How to find cool stuff

20 May

I am asked now and again to share my secret technique or my secret settings, or my secret spots by aspiring metal detecting fans. When this happens I can’t help but chuckle because I think of myself as a green, inexperienced beginner with no secret techniques under my belt.

I discover something new about metal detecting every week and it seems  to me that this will go on until the day I breath my last.  I will share however, some of the things I have learned that I think have netted me the most loot.

This cannot be stressed enough. You have to slow down in order to allow the machine to process the signals AND also to allow YOU to process what the machine is telling you. When I hunted with the AT Pro, I hunted very slowly. I can hunt a bit faster with the Deus now but I still slow down relative to the speed of the machine and relative to my level of skill. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve caught a brief high tone among trash that I would have missed if I was hunting fast.

This seems obvious and self-explanatory yet, many people I see out there keep their coil about one inch off the ground and sometimes even higher! Wow! Talk about cheating yourself! If at all possible, your coil should be touching the grass or dirt. That’s why we have coil covers. Every millimeter between your coil and the ground is a millimeter LESS of depth you are getting.

Some day, the detector companies will figure out how to accurately identify a deep target and give you a nice consistent number on you Visual Display Identifier (VDI) screen. Until that day, you can rely on the VDI for the top six inches of dirt only. Everything deeper will give you a VDI, if you get a VDI at all, that won’t accurately reflect what’s under the ground. And even shallow stuff can give the wrong VDI number, depending on many different things such as trash nearby, amount of micro iron bits, ElectroMagnetic Interference (EMI), or the price of tea in China. Learn as much as you can from the audio signal. This means you will have to dig a lot of trash but believe me, it will pay off.

I dig iron all the time. I don’t mean I dig the iron grunts. No, I mean, I dig the wrap-around iron signals that give a high tone. I am slowly mastering the difference in sounds between a really deep silver coin and a rusted square nail. This cannot be faked or short-cut. There is no trick. There is only technique that will be refined through many, many holes dug. And guess what, eventually, I plan to hunt iron grunts. It’s a well known fact that once a good target achieves a certain depth, your detector can only see it as iron. It is necessary to acquire more skill to identify a good target that has ‘gone to iron’.

I hear people say that there is still plenty of silver in the first four inches of dirt. Really? Then why aren’t we finding many silvers every time we go out? Well, I happen to believe there is some silver in the first four inches of dirt but most of that easy, shallow silver has long been gone. No my friends, the silver that is left to us is either shallow but helplessly masked or deeper than six inches. Don’t fall prey to the “I don’t want to dig a 10 inch hole” attitude. Nowadays it’s easy to dig a 10 inch hole in a couple of seconds and it’s easy to do it neatly. And if someone tells you to use a probe as it was popular in the old days, please have them demonstrate how to use a probe on an 8-inch-deep coin and then please show ME how to do it so I will know.

here are many variables that dictate how a target will appear to your detector and most of those variables change through time. Don’t be afraid to attack the same site multiple times in the year. And then, return to it year after year. Seems like a waste of time? I find silver coins in our city parks and those parks have been hit by thousands of hunters through the decades. Why did they miss the silver I am finding? Refer to the variables. And people in the future will find the silver I missed today. That’s just the way it is.

I hope this helps someone.


9 Responses to “How to find cool stuff”

  1. David May 20, 2013 at 6:31 pm #

    Excellent advise.

    • High Plains Prospectors May 21, 2013 at 12:19 pm #

      Very solid advice indeed. This is fundamental metal detecting advice that you often fail to implement just by not paying attention. Clean, quick and to the point. Thanks!

  2. A.K. May 21, 2013 at 11:55 am #

    Nice. Thanks for the tips. I’ll keep these in mind if I ever get into metal-detecting.

  3. Ozarks May 21, 2013 at 12:04 pm #

    Great Post bud! Thanks for sharing your experience with the rest of us green horns!

  4. Ozarks May 21, 2013 at 12:10 pm #

    Reblogged this on Ozarks Detector's Blog and commented:
    A few excellent tips shared by pulltabMiner. Here he shares some of the experience learned on “How to Find Cool Stuff.” – ReBlogged from

  5. pulltabMiner May 21, 2013 at 1:47 pm #

    Thank you guys!

  6. lawdog1 May 22, 2013 at 7:42 am #

    Very good!

  7. adriano June 30, 2013 at 7:29 pm #

    i started in prospecting gold and relic from 4 years and this was my hoppy but now it is my only business>>>and i advice anyone that liked to be like me to develops many ways not depend in a way

    i used detectors in the first time then i developed it

    then i use recycling parts to gain pretty bb golds easily and quickly


    • pulltabMiner July 1, 2013 at 11:31 am #

      Wow Adriano! I wish metal detecting could become my business. You are a lucky man.

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