10 Tips for Successful Treasure Hunting with your Metal Detector!

Read tips and take your metal detecting success to the next level

Read tips that will take your metal detecting success to the next level.

Have you gone on several treasure hunts and now you’re addicted to metal detecting? The day has finally arrived when you’ve graduated from a “beginner” treasure hunter to the next phase. Even though you’re familiar with your metal detector, you may be ready to master it…understanding all of its nuances. And it’s also time to improve upon your skills. So, how do you move into the next phase as an intermediate detectorist? Experts will tell you how!

First, take some time to reflect on your early detecting outings. Is your detector performing the way you expected in each of its settings? Is your search coil finding items at the depth it’s rated for? Is it time to buy some decent digging tools? Think about your successes while treasure hunting and things that need improvement. If you’ve been hunting by yourself, maybe it’s time to find a companion. Fellow hunters can help you hone your hunting and digging techniques. They will also offer search places you’ve never thought of.

10 Metal Detecting Tips for Advancing from Beginner to Intermediate

  1. Get a good hand-held pinpointer. Recently, pinpointers have become game changers. A quality pinpointer, such as the Garrett Pro-Pointer AT, Makro Waterproof Pinpointer or White’s Bullseye TRX Pinpointer will speed up discovery of coins and jewelry the second your detector spots it. Often you can locate the target with the probe even before you start digging.
  2. Develop good coil swinging technique. Keep the coil close to the ground and parallel to the surface. There is a tendency to lift the coil up at the extremes of the swing. This reduces the effective depth of detection.
  3. Use a grid system to search an area. Set up a grid pattern for scanning your area. Missing large areas of a park or beach makes for inefficient searching. You can either cover the area in linear fashion, like a football field—or make even circles from the outer perimeter inward.
  4. Consider an additional search coil for different search areas. Several coil sizes are available for your metal detector. The standard 8-9 inch coil is an all-purpose coil (the most popular coil size) and it performs well under most conditions. Larger coils are best suited for low-trash and low-mineralization areas. They cover more ground and increase depth penetration.
  5. Re-read your detector user manual. You’ll  be surprised what now makes more sense after several outings. You’ll re-acclimate yourself to its search modes, settings and other specifications.
  6. Spend time researching the best hunt areas. There is no shortage of buried treasure, no matter where you live. For ideas, read: “Where to Find Treasure: Hunting in Unusual Places.”
  7. Join a metal detecting club. Most treasure hunting clubs have access to private land, which means you will be able to hunt exclusive sites. Tips from veterans in your club will prove to be invaluable!
  8. Stay informed on the latest detecting developments. Read metal detecting magazines and watch metal detecting videos online.
  9. Lower your discrimination in areas that have been hit hard by other detectorists. You’ll be surprised how many nickels, “wheaties” and silver dimes you will find this way.  Be the first one to hit an area after the ground thaws. The freezing and thawing of ground over winter can bring targets within range of your detector.
  10. Give yourself an self-assessment of what you like and dislike about metal detecting. You can make applicable changes by reading articles in Learning Libraries, like this one: MetalDetector.com Learning Library

If you are interested in upgrading to a mid-level or higher-end metal detector, below are some of our recommendations:

Mid-Level Metal Detectors

High-End Metal Detectors

Why YOU Should Join a Metal Detecting Club

Find a metal detecting or gold prospecting club in your area; MetalDetector.com Club Finder.

Find a metal detecting or gold prospecting club in your area; MetalDetector.com Club Finder.

Are you new to the hobby of metal detecting? Perhaps you just received a new detector this past Christmas or your passion for treasure hunting is igniting. Although treasure hunting can be a solitary hobby if you want to to be, it’s even more fun and engaging with a partner or in a group. That’s why so many seasoned detectorists are members of metal detecting clubs. Detecting club members get together to exchange stories and tips; and they talk about their finds. If you are finding strange items, a detecting club is the place to be. Long time hobbyists who have been treasure hunting for years will likely be able to identify your treasure. Most treasure hunting clubs have group hunts, a detecting book/magazine library, and experts and friends who enjoy the hobby as much as you do. One of the other main benefits for newcomers is that most treasure hunting clubs have access to private land (“club land”), which means you will be able to hunt additional and exclusive sites. Clubs often arrange days out for members and/or guest speakers. There are metal detecting clubs in every U.S. state. All you have to do is search the internet for a metal detecting club in your city.

