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At one time I thought all coins found in the wet sand and in the water were, indeed, headed out to sea. I like to say the more I learn the less I know.


You 'hit the nail on the head' for me, too, John. I have studied the Outer Banks beaches (NC) for many years, as part of my metal detecting hobby and can say, without a doubt, that I don't fully understand what makes certain movements of the sands, materials (including coins/jewelry) occur at the time and manner in which they often do. I will debate with anyone....that beach metal detecting is one of the most difficult of the hunts connected with the hobby. Unlike highland hunting, where the targets lay, generally undisturbed from the time they are lost and later recovered.....beach targets are, most often,constantly on the move.. I have reached the point, after many years of beach hunting, where I categorize our beaches, pretty much by the four seasons... with a much broader description being a 'summer beach' and a 'winter beach'.. Both are as different as 'sweet' and 'semi-sweet' chocolate!!.. However, I will say that I am predominantly a 'winter beach' hunter.. ..due to several reasons...the main one being the higher degree of erosion and greater probability of discovering the 'older/true artifacts'.. Silver coins and older jewelry are nearly impossible to find on NC beaches during the summer months....Recently dropped clad coins and new jewelry...are the only sure bets.....and even they, in my opinion, are not as easily found until the late fall and winter months..Water hunting (wading over knee deep) on our beaches is difficult, if not impossible during 90% of the summer days...due to constant onshore waves, the sudden drop-off of the beaches and bad rip-tides, which often result in closing of the beaches for swimming. However, these same elements add greatly to the 'erosion factor' during the winter months.. of course, as they occur with much greater force.

I am positively convinced that it would be impossible to write a comprehensive article on beach metal detecting, with facts and/or pointers that can hold true for every beach around the country and world... I've tried it.....and each time I find myself making statements which I know to be true for 'my beach'.....but find to be unreliable for other beaches I have hunted or read about.. Obviously, we will agree that 95+% of all lost coins (excluding shipwrecks). ..were first dropped on dry land (sand)...But, we also know that many of these coins were washed into the sea..and returned to land, often many times before they were recovered.....It is what happens during that in-between time ....that may be difficult to understand. Here is my 'take' on the NC beaches.....and you may find it interesting..and certainly may not agree with some of it.....It is however, a conclusion, that I have reached...after many, many years of beach hunting.... MOVEMENT OF BEACH COINS/JEWELRY ON THE NC (OUTER BANKS) BEACHES 95+% of all coins/jewelry lost.....are dropped during the summer months of June through September....98+% of these coins are lost on the high dry beach sand. A large amountof these coins/jewelry is picked up by summer metal detectorists.. ..with the largest amounts foot-trodden deep into the sands.....or picked up and pulled to sea by an ensuing tide. (I will add here that I feel that only a minute percentage of the unfound summer coins find their way into the ocean during the summer months. And these are the ones which are lost at that point between the high tide line and the ocean, or those lost by someone trouncing around in the shallow waters near the shoreline. There are practically no coins washed onto the beaches during the summer months.. ...while there may be a few coins found in the wet sand (that sand between high and low tide)..during summer months...those coins are predominatly newly lost coins which have endured very little movement.....and for all practical purposes have not 'been to sea'.... The prevailing summer winds on NC beaches are out of the 'southwest'..these winds do not 'blow the ocean level' back, as offshore winds may do...on say ..Gulf Shore or shallow-water beaches...instead, they result in a very direct onshore wave action...which will take the 'outer bars' created by winter weather and push them gently onto the beaches....bringing 'new sand'....with them... and little else in the way of other materials.....Summer sand on the NC beaches is very clean and usually void of many shells and other materials.. It is not until fall (late Sept.)...that more prevalent northeasterly winds begin to blow.....resulting in higher tides...which begin to 'strip' the beach of its 'summer sands'.....uncovering many of the deeper foot-trodden coins lost during the summer..... sweeping many more of them out into the waters.. (how do they return?...we'll see later, below) As a regular beach is very easy to determine when the above is occuring.....almost to the point where I can tell when the 'current summer season's coins have disappeared.....and coins several 'seasons old'.. ..begin to make their appearance!!.....aside from the obvious appearance/condition of the coins themselves!!......It is when the summer beach sand disappears that beach metal detecting is at its finest!!!!!! You recall that I said above that I believe that very few coins either 'go to sea' or are 'returned from the sea'...during the summer months.. Of this factor......I am postively sure (in my mind, at least)....after 20+ years of trekking NC's beaches.... Now, using the two broader terms of describing beaches.... that being 'summer beaches'..and 'winter beaches'......what is occuring on NC's beaches during the winter months? Beginning in late September and running through mid to late April...NC's beaches are going through a constant (sometimes almost daily)...stripping, eroding, rebuilding......stripping, eroding, rebuilding...process....until ....around Jan. or Feb. the erosion process...has gained on the rebuilding... which usually the point where the beaches have reached their lowest point of erosion. During March and April, the rebuilding cycles will outgain the erosion cycles..until early May....when the summer beaches will begin to rebuild. OK!!!!!...the trick to winter beach metal detecting.... simply is to catch the beach...during those prime winter months (Sept./April) ...when the erosion cycle is occuring!!...Simple the weather, the wind direction, the times of the tides, the time of full moon (important!!), WATCH THE BEACH!! A beautifully eroded beach can be totally ruined by just one 'high tide'.. on a beautiful winter day!! or two inches of new sand may be all it takes to turn a 200+ coin day.....into total ZILCH HUNTING!!..."You should have been here yesterday!"...applies to beach metal detecting, just like it does to fishing!! Enough rambling.....but one last point I want to make which very may well intrigue a lessor student of beach metal detecting...and may bring forth argument from some of the more serious ones. I have dug coins on the beach during the winter months which, I know have been to sea and back to the beach many, many times...before they were finally recovered....modern coins which were worn, almost to the point of being unidentifible.....yet vintage coins (1600's)...which looked as good as the day they were lost!!!!!.......Why?......How do shipwreck coins find their way to the beaches?......When do modern coins wash ashore? Last first..... Remember, I believe coins leave the beach and wash ashore, mainly during winter months (in NC)....they leave the beach, obviously, when the storms and heavy surf strip the beach of more than minute layers of sand... More importanly, when do they come back???? I believe that (during winter months)...coins are being washed upon the beaches at times WHEN THE BEACHES ARE ACTUALLY ERODING.....NOT REBUILDING.. ...does this seem strange??....not really.....yes, the beach does go through a small amount of rebuilding during winter months.. but while is throwing new sand up on the IS NOT THROWING UP COINS...this can be proven by the fact that, as I said earlier, YOU SHOULD HAVE BEEN HERE YESTERDAY, REMEMBER??....after heavy erosion, during the winter, when things settle down...the beach usually rebuilds, slowly until the next storm...I never, I REPEAT, NEVER,....hunt the beach during this phase.. ....because the coins simply are not there!! How can coins be washed upon the beach when the beach is eroding? Simple...These coins have been pushed into the deep trough which lays close to shore during the winter months....they lay there for days, months. ...being tossed about and aggitated if being in a washing machine.. At times when the ocean currents (and thats another story..because its ocean currents more than wave action that erodes the beach)...are eroding the beaches.....these coins are pushed to the very edge of the beach drop offs....where they will be 'flipped up on the beach' AT THE CHANGING OF THE TIDES, LOW TIDE TO HIGH TIDE, times when erosion is actually occuring.....It is at this time, on low tide,......when the the greatest concentration of coins can be found washed ashore on the beach!! I have hunted the beaches at these times was tempting to just lay the detector aside....and eyeball and pick up coins!!!!!....I am sure others have, also. TO REPEAT AGAIN, DETECTABLE COINS ARE WASHED ASHORE ON NC BEACHES, DURING THE WINTER MONTHS, IN EXTREMELY GREATER NUMBERS THAN SUMMER MONTHS, AND ARE PUT THERE DURING PERIODS OF BEACH EROSI0N...NOT BEACH REBUILDING!!... OLDER, VINTAGE COINS, SHIPWRECK COINS..... I am not an ocean salvor, scuba diver....or treasure the "Mel Fisher" sense of the word.....I have, however, found my fair share of older, shipwreck coins along NC's Outer Banks.... I have noticed, of late, a newer theory emerging among some of the Florida beach hunters....that many of the 'treasure coins' yet to be found on Florida's Gold Coast....are not, yet to be washed ashore....but are already there!!!!!!!.....laying beneath the high dunes....and below the very sands which are trampled on, every day of the year!!! I say, 'welcome to the club'!! My hunting colleagues and myself..have determined some time ago...that there are very, very few, if any,......ancient shipwreck coins 'washing ashore' along NC's shorelines today...There may be, and no doubt are, many ancient shipwreck coins laying beneath NC's oceans...But, if they have found their way onto the beaches during these modern times.....I am not aware of it... We do, however, find a good number of 1600/1700/1800 coins on NC's Outer Banks beaches......but, we find them after many, many hours of winter beach hunting ...when we are able to find the areas where, obviously....shipwrecks landed ON THE years gone by... We have shipwrecks marked on the beaches....many of them to become uncovered.. ..only every few years...and for only a day or two at a time....or perhaps just a 'plank' or 'ship's spike'...popping up.....but they are just have to be there at the right time!!!! To close that topic....I believe that 99% of all shipwreck or ancient coins to be found on NC's beaches are already there.....and have been there for hundreds of years...waiting for the right person to find the appropriate time.....when the eroding beach...will let them appear... In closing, I wouldn't trade NC's Outer Banks beaches for any that I am aware of....even Florida's wonderful Treasure Coast!!!.....

