Growing up my family lived on a large piece of property, down a long gravel driveway, out in the middle of an endless view of vacant land as far as I could explore and more. Today that land has tens of thousands of houses on it, and though the bare land may be gone, the memories will last a lifetime. One of those memories is that my dad had a metal detector, an old school style that was probably pretty nice for it’s time. It got the job done, and it was a lot of fun. I remember the stories that my parents would tell me on how they used that metal detector to explore even bigger swaths of land when they were growing up, and all the really exciting and interesting things that they would find. There’s a lot you can do with a metal detector. For my family it’s all about taking a family trip to new places to explore on a quest for gold, meteorites, old coins, old guns, parts of our cowboy and gold rush history, and so many other possibilities. It’s fun to research and plan for new expeditions, whether they are a day trip with a nice picnic snuck into the middle of our day, a weekend camping trip, or a small hotel in a neat and historic town. The most important part of jumping into the hobby of metal detecting is your equipment, with the metal detector being the central most important piece of equipment to run. It is critical to your success to buy a metal detector that will do what you need it to do, as well as a metal detector that won’t sound off on false or really frustrating finds like can tabs. You need to be able to filter out the noise, so you can target worthwhile treasures and valuables to keep it fun. There are a lot of great accessories for metal detectors that you may also want to venture into. Headphones, shovels and spades, possibly different sized and types of search coils, a pin pointer type metal detector to hone in on your find. The first thing you want to think about is what types of items you are going to target in your quest for treasures. If you will be doing metal detecting in creeks or other water filled areas you will want to make sure your metal detector is water proof. If your looking for gold, you would want to find a metal detector that is good for coin hunting, gold nuggets, and jewelry.
Gold and Metal Detecting Tips & Techniques
Auras can be obtained on gold down to a quarter of an ounce or less, meaning all the way down to a single gold coin or nugget! The camera can even discriminate between different metals – all from a distance (up to 100s of yards depending on target size) and can be used anytime during daylight hours. You really can see the color of the money (providing it’s metallic or contained in metal) and what’s more you can get started for much less than the cost of a commercial long range locator – you may even already have most everything you need!
How a Metal Detector Works
What a metal detector does is it transmits magnetic energy into the ground and senses distortion in the magnet field caused by the presence of a metal object. They all do different things when they find metal or gold type objects, and the better quality of metal detector that you buy, the better the identification will be from the unit to tell you what it is you have found, and how deep you need to dig to pull it up. This is great because you will spend less time digging up bottle caps and things, and more time directly targeting gold and other valuable metals and things that you want to find.
Types of Metal Detectors
Today’s metal detectors have two primary detection technologies. The first one is known as Single Frequency, or it is also known as Continuous Wave. The second one is Multiple Frequency, also known as Dual Frequency or Pulse Induction. Each frequency technology has it’s own detection characteristics. The most common models today are the VLF or Very Low Frequency models. A nice upgrade to the top of the line models would be the newer Pulse Induction Units. Metal detectors can be an expensive investment, so it’s important that it is durable, dependable, and will last for generations. Make sure the model you get is waterproof, as you never know what you will encounter in your expeditions and you don’t want fog, dew, or rain to turn your expensive gold getter into a paper weight that you can no longer use.
Treasure Hunting With A Metal Detector
I recommend buying a book on gold hunting, or joining a few good quality treasure hunting websites, and treasure hunting forums, to see what other metal detecting enthusiasts are searching for and finding. Some gold detector brands will come with information on a CD that will give you a high level view of some treasures that have been found, or that people are on a quest for, but everybody gets those CD’s, so some of those adventures may not be very fruitful. There are a lot of good videos, and tv shows as well, that will get your gold bug moving as well.
