Metal Detecting Tips & Tricks

Metal Detecting Tricks & Tips

Learn your machine!  Take the time to gather several items you may encounter in the field, both valuables and trash items.  You will most definitely run across a bunch of iron and alumium scrap and you are looking for valuable items made of non-ferrous metals such as brass, copper, gold, silver.  This may include coins, relics or jewelry.  The best way to know how your detector will read is to practice with the actual items you will be finding.  Here is a good ide of the items to have handy to practice with:

Trash Items:

Small Aluminum Item - Piece of Foil

Medium Aluminum Item - Pull Tab

Small Iron Item - Piece of Wire

Medium Iron Item - Steel Bottle Cap

Potential Relics or Valuable Metals - Relics can be very valuable and so can other metals you may dig up.  Copper, brass, and lead are currently selling at a premium.  Plus, it is good to remove it from the environment, which metal detecting does.

Large Iron Item - Horse Shoe, Railroad Stake, Gun Barrel, etc.

Brass Items - Faucet Handle

Medium Sized Lead Item - Fishing Sinker

Large Copper Item - Piece of Plumbing Pipe

Jewelry - Borrow your girlfriend, wife, mother, or sister's jewelry (but ask them first).  Get a variety of things such as solid gold ring, silver ring, gold plated items, white gold rings, a large and small earring, etc.)  The more items you experience, the more you will know how they read on your detector.  Plus it will bring to light the fact that many of the trashy items and valuable items are difficult to differentiate from under your detector.

Coins - Have a variety of coins handy.  A penny, dime, nickel, and quarter will work.  If possible, get a modern penny (i.e. post 1985) and a solid copper penny (pre 1984).  Also, if you have or can borrow a real silver dime, quarter, 50 cent piece, and dollar, do so.  You will want to see the difference between these coins and a more modern clad coin.  Most coins that are pre 1965 are going to be made of actual silver whereas newer "silver" change is clad and composed of copper-nickel.  When the change from silver to clad took place, you could actually go to the bank with a $10 roll of quarters, sell it to a coin dealer, and make 4-5 times that!

All types of coins have potential to be valuable, however, some people don't consider their time worth a measley 1-cent and will pass over modern pennies.  I caution doing this though.  You may be passing up treasure.  The rule of thumb is to dig everything since depending on size, configuation, and density, valuable items often display and sound like trash.  We recently found an Indian Head penny that even is poor condition may be worth around $200!  We almost passed it up!

Click Here To See and Indian Heady Penny Metal Detector Find


How Item Shape Affects How Your Detector Reads

Keep in mind that your metal detector is sending an impulse to the object then reading the waves as they bounce back.  If those waves hit an irregular shaped item they may scatter or bounce back in a pattern that may "confuse" the machine.  This may make the machine "jump" or bounce around.  Meaning, you may get several different tones clustered together (i.e. low-med-high-low town in sequence), it may be hard to pinpoint the item, and the depth guage may bounce too.  Additionally a coin tilted on its side underground will read different than simply waving the coin under the coil flat.


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