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Metal Detecting Tips

Some Things You Should Know About When Building A Test Garden

By John-Edmonton using a Garrett AT Pro Metal Detector

You will learn more about your metal detector in one hour in your test garden, then 10 hours in the field. Why? Because you will learn how a particular object will sound on your metal detector in real conditions in your dirt at home. And.......once you learn your your metal detector with your known targets in your own dirt, you can easily see how another detector will work in your own dirt. Having someone tell you that brand X detector gets 10 inches on a quarter means nothing to you, as it just depends on the type of dirt the target is being detected in. The common misconception that that someone will tell you about their metal detector is that it gets 10 inches on a dime. Well, that all depends on type of soil, mineralization of soil, humidity in soil, orientation of target to soil, size of dime, silver or clad dime, oxidation on dime coil size, detector settings and so on. etc. What might be important to you is how deep that dime will read in YOUR soil. And depth alone shouldn't be the #1 reason for buying a detector either. Target separation is important also, especially in junky areas. A larger coil with added depth will actually work against you in a lot of these circumstances. Having the ability to ground balance a metal detector is also important, especially if it can be ground balanced to salt water. OK....enough of the confusing stuff.

Setting up a test garden is quite simple.....find a piece of dirt in your own back yard, or a small area in a park or off the beaten path where someone is not likely to metal detect. If you don't own a house, a relative or friend will probably let you use their property. You are not ruining anything for that matter. Grab some clad coins, some silver coins, copper coins, common and beaver tail pull tabs and some nails. These will be your known targets which will be planted with known depths. But before you bury anything, grab your AT pro in pro mode, zero discrimination and remove all junk from the areas to be used as a test bed. All cleaned up? Great!

Next, bury various targets at various depths, with the least amount of damage to the grass. Get a ruler and measure the actual (preferred) depth of your targets. make sure the target is laying horizontal. Fill in the hole. PLEASE make a detailed drawing of your test garden and make spare copies. Our memory will fail us over time. That test garden is built to teach you how the metal detector works at a KNOWN target, not a guessed one.

You can refer to this garden every time you buy a new coil, think there is something wrong with your metal detector, experimenting with super tuning your metal detector for low or high conductivity targets (gold or silver) or just comparing different brands.

Below is my own test garden at home, with all information written in the 1" x 2" board, for simplicity. When using the test garden, I just line up the ends of the 1" x 2" with a mark on the fire pit brick and a shallow penny at the far end. But, you can do things differently, get creative and go in a different direction. Once complete, spend some time with your AT Pro in that new test garden.. Listen to the audio in Pro and Standard Mode. Look at the digital numbers for each target. Try different swing speeds, at different heights. Start remembering the common patterns. See if the guy across town who brags that his detector can get 20" in the dirt on a dime is really being honest.  

You will really feel confident with your AT Pro the next time you get out in the field. Good luck and I hope some great targets come your way.










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Are there laws that govern metal detecting?

One of the most popular and relaxing hobbies people take up is combing their local beaches or parks with a metal detector. Unfortunately, many people don't realize that there are very real laws regarding metal detector use. Some are state laws, some are federal. It is important to know what the laws pertaining to metal detectors are in your area.

Read more: Laws on Metal Detectors | eHow.com


              Federal Parks


1. Metal detectors are banned in any US federal park. Additionally, no monuments or historical sites allow you to use a metal detector on their grounds.


National Parks

  1. Not only are you not allowed to use a metal detector while visiting a national park, you could theoretically be arrested for simply having a metal detector in your vehicle.

              Taken from a NPS web site



            State Parks





           1. The laws regarding metal detectors in state parks vary between states. For example, in Michigan there are no laws  prohibiting the use of metal detectors. Minnesota, however, has a statewide ban on them.

  1. Types of Violations

  2. Metal detector laws fall into many categories. In some federal parks, using a metal detector can be considered "destruction of government property." In many state parks with laws against metal detectors, the violation is classified as a form of vandalism.

    International Laws

  3. In certain foreign countries, the use of a metal detector has been outlawed since WWII. However, in other countries, such as Austria, an individual can get a permit for use of a metal detector if he or she can prove that it will be used for archaeological purposes.

