Sep 27 2011

Diggin History #83 Morgan Dollar dig!


1892 S Morgan Silver DollarI tell ya, I get so inspired and motivated when I see successful metal detecting videos! It’s been a dream of mine to find one of two things. A. A Morgan Dollar and B. a gold coin. I’ve gotten close with a Barber Half Dollar, but never landed the silver Morgan Dollar.. yet. But I’ll keep trying. Seeing people still finding them gives me hope that my Morgan Dollar is still waiting in the ground somewhere for me.

Anyway, enough of me, I came across this great recover video where a guy finds a great 1892 S Morgan Dollar along with a few other great coins. Watch and enjoy! The video was originally posted by TreasureFiend:

Here is a break down of the keeper coins he found:

1892 S Morgan Silver Dollar
1881 Indian head penny
1915 Wheat Cent
1916 Wheat Cent
1941 Wheat Cent
1920 Buffalo Nickel

I was also excited to see that he found these coins with a Minelab SE Pro, the same detector I’ve been using over the last few years. A great detector!

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Dec 26 2010

Garrett Ace 250 Metal Detector Tip – How To Pinpoint


Garrett Ace 250 Metal DetectorThe Garrett Ace 250 Metal Detector is a great entry level detector for the enthusiast metal detectorist out there. Over the years, I’ve been asked many times about pinpointing tips. I’ve said that pinpointing is EXTREMELY important to be good at. The faster you retrieve a target, the faster you can continue to metal detect again. If you’re not swinging a coil.. you’re not finding anything. Limit your time in the hole, to maximize your time on the hunt.

For those of you that aren’t familiar with the Garrett Ace 250, here is the description of the unit:

Introducing the ALL-NEW Garrett ACE series – not just a new line of detectors, but a new way of thinking. We’ve taken a lot of the leading edge technology and well thought-out features from our GTI and GTAx lines and packaged them into the most aggressive, rugged outdoor design in the business. These attention-stealing detectors are turning heads and sending the competition back to the drawing board. But put aside their aggressive very good looks and you’ll see just how significantly remarkable technology we’ve packed into these NEW machines. From custom notch discrimination, pinpointing, adjustable sensitivity and depth settings to the newest addition of the Performance coils series, the 6.5×9″ ACE coil, these detectors will never stop impressing you – or discovering treasure!

Here is a great video I found that goes into how to pinpoint with the Garrett Ace 250 Metal Detector by mowerdog:

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Jul 14 2008

Guest Post: Alabama bound


I thank my wife for purchasing my Lone Star Metal Detector last Fathers Day for me. It has sat idly for most of the last year due to the amount of snow we get here in Colorado. In preparation for my third deployment to Iraq, I went on leave from mid June to mid July of this year (2008). Alabama has been home to my family for years and in the back of my mind I have always wanted to detect a particular section of my Families woods. Years ago, while deer hunting, I noticed some bricks in the middle of the woods where there shouldn’t have been anything. I took my dormant Metal detector with me this time to Alabama and on day two I went to the old brick spot.

Right away I was getting beeps like crazy. I readjusted the sensitivity and Auto Notched the settings. I began to dig everything that beeped and was instantly rewarded with multiple prizes. I found over the next week, 2 old forged hoes, 1 shovel handle, half of an old watch, 2 metal bike seats, 1 metal tire ( I assumed was from an old baby buggy), 9 bullets, 2 of which I have matched with civil war era military bullets, multiple mason jar lids, a shovel head, part of an old plow and many other unidentified pieces of metal.

I may not get rich from my finds, but they helped to paint a picture of what life was like 100 years ago in the area. I had the greatest time doing this and have since returned to Fort Carson, Colorado, where I have found over 100 coins in the last week.

Thanks for reading and good luck to you all.

SSG James Blake

Aug 4 2007

Guest Post: El Talisman (A true story)


It had been about 9 months since my mother died when my sister called. She wanted me to go over to her house and look at some of mom’s belongings and to decide what I wanted for me. Shortly after I arrived she showed me mom’s jewelry box with a lot of items in it.

There were some beautiful rings and a lot of other stuff, pennies, old pins, pictures etc. While browsing through the box I noticed some big coin on the bottom.

“What is that?” I asked.

It was about the size of a dollar coin, kind of a silverish color, and had weird signs on it. I could see a triangle, a star and some wiggly lines, but no date. My sister did not know what it was and neither did I. I picked it up and looked at it.

“Do you want it?” my sister asked.
“Yea I guess so, maybe I can find out what it is.”

