Metal Detecting Tips & Tricks


Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced metal detectorist, some tips will help turn your hobby into more than just a fun pastime. The following article provides information on how to get started in the exciting world of metal detecting — no matter what experience level you may be.

The first thing any newbie needs is an inexpensive metal detector. Beginners should consider purchasing something simple and easy to use; experienced enthusiasts might want to go for high-end equipment with bells & whistles.

Whether you’re a novice or a professional metal detector enthusiast, there are plenty of tips and tricks to help your search for treasure.

If you’ve been interested in metal detecting lately, then the chances are that you have heard someone say, “it’s not so much where you look as it is how deep” or something along those lines. This saying can be applied to many aspects of life, especially metal detecting.

The truth is that all modern metal detectors use Pulse Induction technology to locate buried objects. The depth that these devices will go down depends upon their power supply (batteries or generator) and the sensitivity settings selected by the user. It also depends on the topography over which they operate. If you want to improve your digging skills, this article should prove helpful.

In addition, metal detection requires patience and persistence because most targets of interest are small and shallow. That said, if you concentrate on only one type of target, such as gold nuggets, you’ll probably end up missing out on some other items like silver bullion.

Try using multiple target-specific metal detectors in different areas to maximize your results. For example, you might start off using a low-powered handheld device with long-range scanning capabilities followed by a more powerful unit designed to hunt smaller targets closer to the surface.

Lastly, don’t forget the basics.

How Do I Get Better At Metal Detecting?

Metal detecting success comes from experience and lots of trial and error. There are no shortcuts here. You must practice, study, research, attend seminars, read books, etc., just like any other skill. You may never reach expert status until after years of searching and testing. But who knows — maybe you already are an expert without even realizing it.

Some people seem to have a natural ability to become proficient at metal detecting, while others need extensive training. Either way, everyone starts somewhere. Don’t give up too quickly. Be persistent and keep practicing. Eventually, you will begin getting consistent responses. Then you’ll realize that finding stuff isn’t really half as hard as actually making sense of them once you learn the process.

A great place to start is our Beginner’s Guide. A free chapter is available online called “How Does a Metal Detector Work?” which helps explain basic terms associated with metal detection.

Is It Better To Metal Detect When The Ground Is Wet?

It doesn’t matter whether the soil is moist or dry. However, it does affect the size of metallic particles. Generally speaking, smaller pieces would be harder to spot than larger ones, regardless of moisture content.

Also, dirt masks signals produced by lighter metals, particularly copper. So, if you’re going to dig in clay soils, make sure to take into account its effects on your readings.

On the whole, though, water usually makes things easier because it reduces the amount of electrical resistance between your coil head and whatever lies below. However, you may encounter cases where ice forms in your coil when it gets cold outside.

These create short circuits and interfere with your readings. Fortunately, warmer climates tend to alleviate this problem.

As far as batteries are concerned, newer models often come equipped with rechargeable lithium cells. Some metal detectorists prefer these options since they last longer and eliminate the hassle of swapping depleted alkaline packs. Of course, recharging takes time and money, so stick with standard AAs unless you plan on doing this regularly.

Finally, don’t underestimate the value of having extra battery chargers around.

How Do You Find Coins With A Metal Detector?

Coins are surprisingly easy to find with a metal detector because of their distinctive shape. Plus, some contain precious metals worth a few dollars, up to hundreds of dollars. As a result, coin collectors spend countless hours hunting for rare finds.

Most coins fall within the category known as a flat profile. They feature two parallel sides and generally weigh less than 1 gram each. Flat profiles include quarters, dimes, nickels, pennies, buttons, tokens, medals, foreign currency, and miscellaneous junk.

Also, pay attention to details. Most coins lack distinguishing markings, especially on older specimens. Therefore, features such as edges, corners, bumps, grooves, dimples, folds, scratches, scuffs, texture patterns, and color variations provide essential clues concerning age and mint condition.

Remember that coins have microscopic magnetic properties so that they won’t show up well in magnetized environments. Likewise, if you happen to own a metal detector sensitive enough to pick up steel parts, coins will likely disappear under piles of trash.

One final tip: Make sure you aren’t using a non-directional metal detector. Otherwise, coins could conceivably pass through your scanner.

What Are The Best Places To Metal Detect?

Gold, silver, and platinum occur naturally in rock formations, rivers, streams, lakes, mines, etc. Naturally occurring deposits containing these materials receive the most significant degree of protection. Hence, private property owners, municipalities, governments, and national parks commonly restrict public access. When it comes to locating valuable treasures, general rules apply.

For beginners, my favorite spots are the creek sides and riverbanks. Other popular locations include fields, forests, beaches, deserts, marshes, mountain passes, old ghost towns, and roadsides. Areas located next to highways are good choices, provided traffic has had ample opportunity to wash away possible contaminants. Remember to check local laws before heading out.

Of course, nothing beats personal knowledge. Before embarking on a trip, visit several spots beforehand, preferably during times of the year when conditions are similar to those anticipated during the actual expedition.

Take note of potential hazards such as wildlife, high voltage overhead wires, etc. And remember to bring along everything needed for survival, including food, drink, sunscreen, bug spray, first aid kit, etc.

Be aware that some jurisdictions regulate recreational activities involving metal detection. Local ordinances vary widely. Check yours thoroughly before departure.

Failure to abide by municipal regulations can lead to fines, confiscation of gear, impoundment fees, and legal action against individuals suspected of violating the law.

So please stay safe. Have fun. Dig smart. Happy Hunting!

Jason Smith

I am a former Marine who works as a Web Developer. I have five US States left to visit. I like whiskey, wine, coffee, soaking in hot springs or my hot tub.

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