Read more: Laws on Metal Detectors |

National Parks Take on Relic Hunters:







.c The Associated Press 

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - In just a few hours of digging at Valley Forge National Historical Park, prosecutors said Alfred Lucien unearthed the kind of finds amateur treasure hunters dream of. A musket ball. A locket. A pewter button. Studs, buckles and fasteners that may once have adorned the uniforms of soldiers at the turning point of the Revolutionary War. It was the sort of haul park rangers dread to hear about as they try to protect the dwindling number of rare artifacts buried at national parks.  In 2002, the National Park Service recorded nearly 11,000 violations of the Archaeological Resources Protection Act, which prohibits people from destroying or removing rare or valuable objects found on federal land, according to Park Service spokesman Al Nash. "This is a challenge that we've faced since the parks were created," Nash said. "We struggle with people who want to take a piece of something home with them, whether it is a relic from a battlefield or whether it is a plant, or an antler or a skull, or some stone from a national park." The penalties can be severe. Federal prosecutors this month charged Lucien, 70, of New York, with illegally unearthing artifacts during his family outing 3 1/2 years ago at Valley Forge, about 15 miles west of Philadelphia. He faces fines and possible jail time if convicted. Charged with him was a Pennsylvania man accused of collecting three nails from the site of a former blacksmith's shop. Lucien's wife objected to the criminal charge in a telephone interview last week, saying it was too harsh for an otherwise law-abiding retiree. But Valley Forge National Historical Park Deputy Superintendent Barbara Pollarine said prosecutors hope the case acts as a deterrent. "They want to show people that this is a serious offense," she said. Artifact looting isn't a crisis at Valley Forge, Pollarine said, in part because so little remains of Washington's encampment. The park did not become federally protected until 1976. In the 1950s and 1960s, it was the annual site of enormous Boy Scout jamborees, during which the scouts were encouraged to scavenge for artifacts. "We still get letters from people offering to return things," Pollarine said. The problems can be worse at Civil War battlefields, where thousands of tourists visit with their eyes peeled for that rare souvenir. During the summertime at Gettysburg National Military Park, rangers have weekly encounters with casual artifact hunters, said Ranger Rick Pearce. Most are people with good intentions who are unaware of park rules, he said. A few are hard-core scavengers. Pearce recalled two men who were arrested after one was spotted strolling the fields with a metal-detecting wand strapped to his leg and hidden under his pants. The park has had some success warding off treasure hunters with a force of 120 volunteers who patrol the 6,000-acre battlefield day and night. Artifact looting has dropped considerably since the Park Watch Patrol program began in 1996, Pearce said. Federal authorities also have tried other deterrents. People who pleaded guilty to trolling for artifacts were required to take out newspaper advertisements describing the hefty fines they had to pay for their misdeeds at the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park and Manassas National Battlefield Park in Virginia. An Alabama man was sentenced to two years probation after he pleaded guilty in August to relic hunting at Vicksburg National Military Park in Mississippi. In one of the biggest relic-looting cases to date, several people pleaded guilty last year to being involved in a scheme to steal artifacts, including American Indian remains, from sites including Death Valley National Park. Five were sentenced either to prison or house arrest and ordered to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in restitution. "It's fun to go snooping. But if you find something, look at it. enjoy it, and leave it for someone else to find," Nash said.


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  What is a Treasure Trove?

Most treasure trove laws view a treasure trove as any significant amount of gold, silver, jewelry, currency, or artifacts found that were lost or buried in the ground, underwater, or even hidden in the basement, attic, or within the walls of a home (including your own or the one you rent). Typically, treasure troves are very old historically, the original owners are dead or unknown, and their heirs cannot be found.

Treasure Troves Laws Vary Widely




The basic laws governing the recovery rights and ultimate ownership of treasure troves vary widely, both here in the United States and elsewhere in the world at large. Here in the U.S., the states themselves appear to have the most control over treasure trove laws but in every instance of treasure trove recovery, the Federal government is always close at hand, particularly the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The IRS views all treasure recoveries as part of your gross income and therefore must be claimed as such.

In countries such as Great Britain however, treasure trove laws are much more clearly defined and applied. The same holds true for our friends "Down Under" in Australia. In both countries, any and all treasure troves found ultimately belong to the Crown (their version of our own Federal government). Ultimately, it is the Crown that makes the final ruling on the disposition of any and all treasure troves.


Who Gets the Treasure?


This too varies widely from country-to-country and state-to-state. In most instances, if a treasure trove find is made on someone else's property and you have not made a deal in advance with the land or property owner, guess what? Yep. The treasure belongs to the property owner and not you.


A recent and highly publicized find by a construction worker of a trove of gold coins on computer guru Jan Wenner's property in Idaho turned out badly for the finder. The State decided that "finder's keepers" and "possession is nine-tenths of the law" did not apply here and the worker's claims on the gold were dismissed. However, had this discovery taken place in another U.S. state, the reverse might be true. Sad to say, you'll never know until you get there my friend.

Also note that if you recover a treasure trove surreptitiously or "on the sly" from someone else's property and are subsequently found out, you can be held liable for trespassing and prosecuted for theft, and any "goodies" you recovered will be taken away from you, one way or the other. Much the same holds true of public lands or water areas belonging to state, Federal, or local governments.

Treasure Trove



Treasure trove

n (in Britain)
1. (Law) Law valuable articles, such as coins, bullion, etc., found hidden in the earth or elsewhere and of unknown ownership. Such articles become the property of the Crown, which compensates the finder if the treasure is declared. In 1996 treasure was defined as any item over 300 years old and containing more than 5% precious metal
2. anything similarly discovered that is of value
[from Anglo-French tresor trové treasure found, from Old French tresor treasure + trover to find]



You may have heard something over the last few days about the discovery of a hoard of Viking treasure in northern England. It has been reported in most majornewsoutlets, and the treasure hasrecently gone on displayin theBritish Museum. More than 600 coins and 65 other silver and gold objects were found, including items acquired via trade or plunder from Scandinavia, Russia, Afghanistan, and France, among others. The hoard was discovered by a father and son who were prospecting with metal detectors. This news is a good example of the positives and negatives about Britain's treasure trove law.

Without going into too much detail, the treasure trove law (as modified by the Treasure Act of 1996) determines the destination of objects that are found and for which no owner can be determined. Under British common law, if ownerless objects are merely lost (like change falling out of your pocket), they belong to the finder. If they are deliberately stashed (like the hoard in question), then they belong to the crown. The Treasure Act modifies this basic principle to ensure the finder receives just recompense even if title is not awarded. The effect is that if you find a valuable object or objects, you have to report them to a government official. If they are determined to fall under the category of treasure trove, the finder must offer them for sale to a museum, at a price set by a board of antiquities experts. Only if no buyer can be found can the objects be kept by the finder. Under British law the owner of property on which antiquities are found is considered the 'finder' in question, unless treasure seekers have come to an agreement with the owner to split the proceeds.

What are the advantages of the law? It provides an incentive for treasure seekers to report their finds and helps ensure that antiquities end up in the hands of public caretakers, who are presumably the most qualified to conserve and display the objects, so that all can benefit.

