Metal detecting tips

Four Basic Questions About Treasure Hunting

1. What are some basic methods of finding treasure?

Metal detecting is one method that is very popular; the flip side of this is dowsing, which uses either a couple of L shaped metal rods or a Y shaped branch. Salvage divers are also treasure hunters and operate by doing massive research. Gold panning is a popular sport for many people in most areas and is relatively inexpensive to get started at. Beyond that there are any number of ways to hunt for treasure because there are any number of definitions of what treasure is. Some people will search for rare or silver coins among rolls of coins purchased from banks. Others will haunt yard sales hoping for the chance to buy a valuable antique for little or nothing. One enterprising friend of mine bought a small dish at a yard sale that turned out to be made of fine silver and worth many times her investment.

Treasure hunting is widely practiced by many people and metal detecting is just one method of going about it.

2. What kinds of places are good to hunt in, and how might I find these?

Good places are everywhere. Just because someone else has already searched there does not mean that there is no more treasure there to find, either. Consider searching at beaches, parks, fairgrounds, sports parks, flea markets, in places where roadside vendors have parked, at boat launch sites, school grounds, around footpaths, docks, gravel parking lots, and any other place that people have been. Old homesteads and ghost towns are often locatable by contacting the local historical society for advice, or by purchasing copies of old maps and atlases.

3. Name some good brands or types of equipment to use?

Top brands include Whites, Garrett, Minelab and Tesoro to name just a few. These machines can easily run close to $1000 if you get a top end model with all the bells and whistles. Unless you are absolutely certain that metal detecting is a hobby that you will stick with for awhile, it probably makes more economic sense to buy a less expensive machine to learn on.

No matter how expensive the locator you purchase, there is still a learning curve involved. Metal detectors work by sensing the presence of metals through the change in an electronic field emitted from the search coil. To let you know that there is metal within range, the locator will usually display something either on a graphic display or a gauge AND at the same time a beep or other tone will sound as an audible alert. These tones are different for each different type of metal. A penny will produce a different tone than a quarter or an old nail. It takes some time to learn to differentiate these sounds and to use accurately pinpoint the location of the metal object beneath the surface.

An expensive detector in the hands of someone who cannot use it correctly may not produce as much treasure as an inexpensive machine in the hands of an expert.

4. Name some good resources to find help with metal detecting and treasure hunting?

One of the best resources is a metal detecting club if there is one in your area. Many manufacturers also offer videos in the correct operation of their products, and YouTube often has a multitude of short videos explaining how to do many things including treasure hunt.

Electronic Metal Detectors are Great Gifts for Children and Adults

Metal detectors are great gifts for children and adults. Even a low-cost unit can encourage children to turn off the TV, leave the couch and get outside in the fresh air…well, okay, if they’re normal kids they will leave the TV on–but they will still go outside to play.


As a hobby, treasure hunting can be relatively inexpensive. You need to buy a detector, a couple of digging tools, and some small bags to carry home things found while searching. There are usually no membership fees unless you join a club, or really any other costs involved except perhaps batteries.


Where most people get stuck is when it comes to picking out the metal detector itself. There are so many choices that it can be difficult to decide which unit to buy. One thing to keep in mind is that children will be using the device. That means the unit needs to be solid enough to handle getting banged around without breaking and cheap enough to easily replace if it gets busted.


If a children’s metal detector is in the budget, consider how many children will be expected to use the same metal detector. Some families expect to buy one unit and share it among several children. This will work as long as only one or two of the kids decide they like treasure hunting. If several children all want to use the unit, it may be better to buy lower-cost units and purchase more than one.


Also, remember that the more expensive metal detectors may be more than the kids really need or can understand. Many children are happy digging up pull tabs from the back yard and you don’t need a very expensive unit for that. In electronics, cost is often a sign of a more sophisticated product and treasure hunting is no exception to this rule. High-end machines from Whites, Tesoro, and Garrett will usually offer features and sensitivity that most lower-cost detectors don’t have.


