys.


Normally you’d think bolt cutters would be the thing to use.  The lock wasn’t going to budge under them, and there wasn’t room to cut it.  The chain is all original to the trailer, man, and you can’t go and cut something as cherry as that.

I decided that a .308 round might do the trick.  My wife was concerned about fragmentation, and that’s a good thing to be concerned about.  She might have been worried about the tires we just bought for it the previous week that cost $1000.  I’m not exactly sure.  Mostly I hear that “wha-wha-wha-wha” sound that Charlie Brown’s teacher makes when she talks about stuff like that.

I chose a bonded 168 grain bullet, as my experience has been that it really holds together and keeps driving forward.  Not just a little bit either.  That thing will just keep on trucking right through all kinds of stuff.  Don’t ask me about my testing, just rest assured that it’s been extensive.

I parked the Expedition in a gravel pit and presented it so the lock would be broadside.  My distance was 37 yards.  My hold was a half mil.  I tried for the cylinder itself, missing only slightly.





It was definitely looser after that first shot, but it was still on.  No signs of damage or concerns with fragmentation at that point, so we decided to proceed.  It looked like there was still a portion of the mechanism to the right that needed to go, so I aimed slightly right.



Obviously that did the trick, and the chain was left completely undamaged, as was the rest of the vehicle, and of course the sweet vintage trailer.


The lock made a nice necklace for my 17 year-old daughter.  It’s a nice conversation-ender piece when boys want to talk to her (but probably only in my imagination).



9 thoughts on “Ballistic Lock Picking

  1. Wow. I had such high hopes that it would be received as high literature breaking new ground on the cutting edge of, uh, whatever. Oh well.

  2. Oh oh…. I see a new gun law being introduced !

    Be afraid, save the children (and Explorers) and all that ..

  3. “Warning: I never condone my own behavior, so don’t take the following as advice.”

    Now there’s a refreshing bit of honesty! Too funny.

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