On the other hand, it also means that treasure seekers have an easy and legitimate avenue for realizing profit from their activities. While this is clearly preferable to illicit excavations of the kind I have reported on in the past, the fact remains that the two gentlemen who dug up the hoard were not archaeologists, and there was no controlled excavation. Depending on the nature of the find, invaluable archaelogical context may have been destroyed. In addition, one can expect the publicity of this find to encourage even more treasure seekers to go digging around the countryside, at unknown cost to archaeology.


Treasure trove: Metal-detecting finds up by 20 per cent in a year

For most treasure seekers the promising glint of a gold coin in the garden has turned out on closer inspection to be a rusting bottle top. However, a report to be published this week will show that more buried treasure than ever is being reported found in the UK by amateur archaeologists armed with metal detectors.



The number of reported valuable finds has increased by nearly 20 per cent in the last year, with discoveries including iron age and medieval hoards, Roman coins and exquisite examples of Anglo-Saxon jewellery.


The official report will show that thousands of finds are being reported each year and that 506 discoveries were significant enough to be declared as treasure trove. The remarkable increase has caused huge excitement among museums and in government.


David Lammy, the minister of culture, said that metal detetectorists who spend days scanning newly ploughed fields in the hope that a beep will lead them to buried treasure, are doing a huge service to Britain's cultural life.


"Metal detectorists are the unsung heroes of the UK's heritage. Thanks to the responsible approach they display in reporting finds and the systems we have set up to record them, more archaeological material is available for all to see at museums or to study online," he said.


The finds have included a £100,000 hoard of five golden armlets and bracelets dating from 1300BC which were discovered in Berkshire. Archaeologists were also excited by the discovery of an early medieval pendant in West Shropshire by amateur archaeologists Glyn and Glenys Jones in November 2004.


The gold pendant, composed of a well-polished garnet surrounded by a border of small garnets set over waffle-patterned gold, dates from the 7th century. It is thought to have been strung with other pendants on a necklace belonging to a person of high status. It was similar to pieces of jewellery found in Anglo-Saxon cemeteries in Kent.


Metal detectors can be used with the permission of landowners but are banned on scheduled archaeological sites such as Stonehenge.


The rise in the number of reported finds follows a change in the law in 1997 which has required buried treasure to be reported. The increase from 79 treasure finds in 1997 has led to a huge increase in the number of artefacts being offered to museums. The new rules offer an incentive to metal detectorists to declare the treasure because they will gain half of the proceeds of its sale.


If it is officially declared as treasure by the local coroner, the proceeds are split between the owner of the land where the artefact was found and the finder. In 2001, Chris Bradshaw shared in a £250,000 reward after he found a Bronze Age golden cup in Kent.


Dr Roger Bland, head of portable antiquities and treasure at the British Museum, said treasure seekers not only turned up surprising finds, they also often revealed entirely unknown sites to archaeologists.


But not all the discoveries have made the treasure seeker's fortune. One man made just £25 from a fragment of a silver finger ring dating from 100AD.


When hunting the beach below the high water mark, you will find that one of three situations exists: (1) You begin receiving frequent signals from coins and jewelry as soon as you enter the search area. If this is the case, you should immediately develop a tight search pattern. Start as close to the water as you can get and work a three foot strip parallel to the water line until you reach the end of the search area. (The end of the search area being the point at which the beach ends or where you stop getting concentrated signals.) Then turning around, work another three foot strip above the first one back to the starting point, etc.

Following this pattern will allow you to cover as much ground as possible before the tide comes back in.  If the tide happens to be going out when you come across this type of hunting situation, you're lucky. After finishing your search up to the area of the high water mark, you can go back down to your starting point and hunt the newly exposed beach and below that as the tide recedes. Since the area will be uncovered very slowly, as the tide goes out you'll have time in between to work your whole search area at right angles to your original pattern. In other words, working a path from the high water mark down to the water's edge and back moving through your search area from one end to the other. This will enable you to locate coins and jewelry previously missed.

If you don't immediately begin picking up signals when you enter the search area, don't waste time by hunting a tight search pattern. Look instead for a concentration of signals by "prospecting " the beach. Start at the high water mark and hunt down to the waters edge at approximately a 45 degree angle then back up to the high water mark again at the same angle in zig zag fashion until you, hopefully, work into a concentration somewhere on the beach. When you locate a concentration you can begin to work the tight pattern previously described. If you reach the end of the search area without hitting a decent concentration, work back through the area (using your previous footprints as a guide) forming a diamond pattern back to the starting point. This procedure will allow you to determine whether a concentration exists in a relatively short period of time.  If you don't find one using this method, you've discovered the third situation and I advise you to forget it at least until the tide changes again. But don't give up too easily. Some of our nicest finds have been made below the high water mark.


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Testing The Garrett Ace 250


As many of you know by now, Garrett's Ace 250 is a metal detector that is very light on weight yet heavy on features and performance. Charles Garrett has not only responded to the call of customers who want an easy to use, real-world detector in a fatigue free package, but to top it off, he somehow offers it at a retail price of only $250. This unit will knock the socks off cheap electronics packages masquerading as metal detectors. It puts an honest-to-goodness, quality machine within the budget of nearly everyone. Garrett is now providing many top end, working features at an unheard-of low price. If you are just becoming acquainted with the Ace 250, you will be stunned by the multitude of features and controls packed into it. It was nothing short of amazing to me, because even though I was aware of the detector beforehand, I never dreamed you could get so much for so little. The Ace 250 has some very exciting features, so seek and read all about  this bright new star of Garrett



The Ace 250 is an interesting, ergonomic arrangement with a three-piece S-handle design having an elbow rest/stand at one end, a 6.5 x 9" elliptical coil on the other, and a control box at the top of the handle. The controls are within finger and thumb reach for quick adjustments and pinpointing in the field. The housing contains an external speaker or one can use the 1/4" headphone jack. The top slides off easily to reveal four AA batteries. The search coil is waterproof and interchangeable to allow the use of various size loops.


The control box and elbow rest are a pleasing yellow color, which contrasts strikingly with the black of the coil and rod. I hate to harp on cost, but the low price didn't stop Garrett from providing a comfortably padded handle-grip and elbow rest. At first glance the housing face looks simple enough to operate, with a good-sized LCD screen, three push pads, and three adjustable +/- pads. However, while it is indeed simple to operate, a closer look makes it apparent that it took some engineering ingenuity to incorporate so many electronic abilities into this easy to use format.


The features of the Ace 250 are remarkable and include 12-segment adjustable notch discrimination (trash elimination), eight levels of sensitivity (depth and interference regulation), all-metal non-motion Pinpoint (exact target location), coin depth readout to 8", Visual Target ID (LCD screen), plus three-tone Audio Target ID, and five preset yet adjustable search modes (All-Metal, Jewelry, Custom, Relics, and Coins)- all packed into a total weight of only 2.7 lbs. (1.2 kgs.). Its length is table from 42" to 51", and its operating frequency is 7..


Don't let all these features throw you, newcomers. Thanks to Garrett's microprocessor controlled electronics and a well thought-out design, the Ace 250 can hunt at the push of one button. Just turn it on by pressing the PWR (Power) button, and this intuitive detector does the work of setting the controls for you. You can choose to start out in the factory preset Coins mode to automatically eliminate signals from common trash. It doesn't get much easier, and as you gain experience the controls can be adjusted to your own wishes.



