This is an article I wrote 3 years ago that I could not find, but just ran across it. I trust it will be helpful to the newbies and may give you old sods a moment to reconsider what you are doing, or not doing.
Before you dismiss the information in this post, I challenge you to take a large coin, perhaps an American Silver Dollar and tape it to the top of your metal detecting coil. You may be surprised that your detector will act perfectly normal, you can swing it, and hunt with it, you will have a threshold and not a single clue that there is a large chunk of metal attached to the top of your coil. Remember, any metal your detector sees constantly, it will generally regard as mineralization. It will balance it out, however, you lose an enormous amount of sensitivity to small items like little nuggets.
Here’s the article:
Some nugget hunting lessons are learned the hard way!
Posted by G.M. “DOC” Lousignont, PhD
January 24, 1999 at 21:45:10
Friday morning I arose at 5:30 am, showered, grabbed my gear and packed Arizona from Las Vegas for a little gold hunting.
White Hills is a 1 hour drive from Las Vegas, it’s 50 miles. Then the next 25 miles is cross country into the desert, (4 wheel only and heavy ply tires), and takes another hour.
I arrived at my destination at 8:00 am and I was swinging that SD2200d by 8:10 using a 11 inch monoloop coil.
Now I have to tell you that I have been a bit disgruntled for about 2 months because I have hit a dry spell. Actually the problem was that I had gotten spoiled when I first started hunting nuggets. I had bought a Minelab XT18000,and the first 4 times out found three nuggets, the second being a 6.1 gram beauty. So I was lulled into believing that this nugget hunting thing is a snap. By the way, for those of you that can’t afford the pricey SD2200d, the XT18000is a fabulous machine. But after finding 3 pieces of gold I had the fever and so I bought a SD2200d, because I thought I was HOT FECES!
So for 2 months I’ve been hunting with the 2200d and haven’t found anything that resembles gold. Oh I’ve dug every shallow stinkin’ piece of wire, 22 shell casings, slugs, boot tacks – BB’s — if it’s C R A P, and shallow, I’ve dug it! But no gold.
I kept trying to tell myself that it couldn’t be me, it must be this darn detector, maybe it wasn’t working right. But if it wasn’t working right how could I find a little boot tack, or a BB? Well they were only surface targets after all, only 1 to2 inches down.
But that was then and this was last Friday and between those times I had sat down and had a long talk with myself. I tried to figure out what the heck I was doing wrong, or what was different since I had got the SD2200d. Well the only thing that was different was that I was now using a more powerful detector that went deeper. Oh yeah, real deep! Two inches!! WOW!
I started to think about that, and the fact that this detector is so powerful that if I happen to get my head over the coil it will hit on my gold wire rimmed eyeglasses. Now this means it’s air testing my glasses at 5ft 7 inches. Yeah I know, I’d never make it in the NBA, but that’s besides the point, and what does basketball have to do with metal detecting and how dare you even bring the subject of my height into this discussion; you inconsiderate pig! So I’m vertically challenged! It goes well with my bald head and age spots; I’m a friggin’ mess. My eight year old daughter calls me a sad little man.
Anyway, I started to do a mental inventory of my hunting persona. Looking at me from the front, head to toe, the METAL inventory is the following: I have on eyeglasses with gold metal frames. I have a heavy gold necklace with a Spanish silver coin framed in gold. I wear a safari vest with a GPS in one pocket, a couple of power bars in another pocket wrapped in foil, a camera in another, a pocket watch, and old transmission from a 57 Chevy in another pocket, and god knows what else. I mean it has 17 pockets after all, I have to fill them up with some type of garbage. The vest alone probably weighs 300lbs.
Then I wear a webbed belt, with, of course, a big metal buckle. On that belt I have a tool bag that has two metal hooks for carrying a hammer, or other tools, of course I carry a rock pick in case a piece of quartz tries to attack me, and a K-bar military knife.
On my regular belt, the one that tries to hold my pants up, I have a beeper, and my gold Licensed Private Investigators badge. On my side I’m carrying a Sig9mm weapon.
In my pockets I have about three dollars in change, a gold money clip, my car keys, a folding pocket knife, and anything else I can think of that is made of metal.
