Pennsylvania Firearm Owners Association
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
    (Northampton County)
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    Default PSA: Please read if you own a Winchester Safe . . .

    I felt compelled to pass this info along to others that may own this safe . . .

    Almost 3 years ago I purchased this 24 gun Winchester safe from Tractor Supply:
    https://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/pr...g?cm_vc=-10005

    The electronic lock on this safe worked flawlessly for almost 2.5 years and then I started having to enter the correct code twice almost every time in order to gain access. After about a month of needing to enter it twice it started requiring the code 3 times. At this point I realized there was an issue and I should contact Winchester. Unfortunately I put it on the back burner until the lock would no longer accept our code at all. I replaced the battery thinking that was the issue, but it wasn't. We continued to enter the correct code sporadically for 5 days until we finally got lucky and it opened for us. And VERY lucky we were, as there are countless stories out there of owners with this safe never getting back in and having to have it drilled. (and then replaced)

    Once we got it open I called Winchester support first and they immediately said that it was out of warranty and that my only recourse was to call a locksmith. I called a local safe locksmith and asked if he could swap out the electronic lock with a manual one. He said it was no problem, came and looked at it, and told me that it would likely be around $380, but that he would get back to me in 24-48 hours with specifics. After 72 hours of nothing I called him and he made it clear that he didn't want the job.

    At this point I pulled the locking mechanisms apart to figure out the make/model of the electronic lock and called LaGard, the manufacturer. The woman I spoke with was very forthcoming once I won her over with 20 minutes of idle chitchat . . . turns out that the Model 3710 electronic dial that these safes shipped with have a high rate of failure, particularly when any number is used multiple times in the sequence of your code. She also told me that 99/100 times an electronic lock failure is due to the dial/push-pad failing, not the actual locking unit. (The locking unit on this safe is LaGard part #LG4200) Since the unit was out of warranty she referred me to a company by the name of TimeMaster that specializes in lock replacement parts. This company only sells to distributors and locksmiths, so you need to make it clear that YOU are doing the work, otherwise they won't sell straight to the consumer.

    I called up TimeMaster and they told me right off the bat that the 3710 unit is a piece of shit and they fail all the time. He told me that the 3710 unit is no longer manufactured and that the 3715 is the replacement unit. The only issue is that the 3710 mounts with bolts at 3 and 9 o'clock and the 3715 mounts at 6 and 12. Because of this, I ordered the newest and most improved version that mounts up with both patterns, part #3750. That said, the Winchester safe listed in the link above provides mounting holes at 3/6/9/12, so you can save $30 and just go with 3715 as a replacement. Once I got the 3750 ($90 shipped), I replaced the unit and found that the locking mechanism, NOT the dial itself, retains the code and decides whether to unlock the safe or not. I can't say for certain which was the offending unit, but after testing I felt confident that the issue was with the locking unit and not the dial. With that, I called TimeMaster back up and ordered part #LG4200. This ended up being $100 shipped, but after a week of trial, everything seems to be functioning at 100% on the very first try, every time.

    It should be noted that we're in/out of the safe at least 4 times a day, so although we suffered a catastrophic failure before 3 years, I imagine the lock will last longer for most people. That said, as soon as you start having to regularly input the code two or three times, DO NOT WAIT, BUY THE REPLACEMENT PARTS. Trust me, it's not worth not being able to get to your belongings. In my case, I bolted the safe into the floor, and the locksmith told me that it would have run us $400-500 to drill it open, plus the cost of disposal and obviously a new safe. So instead of the worst case of over $1,200, or the $380 the locksmith wanted, I spent ~$190 and did it myself. I will not publicly disclose how to dismantle and replace the lock, but if you're in a bind, PM me. I will note that the 3750 dial unit seems to be built MUCH better than the 3710 from both a security and craftsmanship standpoint, so I'm glad I upgraded. Please feel free to ask any questions regarding this safe, at this point I can probably answer the majority of them.

    ******* UPDATE *******

    It's been over three years since I installed the replacement parts and they're still working perfectly!
    Last edited by BionicMan; March 16th, 2018 at 11:08 AM. Reason: Update

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    On the range, Pennsylvania
    (Berks County)
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    3,125
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    21474845

    Default Re: PSA: Please read if you own a Winchester Safe . . .

    Thanks for the info. Hope it helps someone. Perhaps me.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Warminster, Pennsylvania
    (Bucks County)
    Posts
    619
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    7577822

    Default Re: PSA: Please read if you own a Winchester Safe . . .

    That really sucks. When I went safe shopping, everyone kept telling me that the electronic locks never failed. I ended up having to special order a safe with a manual lock...hey...at least it was cheaper than the e-lock version...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Dillsburg, Pennsylvania
    (York County)
    Posts
    291
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    218802

    Default Re: PSA: Please read if you own a Winchester Safe . . .

    Thanks for all the information BMan. I just picked up one of those after their Holiday sale. It's not my primary safe, just used to store some misc. and not often shot guns, but hey, it's still better than stacking them in the closet. Your research is great and I think I might go ahead and pick up those parts so I'm ready to go at the first sign of trouble... I doubt I'd be as lucky as you were.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Quakertown, Pennsylvania
    (Bucks County)
    Posts
    3,617
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    Default Re: PSA: Please read if you own a Winchester Safe . . .

    Sorry to hear about that. That's why I would never own a safe with an electronic lock.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Southeastern PA, Pennsylvania
    (Montgomery County)
    Posts
    55
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    71089

    Default Re: PSA: Please read if you own a Winchester Safe . . .

    That sucks, I have a Winchester 10-gun safe from Tractor Supply, luckily it is the one with a manual dial lock. The electronic ones made me nervous.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
    (Allegheny County)
    Posts
    2,533
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    Default Re: PSA: Please read if you own a Winchester Safe . . .

    Glad it worked out for you!! Dodged a bullet for sure.

    $650 lock box.....that's about as cheap as it gets. You know they're going to cut corners in lots of places. The lock is a good place to do it. LaGard? Anyone heard of them before now? At least they were honest with you about their quality. I would have replaced it with an S&G unit though.

    Also helps me justify my decision never to go with one of those electronic locks. The few seconds saved when opening is just not worth it in my view.
    Last edited by free; February 20th, 2015 at 11:52 PM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    South Central, Pennsylvania
    Posts
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    6167359

    Default Re: PSA: Please read if you own a Winchester Safe . . .

    Quote Originally Posted by RockIsland View Post
    Sorry to hear about that. That's why I would never own a safe with an electronic lock.
    +1 for me. I bought a safe with a mechanical dial.
    μολων λαβε

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Somewhere, Pennsylvania
    (Chester County)
    Posts
    1,072
    Rep Power
    3508848

    Default Re: PSA: Please read if you own a Winchester Safe . . .

    "Well, my days of not taking you seriously are certainly coming to a middle"

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    The land o' cotton, old times there are not forgotten
    Posts
    3,536
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    0

    Default Re: PSA: Please read if you own a Winchester Safe . . .

    Thanks. I don't have one but I always looked at electronic locks as something waiting to fail.

    I am curious, why are you opening your safe so often?

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