Controls In Depth

*LCD Screen

The screen is a good-sized viewing area with red lettering and dark black cursors for indications. As you can see in the accompanying photo, the LCD's left side lists the modes available, the center indicates sensitivity level, and the right side the depth readings. This is a great feature, as I don't recall another detector of this price having any depth meter at all. Between the latter two displays is the always-visible battery life scale. Just above the sensitivity level is a row of indicators that create 12 different sections or notches of discrimination. Above these is the cursor that appears when a detected object identifies itself by pointing the cursor to a target above the LCD screen, from Iron through Silver Dollar.

The depth readings on the right of the screen function while one is hunting, rather than after Pinpoint is employed. I offer a couple of cautions here for the newcomer. While it is convenient to know the depth before stopping to pinpoint, you should be aware that on any brand of metal detector with this capability, depth readings and target ID are much more accurate when the center of the coil goes over the center of the target. Otherwise, an outer part of the coil may not be receiving the full signal, and that can result in an error (not enough information to deliver a dependable result). Therefore, once there is a signal to investigate, it may be a good idea to pinpoint the exact location and then run "center over center" for a more accurate depth and target ID. Try to keep a coil height of about an inch over the surface to avoid overload from surface signals.

Another thing to keep in mind during depth readings is that the Ace 250 provides it in two-inch increments. So when you dig a coin that indicated 4" but ended up being maybe 2-1/2 or 3", that is still correct. The reason is that it is an approximation. The 2" level is not necessarily 2"- it is anything up to 2". The 4" mark is actually over 2" to 4", and so forth up to the 8" mark, which will also serve for over 8" if that case should occur.

*Control Pads

Below the screen are six control pads. The top three for Mode, Sensitivity, and Discrimination save space in that separate minus and plus pads for each control are not needed. Using the same pad, just press left or right to run the range of the settings. The bottom three pads are the push-button type with a press and release for PWR (Power) and ELIM (Discrimination), while the Pinpoint in the center is a press and hold.


Press the switch marked Mode and watch as each mode is chosen at the left of the screen. The five modes are all preset at the factory but are adjustable to the user's likes and dislikes. These represent two top-of-the line features in that not only do you have the choice of various modes, but you can also save favorite settings in the Custom Mode. All-Metal is just what it implies- it has no discrimination set and therefore detects all metals. The Ace 250 is very sensitive to tiny objects; therefore, gold seekers and beach hunters may want to use this mode, depending upon hunting conditions.

Jewelry mode knocks out the first two discrimination segments and thereby eliminates signals from small iron and thin foil. Again, depending upon hunting conditions, including trash level, beach hunters should love this mode for finding rings, bracelets, and other jewelry. Custom mode is the one that will save your discrimination settings. The first time used, it starts in a Coins set-up but is adjustable as needed. Any discrimination changes that you make in the  other modes will be lost when the detector is turned off. Relics mode generally eliminates signals from small iron trash yet retains signals from lower end lead and brass objects.

Coins mode is the one to use in a trashy park or any location where the junk is driving you crazy. It eliminates signals from the lower end trash such as tinfoil and iron nails, yet retains the nickel-range signals while also rejecting most pulltabs. In this mode, you will see the 12-segment discrimination scale with darkened cursors to accept nickels, and the higher six segments for most coins with no cursors shown to reject the trash icons just mentioned.


Press this pad left or right to lower or raise the sensitivity of the detector. As experienced detectorists know, sensitivity can be a double-edged sword. It can be your friend or your nemesis. All metal detectors should be run at a sensitivity level that allows the highest setting yet operates smoothly. Running a  detector "too hot" can actually be detrimental to your unit's performance. The ground balance on this detector is factory preset. While sweeping the coil across the ground, raise the sensitivity until falsing signals are heard, and then back it down until the detector becomes stable. This will provide the best depth for existing conditions, including ground mineralization and trash. Many newer detectorists try to use a sensitivity that is too high and become frustrated. The Ace 250 is a very sensitivity machine, and full sensitivity at eight bars is not necessary to obtain good depth. The user will be amazed at the excellent depth gained with 50% to 75% sensitivity in this low-cost detector.


The DISCRIM pad works in conjunction with the ELIM pad below it. Use the DISCRIM pad to range the Target ID cursor across the top of the 12 discrimination cursors. As the ID cursor stops over each one, a press of the ELIM pad will make the discrimination cursor either darken or disappear, thereby allowing the signal to be heard or not heard. In this way, the hunter can change the discrimination settings of the current mode to match the situation in the field. As with all detectors, be aware that eliminating the signals of bad targets may also reject good targets. For example, a gold ring with the same conductivity as a pulltab that is being rejected, will also be rejected. However, thanks to the Ace 250's 12-segment range, one can fine tune with notches in the discrimination to decide what is accepted or rejected.

*PWR & Pinpoint

What's to say about Power, right? It turns the detector on and off. Pinpoint is pressed and held as the center of the coil comes over the  target to locate its exact location. As the sound increases, the top row of darkened cursors increases with the signal strength. One can also detune to narrow down the size of the target by releasing the Pinpoint pad, repressing, and holding it as the center of the coil comes closer to the center of the target. Using this method, I found that targets were located just forward of the notch in the center of the coil and below the top of the inside loop.

I also was able to obtain an accurate pinpoint by bringing the searchcoil side to side over the target, then pointing the top of the coil into the target until the sound increases. The object will be just below the nose of that inside loop. On deeper targets, the allmetal pinpoint tone was often not as strong as the motion discriminate mode. My guess would be that the motion discriminate mode has an audio boost employed to ensure that those deep signals are heard and not missed when hunting.

In The Field

There wasn't a great deal of time to field test the detector before old man winter froze the ground in the East. However, it didn't take long to learn that, despite its lightweight and low cost, the Ace 250 is no toy. Although there was no opportunity for a trip to the seashore for beach testing, reports from others indicate that they are finding the detector works smoothly at the beach as long as the sensitivity is reduced a bit to accommodate the wet salt conditions of the sand. The open design of the coil should make for easier sweeping through shallow water. On dry sand areas inland, I was digging nickels with strong signals at up to 8", and that is a good indication for gold rings of similar conductivity. In other tests on dry land, I also found some incredibly tiny and thin pieces of metal with strong signals, so I have to believe that jewelry hunters will do well on the beach.

My first trip was to the local park, where modern clad coins frequently popped up, unable to hide from the Ace 250. The elliptical shape of the coil covered more ground with each sweep, which translated into missing fewer coins. Pinpointing with the elliptical coil took a little getting used to at first. When going to Pinpoint, I could hear a faint threshold. Then the audio increased as the coil neared each target, and the signal strength cursors could be seen on the display screen. After detuning practice on a couple of targets, I was able to locate that hotspot on the coil, and pinpointing became a snap.

