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Barrel pins - why aren't they used more?

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Familiar Face

Posts: 29

Joined: Sat Apr 18, 2020 8:44 pm

Location: Czech Republic

Post Sat May 16, 2020 11:37 am

Barrel pins - why aren't they used more?

Hello,
looking for a easy to pick lock I raided our garage and found an old FAB euro cylinder. Unfortunately the thing is far from easy - the warding is quite restrictive, the key biting is also quite nasty (pin 3 is almost zero lift, 4 and 5 are quite the opposite); but the main problem are the driver pins...

barrel_pins.png


They are approximately 0.1mm thinner on the top and they are very frustrating to pick... When the lock is tensioned, one of the pins seems to bind (sometimes more of them), but when you push it, it goes down a bit and turn springy; but when the pick is lifted the pin goes back almost as high as it was before and you have to find the next most binding and repeat ad nauseam...
Then, after several minutes of just pushing pins almost at random the lock suddenly pops open (so far I tried 3 pins and spent several minutes playing with it, before it opened)...

I tried searching for more information on those, but found very little - one LPL's video mentioned them with advice to use "ridiculous" amount of tension, but not much more...

So the question is - why aren't such pins used more? Spools, serrated pins, mushrooms and the rest can cause a lot of trouble, but these pins do rob me of pretty much any feedback on the picking progression, which is very frustrating... Or is there any technique or trick that I managed to miss?

Thank you for your help,

Michal
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madsamurai

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Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2017 4:13 am

Location: Germantown, Ohio

Post Sun May 17, 2020 2:38 am

Re: Barrel pins - why aren't they used more?

I have something that has similar barrel pins, but can't remember now which one it was... I'll do a little digging after work tomorrow and see if I can find them again and take some pictures. I don't think it's a current production lock, but something that is a relatively recent high-security model. As to why they're not more common, I think they're not so great against raking/bumping compared to spools and serrated pins, and likely has some small amount to do with not looking as pick-proof to potential customers. They can be a tricky pick if you don't know they're there. Best technique I know is what you did, just keep nudging them down a little at a time.
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MHM

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Familiar Face

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Joined: Wed Nov 16, 2016 8:33 pm

Location: Napier, New Zealand

Post Sun May 17, 2020 9:07 pm

Re: Barrel pins - why aren't they used more?

You've raised an interesting question. This shape of pin isn't really used for pick resistance (although that's a small unintended bonus benefit). Their main purpose is to make the lock more forgiving of wear, dirt ingress, and lack of maintenance. Pick resistance - while interesting to hobbyists like us - is waaaaaaaay down the list of things that a lock manufacturer worries about for 90% of their product range.

Adding the small taper at each end is two extra manufacturing steps (for which read: cost) that the manufacturer could well do without. It's FAR cheaper just to cut a few mm off a piece of constant diameter wire, and call that a driver pin.

So...you're more likely to find them on robust but basic locks that DON'T have to be particularly high security, but DO have to stand up to the rigours of hard use in difficult environments. This is why the Australian Lockwoods have used slightly tapered drivers since time immemorial, which have only just been superceded in the last few years by the thin lipped Assa spools.

As far as picking these goes...yeah, moderate to heavy tension, and small, incremental clicks. That's really all there is to it although the largest trap for young players is hitting a bitting restriction - ie, you've clicked everything that you can with the hook that you're using and now something needs to be clicked with a steeper hook. But you don't realize this, so you just keep pushing harder with your standard hook...and thus overset something and have to start over. The golden rule is that if you run out of binders...try a steeper hook.
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Familiar Face

Posts: 29

Joined: Sat Apr 18, 2020 8:44 pm

Location: Czech Republic

Post Mon May 18, 2020 6:14 pm

Re: Barrel pins - why aren't they used more?

Hello guys,
thanks for the replies...
The truth is, that one half of the lock was full of soot (it was used probably in a boiler room), yet it still worked quite well...
Anyway, when the time comes for me to put together a challenge lock, I'll try and put couple of these pins inside :twisted:
Kind regards,
Michal

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