Welcome! Log In Create A New Profile


Ghost Town Hunting: Part 2.. 'Selecting Detector & Coil'

February 20, 2020 01:02AM avatar
This topic comes with a warning: 'Do Not Try to Over-Think Iron Nail Testing'

I started hunting in dense Iron Nails long ago, and I kind of 'grew' with the hobby and the progression of metal detector development. Translated, that means I had all sorts of opportunities to use different search coils and a lot of different detector circuitry designs for both the common and generally milder urban Coin Hunting places and then put them to the test in the more challenging Relic Hunting sites with a lot of Nails. Short Nails, Medium Nails, Long Nails, with some Straight Nails and some Bent Nails. And to be certain, they were not all laying flat on top of the ground, either. Many just sub-surface and out of sight to those down an inch or two, or more and in just about any imaginable position and orientation to a coin or token or other non-ferrous 'keeper.'

Several long decades ago I determined that there was simply no way to know how many Iron Nails might be out-of-sight and their orientation to a desired coin. Above the coin? Under the coin? Off to one side or the other? On top of a coin or just under with the coin resting on it? More than one Nail? At an abrupt angle to the Coin? And that's not even considering the Coin's depth or position or angle, either.

I started doing some messing around with Iron Nails and different sizes and types of coins in '71 as I was mainly trying to learn what the different effects were of a Ferrous object on the EMF compared with a coin or other non-ferrous object. I learned a lot just messing around with them while picturing in my mind the different in-the-field encounters I had chanced upon when hunting a site that was heavily loaded with scattered Nails. I could duplicate things I had come across when out hunting old Iron-littered sites, but knew there were just way to many variables to overcome in order to eliminate the effects of that annoying ferrous trash and still get a good response on all the non-ferrous coins and tokens and jewelry and such out there.

I have a few Nail or multiple-Nail test Scenarios I use just to help me weed out the better-performing detectors we have today or that might come along. They can be a challenge. I have one of my favorite Nail/Coin examples, using a Nickel since it's a bit larger than the common Penny, that I used to use several years ago. Just yesterday I let OregonGregg take it on with one of the best Relic hunting detectors to tackle dense Nail environments and, nope, even one of the best-of-the-best detectors failed to get a good hit on the Nickel coin.

No, I won't describe it here right now, but I will offer anyone attending the 12th WTHO in June to give all my Nails and Coin 'Test Samples' a try. The 2nd, 3rd and 4th Nail Tests are a real tough challenge, especially the 4th, but the 1st Nail Test is the one by which I have relied on to sort out good-and-bad detectors for Relic Hunting ferrous conditions for over a quarter-of-a-century. Yes, I am sure readers know I am referring to Monte's Nail Board Performance Test. But there is an excellent reason why.

As I have described many times, it came about as an encounter with dense Iron Nails on the school hill at the ghost town of Frisco Utah on Memorial Day Weekend in '94. I was heading down to Prescott Arizona to hold a week-long class on Recreational Metal Detecting and wished I had a good example for the class to show what we often encounter when hunting a ghost town or other high-use old place. My wishes came true when I spotted an Indian Head Cent laying on the ground surrounded by four Iron Nails of different lengths and orientation to the coin.

I used my notebook paper to get an exact placement and orientation to the coin, then I recovered the Indian Head and Nails and used a piece of cardboard and duplicated their exact orientation to create an actual in-the-field encounter. Thus, my Nail Board. I made up over a hundred NBPT 'Kits' so others can experience this encounter, and that way anyone / everyone can compare their detectors and coils with others using an exact test condition.

I marked the Nail Board with 4 left-and-right directions to sweep across the Indian Head Cent. I use either an Indian Head or a modern US Zinc Cent as they are the same size and also have a very similar conductivity. You can open the Attachment of the Nail Board to see the Nail and Coin orientation and note the four sweep routes. You sweep across the set-up coming from the left and from the right of each direction and pass completely across the board. Keep the center of the search coil along the marked route go center-axis of the coil across the coin and note the number of good 'Beeps' you get from the coin. There are a total of '8' possible hits.

I do this with my Discrimination set just barely low enough to Accept the Iron Nails.

Then I make the 8 passes again with my Discrimination increased just barely to Reject the four Nails.

Finally, I make 8 more sweeps across the coin with my Discrimination increased to the Ferrous / Non-Ferrous break-point. That's what it takes for any detector and coil to make the cut to be included in my Relic Hunting Team of detectors.

Then, to know how well that particular detector make and model and the selected search coil can perform in such an environment. I just tally the number of Hits. For me, my personal requirement is for a detector to make at least 7 or hopefully 8 hits out-of 8 on the first test. I am more pleased if I total up all three Disc. setting performance and get 21 to 24 out-of-24 possible.

If I've selected a model and coil to make that cut, then no more 'testing' is required to be considered a great Ghost Town Hunting set-up.

My encouragement is that if you want to have a good chance to work an Iron Infested Ghost Town, you use a Nail Board Performance Test to evaluate your own detector outfit or to shop for something new to take on some tough challenges.

For example, I have the following 4 detectors assigned to my Relic Hunting Team:

Nokta FORS CoRe w/4.7X5.2 'OOR' DD coil
Nokta FORS Relic w/5" DD coil
Tesoro Bandido II microMAX w/6" Concentric coil
XP ORX w/5X9½ DD HF coil

These are in alphabetical order and grabbed as needed for the site environment.

I do have another detector or two that are a 'cross-over' unit, mainly for Coin Hunting but workable for some Relic Hunting applications/conditions.


......... Now for Part 3 .. 'Before You get to the Ghost Town'

"Your EYES ... the only 100% accurate form of Discrimination!"

Stinkwater Wells Trading Post
Metal Detector Evaluations and Product Reviews
monte@ahrps.org ... or ... monte@stinkwaterwells.com
Detectors: I rely on an assortment of personal favorites I happen to like that work for me when and where I need them.
Pinpointers: Makro & Pulse-Dive .. Headphones: Killer B's 'Hornet' & 'Wasp' ... Detector Pro's Gray Ghost XP
Note: Detectors are listed alphabetically by Brand. Models are chosen based on search site conditions.
*** All working well today to make memories for tomorrow. ***

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/20/2020 02:12AM by Monte.
Subject Author Views Posted

Ghost Town Hunting: Part 1... 'How to Prepare.'.

Monte 76 February 19, 2020 09:08AM

Ghost Town Hunting: Part 2.. 'Selecting Detector & Coil'

Monte 63 February 20, 2020 01:02AM

Ghost Town Hunting: Part 3 .. 'Before You Get to the Ghost Town'

Monte 49 February 20, 2020 01:05AM

Ghost Town Hunting: ... Part 4 .. Now, are Detectors, Coils and Settings up to the Task?

Monte 51 February 20, 2020 07:51AM

Re: Ghost Town Hunting: Part 1... 'How to Prepare.'.

glabelle 63 February 19, 2020 09:21AM

Re: Ghost Town Hunting: Part 1... 'How to Prepare.'.

Monte 42 February 19, 2020 09:45AM

Sorry, you can't reply to this topic. It has been closed.

Online Users

Guests: 22
Record Number of Users: 13 on January 18, 2018
Record Number of Guests: 302 on March 10, 2018