Usefulness of lockpicking?

Thomas Walker

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First off: I'm not entirely sure this is posted in the right section. If its not, feel free to let me know and/or change it.

That said, in a recent post in the trainhopping subforum, it was mentioned that intermodal transport offers little to no shelter from the weather unless you can find a container that is unlocked. A website that I found (and can't find anymore) said that these containers are often secured with some hefty pin-and-tumbler locks, which use the same mechanism as, for instance, the lock on the front of a house. This is a link to the product page of such a lock. This led me to think, "What if you just picked one of those locks open and waltzed on inside?" I then found this video, in which someone picks a similarly secure lock in just barely more than 30 seconds.

Before the onslaught, I'd like to point out that yes, I know this is highly illegal and yes, I know that getting caught would probably a felony and jail time out the wazoo. This is all just hypothetical.

In general, lockpicking seems like a useful skill, not just for breaking into containers, but also perhaps breaking into locked abandoned buildings for squats. Does anyone out there use a lock picking set, or know someone who does? How useful is the skill in practice?
 
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Stiv Rhodes

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I know how to pick locks a bit but I'm not great at it. Master™ locks are the easiest and are common enough to make the skill useful. It is a skill that improves gradually with lots of practice. The better you are at it, the quicker you can do it and the more sophisticated locks you can do. There are a couple issues. One is that it requires such a delicate touch that your ability is affected by your emotional state, so being nervous or scared of being caught really makes it a lot harder. The other thing is that old locks that sit out in the weather a lot build up grime and corrosion inside and become much harder to pick. There is an element of luck to it. Locks with low pins in front and high pins in back are trickier than locks with the pin arrangement the other way around. I've opened a lot of squats, and only used this skill to do so once. I mostly use it to unlock locks that are not installed on anything in order to rekey them. It is handy for Master Locks.
 

eli

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Dec 10, 2017
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Eugene OR
Another issue to note is the added charge of 'possession of burglary tools' on top of a trespassing ticket. Same goes for bolt cutters. It can add a felony charge :/ It might be a better idea to try and catch the rear power, if you're worried about freezing to death or whatnot. Edit: It is a useful skill though, for sure. Something cool to have in your wheelhouse.
 

oak moth

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i have fucked with locks a bit. it's not easy even when you have a certain grasp of what you're doing which means i guess roll around and unlock padlocks and such a lot for practice. someone i knew was making tools out of street sweeper bristles.
 
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central oregon
if you want to try your hand at lock picking i suggest making your own. its pretty easy, you just need a dremel with cutting wheels, hacksaw blades, and pick templates. cut out the templates and glue stick them on the hacksaw blades. then trace with a pencil because the paper with burn and get wet while shaping them.
locking picking can be useful if you have the time to pick the lock. i usually only use it for small locks like toilet paper or desk drawers.
 

Zaphod

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I have practiced lock picking a bit but from what I've read, bump keys are the way most people go for getting into buildings. Much easier and quicker
 
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if your trying to get into shipping containers all that they use to lock them in a plastic or wire tamper evident tab that can easily be broken. not a good idea I do not recommend. if the weather is really that bad move down to the rear power if there is one.
 

wokofshame

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if your trying to get into shipping containers all that they use to lock them in a plastic or wire tamper evident tab that can easily be broken. not a good idea I do not recommend. if the weather is really that bad move down to the rear power if there is one.
yeah what he said. Shipping containers almost never have keyed locks on them, instead they have the tamper seals. In addition to the plastic or light sheet metal seal, there is usually a "high-security" seal like this
images-jpeg.47956_Usefulness of lockpicking?_Weapons & Tools_Squat the Planet_8:01 PM
, or sometimes this
images-1-jpeg.47957_Usefulness of lockpicking?_Weapons & Tools_Squat the Planet_8:01 PM

Also you may find a bolt with a nut threaded on and then bent so the nut can't be spun back off.
Both these seals are actually surprisingly easy to break with commonly found, non-tool objects. I'm not going to say what those objects are because having people breaking into containers on RR property is bad for riders (causes more active bulls actually driving around and watching trains, as opposed to bull just sitting in office drinking coffee, or not showing up to work at all). The entire idea of riding trains should be to leave no trace. Breaking seals is antithetical to riding freely. The only containers you should ever be riding are empty.
 
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Jackthereaper

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Oct 5, 2018
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Earth
It would be very difficult to maintain tension on a moving rocking train. I imagine it would be a challenging pick if you even find a lock. I am pretty sure they lock the containers at sea, but they use tamper seals typically once on the RR

I usually have a set of stealth lockpicks on my person, but i havent found them useful very often. Usually to get some temporary shelter in an abandoned house etc. But i have typically found easier opportunities and getting the picks out can be challenging at best
 
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TheDesertMouse

Pilgrim
Joined
Aug 23, 2018
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49
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Centro America
Do Not open shipping containers on trains. Ever. Unless your life depends on it. The one thing the RR’s really hate is getting their shipments fucked with. This is a top notch way to blow entire lines up, screwing over every rider after you potentially for weeks. Not to mention the prison time...

Not worth it bro. Go hop a unit or wait for the weather to pass.

Now in general. I’ve found it situationally useful when you need a sheltered place to sleep. Popping the lock on a shed or squat is useful. But honestly I only ever really need to do this twice a year? Maybe more if I’m up north in winter? I lost my picks about a year ago and I havent missed them tbh.
 

train in vain

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Out there
Useless for containers. But dont break into containers anyway thats fuckin dumb. If you were inside a loaded container and rolled past mr bully bullerton looking at the seals and you got caught inside...whew buddy YOURE FUCKED. So no breaking into shit...Unless youre robbing the trains..then..well...good luck. Haha!
Lock picking was something I tried and couldnt get the hang of. There are other easier(i think)brute force ways to get past most of the shitty locks you will run into. It could come in handy though..never hurts to learn some new skills.
 

Jackthereaper

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Oct 5, 2018
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Earth
Lock picking was something I tried and couldnt get the hang of.
If you still want to try i find most beginners dont put near enough tension on the lock, you wanna be bending that tension wrench a little. Lockpicking lawyer on lube tube is a good source of info
 

train in vain

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If you still want to try i find most beginners dont put near enough tension on the lock, you wanna be bending that tension wrench a little. Lockpicking lawyer on lube tube is a good source of info
I may have watched some of his videos there were a few different people who really seemed to know what they were doing with just about any lock. I figured ssome simple deadbolt kinda lock wouldnt be too hard. WOOPS.
 

Zaphod

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Jul 27, 2015
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Current Location
Cincinnati
The way I kinda figured it was that I was never gonna sit there and pick something for too long. If it doesn't open with the rake and wrench I'd go on to plan b
 

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