Discrimination is a metal detector’s ability to tell the difference between one target and another. This is important because you want to know if what the metal detector is finding is a quarter or a bottle cop tab or cap. There is nothing more frustrating than digging six inches of rocky dirt about a hundred times finding nothing but garbage. You want to buy a metal detector that will skip those items, or sift through the white noise so that it only gives you the best chance at finding something interesting or valuable. There are models that will auto adjust out the noisy targets, and ones that allow you to custom tune it as you get better and better at looking for treasure and getting familiar with your new metal detector.
Metal Detector Ground Balance
Ground Balance is where the metal detector bypasses minute levels of metal like iron and other metals so that you can find the more important objects that you are looking for. Many of today’s metal detectors can automatically balance out these objects. Some models have the ability to manually adjust out these objects. The automatic ones often have a multiple ground balance that allows you to select either automatic or manual depending on the conditions of your ground search and what you are looking for.
Metal Detector Target Identification
Target Identification is one of the best features of a metal detector that enables your metal detector to distinguish between different targets to identify a dime, a penny, a quarter, silver jewelry, junk that can be skipped, gold, and more. On a high quality model where this feature is completely dialed in, this will save you from digging up things that you aren’t looking for, so you can focus on the treasures that you want to find.
Metal Detector Operating Frequency
Operating Frequency on a metal detector is the number of times the signal is transmitted and received by the detector during every second. The Lower Frequency detectors can scan deeper, so they offer better overall detection depth. The general purpose models typically operate at the lower frequencies, where the high end target specific models that look for gold, as an example, use higher frequencies.
Metal Detector Sensitivity
Sensitivity is the ability to detect metal objects from a distance. Just like if you have your volume on your stereo turned down low, you can’t hear the sound, the same goes for your metal detector. If you have the sensitivity turned down, it allows you to drown out the noises from objects that you aren’t looking for, but just make sure you don’t set it so low that it doesn’t detect anything. You need a nice healthy balance or you will miss some good finds. An example where you would definitely need to turn the frequency down is if you are in an area with high mineral content.
Metal Detector Search Depth
Search Depth is the depth to which your metal detector is able to search for objects. The Lower frequency metal detectors can scan at deeper depths. Your soil composition can impact how deep you can scan, as can the coil you are scanning with. Larger coils can search deeper, where the smaller ones will search more shallow. The rule of thumb is that your coal can search one and a half times it’s size in depth, so if you are using an 8 inch search coil, you will typically be looking for an average sized coin at about an 8 to 12 inch max depth.
What Can I Find With A Metal and Gold Detector
As you begin to figure out which metal detector is the right one for you, you should consider the climate and the soil composition in your area. The three main types of metal detectors are land based coin and relic hunting, beach and under water detecting and prospecting for gold and precious metals. The most common type is the land detecting type, which will locate coins, gold, jewelry, relics, and historical building materials. If you plan to target creeks, lakes, beaches, rivers, or the ocean, you maight want to consider a beach or under water model. The models that will work near or in saltwater will require specialized equipment because of the electrical properties of salt and water, and they also need to be waterproof.
Garrett AT Max Metal Detector
•Garrett's Most Advanced VLF metal detector•Built for professional treasure hunters – works in any environment•Maximum depth design •Works in water up to 10' deep, perfect for streams and rivers•Great target discrimination and sensitivity•Large backlit LCD display•Multiple search and selection technologies•Multiple filtering features – filters out trash•Electronic pinpointing•Wireless headphones and connectionAbout The Author Mike Mendenhall is the the founder of Mendenhall Outdoors. This website is an extension of the Mendenhall family’s lifestyle and passion for the great outdoors. Everything that they learn, and experience, along the way that they find may be valuable to our website visitors is on the site for you to enjoy. We highlight products and services that you might find interesting. We frequently receive free products from manufacturers to test. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product is featured or recommended. If you click a link on this page, then go on to make a purchase, we might receive a commission – at no extra cost to you, and does not impact the purchase price of any products that you may purchase. The Best Metal Detecting Treasure Hunting Experience Awaits!