I didn't know how well I would do at playgrounds due to the larger coil, but it turned out well. By dropping down the sensitivity level, I was able to get the coil close to the metal playground equipment. I knew I was getting closer than others were when coins turned up close to swing poles, while the rest of the playground had been cleaned out. Most of the time I used the All-Metal and Jewelry modes to pick up those little pieces of jewelry that the kids lose. This is where I came across bits of metal no larger than a teardrop, with solid signals-and that means a very sensitive machine.

Starting in the Jewelry Mode at the next park, it didn't take me long to decide that digging pulltabs was no fun. The grounds turned out to be laden with  junk. However, two presses on the minus side of the Mode button put the Ace 250 in the Coins mode, and those pulltab signals disappeared. A nice thing  about the Mode button is that it eliminates scrolling through layers in the LCD. All five modes are right there to see, and with just a couple of presses the desired discrimination settings were immediately available. It also didn't take long to realize that the good sound of the Belltone in both directions of the sweep meant treasure, but no signal in the other direction meant trash.

I don't believe the higher level of discrimination had any effect on depth ability, because two silver dimes were found on this day, one at 7" and one at 8". Also noticed were good targets near bad. Sometimes, when a good sound came through mixed with an iffy one, a slow, careful sweep could separate junk near a good coin. I can only conclude that the detector has a quick recovery time, and that means good target separation- and that, in turn, means pulling more treasure out of the trash.

Several more hunts at parks and yards followed with similar results. The visual Target ID was generally good except when there were multiple targets under the coil, and that result is the same for any detector. As noted earlier, the Ace 250 seems to have a knack of separating those targets, especially when one raises the coil off the ground and works slowly. At one area, some wicked "hot rocks" were recognized when the detector gave a beep in one direction but not the other. Even in this harsh environment, several coins made themselves known at 6" and went straight to the goodie pouch. In every instance, though, the Ace 250 ran stable and smooth as long as I matched the sensitivity to the site. Even at half sensitivity, coins still beeped loudly at a good 6". By the way, you will want to get a good set of headphones for this detector, as there is no volume control. Of course, most headphones today have their own volume controls, and that solves the situation nicely.

In areas where the trash was light, it was enjoyable to run the detector in All-Metal mode to hear the different audio tones and watch the Target ID. Iron gave itself away with a low tone and Target ID. These were the times when the sensitivity of the machine astounded me. I couldn't get over the tiny and thin pieces of metal that did not elude the power of this Garrett. No doubt that will be good news to gold and relic hunters. In all modes, the Ace 250 consistently found coins at 6-7" with sensitivity set at only half to three-quarters of its ability. It never let me down at any location.


Once again, I have to come back to price. I lost count of the times I shook my head in wonderment when the Ace 250 performed yet another feat of the much more expensive detectors. Even though one can appreciate this machine as an experienced detectorist, the real news is that it is an enormous breakthrough for the beginner. It puts previously expensive features into the hands of the newcomer, who generally doesn't want to invest a great deal of money until he's sure that this is the hobby for him. In addition, how many new detectorists have been discouraged due to a cheap detector that was difficult to use and couldn't find a manhole cover at 6"?

Does this mean that the more expensive machines are now swept away? No, of course not. However, the Ace 250 makes many of their top-of-the-line  features affordable, and that keeps people in the hobby/sport. No longer will they quit in frustration before they have barely started. The Ace 250 has real  ability and many things going for it. It is extremely light, and that means more comfortable detecting hour after hour, greater convenience in backpacking and traveling, and low-fatigue competition hunting. It is easy to understand and fun to use. Most of all, it incorporates those wonderfully expensive features into a most affordable package.

The Ace 250 may be low in price, but it is definitely not bottom of the line. Who would have dreamed that such an affordable detector would include features such as pinpointing, notch discrimination, mode selection, visual and audio Target ID, and depth reading? If you are looking for a metal detector, you owe it to yourself to check out the Garrett Ace 250.

Reprinted with permission from Western & Eastern Treasures (Copyright May 2005)



Metal Detecting Techniques

How to Grid the Beach Metal Detecting Tip

Gridding the Beach
How many of you have heard of gridding the beach? Gridding the beach is a term metal detectorists use to cover a small area of a beach, and at the same time add more finds to their pouch. It's easy to do. Instead of going to a beach and trying to cover the whole area in a couple of hours, which by the way, is called random searching, you pick out a location, that has been well traveled, or where you can tell many people have congregated, and you begin a search pattern.

Types of Gridding Patterns
There are three patterns you can choose from. First, there is a straight pattern. A straight pattern is where you start from the high beach line and walk toward the low tide line, then you step a foot over, turn around, and walk back up to the high bank line where you started, and continue doing this for as long as you want to detect. Go slowly, and try to overlap your swings. If you can mark your trail behind you by dragging your sand scoop or shuffling your feet along, you can keep track of the area you have covered.

The second pattern is similar to the straight pattern. It is a sideways straight pattern, where you detect sideways at the high bank line, turning after you go 12 feet or so, stepping a foot over, turning, and overlapping your swings as you work your way back, and down to the low tide line.

The third pattern is called a circular pattern. If you are on a large beach, just go to the center of the beach, and when you locate your first target begin a circular pattern, you won't have to step over a foot every time, because the circle size increases as you go around. This is Carol's favorite way of detecting.

We were detecting in the water a couple of years ago at a beach in Massachusetts. A detectorist showed up, saw us in the water, and began detecting the beach. We watched him as he gridded the whole beach, leaving his lines to mark his way. When he was finished he left. About an hour later, two other detectorists showed up, saw us in the water, looked at the beach, and saw that it had been gridded. What did they do? They left, because they saw the lines, and they knew they wouldn't find anything.

Did you know that you can find more in a 12 foot by 12 foot area, than you can by randomly zigzagging across a whole beach? One of the benefits of gridding a beach is, you don't wear yourself out finding nothing in the process. You'll find more, and you'll leave your mark for other detectorists. If you go to a beach, and see markings that appear to be straight lines or circular lines, you will know automaticly that someone has gridded that area, and you are not going to find much. So try to find an area to grid that he didn't get to. Mark yourself out an area, so you know where you're detecting. It takes concentration, but you'll be satisfied knowing that you didn't miss anything.

Something New
We added something new to our metal detecting accessories a couple of weeks ago. We were in Walmart and saw some walkie talkies, and both of us were thinking the same thing, what a good use these could be for our hobby.

When we first started detecting we detected together because we only had one metal detector. After a couple of months we thought, If we had another metal detector, we could find twice as much stuff! The only problem was, we each had to do our own recovery of targets, and we didn't get to see so much of each other. We would detect for an hour or so, and then try to find each other to compare our finds. We have been detecting like this for several years now.

For example, the day before we bought the walkie talkie's, we went to a new park and was detecting in separate areas. The beach was sort of at an odd angle, and there was also woods nearby. I headed toward the woods by a waterfall, she on the other hand, went towards the waterline in the fishing area adjacent to the beach. It started getting hot, and I was getting hungry and it would have been nice if I could have just called her to find out what she was finding, because it would determine whether or not we stayed. The problem was I had to try to find her.

