When it comes to target recovery, one of the most important tools that you have available is your digger. Whether it be a metal detecting shovel or hand digger, using a good digger is important for a few reasons:
1) Dig Better Plugs
2) Recover Targets Faster
3) Avoid Scratching Targets
4) Less Digging Effort
As shown in the list, one benefit of a great digger is that you can dig cleaner plugs. By that we mean that you are able to cut smoother edges as well as do less damage to the grass which allows you to put the plug back together much cleaner.
Fast target recovery is important because it means that you spend less time digging and more time recovering targets. If you spend 5 minutes digging each hole, at the end of the day a majority of your time will have been spent digging. That means less targets per hour, and that’s never desirable. We want to increase our finds per hour!
Scratching targets is always a possibility, but if you are using a probe to coin pop, or using a cheap digger that makes you chisel at the ground, you are increasing your chances at ruining the find of a lifetime with a huge scratch.
There is a reason that we teach people to dig a plug, and dig… Around… your targets. Probing the ground blindly, then shoving a screwdriver under the coin such as they do in coin popping puts the detectorist at risk of scratching a coin, every time he probes for a coin.
Instead, we teach detectorists to dig a U or C shaped plug, around the target, in an effort to avoid scratching a coin that could possibly drop the value of a rare find. Likewise, digging the U or C shaped plugs makes putting the soil and top back into place, quick and easy.
Having and using a good digger is imperative for proper target recovery. You just never know when the next target will be that $20 gold piece you have been searching for. Do you want to risk scratching that coin by probing for it, or would you rather decrease your odds at disappointment?
One of the best parts about using a good digger or shovel is that it requires less effort to break through the ground and rocks. After a 4 hour hunt and digging 200 plugs, a cheap digger will wear you out! I went from a cheap digger to a 31″ Sampson shovel and as such, my digging time went from 3-4 minutes per target to a decrease where now I can recover a target in 1 minute, or less in most instances.
Using the 31 inch Sampson shovel, I can dig a clean plug, and pop a 7 inch plug out of the ground in less than 30 seconds, and recover the target with my pinpointer in 30 seconds or less in most cases.
The fact is, the Lesche Sampson is the best digging shovel I have ever used! It is what it IS, and I don’t have to sell that FACT. Ask anyone who owns a Sampson and they will tell you that they recover targets faster, use less effort digging, and can dig better plugs.
At just 31 inches, the Sampson is smaller than a traditional shovel, and due to it’s design as a Metal Detecting Shovel, the Sampson performs exactly as advertised. After using the Sampson for a short period of time, I now carry it everywhere I go detecting.
Some say “But you shouldn’t use a shovel in a park.” They are right, a traditional full size shovel is a no no! Just do not do it!
As far as the 31 inch Sampson, all I can tell you is that I have used my Sampson in every park, public place, woods hunting and everywhere in between and never once had an issue with anyone complaining.
One of my favorite things about my Sampson shovel is that I use it to help me stand back up after digging which helps reduce stress on my knees! That’s always a plus!
On the flip side of that point, there are times that a detectorist will want to travel lighter and carry a hand digger. Some parks do have ordinances, so please check your local ordinances. Having said that… there are times when you will want to carry your hand digger, sometimes even when carrying your detecting shovel.
One good hand digger that is popular among detectorists is the Lesche Hand Digger.
A great use for the hand digger is for when you have the plug open, you can then go in with your hand digger and recover your targets more precisely.
Many times a coin will be in the side of your plug and having your hand digger handy will help you recover the coin with much less of a chance of scratching a great find.
As you can see, using a hand digger or shovel is not an “either-or”. You actually need both diggers for various reasons. Whether it be due to the location you are digging, the regulations at the location, or a personal choice of what to carry that day. Sometimes you want to be a lower profile in public places, and those times some guys choose to leave the shovel in the truck. That’s fine, there are times when you will use one and not the other, but regardless you still need both diggers in your arsenal.
I almost always have my hand digger in my backpack ready to use, even if I am predominantly using my 31″ Sampson. You never know when you may need the other digger.
Have both diggers on hand, and be prepared for anything, because as we know… “Failure to plan is planning to fail!”
Be prepared and spend less time digging and more time recovering targets!