Metal Detecting Tips from 25 years Experience

Metal Detecting Tips from 25 years Experience

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7) Share your finds! School children learning about history by viewing some of your finds in a display case at a local museum or from you first hand is the greatest joy you can ever get out of this hobby and is far more satisfying than finding gold. Trust me.

8) In old crumbling and abandoned homes that are still standing, I have the most luck in the area under the porch (often find coins under less than 1/2″ of dust) and in the bottom of the inside of the outer walls. Look for chewed up very old newspaper. Rats hid coins over the years and I have found many silver coins like this without even having to use my detector.

9) In high trash areas, I like to move way out to the outskirts of the area where there is less trash and work my way in. I like to begin a hunt in a new area with no discrimination to get a feel for the concentration of trash. I usually switch to discrimination only if I am tired of hearing trash signals, or just to switch approaches because I am not finding anything.

10) To identify very old home sites in the woods where there are no obvious visible signs, look for anything out of place such as a depression in the ground that may have been a cellar or a well, or out of place stones or rocks. High areas nearby a water source are good candidates as well. Keep in mind the original road/roads may be long gone. A quick scan with the detector will hit nails and verify a structure was once there. Spending the time to find an old topographical tax map of an area is a huge shortcut. I carry one of the handheld Garmin GPS devices to mark sites in the deep woods so I can find them again. It also keeps me from getting lost like I was in the Blair Witch Project!

11) Don’t be afraid to dig trash. I used to refuse to dig up anything that my discriminator didn’t like. When I started digging up more trash, I started also digging up more treasure. Remember a gold ring shows up as a pull tab on the detector, and remember a gold coin could be lurking under that cola can you refuse to dig up. You know the one I’m talking about!

12) I love old driveways that are no longer visible from above ground. You can identify them because the ground will be very hard about 1 to 2″ deep and has a dense concentration of small rocks in it. Old driveways hold great targets very shallow as they cannot sink. Once you think you have found one, survey the entire thing with a screwdriver or your shovel to get an idea of how the whole thing is layed out, and hunt it all on low sensitivity. Silver coins, jewelry and even a hood ornament to a 1950’s Plymouth are some of the shallow targets I’ve found in such.

13) Use proper digging tools and cover your holes appropriately. It’s probably best to use a hand digger in parks, and a Sampson shovel in the woods.  As stated, use the proper diggin tools for the area you plan to metal detect.

14) Take a kid detecting! Pass along the hobby and teach the kid something. A kid that is detecting is probably not out getting in trouble. Not only are you being a positive role model, you can negotiate with the kid for half of his finds! Just kidding LOL! Detecting also can be fun for the entire family. My wife and daughter love it. If you only have one detector, take two shovels and alternate using the detector and digging holes. You’ll dig more stuff!

15) Ever dig a giant pit and can’t find what the detector is yelling about? Spend the money and get a good pinpointer probe! Thank the Lord (and by proxy the manufacturers) for these things. I like the Vibra Probe and the Garrett ProPointer.

16) Redig and rescan every hole you find a winner in. When I was a kid, I didn’t have a metal detector, but I followed this guy around and dug coins out of the holes he had already extracted a target from and abandoned! True story. I like to spend the extra time to dig a few more inches and use my pinpointer one more time. Sometimes you will get an extra coin that your detector wouldn’t have hit. Also, check your shovel. I’ve had a coin stuck to it with gummy mud before.

17) Take care of your detector. Don’t sling it to the ground every time you get ready to dig. Keep it clean and dry and store it properly. Take the batteries out if you plan to store it for a long time. My Garretts are tough as nails, but these are expensive, sensitive instruments. Take care of your detector and it will take care of you.



‘The best luck of all is the luck you make for yourself.”  – Douglas MacArthur


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