Went back to the house later and looked at the “coin” more carefully now. It had ridges like a coin but it was not a coin. Some of the signs on the coin were stars and what looked like small suns. Slowly it dawned on me what it was. I remembered seeing the commercial in Mexican TV channels. It was called “El Talisman” and it was supposed to be some kind of good luck charm and was meant to bring you riches and good fortune, a scam to get money from unsuspecting people. Mother had probably sent for it through the mail. Mom had been bedridden for years due to the effects of rheumatoid arthritis on her joints. She could hardly move but was a whiz with the remote control. Most likely when she received it, it was thrown in the box for safekeeping. I took the coin and for no particular reason put it in the cup container of my pick up.

Weeks went by and one day this buddy of mine called asking if I wanted to go detecting. Sure let’s go, I said. I picked him up and we decided to go to a school playground in a nearby town that we had not visited in years. We knew the playground was closed and locked but the plan was to find someone to give us permission to get in. When we got there we found the head custodian. My buddy went inside to ask permission, he’s good at getting permission, and when he got back he had big smile on his face.

“Let’s go!! We got permission”

The playground is about one and a half acres big, lots of ground for lost clad to be found. When I parked my pickup I noticed the talisman in the cup holder. I grabbed it and put it in my pocket. Once inside my buddy and I split up each going to one end of the play area. We had both been going at it for about an hour and I had almost nothing to show for it, two quarters and a dime. Wondering how my buddy was doing, I slowly worked my way towards him. When we crossed paths I asked “How’s it going?”

His response blew me over.
“Fantastic!! Already got me a silver ring, about 20 quarters and lots of dimes! Gonna be a good day!”

I could not believe he was doing so well, especially since we were using the same model detector, a RS2200, and we were hunting the same field. He didn’t ask how my day was and I did not volunteer any info. I worked my way back with the same results, hardly anything. I then remembered the talisman in my pocket. Supposedly the commercial said all one had to do was rub the coin and ask it for anything and the wish would be granted. Why not?? Let me give it a try. I reached in my pant pocket and felt for the coin. Rubbing it I said “Talisman, if you are genuine let me find lots of clad,” or words to that effect. Two steps later and as if on cue I found a couple of quarters together. Then the coins started to come in, quarters, dimes in pairs, lots of pennies. I even started to dig the low tones and started to find lots of nickels. I could now feel the weight of the coins in my pocket and but I was starting to get uneasy with each find. The more I found the more uneasy I felt. Was this so called talisman really working?? Was it for real?? Was I getting myself into some kind of evil pact with an unknown force? “Just my imagination” I tried to convince myself.

I kept going for another hour or so and the coins kept coming. I started to work my way back to my buddy to tell him we needed to leave. I wanted to go. I felt I needed to get out of there. Then I thought, I know how I can find out if this is real. Reaching inside my pocket, I found the talisman and this time I said “Talisman if you are really real you will find for me a gold ring. Find me one and I will believe.” Anyone that has detected before knows how hard it is to find a gold ring out in the field-almost impossible with all the pull tabs. Another 45 minutes later and no ring, I started to feel better about my clad finds. “All in my head” I thought.

Then my buddy called out and said “I think we should go. Just let me make one small round here and let’s get us something to drink.”

OK by me. I already had a bunch of coins and felt tired. So I walked over to a nearby ash tree to get some shade and wait for him dragging my detector as I went. When I got under the tree I got a low pull tab/nickel tone.

“Just another pull tab”, I thought and slowly started to dig it out. On the second prodding of the lesche, out popped a GOLD RING!! I felt my eyes widen and my jaw drop!! Oh my God!! It is true!!

I was still gawking at my find when Art gets there. “What did you find??” He saw the ring and congratulated me. “All right!! We can go now”

I never said anything to Art about the talisman or what I thought had been happening. I was feeling very nervous and had this weird uneasy feeling inside. Now don’t get me wrong. I am no bible thumping churchgoer but I do believe in God, do go to church and do believe there are evil forces out there. I knew what I had to do. As we were on our way home I reached inside my pant pocket, pulled out the talisman, and threw it out the window into some high brush by the road.

I sent the gold ring along with other gold finds to a refinery to get assayed. Since then I have found lots of other gold rings and lots of clad and that incident has become a memory only. The Talisman??— Well as far as I know it is still there by the roadside under some brush waiting for someone else to find it. Was it really real? Was it really evil? Did that Talisman really allow me to find the clad and the gold ring? I ask myself those questions still and come up with the same answer—I don’t want to know!!

