Being the President and administrator of our Facebook page and being very active in many other Detecting groups, I get a few questions from some people that are interested into getting into this hobby. So I thought I would write an article for anyone that is interested into getting into metal detecting and try to answer some of the obvious questions that you may have, such as what machine is best or where can I hunt and how do I find the good stuff also where can I buy one and can I pick one up locally.
The most asked question I get is what machine should I get? Well this question is kind of hard to answer for someone who doesn’t own one of every machine. There are many machines and many companies that make top of the line metal detectors. I myself use Garrett machines but I know people that use Whites, XP’s, Minelab’s, Fisher’s, Tesoro’s, Bounty Hunters, and more. All of these companies make great machines, only some are very expensive. All brands have their top of the line machines and they have their beginner low cost machines that are good also. Lets take a look at some of some of the top of the line machines and some of their beginner machines to give you an idea of what pricing and performance you are looking at.
Now what we are looking for performance wise is the depth a machine will reach and the ability to pick out a good target that is mixed in with bad targets like nails and foil. We are looking at the frequency of the machines also, how does frequency effect the machine? The lower the frequency on a machine means the longer the wave length and more ground penetration. Lower frequencies catches the more conductive targets like silver and the larger deeper targets. The higher frequencies captures the less conductive targets like gold also the smaller targets and pin points a lot better. We are also looking at your price range and always keep in mind how much will you get out to use this machine and will you want to upgrade in the near future or far future. Being successful with your machine depends mostly on the user and how well you learn your machine. Minelab makes some great professional machines, one of their most popular top of the line machine is the CTX-3030. This is a very good top of the line machine that is water proof with the frequency that ranges from 1.5 KHz – 100 KHz. The CTX-3030 cost about $2500. Milelab also has the E-track which is about $1500 the beginner Minlabs would be the x terra series which ranges from $300 to $600 or the go finds which are about $150 to $350.
Whites makes great machines and have a big following of people who swear by them, they have been around and have been known to make top of the line machines for many years. I remember my dad having a whites when I was a kid. Some of Whites top of the line are the V3i which has a frequency that ranges from 2.5 – 22.5 KHz and is about $1300. the beginner whites are the coin master which has a frequency of 8 KHz and prices at about $200. Whites also have a water proof machine called the MX sport which is 13.8 KHz and is about $800. all great machines for the price.
The best top of the line machine in my opinion would be the XP Deus. This machine is completely wireless and is super light weight. This is the future of metal detectors and is the basis of what every company today is working on copying and making their own version. I held my buddies machine and it was like holding a toy, it was unreal how light this thing was yet it is strong as an ox and very powerful. you can put the control box (which is the size of an I phone) in a waterproof pouch and stick it in your pocket and now you have a complete waterproof machine. It run at 4, 8, 12 or 18KHz and has multiple programs. the cost is around $1400.
My personal favorite and what I usually suggest is a Garrett machine. I myself have a Garrett AT Pro and for the price in my opinion is the best bang for your buck. This is a great all around machine that is water proof and has a frequency of 15KHz also is waterproof up to 10 foot deep. The cost of an AT Pro averages up to $595. Garrett has some beginner machines I usually suggest the Ace series if you are looking for a cheaper machine. The Ace 400 is the top of the line in the Ace series it has 10KHz and is priced at $340 The Ace series goes down to the Ace 150 which is about $150.
Research is the best way to go. Fisher has some great machines also and as of bounty hunters they are known to be the Walmart or radio shack brand of detectors meaning lower end cheaper. Bounty hunter has been coming out with some better machines. Either way you go you will want to stick with for awhile. Being successful with your machine means that you must learn your machine. I suggest that you dig everything that makes your machine beep until you are confident you know what that target will be, and then dig some more to prove that you are right. I would also suggest that you bury a target garden in your back yard. Bury a zinc penny 1982 up to now, a copper penny 1982 and before, dimes, quarters, and nickels at various depths and run your machine over each target. you will see that some targets may change a little depending on the depth.
Next question I get is where can I get one. I have had many people ask me if they can pick a machine up locally because they either do not want to wait for the delivery or just do not trust ordering online. We used to have a shop locally called Waynes Metal Detectors off of penn but he is not there anymore. There is a place called Big Boys Hobbies located in Norman but he only deals online and ships his products. Cabelas in Edmond has Garrett and Fisher along with some other good brands but they cost a little more then what you can get on line, sometimes you might catch a deal with them. Online is the best way to go as for the best deal goes. Kellyco, Treasure Mountain Metal Detectors(Heath Jones), Metal Detecting Stuff (Wayne Morin) are just a few good reliable places to shop. Just get online and google the names and you will find them and you will find what you need.
Where can you hunt? most beginners and even advance detectorist like to visit local parks. Just pull up in your vehicle get out and make sure you have your head phones on so that you do not disturb others and get out and hunt like you belong. most of the time no one will bother you, unless they are curious and want to ask questions. always leave a nice dug plug. Some school yards are a good place also as long as they are not locked up. Always get permission if you are unsure of a spot. Never hunt on land that you do not know the owner or have permission. I have been told a few times that I cannot hunt a spot because the owner is tired of metal detectorist hunting without permission and leaving the ground tore up and leaving their trash everywhere. That is very bad for our hobby. Always take your trash with you everywhere you go. I keep a small bucket in the back of my truck and I dump my finds bag in it now and then to keep the weight of my pouch down. You can also have a trash bag in your car too. Please be respectful to others, you do not want them hitting a chunk of metal you dug up with their lawn mower or have them find a big pile of junk stashed behind their porch or air conditioner unit. That kind of ethics leaves a bad taste in peoples mouth. this is a privilege that we have and we want to keep.
Written by David Kimble (3/11/17)