Can't Get Lost
When we go detecting it seems we are always looking for each other, and wondering what each other is finding. It's always helps to know what were finding, because if one person is doing good, and the other person isn't then it is an encouragement to the other person that stuff is there.

Anyway, when we saw the walkie talkie's, it was a great find. We took them home and practiced talking on them from room to room, and checked out the channels. They worked great, and we couldn't wait to get to a beach to try them out.

The First Hunt
That's exactly what we did even though it was getting towards dark. We got in the car and headed to the nearest beach. It was totally dark by the time we got there and real foggy. We couldn't see 20 feet ahead of us. We checked the walkie talkies to make sure they were still working, and I took off to the far end of the beach where I usually locate some silver. She kind of lagged behind, yet was heading in my direction. After a few feet we couldn't see each other anymore, this was a perfect test for our new walkie talkies.

After about 20 minutes detecting in the dark, I located a silver quarter and was thrilled to be able to relay this information to her. Then she radios back and says, Cool, I'm on my way.

In Conclusion
We found that the walkie talkies helped alot in keeping contact with each other while metal detecting, and would recommend them highly if you are detecting with a partner. They are very affordable, and the ones we bought have a six mile radius, and a headset is included which Carol puts on before she puts her detector headphones on. I may even wire mine to my detector headphones.

Water Hunting Tips

Shallow water detecting
Water hunting is definitely a science, and probably one of the most difficult ways to metal detect, but it can be rewarding. However, it involves an ongoing process of learning. Every time we think we have it figured out, mother nature throws something new at us to prove us wrong. It has basically comes down to being in the right place at the right time.

These tips are for salt water hunting and on finding coins on beaches. First of all, you need to realize that the sand in the ocean is always on the move. The wind, currents, and tides are always changing the beach in unpredictable ways. The average person wouldn't notice this as much as an avid beach hunter would. So, if you're new to water hunting start by training your eye now.

Study the beach

Since you are limited to the low tides, as far as hunting, you only have about four hours of searching to do. But before you jump into the water, take a look around, and notice parts of the beach that have less sand than the rest. Quite often it will be the same in the water.

These areas are the best places to start. This is the technique we use and it works quite well, because usually it's only a part of the beach that is producing the finds. If you don't see an area, scan the beach with your detector fairly fast to find a spot that is producing and concentrate in that area.

Look for channels

Sometimes you'll see channels, also known as cuts, in the water, or you can look for areas with the heavier sand and pebbles. That will indicate that some of the sand has moved. Once you start finding old coins you'll know you're in the right spot, and you can bet there is more there because they generally lay in pockets. Also, if you're finding old coins, there is a good chance gold is nearby, but much deeper, so dig the whispers. Be patient and concentrate, scanning the area from different directions.

When to go

If you are just a beginner at water hunting, summertime would be the best time to try it out. Many people are swimming and replenishing the the beaches, so there should be plenty of targets to find. Start at the most popular beach in your area. Try to detect early in the morning, because the water is usually calmer, or later in the evening after everyone starts to go home. If you haven't found much, don't panic, the sand could move with the next tide.


If this is your first time out, it might be a good idea to practice. So before you jump in, practice in ankle deep water first, so you can see the general area of your target. A good water scoop is extremely important, and you need to know how to pinpoint your target, because when the water is murky you might as well have a blindfold on. We noticed that after water hunting for several years, we didn't need to use our pinpointing features on our land detectors anymore.

Watch the tides

Getting a Tide Chart for your area will come in real handy. Try to get to the beach two hours before low tide. Water hunting is all about timing and patience. You can go home empty handed for months, but when the right time comes, you could go home with a handful of gold rings.
Read our research notes on

Dig Everything

On most beaches there isn't any reason why you can't dig everything. In the water, the further you are away from the shore the less trash there is. Most pulltabs, aluminum pieces and bottle caps lay in the swash, where the water hits the beach. If you're just finding trash, you need to go in the water deeper. Gold is heavy and has the uncanny habit of always trying to make it's back to the center of the earth, so the gold is deep. It is laying in the hard clay under the loose sand.What if the place has been well hunted or overhunted? If you're in the water, and not getting any signals. Go for the tiny signals and dig what other detectors missed.

Respect Others

Ever go to a beach and look in the water, and it looks like a minefield? Please, always try to refill your holes even in the water. How do you do that? Simply turn your scoop over an use the tip to drag the sand back into the hole. Metal Detectorists have been banned from several lakes that we know of, because someone left four foot holes in the water.

No Night Hunting

Even though we know some people who do this, we would not recommend getting in the water and metal detecting at night. It's too scary for one thing. One morning we were in the ocean and it was real foggy and we heard something splashing in the water not three feet from us. It really scared us. It turned out to be a deer swimming by. But it wasn't worth the stress believe me.

More tips for Coins & Relics


Coinshooting and Relic Tips

These outdoor metal detecting tips will give you some ideas how to hunt for coins by detecting, and locations that will help you be a success at relic hunting.

What exactly is relic hunting? It is an attempt to locate old, vintage, or antique metal items in the ground. hunting outdoors on land such as in the woods, forests, fields and on riverbanks.

Relic hunters
This group of people look mainly for old relics. If they find even an axehead from the colonial days they're happy. They love finding old iron stuff, and the older the better. They look for Colonial items mostly, and aren't really interested in anything recently lost. They spend a lot of time doing research, and then they go hunting.

Coinshooters are people who look specifically for old coins, the older the better. They love the Colonial coins, and they spend a lot of time doing research too. They locate old inns, taverns old stagecoach runs, old wooden bridges, and creeks.

Detecting the woods

Start your relic hunting in your local woods. Now that it's Spring surely you have noticed areas that would seem promising. You might be spotting old stone walls or foundations as you drive by them. Make a note of these spots so you don't forget. When you get a chance to go back to these old foundations, look for deep impressions in the ground that may have been dug for a bottle dump or cellar hole.

If you find a path in the woods, your best bet would be to check it, because most paths are not new, and have been walked on for centuries. Most paths were eventually made into roads . Searching near the road may be a good idea, because people walked along the road years ago. Keep a lookout for overgrown paths, and old wagon roads. These usually have stones imbedded in them so that the wagons wouldn't sink in the mud.

Riverbank hunting

We seem to have the best luck at this type of detecting. Waterways were the first form of traveling, so be sure to check around old marinas, and especially old ferry launches. The old timers in your area may be of some help giving you locations of their old fishing spots. Old swimming holes are good, because when it's really hot people shed the clothes, and jump right in .

A man in New York asked us to find a gold cross and chain that fell out of his pocket as he was undressing near such a swimming hole in the 1930's.
If you see pieces of broken pottery or glassware you can almost bet it's a good spot. Remember the colonists had to wash their clothes in the rivers, and creeks. We have found losts of old buttons. Check around old bridges and train stops, you may be lucky and find an old token.

Field locations

There are a lot of old farmfields around, the main thing with these, is getting permission. But usually, depending on the time of year, farmers are pretty lenient and don't mind. Fields are great right after a hard rainfall. You may even spot some Indian artifacts.