Author: Pedro Rodriguez

Apr 24 2007

Technique for finding deep nickels (Minelab Explorer SE)


Some of you may know that I recently purchased a Minelab Explore SE and have been having good luck recovering old nickels. Lots of the ‘hunted out’ spots are definitely pretty cleaned out, but everyone loves to leave behind the old nickels. I started to change my strategy a bit and focus on these, since I love finding old V-Nickels and Buffalos.

I’ve been hunting with the new SE for about 2.5 months. The ground finally became semi-thawed in late-February, so I have been doing most of my detecting in March and April. My nickel tally for this year in this short time is as follows:

1 Shield Nickel
11 V-Nickels
13 Buffalo Nickels
4 Jefferson War Nickels

I’ve found a few old Jeffersons, but don’t like to ‘count’ them unless they’re the war nickels.

As I’ve been posting my finds on various forums including the forum, I often get private messaged, emailed and asked about how I’m finding these. “What program are you using?” “What are your settings?” “Are you digging a ton of pull tabs to find these?”

I thought I’d take this time to contribute a non-web site related article and explain my technique on recovering old nickels. My technique will obviously be based on the Minelab Explore SE, but could be applied to other machines easily.

Before the Minelab, I was using the White’s XLT and was having good luck recovering nickels as well. With nickels it’s important to know the behaviour of the coin when it’s in the ground. We have some basic principles that we can usually assume.

1. Nickels are larger than pennies and dimes.
2. Nickels corrode heavily when underground for many years.
3. Nickels can ID as pull tabs.

Items 1 and 3 are obvious, but item 2 might not be so obvious if you’ve never pulled a deep nickel. Just like with copper, you can get heavy corrosion with nickels. This corrosion can cause a ‘halo’ around the coin, providing extra mineralization that can confuse machines.

When I was using the XLT, I noticed that nickels deep in the ground ( > 4 inches) could span multiple VDIs, ranging from +20 to +50. Based off information provided by the signagraph and depth of the target, I would investigate further.

The Minelab Explorer IDs much better in my opinion. No matter how deep or how corroded, the target generally IDs in the nickel range. This makes that part much easier with the Minelab.

The interesting part when dealing with the Explorer is the discrimination. I’ve adopted the ‘All Metal’ approach, meaning I hear every signal under the coil. I’ve been recommended to switch to Ferrous tones and ‘All Metal’, and I will say, switching to this has revolutionized my detecting. Finds are up, and I have a much better understanding of targets. I believe the single greatest benefit for going ‘All Metal’ is to avoid nulling or blanking when sweeping your coil.

I would see mention of this early in my swinging days, but didn’t fully understand what this meant so I’ll explain it for the rookies out there. Basically, if your coil goes over a nail, for example, your discrimination will kick in to prevent the beep. Your threshold will break and there will be a small moment of silence while the coil goes over the nail. The issue is that if there is a coin next or near the signal, the machine may not recover in time to let you know about it, or you get a broken good tone (half nulled/half beep which you might think is junk). Going ‘All Metal’ you will hear both signals clearly.

The cons of ‘All Metal’, it is not for everyone, and it will take some getting use to.

Using the factory preset for coins, the discrimination pattern looks like the following:

This is a great disc pattern, but you could be missing deep nickels. Even though, the SE reads deep nickels as correctly as ‘nickel’, it does fluctuate slightly.

Here is a image of SmartFind with IronMask at 32 (All Metal), but the cursor is at the classic nickel location.

Now, this cursor can fluctuate left, right and up down slightly, but generally be in this area. Overlaying the stock discrimination pattern you’ll notice that it could possibly be clipped.

Converting to “All Metal” you won’t have to worry about missing these, or if you adjust your pattern to include a wider area around the target zone. Now, the above is fairly obvious. Nickel is showing up as Nickel… everyone can handle that. When I go out to “hunted out” parks and recover nickels, I do NOT have a collection bag full of pull tabs or foil. This is where it takes a bit more work and “risk”. The risk is you might miss a few recoveries.

The first thing I do when I get a good nickel tone, is check the cursor position. If it’s in the ‘zone’, I check the depth. If the depth is over 5″, then we’re in a good time period. No pull tabs in 1920, etc. This target is looking like a likely candidate for nickel. The next piece of the puzzle is the pinpoint.

Pinpointing is a valuable tool, and goes further than finding where the target is. I use pinpoint to “feel” the target. I’m feeling for two things. I’m feeling for the size of the object, and I’m feeling for the halo.