But, for children is that necessary? Maybe and maybe not– if the child is serious about the hobby, it may be reasonable to spend a bit more money on a more powerful and feature filled device. Many parents will buy their children good-quality guitars or computers for gifts because they expect the children will use them and there is no reason not to follow this pattern with children’s metal detectors.


What if this is a first unit and the child has never treasure hunted before? Then the decision is up to the parent how much money to spend. Remember that a poorly functioning unit will be miserable to operate and may cause the kid to lose all interest in using it (and thereby being outside in the air and not on the couch). That said, it isn’t necessary to spend an inordinate amount of money on the project. There are several reasonable detectors available for right around $100 and even a couple of passable ones that are about one-half of that.


So, don’t panic if a junior adventurer asks for a children’s metal detector, the cost doesn’t have to be astronomical. And remember that beyond the detector there really aren’t that many costs involved.




Metal Detectors: 5 Hints for Beginners

Hint #1

There are many places that are open to metal detecting, but whenever you are searching a location that is off your own property, it is wise to seek permission to search. In many cases this is as easy as asking the property owner, or the person in charge. For the most part people will allow you to search as long as you are not destroying lawns or flower beds. So be prepared to carefully remove and replace sod when searching on someone else’s lawn. Sometimes public parks will have limitations or restrictions on metal detecting, so it is always a good idea to check the park rules before beginning to dig.


Hint #2

Many people equate the price of a metal detector with its ability to find treasure. In many cases this may be true, but it is probably better to read many reviews and search for the best metal detector that the money you have can buy. The temptation in many cases is to spend more money on a metal detector than you have, and sometimes that additional cost may not provide a significant enough functional improvement to justify the extra money. So consider carefully based upon a balance a budget and needs. This is an especially important consideration when purchasing a children’s metal detector, since it is important to find a rugged and reasonably low cost unit, but still have something that the child can use. If the metal detector is so inexpensive that it cannot find any metal, the child won’t play with the toy for long.


Hint #3

Learn to use your metal detector and you understand what the gauges, readouts, and sounds are trying to tell you. Different manufacturers will use different methods of signaling the operator when an item of particular interest has been passed over by the search coil. Beginners can usually pick these signals up fairly easily, but to become really proficient with the metal detector expect to spend some time practicing. Time spent learning to use the metal detector can be an important parent-child bonding time during which everyone can have a good time.


Hint #4

When considering accessories it is important to think about the area or location where the metal detector will be used.


For beach searching, a sand scoop is very helpful. The same item would not be of much use at all when working in most backyards. For working in the backyard a probe, garden trowel, or one of the newer digging tools specifically designed for treasure hunting is highly useful.


A small box or pouch for carrying found items is very useful. Scuba divers frequently carry mesh bags and such an item might be useful for working at the beach as long as the match was small enough to prevent small items from falling out.


One very handy accessory is a carrying case for the metal detector. This can keep a metal detector clean and free from dust when stored in a closet waiting for use, and it can also help carry some of the other accessories necessary for the hobby.


Hint #5

Learn how to research. One easy method is to visit the local historical society, Museum, or library. These places often have a wealth of information about the location of old buildings, factories, stores, homes, schools and other places where people may have congregated in the past. Generally, places where people have congregated are places where you will find treasures lost.


Metal detecting is a great hobby for young and old alike. With a little bit of research, a little bit of practice, and little bit of luck, almost anyone can be successful. You need



Metal detector tips – deep targets

An electronic metal detector can provide hours of fun and entertainment for children and adults. The hobby can be something as simple as a trip to the beach, or as complex as an archaeological dig requiring months of research. These 2 extremes require slightly different techniques as might be expected. Let’s take a look at some of the techniques required for deep scanning, which is often associated with relic hunting.


