The tools of choice
Of all the articles that I have written I have never said anything about the roomful of detectors that I “need”. Of course we all know that one detector will work much of the time but we need the specialty tools that provide us with what we need for special situations.
Some might ask why do we need more than one detector? That would have been my question some time ago. The many makes of detectors have different attributes that shine under certain conditions. Our world may just look like dirt to us but in reality we have to deal with vastly differing soils from the sandy loam’s, thick clay, rocky, and strata’s of highly mineralized ground. Someone may email me and want to know what detector to buy but it is a very complex question and I believe that we all go through lots of detectors looking for the ones that provide us with the special tool for our conditions.
It seems that most people are pretty quiet when it comes to sharing information about these tools and so folks just trade around and buy new ones until we hit upon the right combination. First of all, only a few of us hunt only one thing in only one place. There are detectors that will find coins better in dry soil with no moisture like the Fisher’s and most any detector will do much better in the moist soils. The Fisher 1200 series works well in soil but won’t do the job at the salt beach and there you find the Fisher CZ machines work excellent
For coin shooting it is desirable to know the difference between the larger coins like quarters, halves, and dollars and not just dig the beep. The problem is at many coin sites there are lots of smaller coins and sometimes it is desirable to just pull the big coins first before everyone else gets them. For that reason a detector with a good ID reading on it is neat like some of the Garrett’s or Whites XLT. Size does matter as many of the competition hunts bury large silver coins and cache prizes so that an ID machine is a help for that but most of the competition hunters use the Fisher 1235, the Shadow X2 or other Tesoro’s and quite a few use Garrett detectors.
Hunting in trashy sites having lots of rusty nails seems to be high on the agenda of some hunters and many ghost towns and civil war sites are indeed loaded with iron junk and nails. While we can reduce the coil size to work around some of the rusty nails the Fisher’s machines are known to sometimes give coin spikes from these obstacles. So again while one detector might seem to be the answer it comes down to the concept of tools.
My wife and I use the Fisher CZ20 machines for surf hunting that will work very well on land too, however although it gets great depth there is one detector that shines with the greatest depth and that is the Fisher 1266X. It however comes with it’s warts. It does not use silent search and you may hear snap, crackle, and pops as you move across objects that are discriminated out but the depth is outstanding and I personally have never seen a machine that even gets close. It has slight problems because the pinpoint is a little broad and not one of those detectors that is “right on”.
Now you can begin to see the picture! All machines have warts! All machines are different in some respects and when it comes down to searching in rusty nail piles the Shadow X2 and Tesoro units shine. Many Minelab users seem happy in that respect also and the Minelab Musketeer is used relic hunting and preferred by some.
Searching in highly mineralized grounds is the most difficult of all for many and the Minelab users seem to be pleased with their machines in that respect although they have quite a few warts too. So what is a treasure hunter to do? It takes years to learn which tool works best in your area for these problem sites and as new users many do not have a wild guess which detector would really be better. You cannot believe the rave comments that come from everywhere about every detector. Everyone has some successes and there is not a level playing table to judge the tools with either.
Water hunting under the bad black sand conditions may be extremely difficult and I have heard about hunters trying machine after machine trying to find one that will work and there are varying results from that too it seems that lowering the sensitivity some and using a smaller coil helps a little. Some use pulse, some use the Excaliber but nothing really works as we hope it would and it boils down to more technique than tool I think.
For general hunting you would want something very light or hip mountable because your hunts will be cut short as you tire and your best finds may lie just beyond where you stopped so go light but get a moderately deep detector. I like rugged detectors that stand up to abuse well and are pick up and go detectors that don’t require much manual intervention. You can’t concentrate on hunting if you have to turn your gaze to the detector and reset it often or observe the meter reading. It takes a lot away from the purer form of treasure hunting where you might dig a few more targets but you are often surprised at the strange finds that you never would have dug if you had a meter ID.
Probes are another tool and for those new hunters they are a handheld metal detector with a short range of maybe a half inch or so. They are used on those holes where you can’t locate the target with the coil and it saves time digging or sifting a bunch of dirt for a black old coin. Some use the Tiny Tec for this although there are many others that do well also.
There are many different devices for digging or scooping up our treasures and some ground is hard and rocky so that some folks are reduced to using a miners pick but the most of us have fairly good ground to dig. Many like to use the Lesche digging tools and seem to think that they do a good job however I use an array of tools for different situations. Just coinshooting I usually use the 6 inch trowel from Garrett as it seems indestructible and fits in my hip pocket. When the depth is important I have a Wilcox All pro 22 inch stainless trowel that I use to dig the deeper coins. When I am at the beach I usually dig objects over a foot deep very often so I use a smaller shovel which is very light but strong. I use a stainless steel water scoop with about a 6 inch opening and a foot deep and line it with 1/4 inch hardware cloth for the little things. Roots are a special problem and if you hunt around them then you need a sawtooth digger with sharp teeth. They are finally beginning to make some fairly good relic shovels although they are too expensive and a sharpshooter is very heavy to drag around with you. They still need to perfect a good relic shovel I believe. Some guys use the foldable small shovel that will position at halfway so you can use it to chop in easier soils.
It is my ardent desire to save you some money and get you started off in the right direction with this article and perhaps if you are still using that first detector you can now see the need for other highly specialized tools for those special places you want to hunt and did not know what to use. There are many discount sales on the internet today and you should shop carefully before spending the hard earned money. A final thought is that you should involve yourself with all the many treasure hunting forums on the internet and get to know many of the hunters. Listen to their opinions and you may also run across someone who wants to trade of sell you a detector at a good price. There are classified forums for used detectors on several of the treasure hunting sites and I personally have bought several detectors from folks on these listings. I find it a good idea to know someone that I do business with and that is why it is a good idea to talk to these people on the forums and develop a closer knowledge of who is responsible and truthful and who may not be. If you find yourself going through a new detector every time one comes out you might have missed the point and many of the older models will provide the tools that you require to become a master hunter.