Basic Metal Detecting Techniques - How to Get the Most from your Sites!

30 Nov 2016

Swinging Techniques

Some machines have faster processors than others. Typically, the higher-end machines are able to process more ground, faster. Obviously, whipping your detector around at light speed won’t yield great results in an iron-infested site, but if you’ve got a vast area of open space with little to no targets, a faster swing speed will offer you the ability to cover more ground in search for hot spots (places with tons of signals indicating substantial human activity).

Wherever you’re swinging, slow or fast, be sure to overlap your swings. Overlapping your swings will offer the greatest amount of coverage per footstep and ensure that you’re not walking over items and missing them by mere inches. The two biggest mistakes I see beginners making are: not keeping the coil to the soil and not overlapping. You can typically spot a newbie straight out the gate by how big of an invisible smiley face they’re drawing with their pendulum-like swing pattern. It’s the type of pattern where the coil swings from hip level down, making contact with the ground for half a second before swinging back to the opposite hip. Meanwhile, they’ve taken three giant steps, bypassing everything in between coil contact to coil contact. Don’t be that person! Keep the coil to the soil and overlap those swings! When you’re on a hot spot, slow down! Concentrate on really overlapping. If you’ve got one, consider putting on your smallest DD coil. This will help you separate the signals and isolate the good targets from the bad. For all intents and purposes, there should be a direct correlation between your swing speed and the number of targets in the ground, the number of obstacles on the surface, and the type of machine you’re running.


Once you’ve found an awesome spot that has produced a couple of cool coins, relics, nuggets, or other treasures, you’re going to want to grid the area for more. There are a few different methods to gridding, but all of them should essentially have the same end result—covering every square inch of high-yielding ground. This can be as simple as walking back and forth in straight lines while looking for your footprints or as precise as using GPS tracking on machines like the Minelab CTX 3030 or GPZ 7000. It should be noted that simply gridding a piece of ground forward and backward isn’t good enough. You should hit it up, down, sideways, and diagonal, and then do it again in reverse. Some targets simply won’t make a peep if approached from one direction, but will scream from another. This is usually because of the target’s orientation in the ground and/or its relation to other targets in close proximity. Gridding the area from multiple directions will ensure you’ve given those targets ample opportunity to sound off. Some of the best things I’ve found have been targets that I’ve hit from the north, south, and east but didn’t beep until hitting them from the west. If I would have given up, I would have missed out big time!

For a more in depth look at metal detecting techniques, check out my book “The Metal Detecting Bible” available here.

Thanks! Now… Let’s get lost!

Brandon “Dr. Tones” Neice 


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