The Explorer SE has a very irritating trait. If there is a tiny target on the surface, the depth will be inaccurate and say it’s deeper, when in fact it’s on the surface or just below it. I can determine surface targets by the shape of the pinpoint. If I pinpoint left to right and front to back, and the signal cuts off sharply past the center, it’s most likely a close target. What I want to feel is the nice “round” pinpoint shape. I’m not referring to the object, but the gradual intensity towards the center and gradual release when I go past it. This is a sign of a deep target with corrosion. This usually applies for nickels laying flat or on edge. This fade of signal strength (in my experience) is more pronounced with nickels than pennies and silver, so it’s not as gradual with those coins.

This is basically my technique in a nutshell. This is not meant to be applied for every area. This is mainly focused for deep finds in hunted out parks, lots and lawns. If old nickels are near the surface, you’ll want to be digging the pull tabs and foil. I think you’ll be impressed with how many nickels are left behind.

For this technique to be apply to other machines, lower your discrimination to include a wider range around nickels. Depending on what unit you have, IDs can fluctuate. Learn to combine factors like depth and pinpoint strength to determine the target. Understand your environment, know where pull tabs and older coins are in the ground time line of your hunting area.

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Apr 1 2007

Guest Post: Trade Tokens


Tokens have been issued in every state in the Union and most territories before they achieved statehood. So, wherever you live, there is a specialty available in the tokens of one’s own locality.

Tokens of the West were started simply due to the lack of coins. Prior to statehood, coins in the Montana Territory were scarce. With little or no protest from the federal government, private companies had tokens minted for them to be used for change. Tokens generally were not redeemable for cash, only credit for drinks, cigars, candy, and general merchandise. Additionally, tokens were used by company stores to extend credit to their employees, farmers, and ranchers. Generally, you could not spend it anywhere else but at the issuing merchant, and this guaranteed repeat customers. This was a general rule. Many businesses accepted other merchants’ tokens. In many towns, local tokens were used as coins and were widely accepted.

The period of 1866 to about 1900 is referred to as the Saloon Token Era in the United States. Hundreds and hundreds of varieties were issued beginning about 1875. Montana Saloon tokens generally lasted until prohibition started, January 1, 1918. Prohibition in the rest of the U.S. started January 1, 1920. These are general dates because many counties or towns enacted their own prohibition laws locally prior to state or federal regulations. Saloon tokens have denominations such as 1 drink or 12 1/2 cents. These are highly sought after by many collectors, and are thus valued higher. For years, beer was 5¢ and a shot was 15¢ or 2 for 25¢. When paying 25 cents for a shot, customers were often given the option of receiving 10¢ change or a 12 1/2¢ token. This gave the proprietor a chance to get some free advertising and, once again, guaranteed a repeat customer.

Types of companies that made used trade tokens:

  • Arcade / Amusement
  • Barbers, Billiard / Pool Hall
  • Bi-Metals
  • Buffets
  • Cigars / Segars
  • Bakeries
  • Confectionary / Candy / Sweets
  • Dairies / Creamery
  • Druggists
  • Hotels
  • Ingle System Manufacturer
  • Mercantiles / Merchandise
  • Saloons
  • Sample Rooms
  • Soft Drink Parlors
  • Smoke House / Shops
  • Trading Companies.

    Where did the trade tokens end up at. That’s the million dollar question. When businesses failed or traded owners, the original owner wanted to destroy the tokens so as they wouldn’t be found and reused. Many went into the fire place. One common method was to throw the tokens into an outhouse. Many ended up in the bottom of the local river. In Butte Montana, one group ended up in a cement sidewalk. After many years, the sidewalk had to be removed and they were discovered. If you ever see a trade token from Butte, with small pieces of cement on it, its most likely from this hoard.

    Where to find Trade Tokens. Coin shops, antiques stores, junk stores, private collectors; but nothing beats finding a lost token in the ground. Tokens are valued from $3.00 to over $5,000.00 each. The most valuable tokens generally come from small town that only had one merchant who issued tokens. Saloon and Territorial tokens are the most desirable and demand higher prices. Some of the tokens are valuable enough to be counterfeited. Small chance of that happening if you find one with your metal detector! .

    Several guys were metal detecting in Gilmore Idaho. They found a poolhall token that was unlisted or unknown. That same day they found a Bannack Montana token. Last year a Montana token was found in Southern Nevada. These tokens did get around. Who knows what you will find where!

    If you ever find a Montana token and need additional information on it go to: This site has hundreds of Montana trade tokens pictures, contacts, and general information. Additionally a Montana Reference manual will be available soon. If you are lucky enough to dig an Idaho or Oregon token, the site also has links to Idaho and Oregon token web pages.