Benefits of Metal Detecting Clubs:

  • Share stories about your treasure hunts
  • Learn new techniques from the pros
  • Discover new places to hunt
  • Meet new metal detecting friends
  • Participate in contests and group hunts

Join the Community

There are hundreds of metal detecting clubs across the US and Canada where you can hone your metal detecting skills, learn new tricks, talk shop about equipment, and more all with others who are, like you, truly interested in metal detecting. That’s why we created the MetalDetector.com Club Finder! We’ve combined clubs that specialize in gold prospecting with metal detector clubs. In addition to finding metal detecting clubs in your area, the Club Finder can also help you locate coin collecting clubs and scuba diving clubs near you. Also, many clubs have websites you can visit in order to learn more about the organization, find meeting dates, review new member information, and other options like this.  Once you choose the club (or clubs!) you’d like to join, you can head out to a meeting or event, find like-minded folks who share your passion for finding treasure.

Tell Us About Your Metal Detecting Finds!

Have an exciting discovery of your own to share? Tell us about it at “My Metal Detecting Finds.” Not only is it cool to share your treasure hunting stories, you might even win a great prize from MetalDetector.com! Now through the end of March, enter to win the Makro Waterproof Pointer. This waterproof pinpointer will quickly and precisely locate your target with sound and vibration. It Includes a powerful built in LED light.

If you’re new to the hobby and need other metal detecting accessories, check out: Metal Detecting Accessories & Necessities

Why Our Kids Need to Get Outdoors- with a Metal Detector!

There is an extreme need for today’s kids to engage in physical outdoor activity— away from computer and TV screens. The benefits of engaging kids in outdoor hobbies is immeasurable. Not only will they get fresh air and exercise, kids will learn and grow mentally. Studies show that too much time in front of a computer screen leads to behavioral and psychological issues. According to Cris Rowan, a pediatric occupational therapist, sedentary children with too much screen time can experience developmental delays. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests time limits for all age groups from 3-18 years old.

Treasure Hunting for Kids

One extremely enticing outdoor activity for children and teens is metal detecting. The prospect of finding treasure is usually enticing enough to get the most “glued to the screen” kid outside. Kids love exploring and becoming young adventurers. And who knows what they may discover? Some lucky kids have found priceless gold coins with a metal detector!

Hand’s On Learning While Having Fun

Metal Detecting and kids just go together. Detecting may lead to other interests and hobbies such a collecting coins.

Metal Detecting and kids just go together. Detecting may lead to other interests and hobbies such a collecting coins.

The benefits of metal detecting include learning about science and the world around us. Geology and biology are all part of treasure hunting, particularly when digging up targets in soil and other terrain. You can expect to encounter all sorts of plants, insects and worms. It’s also amazing how history goes hand-in-hand with treasure hunting. Take for instance, a 1931 S Lincoln wheat penny. Wheat pennies are among the most popular U.S. coins people collect. If your child found a 1931 S Lincoln penny, he or she may wonder: “Where did this wheat penny come from?” “Is it rare?” “What type of metal is it made of?” If you help your child look up information about their find, you will both learn! As it turns out, the San Francisco mint only struck 866,000 Lincoln 1931 pennies that year, which makes the coin relatively rare. A 1931 S Lincoln penny currently sells for at least $100, even in fair condition. Metal detecting makes what would otherwise be a boring old history lesson into an exciting adventure.

Best Metal Detectors for Kids and Teens

The Garrett Ace 150 metal detector

With three large buttons, the Garrett Ace 150 is easy to use and ready to find treasure!

The best metal detector for a child or teen is an easy-to-use model! The easier to operate and understand, the better. There are dozens of entry-level detectors that are built to “turn on & go.” This is what you’re looking for. Many manufacturers have even designed metal detectors specifically for children. Kids just want to be able to turn the machine on and listen for a beep. It’s also nice if there is some sort of target identification display. Below is a list of metal detectors that are ideal for kids (over 8 years old) and teenagers.

