Discrimination and Target Identification are valuable, time-saving features on metal detectors. But experts advise against overlooking all targets that indicate aluminum or other “junk.” Your target may look or sound like a pull tab, foil, bottle cap, nail or tin; however, this can be deceiving. The fact is—old aluminum pull tabs have a similar ring tone as gold. It would be very unfortunate to pass up a gold or silver ring because you’re discriminating out potential junk.
“Dig Up Everything” is the Mantra of Many Detectorists
Discrimination blocks your detector’s response from targets you choose to eliminate. This is helpful for coin hunters, but not so much for relic hunters. Relic hunters usually err on the safe side by digging up anything that’s made of metal. Detectorist and author Dick Stout says, “Gold and aluminum are so close in conductivity, it’s virtually impossible to reject one target without rejecting the other.” So, consider what treasure you’re after. For relics and jewelry, your discrimination setting should be very LOW.
Target Identification – Audio is Just as Important as Visual
Target Identification has gotten sophisticated on all of the latest metal detectors. And many models claim they can precisely identify what you’ve found. Further, there are some advanced detectors that actually show you a visual of what’s underfoot! Target ID will show you whether your target is a copper penny (minted before 1982) or a zinc penny. It will distinguish between clad coins, silver, gold and other metals. Sophisticated detectors like the Whites Spectra VX3 will tell you the target you’ve found (nickel, quarter, gold, silver), but there is still overlap between pull tabs and gold. Get to know your detector’s audio tones, because this will help tremendously in distinguishing treasure from trash!