    Author: Roy D. Rubick
    Born: Butte Montana
    MT Tech Graduate
    Living in Idaho, Married, Children, Cat
    Hobbies: Metal detecting, Collecting Montana & Idaho Tokens – Presently writing a Montana Token Reference Manual (

    Always willing to help identify a token and always looking for someone to go detecting with in Montana.

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  • Mar 27 2007

    Guest Post: Good Medicine


    A few months ago I was diagnosed with kidney cancer. Now after surgery to remove my kidney, I found myself laid up in bed recuperating for at least a month. This was driving me nuts! All I could do was ease my way to the bathroom and surf the web. I must have Google’d every topic I could think of and then some. Two weeks of lying there was really working on me. Too much time to think about the “what if”.

    Anyway I searched for detectors one day and I was hooked. I had watched someone swing a big heavy metal cased detector many years before and it had always fascinated me. I ordered a Garret Ace 250 and figured it would come in about the time I was getting up and about. To my surprise it came within three days and I sat in bed with the ace spread out everywhere.

    Well I couldn’t stand it any longer. I dressed and made my way to the back yard. It felt great to be outside in the sunshine and just knowing that my wife wasn’t around to get on to me made it even sweeter. (She had gone to the office.) I wasn’t supposed to pick up over ten pounds, so I took it real easy. The Ace is a gem, it was easy to setup and use and within moments I was hitting targets all over my back yard. Needless to say I couldn’t bend over to dig any of my new found treasures, but it was a joy just to get out and swing; even if it was very short time.

    Within days I had regained much of my strength and was able to walk around with less discomfort. I couldn’t wait to go back into the yard, so I took my Ace and trowl and claimed my treasures. Mostly pennies but fun none the less. I’ve pretty well recovered now and I’m planning a camping trip with my family. You can bet I will be bringing my now two detectors with us. Detecting gave me the needed desire and exercise I needed to help me heal.

    I hope to be detecting for a long time and when I hit the big one I’ll drop you a line.


    Author: Jeff Cambre

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    Mar 13 2007

    Guest Post: Metal Detecting Field Tips for Coinshooting Success


    Here are some tips that I’ve learned over the years to help with coinshooting success. Some of you will already know most of these, but I wanted to provide them as a refresher for the veterans, and a useful guide for all newcomers.

    1. Purchase X-1 SunRay Probe or other pinpoint probe
    This is a simple concept. Spend less time digging and recovering your target so you can devote more time finding new targets. If you add up all the time you’re in a hole, you’ll notice that time adds up considerably. If you could cut that time in half, and spend the time swinging your coil for new targets, would that be useful to you? I would say yes.

    Besides having a firm grasp of your detector’s pinpoint handling, you increase your recovery speed with a pinpoint probe. I’m currently using the X-1 inline SunRay probe, and I’d have to say this is a must for any detectorist. This tool allows you to switch from the X-1 probe to your normal coil with a flick of a switch. It can also give you 3″ of depth, which is nice for finding the direction of targets within the hole.

    Other pinpoint detectors would include the White’s Bullseye and the Vibraprobe 560. Anything to get you an edge when you’re in the hole is a worthy investment.

    2. Purchase Lesche or other quality digging trowel
    I can’t stress the importance of a good digging trowel. They will help speed up recovery, and more importantly, they’ll give you the ability to make nicely cut holes. A flimsy or dull trowel can often lead to damaging the soil, killing roots and making a general mess. I know some of you are hesitant to spend $40+ dollars on a shovel, but buying several ‘garbage’ trowels will add up, costing you more in the long run. There are other brands that make excellent trowels. Look for digging trowels with the saw edge for cutting through the grass roots and tempered steel.
    They are tough and will last you a long, long time.

    3. Use less discrimination
    Discrimination can be your friend and your unknown worst enemy. Too much of anything can be a bad thing. If you’re tired of digging pull tabs and bottle caps, a user will tend to become lazy and crank the disc up. Now, they’re digging only clear targets saving their back from pain. If you’re after quality and quantity of finds, you’ll need to drop the discrimination and understand what your machine is telling you. A common problem with discrimination is “nulling”. This is when your discrimination kicks in to block the “bad” beep. If you’re detector doesn’t recover quickly enough, it might miss a good target next to a garbage target.
    By lowering your discrimination, you might speed up the response and shorten the null. If you have the desire to hear everything, some people (and I do as well) recommend to drop discrimination altogether and use Tone ID. This way you’ll be able to hear all targets.

    This can get ugly real fast. I often get asked, “How do you know when to dig?”. When I’m using tone id, my detector will have a different tone based off of the metallic make up of the target. Combine that with depth and signal strength, I’ll have enough information to determine if the target is a worthwhile target. This takes a lot of practice, and this is not for everyone.