Top Detectors for Kids Ages 9 and Up:

For Kids and Children Ages 8 and Under:

We suggest the Junior Treasure Tracker model for younger kids because it is smaller to fit them well and lightweight. At $69.95, this is a totally affordable metal detector with quality features. It is not a toy; beware – as some units sold at toy stores are all gimmick with no usability.

For further details and suggestions, read the article: Best Kids Metal Detectors featuring a video guide.

Coins, Coins…They’re Everywhere! Here’s How You Can Find Them

MetalDetector.com customer Rick of Dimondale, MI found not one but two 1942 walking liberty half dollar's and in the same hole!

MetalDetector.com customer Rick of Dimondale, MI found not one but two 1942 walking liberty half dollar’s and in the same hole!

For coin-hunting buffs and newer treasure hunters, there is no greater rush than digging up a valuable old coin. Millions of coins worth untold sums are just waiting to be recovered by a hobbyist with a metal detector. So, if you are armed with a metal detector and a bit of enthusiasm, there’s a good chance you’ll unearth a wealth in coins! Some will be clad coins: modern coins with an inner core of copper and outer layers of nickel-copper alloy. But, there are older coins underfoot which are much more valuable and dated. These include: Indianhead and Wheat pennies, Buffalo nickels, Barber dimes, Liberty and Washington quarters, Liberty-walking half dollars and many other types of silver coins. Older silver coins are made of near pure silver, not alloy.

Lost & Buried Gold Coins are a Hot Commodity!

Believe it or not, U.S. gold coins are still found by hobbyists today! The first gold coins issued by the United States Mint started circulating in 1795. From 1838 to 1907, $20 Liberty Head gold coins were minted; followed by $20 Saint Gauden gold coins from 1907 to 1933. These, and other ancient foreign coins are unearthed by coin shooters. Experts say that a dedicated coin hunter can recover from a handful to over a 100 coins on any given weekend. Basic clad coins at “face value” can easily be cashed in at a Coin Star machine. But more importantly, older coins are worth several times their face value. As seasoned hobbyists say, “A single coin can be worth thousands of dollars. But, even a few weekend’s worth of coin shooting can pay for your metal detector.”

Digging Tools Needed for Coin Shooting

When you are setting out to dig up coins, it’s important to figure out which tools you will need. There’s no sense dragging a shovel if you won’t need it. The type of digging tool(s) you’ll need really depends on your soil conditions and the depth of coins. Some areas only require a probe and a screwdriver. But in tough terrain, you may need a small hand shovel or a serrated digger. Serrated diggers, like the Lesche Digging Tool and the Garrett Edge Digger are often a lifesaver when it comes to coin shooting. They are made of high-quality steel for strength and durability; and their serrated edges cut through weeds and brush. Both diggers also come with a sheath that hangs from a belt on your waist.

How to Skillfully Dig Up Coins

When digging up a coin, try not to stick your bare hand into the hole to feel around. Your target may turn out to be a piece of jagged metal. Instead, wear gloves and use your digging tool to bring the soil and target to the surface. Most detectorists like to use the “flap” method to dig up a coin. Using a trowel, cut out three sides of a square into the grass, digging about 3 or 4 inches deep. Then, you use your digging tool to lift the flap up and expose the hole. This leaves one side of the square attached to the rest of the grass, so some of the roots remain intact. This leaves less visible damage and the grass will grow back easily. At this point, you can sift through the soil until you spot your target. Or, as many seasoned hobbyists suggest: a handheld pinpointer makes easy work of finding a coin. Pinpointers, such as the Garrett Pro-Pointer AT and Makro Pointer can be used inside your hole to locate the target or when searching through mounds of dirt you’ve already dug. Upon recovering a coin, do not rub the coin between your fingers. Most soils contain a lot of sand and silica which will scratch the surface. Lastly, be sure to go over the area again with your detector. Some coins are part of a “pocket spill” and it may just be your lucky day!

Got a great “coin find” story to share? Be sure to post your story and a photo of your find on “My Metal Detector Finds.” Here, you can read about amazing finds posted by everyday detectorists. The stories are fascinating and they’ll inspire you to get out treasure hunting!

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