Fast forward to today, and the new MDers have it really easy. Now, there are several machines out there that with a high accuracy, can tell you what your target is up to 5-7 inches, some can do that up to 12 inches, and even fewer can go beyond that. Now there are some pieces of metal that can fool every machine made. Like can slaw(an aluminum can that has been hit by a lawnmower). If a person spends enough time with their machine, I mean lots, and if they learn to listen to it, they can tell when its a good signal verses falsing or a bad target. In the detecting business, you can purchase a $200 machine and find coins. For some, using that machine till the world ends is perfectly fine. Not all of us want to find pocket change or clad. I crave silver, gold, and historical relics that haven’t seen the light of day for hundreds even thousands of years.
As the hobby grows and more people get involved, places to detect that are untouched are getting scarce. Finding a target that others have missed, is only going to get harder. Now in just the last 10 yrs, I have owned over 10 different detectors and with each upgrade, targets that the predecessor left behind are going into my bag. Some showed little if no improvement, while others were just cleaning the ground below of really good targets that had not yet been recovered.
Whether its due to being a deeper target, or a target masked by trash, the newer and upgraded technology is proving itself in some situations. Staying on top with the best technology can, and I say can help with finding the more elusive targets. In other words, you CAN get what you pay for if you are informed when buying. Now I will say there are some older model detector’s that have remained at the top of their game even out doing their “Newer and Better” versions. Case in point. Whites Detectors made a detector called the Blue & Gray Pro model, that actually had the US and Confederate Flags on it. This detector is still used today by many relics hunters in the East due to it’s ability to work hot/or highly mineralized ground. Now this is important! Not all expensive detectors are better. With online research and owner reviews you can quickly decipher which brands to look for and which warrant the extra cash. There are several machines to look for and some to steer clear of.
Now I’m not going to give a bad press to any brand machine, instead I just won't mention the names, but I will say which ones that I think are the most reliable. I don’t recommend a first timer going and spending over $500 for their first machine. In this instance, simple is the best. Learning the languages of a detector is easier when there is only 1 or 2 things to look and listen for. Having a basic knowledge of a detector’s language is going to be key to be able to use a more advanced detector. Once a person is used to the bells and gongs of a detector and can tell when its saying to dig and not falsing, then it can be time for an upgrade. Generally speaking if you hunt 5+ days a week for 2 to 3 hours each day, one could be ready in as quick as 5 to 10 weeks. Others will take longer. Nothing confuses a new MD’er faster than having a machine with too many settings and too much information from the detector all at once.
First is what to look for. Like I said earlier the more information the detector can give you, the better your chances in identifying what’s in the ground. One piece of info can come in the form of a sound. Whether its several pitches in tone to identify different types of metal, or one tone is good and one is bad. Second is discrimination. If the detector can’t keep a coin identified and null or discriminate a nail, what good is it. Third is target Identification. This can be a needle on a graph or a LCD screen. Some have neither and the user just has the sounds and the discriminator to work with. And those are fine.
Now there are 6 major brands to choose from. Garrett, Whites, Tesoro, Fisher, Minelab, and now released the US, the XP. All 6 brands have entry level detectors. I will give my honest opinion and say for the money,
the Fisher Laboratory’s F2 and Garrett Ace 250 have the most features, at the cheapest price.
Now the other 4 brands all have good starter detectors. If it's not one of the 6 brands I mentioned I would steer way wide of it. Yes there are other brands out there, and some big chain stores do carry them. Honestly they are about as useless, as BB gun is for turkey hunting. Yeah you may get lucky and finds coins or relics, but for me, I don’t want to be lucky, I want to know that if I look for something I will find it. Now there are other things you Will Need, to go out. I discussed them in my Detectorist’s Bag. You don’t need them all but the ones with a asterisk are a must in my book.
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