    4. Maintain good coil discipline
    You’ve heard and read about this time and again. Keep the coil low. Overlap your sweeps and go slow. Super simple, but easy to get lazy and start drawing the happy face with your coil. You keep telling yourself to maintain good coil discipline, and pretty soon you’ll develop muscle memory and automatically keep that good coil technique as a habit.

    5. Learn to pinpoint accurately
    This fundamental is absolutely critical for quick and “clean” recoveries. When I think of this, I think of the phrase “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. Be patient and accurate with your pinpoint. By spending a few more seconds ensuring that your pinpoint is dead on, will speed up your recovery and more importantly, protect your target. Being off an inch could mean a major scrape on the coin with your trowel.

    6. Change coils for condition and area
    Depending on your budget or the seriousness you give this hobby, you may want to purchase additional accessory coils. All detectors come with their best all around coil for that particular unit, but that doesn’t mean that coil is the best for the particular area you’re facing. Smaller coils are great for trashy areas, but are limited in depth. Wide coils are great for depth and coverage, but you might have trouble in trashy areas.

    If you have the opportunity, purchase a wide and small coil and use them in conjunction with your stock coil. You could start the day with the stock coil and determine the how noisy the area is. If targets are far and few between or are extremely deep, switch to the wide coil to maximize coverage area and / or depth. If your stock coil is heavily nulling out or the signals are driving your crazy, slap on the little guy to pick the good targets between the trash targets. More options could very well lead to more finds.

    7. Hunt where other don’t like to hunt
    This tip is something that I like to follow quite often. How many of you like to sweep around trees, follow paths, etc? I’d suspect quite a few. In hunted out areas, I like to avoid these areas and focus on areas less attractive to the normal hobby detectorists.

    These areas would be.

    – “no-mans land” as I like to call it. The most open areas. I stay away from edges or borders of a park for example, being right out in the middle in the field, etc
    – Get close to traffic. I know a lot of detectorists can feel self conscience at times. Again, I like to take advantage of these areas. Detect on the side next to a busy street or intersection.
    – Work the underbrush. Remember, 100 years ago that bush wasn’t there. Sometimes you need to work your way in there, but you might find a keeper or two.

    If you feel the site has been hunted, start thinking of unpopular detecting areas and give them a try.

    8. Try Tone ID
    I touched upon Tone ID on the “less discrimination” tip. Tone ID, can be a useful setting. Targets will sound off by their metallic make up. Depending on how your particular brand handles tone, they’ll normally sound “high” for conductive metals. A low thud will be on the iron side of things. This is particular useful in a couple of ways. Number one, you can spend less time looking at the read out to determine what the target might be. And the most important benefit is when targets are close together. Without Tone ID, you might hear a broken beep followed by a good beep. With Tone ID, I would hear a low thud then a high pitch squeak. That could indicate a coin target next to a nail. Tone ID can give you a bit more information about the target to help identify possible good targets.

    If you’re using “constant” tone (where the tone is the same for all targets), which is standard for many detectors, you might want to give it a try. Just like the discrimination levels, this is not for everyone. Some people prefer the digital read-out versus tone.

    9. Go Slow
    No matter what detector you own or how much experience you have, going slow will help you find coins. Going slow means moving forward slowly AND sweeping the coil slowly. There are several benefits to going slow. Giving your detector time to recover after targets have been hit is a big reason. You’ll experience less masked and nulled targets this way. You’ll also give yourself an opportunity to hear the faint deep targets between shallow targets by going slower. Going slow is a test of your patience, but just like maintaining coil discipline, you can teach yourself until it becomes a habit.

    10. Clean the area for the good stuff
    Sometimes I find myself cherry picking targets. I’ll only dig targets that are a certain depth. I often am guilty of this when I’m feeling lazy. One good way to re-open your old hunting ground is to clean the shallow targets out, so you can take a look at the deeper targets. Removing all the surface coins and pull tabs will provide a nice window for your detector to see the deep targets. This takes a lot of work, and if you hate digging clads like I do this will not be any fun, but after you’ve cleaned a section out, go back and go for the deep stuff. You’ll be happy with what you find.

    11. Bonus Tip – Get good headphones
    I’ve heard it time and again to pay the money for the good phones. The additional frequency response will help your Tone ID clarity, and the amplification features are nice for pulling the deep target tones, as well as help the hearing ‘challenged’.

    You also get what you pay for. Buying a good set of phones will last you longer since the quality is much better, not to mention that there are often great warranties for particular brands. Just like the trowel issue, you could buy cheap headphones, but in the end you’re paying more by replacing them often. Also the added frustration of dead phones can ruin a good hunt opportunity.