Under my pants I am wearing underwear made of sheet metal with copper rivets, adorned with .38 cal slugs welded into the shape of little hearts.
I mean the point of this is, I had on so much metal that by the time this powerful detector saw all of this metal stuff, and with it’s automated ground balancing, it compensated for what it thought was ground mineralization, it probably couldn’t have detected a 747 buried at three inches.
You know I read and read about this stuff and still it doesn’t sink in – what was I thinking? In my business I consult with a lot of companies and professional folks who once were successful and now find themselves in a slump. Do you want to know the one thing they all have in common? They forgot the basics of what it was that they did that made them successful in the first place! They started cutting corners. And because “the basics” of anything are usually pretty fundamental, once they are mastered they get boring. So people start improvising and getting away from the basics to liven things up a little, to do things different, and the next thing you know, they’re in a slump.
Always remember, experimentation is an expensive proposition. If you want to be successful do what has worked before. Once you have so much money you don’t know what to do with it all then you can spend some bucks on research and development and experimentation.
After having this long talk with myself I went back out to the gold fields last Friday and like I said, by 8:10 am I was swinging my detector in the Arizona desert. However, keeping in mind the possible problem I was causing wearing so much metal I decided to make one small change. I decided to metal detect naked. That’s right I was stark naked at 8:10 am in the Arizona desert metal detecting, ouch! Darn watch those cactus!
OK – I’m kidding I wasn’t really naked, but I did leave all that metal in the car. Guess what, I started getting targets. By around 12:10 pm I had dug about five.22 slugs, or pieces of slugs, two small pieces of wire, one at 12 inches, and an expended shotgun shell. BUT STILL NO GOLD!
Well I thought it was about time for a break so I headed back to the car for a sandwich and a soda. I swung my detector as I walked, not really being very careful about overlapping. I was within sight of my car when I got another signal. Another .22 no doubt. I dug about six inches into very soft soil until the target was in the pile of dirt and not in the hole. I split the pile of dirt a couple of times to isolate the target into a smaller workable pile. Down on one knee, first scoop of dirt across top of coil, nothing, second scoop, and I had the target in the scoop.
I started splitting dirt into my hand and the plastic scoop until I had got down to a few grains of dirt, a couple of pinhead size rocks, and a darn .22 caliber fragment a little bigger than a kitchen match head. I grabbed the fragment and waved it over the coil to confirm that was the target. I fumbled to reach for my detector while I moved to deposit the bullet fragment in my trash pouch. Out of the corner of my eye, I thought I saw a glint from the sun come off the slug fragment. I held the slug in my hand and stood up and waved the coil over the hole and the dirt one more time. Then I directed my attention back to the small fragment. I held the slug in my hand and waved the coil over the piece of lead.
I rubbed it between my fingers and it started to show some shiny spots. I thought to myself, “it must have been a copper jacketed .22.” Then I started talking to myself out loud. “Wait, this isn’t the color of copper, the shiny spots look like the color of gold. THAT’S IMPOSSIBLE! It couldn’t be gold, I haven’t found any gold with this 2200d because I wear too much metal! But you took the metal off stupid! Yeah sure, but all there is around here is .22caliber slugs, you’ve been digging them all morning. So get out your drinking water.”
Suddenly I realized that I was standing naked in the desert talking to myself -OK, I wasn’t really naked! I told you I was kidding about that part, why won’t you believe me?
I dropped the suspicious item into my plastic scoop and poured a little water in on the questionable metallic object. Sticking my index finger in the water on top of the item I gave it a vigorous rub. When I removed my finger, there, to my amazement, was not a lead bullet fragment, but a gold nugget that later weighed out to be .7 gram. That little nugget was so dirty, and my mind was so cluttered with negative thinking that I almost threw it in my trash pouch; the trash pouch that would have been summarily dumped into a trash can upon reaching home.
So my dear friends the moral of this true story is, 1. Never give up 2. When things don’t seem to be working, review the basics and then get back to practicing them. 3. Stay positive 4. Don’t dig a target with a pre-conceived notion 5. Examine every find carefully before discarding it.
More than enough said.
Let’s be careful out there and find lot’s of that yellow stuff!