Many experts recommend that you avoid discrimination mode when relic hunting. For one thing ID machines may not be terribly accurate when pinpointing targets at the maximum depth that the machine is able to work. Often items that have been in the ground for a long time may develop a halo of rust or mineralization around them. These halos can prevent metal detectors from properly identifying the object. So, the advice is usually to turn off discrimination mode and to dig all targets.


When pinpointing targets that are thought to be deeper than an inch or so, try varying the speed of the coil sweep and swing the coil in an X-shaped pattern. This will give the best opportunity to hear the tone produced by the object to determine if it is an actual object or merely an area of mineralization in the soil.


Another tip is to dig a shallow hole and then rescan by placing the coil down inside the hole. If the signal is still there or is louder you can continue digging. If the signal has disappeared it is a clue that the object may be in the soil that was removed from the hole already. In this case scan the pile of soil and sod that was removed from the hole.


When relic hunting it is helpful to have some idea what might be underneath the ground. Some locations are filled with Civil War relics and on these sites there may be a large number of small lead balls, buttons, belt buckles and occasionally larger objects. On the site of an old store, the object may be primarily coins, nails, and other smallish metal items. The difference between these two locations is that one will likely have a lot more lead items than the other, and because one site is likely much older than the other the items from one site will likely be deeper than those found on the other site.


Older items are generally found deeper in the ground than newer items because they have had much longer to have soil accumulate over top of them. Therefore it is important to know something about the site you are searching in order to have some idea of how deep to search, and what type of item she might be looking for. A flattened Civil War bullet may look like a piece of scrap if you were to simply dig it up on the beach. But, found on a Civil War battlefield that same small piece of lead becomes a piece of history and something you can take home and treasure.


Metal detectors really aren’t hard to use and the hobby isn’t hard to learn. Like every other sport there some simple guidelines and rules to follow, and it takes practice, practice, practice.


Metal Detector basics – Do you swing slow?

Metal detectors are great fun, and an excellent way to get some exercise on a sunny afternoon. But, just like any other hobby you have to learn how to use the equipment. One thing that puzzles many people new to the hobby is how slow or fast to swing the search coil.


There really is no set speed, or any requirement that you move it at any given speed. For the most part people well experienced with the hobby will say that it is best to swing the search coil very, very slowly. The coil should also be held parallel to the ground when working. With that said, there are special circumstances that can occur when it might be advisable to move the coil differently.


If you are trying to pinpoint a target that your detector has found, is handy to move the coil in a X-shaped pattern so that you can help locate better where the metal object is underground. It may also be handy to move the coil a little bit faster sometimes when a target seems iffy. In other words you will sometimes have occasions when the metal detector signals a target but you can’t quite determine if it is a valid target were merely an anomaly caused by mineral content in the ground. In these occasions it may be better to move the coil of it faster or to vary the speed when passing over the area where the target is that you can see how the sound changes.


Most experts describe search coils as having an invisible cone shaped area underneath that is formed from the electromagnetic radiation of the machine. Because this cone gets smaller the deeper it goes in the ground is necessary to overlap each sweep of the coil to cover as much deep territory as possible. Some experts recommend a 50% overlap and other experts recommend even slightly more. The more times you are willing to overlap your swings the faster you will be able to swing the coil.


The speed that you swing your coil will also depend in large part on the coil size. Smaller coils will have a smaller cone underneath and therefore won’t be as able to find deeper items, unless those items are quite large. Larger coils will do better on finding deep objects and she may be able to move to larger coil faster if you are only hunting shallow targets.


A metal detector’s coil may also be scrubbed across the ground or through the grass. This often is not terribly effective, but will sometimes provide an opportunity to find objects that might otherwise be missed. Often, it is necessary when digging objects, to swing the coil over dirt dug from the hole in order to ensure that nothing has been missed. Sometimes small objects like pennies and small rings can easily be pulled from the hole with the sod and if you don’t go back over with a metal detector you may miss something is very important.