Do some studying on the locations of old cotton or tobacco fields. If you hit upon a coin, check that area real good, because you may have stumbled across a hidden treasure cache, and it has been known to happen. Most fields were used as encampments during certain wars. So be sure you aren't breaking any laws by detecting known battlefields.

Getting permission

How easy is it for you to walk up and knock on a door, and ask permission to hunt? Some people find it easy to do, some don't. Written permission from private landowners is best way to go. Usually, you will have to come to an agreement with the landowner concerning what you find, before you start to hunt. Most seem to be happy if you just share a couple of old coins with them. Some people even offer the farmer a detector to use to hunt with them. In some states it's harder to get permission because people can be very protective of what they own.

Researching New Spots

We've been told that everything you need to research old spots is online somewhere. Topo maps are available and the historical societies abound with great information and pictures. Compare the old maps with new maps and see what has changed. The problem we have found is that most land has been already been overdeveloped in most areas. Find an area that has never been developed and you are good to go.

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Beach Hunting Tips


Metal Detecting Tips for Beach Hunting

Here's some tips on how to metal detect a saltwater beach.
Metal detecting beaches and wet sand is one of the most popular hobbies among the folks living near the coast. And how can you resist all that sunshine and soft sand?

Even if you don't find much, just being there is a nice relief from a day's work, plus it gets your mind off the business of life. Screeching seagulls, sounds of breaking waves, yellow sand under your feet, and a beautiful sunrise... ahh, just thinking about it makes me want to go! Most people go to the beach just for that, but why not bring your metal detector and double the fun?


Beach hunting is not the same as it was 5, or even 10 years ago. Now it seems like everybody and their brother own a detector, and off to the beach they go.

Of course it's not like that everywhere, but here in the good ole USA it's not uncommon to see 3 to 5 guys every day during the summer. With this amount of beach hunters, the new sand sweeping machines might as well take a break!

Increasing your finds

Beach detecting with all that competition, is becoming harder and harder these days. So what can you do?

  • More then likely there is another less popular beach only a few miles away, why not give it a try?
  • Stop running around trying to cover the whole beach like there in no tomorrow. Slow down!
  • Watch your coil height, are you one of those that keep it off the ground about a foot? Are you afraid to scratch it? Hmm, maybe that's why you're not finding much. The finds you're missing could pay for 10 coils.
  • Are you discriminating the junk? How much junk do you think there's left when you got all these hobbyists with their metal detectors scooping everything on their path? Turn the discrimination way down and dig it all! The trick is not in the fancy detector or a huge coil - but how fast you can recover your targets. It's so simple - the more targets you recover - the more chances you have to find something good. Just think about it for a moment.

Just by following these simple steps you will increase your finds by 50% or even more. It works for us every time, and will work for you if you try it. It takes time to become good at this, but knowing how, will save you time and frustration.

When to go

Most people are working during the week, and the beaches are not as crowded as they would be on the weekend. If you add up all the people that have visited the beach during the business days (Mon. - Fri.) it would figure out to be about the same size crowd as you would see on the weekend. So, try it on a Friday night after work. I'll bet you won't see your competition - unlike the next morning - they are all there bright and early. You can instead relax and do what they did Friday night, go shopping, eat out etc. Or if you are a die-hard like we are, head for another less popular beach and see what else you can score.

Most beaches around here are charging a fee to get in, usually 8 AM till 5 PM during the summer, but this varies from beach to beach. Sunday night is your best bet, right after a busy weekend. Start with the most visited and the most popular beach. If you're not having much luck, try another one. Find the most productive beach, and concentrate on just that one. Sometimes we go metal detecting at night on the beach, but it's not easy to do, and the police showed up one time, flashing flashlights in our eyes and wanting to know what we were doing there. They were looking for some rowdy teenagers the neighbors were complaining about.

Respect Others

Always cover your holes, yes even on the beaches! People that are walking and jogging, rarely look where they're going! Always take the trash you dig up with you. A lot of times we get home and go through our trash, and discover things we thought were junk, that turned out to be a treasure.

How to clean your coins


There is a lot of bad information about coin cleaning. I will try and give you the best information and the techniques that prove to be the best when cleaning coins. The information here is about the techniques used to clean coins from change or found in the ground using a metal detector...

You should never attempt to clean a proof coin or any coins purchased from a coin dealer where the coins are contained in folders. Most often coin cleaning these coins can cause scratches, or oxidation.

If you are a treasure hunter, and you use a metal detector to locate coins, then the information here will help you in coin cleaning those old as well as new, clad coins.

However, before I begin, it is important to understand that if you do use a metal detector to locate especially old coins, then cleaning may actually take away from the old looking effect of the coin.

For instance, if you like the look of the green patina found on many of the old copper coins like Indian Head Pennies, as I do, then cleaning them may remove the patina. You need to ask yourself before any cleaning takes place what kind of effect you want your coins to achieve.


The Soapy Bath

You need a plastic container, do not use any other container, you could scratch your coins if you do. Fill the container with warm water. Add a small amount of detergent; mild dish washing detergent is best. Gently add your coin, or coins into the container, rub both sides between your fingers, and be very gentle here. You don't want to scratch the coins. If you add more than one coin to the container, be careful you don't have them scratching each other while in the mix.

Rinse, Rinse, And Rinse Again

After the coin cleaning, put the coin, or coins into another plastic container of distilled water. This is a rinse that is used to remove any grit that may be on the coin. Again, be very careful.

When your finished coin cleaning with the distilled rinse, you need to rinse the coin again, this time under running water. Make sure you get all of the soap residue off and any extra dirt or grit that may still be on the coin. Remember to be very gentle; it doesn't take a lot to scratch your coin.

Your last rinse in coin cleaning is to be in your container of distilled water once again. You want this rinse to remove any excess soap, and grit, as well as chlorine that is on the coin.

Time To Dry

After your coin cleaning you can leave your coin on a dry towel to dry. The distilled water used in the rinse process will not leave any minerals on the coin. So your coin should dry without spots.

The Electrolysis Method

Before you attempt the electrolysis method understand that you can get severely burned by coin cleaning with this method. Be extremely careful.

Your going to need to gather up some items before you begin to clean your coins.

You'll need an AC/DC adapter. It can be a 9, 12 or 18-volt type. The high voltage does work better. You can use an adapter from an old phone for this method.

You also need two alligator clips. Radio Shack has them. You can also purchase the clips at a hardware store. Stay away from the copper clips.

Also needed are a stainless steal spoon, a glass, and some salt. Now strip the end of the wires on the adapter. You need to separate them first. Attach an alligator clip to each end.

Add some water to the glass and about a half a teaspoon of salt.

Now you need to attach the negative clip to the coin and the positive to the spoon.

Which Is Positive

To find out which lead is positive you need to follow this very carefully.

Drop the spoon in the glass and attach one of the clips to it. The other clip goes to the coin.

Plug the adapter into the wall outlet and then drop the coin into the glass. Be sure the coin does not touch the spoon. If the spoon bubbles, switch the clips around.

If everything is right, the