    I hope these tips are useful, there were to me. I’m learning everyday and I’m always trying to advance my skills, we can all get better, we just need to put in the effort.

    Author: Hank D.

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    Jan 28 2007

    Guest Post: Why do we do this?


    It’s funny really, the multitude of reasons why a person would spend the time we do in the field swinging a coil back and forth looking for buried metal items. Some of the reasons don’t seem justifiable but rather personal. Some of the reasons are perfectly understandable and rooted in childhood fantasies of finding buried treasure and sadly some of the reasons seem based upon personality flaws that cause us to do a LOT of things in our lives. But before I go on, let me start at the beginning for me with a brief explaination of who I am and why "I" do this!!

    For the last 3-4 years my son and I have played a LOT of catch with a baseball as he plays travel ball and always wants to throw. This means my vehicle is usually loaded with gear and there’s always gloves and balls on hand. Many times while driving to and fro we have stopped at various park and athletic fields for a few minutes of catch and many of those times we ran accross someone who was using a metal detector. The first few times we watched quietly, not wanting to bother the person, but noticed the intense focus and methodical approach they used. We would try and see what they were doing every time they knelt down to dig. Finally (against my son’s wishes) I got up the nerve to approach a few of these people and talk. Walking up slowly as to not surprise them (why were they wearing those big headphones I thought?) I struck up a conversation and twice even had them show me their finds. Lots of change…car keys…SILVER coins!!…and pulltabs and screwcaps.. I was intrigued to say the least, as was my son. Later my son and I talked about it and both decided it looked like a cool thing to kill some time doing.

    Fast forward to the Christmas of 2005, just over a year ago. I reached for a fairly large wrapped gift from my son, wondering what it was he spent his hard earned money on…tore off the paper and saw a Bounty Hunter Fast Tracker detector!!. I didn’t know WHAT to say as it was a great gift choice!! Since we had no snow cover at that time, I actually was trying it out in my backyard that evening and quickly socred my first few coins, one of them a Wheat cent. I was hooked!!

    It was a mild winter that year leading into my first season detecting. I started researching the hobby in general and found several websites where experienced detectorists posted their finds and was AMAZED at the tiems found! Gold jewelry, old silver coins, older copper and bronze coins, historical artifacts, the list is never ending. I KNEW that if I applied myself like I did bass fishing (another hobby I enjoy and have done very well at) that my turn at finding great stuff was around the corner. I went out detecting as much as possible that first spring and soon wanted a better machine. I ended up buying a Garrett ACE250 based upon it’s low cost and great reputation as providing higher end features in a lightweight affordable package. I handed down the Bounty Hunter to my son and now he joins me in a lot of hunts and has already found his first dozen silver coins too. As I became more familiar with the ACE250 and started looking for better (older) places to hunt both the quantity and quality of my finds jumped accordingly. I began posting my finds because I wanted to share my excitement and found out lots of other folks enjoy reading a well-written post. As I chatted and talked with an ever-increasing number of experienced people I began to be invited to hunt alongside them, but always backed down. I’m not sure WHY I wanted to still go solo, but I still wasn’t over the "image" thing of being seen detecting and thought being seen doing this with others would be even more embarrasing.

    One day I talked to a fellow detetcorist who lived in my area who hunted with his 16 yr old son and this guy seemed different. Less "boastfull"…less cocky and very down to Earth. We agreed to meet and hunt and as it turned out I really like the way he worked. He not only showed me some nice spots to hunt, he showed me a lot about humility and respect for the hobby. His son and he were also coin collectors already and soon I was learning more about the coins I was finding…mint marks, minted quantities and how these things affected a coins rarity and value.

    Around this time I increased the amount of time I detected yet again as well as time spent researching older areas where the odds were better of finding nice coins. My new friend Bob also showed me a LOT about taking better pictures of my finds to include in my online posts. As I posted more finds I began to get a LOT of positive feedback from other online metal detecting website users that said they really appreciated reading a well written post with clear and well-composed pictures so that fueled me to do better and tell more of the story when I posted. And that’s when it hit me WHY some people’s internet posts are an asset to this hobby and others a detriment!

    Why do YOU spend all this time doing this?? And then spend MORE vaulable time posting your finds(if you do post them)?? If you are commenting on other people’s posts where they post their finds, WHY would you ever be anything but positive and supportive?

    Is it to try and get rich? (not likely in actuality)

    Is it to show off and feel superior? (feeding one’s ego is fun, but short lived, like any addiction)

    The above two reasons I feel are the wrong two reasons and yet they seem to be the focus of some people who are firmly entrenched in this hobby. I feel it should be more about the following:

    Do you do this to LEARN more? (both through comparing finds and locations through your posted finds)

    Do you do this to share in the excitement of the find? (I think this is the number one most valiant, ego-free reason to go public with your finds)

    Everyone who enjoys this hobby enjoys it for their own personal reasons and perhaps you the reader haven’t even really taken a moment to examine your own motivating factors. Maybe you have, and are happy with what you come up with as yours. As we become more experienced as detectorists we may go through progressions as far as our personal or yearly goals concerning what we find and how that may be predicated by where and how we hunt.

    At first it’s ANY coins (clad-happy!)

    Then we taste our first silver and want more of that shiny reeded edge!

    Then we break the 1800s barrier and all we want is an Indian Head cent or a Seated coin.

    Then we may find a Colonial Era coin or artifact and WHAM…there’s no turning back. Our goals change as our experience level change but one that that should remain constant is the WHY….WHY we are doing it. Your goals may be pre-decided by the limiting factors in the age of the areas available for you to hunt. I know some folks from PA and NY and NJ who routinely find old coppers and right now THOSE finds are fueling for me a drive to find my first Large Cent. Thing is, while there were heavily populated areas in those states with people dropping coins, a lot of the area around me (NE Ohio) was unpopulated outside of Native Americans. I now spend lots of time looking for cellar holes and other spots that date back before the 1850s in my quest for large copper coins (I DID stumble upon a 1792 Irish Half Penny token this year!)

    Whatever your reasons, keep the coil to the soil, your plugs small and keep your ego in check. This helps us all in the end.

    HH all!!

    Author: Dan Byers
    46 yrs old N.E. Ohio area Started detecting Dec. ’05 Use ACE250 with all 3 coils Personal detecting goals for 2007: Barber or Seated quarter, Large cent(s)

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    Jan 18 2007

    Guest Post: Karma Nickel


    I wanted to talk about one of my last detecting hunts of 2006. I was at a local park, a park that I’ve hunted many times in the past, and was having some pretty bad luck. This park is pretty trashy but has yielded me a lot of good finds (early wheat cents, indian heads, barber dimes and V nickles).

    I decided to focus on the surface coins for a bit, since I figured it must be masking a lot of targets. So I started probing a bunch of clads out. I normally hate digging clads, but felt I was going to get a good target by doing this. After several hours, I had about 5 dollars in clads, which surprised me that I found that many quarters.

    I rescanned my area, but no luck. So I decided to leave, but as I always do, I always scan on the way back to my car, just in case. Sure enough, I got this weird signal. It wasn’t the best signal, but it’s a signal I like to hear with my Whites XLT for a deep coin. While pinpointing I noticed that the pinpoint was possibly locking on to two targets. The signal was erratic, my optimism quickly fell. Scanning the target in non-pinpoint was giving me the good signal, but the pinpoint was not.

    I said to myself, “the only way to find out if this is junk or not is to dig it out”. So I dug my initial plug. Removing the soil I did not visual see the target. Scanning the target only returned me silence from the hole AND the extracted dirt! What happened? Thinking it may have been a piece of foil in there and my detector’s discrimination was final able to see a “clear” picture, I put the plug back in. Going over the spot again, I got my good signal again!? I was stumped.

    At that time a homeless woman walked up to me and starting watching. I wanted to continue with my understanding of this target and hole, but felt awkward with her watching me. So I thought I’d take the offensive and said “Hi, how are you?”. She smiled and walked closer to me and asked if I had any spare change so she could get something to eat. I reached into my pocket and realized I didn’t have any money on me… so I said, “I’m sorry, I don’t”. But then realized, I had a little over five dollars in dirty clad. I asked her if she minded if it was “dirty” and of course she said “no”.

    I reached into my collection bag, and pulled out all of the clad I found that day and handed it to her. She was very appreciative and moved on. I thought to myself, “That’s another good reason to dig up the clad targets”.

    On that note, I was going to call it a day, but thought I’d swing the coil over that spot one more time. Again, the signal came up as a good possible coin signal. I redug my plug and scraped the soil a few more times, and to my surprise a 1911 V-Nickel! It was hiding in there the whole time all right. It’s funny how the detector had a clear view of that coin, but couldn’t see it. I think there may have been a piece of iron below it or around it that was masking the signal after the plug was removed.

    I couldn’t help thinking that a little karma might have played a part here!

    Happy Hunting!

    Author: Hank D.

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