Metal Detecting Coin Shooting Tips

Coin Shooting is probably the most common type of activity undertaken by metal detector enthusiasts. While most people start off with dreams of finding gold nuggets, the reality is that most people aren’t going to strike it rich with this hobby. That doesn’t mean that you won’t, just that you are far more likely to enjoy yourself if you start off with realistic expectations.

Metal detecting isn’t just about striking it rich, many people join metal detecting clubs and have plenty of fun digging up the hidden treasures that have been left behind over the years, often in the form of coins.

Coins Penny

Coin shooting can be a heap of fun, but only if you are in a location where there is something to find, and if you have a detector that’s suited for finding coins.


Finding the Right Location

There is a lot to be said for finding the right location when it comes to coin shooting and the best location isn’t going to be the same for everyone. As an example, if you are interested in finding penny’s or other more common coins, you will be best off searching in locations where there used to be a lot of people handling money.

I personally find that the best locations are places like:

  • Showgrounds
  • Churches
  • Schools
  • River beds
  • Beaches
  • Playgrounds
  • Parks
  • Camping Grounds
  • Old towns and stores that have closed

If, however, you are searching for relic style coins, like old roman coins, then you will normally need to look a bit farther afield and use slightly different equipment and settings.

Most people tend to stick with the more common types of coins and locations.


Best Coin Shooting Detectors

So long as you have a metal detector you have a chance of finding some coins, but if you are really serious about finding coins, it’s important to get a tool that is fit for purpose. There are plenty of coin shooting metal detectors on the market today, but you will need to understand to location you are planning on searching in and the type of coins you are hunting, before you will be able to make an informed decision as to the best metal detector to buy


Waterproof Metal Detectors

The first thing you need to consider is if you plan on getting wet when you go looking for coins. If you do, then you need to make sure that you invest in a waterproof metal detector. Note: The vast majority of metal detectors are not water proof, and will be broken if used in the water.

When it comes to waterproof metal detectors, I always go for the Garrett AT PRO. It is a great all round metal detector that is not only capable of finding coins, but is also great for plenty of other targets too – best of all, it’s waterproof.


Land only Metal Detectors

If you decide that you aren’t interested in getting your feet wet (you are missing out on lots of fun) then you have a far wider range of options when it comes to great coin shooting detectors. Your main consideration will likely be budget, as you can pickup great coin shooting detectors anywhere between $150 to $1,000.

For most people starting out, you can’t go past the Garrett ACE 250, it’s really cheap (less than $200), but it outperforms many of the more expensive rigs.

If you have more money to play with, and want to have a little more control/feedback, then your best bet is to look into the Fisher F5 ($500), or the Fisher F-75 ($1,000). Both of these machines are amazing when it comes to coin shooting, however, the F-75 is far superior.


Configuring your Metal Detector to Find Coins

The most important thing before you go racing out and looking for coins is to understanding the feedback your particular metal detector gives for certain types of coins. I recommend that you bench test your detector at home with some coins (and some junk) so you can get used to the feedback signals. This is important if you want to avoid digging up bottle caps and other junk targets. This will also aid you in configuring the settings more accurately.

Once you have a good feel for your detector, the next step is to ensure that it is configured correctly. The settings will depend on the make and model of the device, as well as the location in which you are hunting.


Coin Depth Indicator

Any coin shooting metal detector that’s worth it’s money will have some form of coin depth indicator. It’s pretty much become a standard feature on most detectors and it’s important to understand how to read and operate them.

If we checkout the interface for the Garrett ACE 250, you can see on the right side of the unit there are 4 depth levels that the ACE 250 can give you when searching for coins. Remember, the depth indicator isn’t going to be 100% accurate, but it should be pretty close.Garrett ACE 250 DisplayIt should be noted that most of the cheaper machines will not go much more than about 6-8 inches (that’s in good conditions). If you are looking to go hunting deeper than that, you will need to pay more for the privileged.


Audio Feedback

As you get more familiar with your device and the different types of coins you can unearth, you will eventually be able to have an educated guess as to what type of coin you’ve found just through the tone it produces. Some metal detectors like the AT PRO, which has the PRO Audio, have amazing audio feedback, which when coupled with decent headphones, can tell you plenty about what you’ve found.

Understanding the varying audio tones can take a fair bit of time to get used to, so don’t be too concerned if you are unable to pick targets straight away just through the sound alone.



When it comes to tuning the sensitivity, you’ll want to make sure it is setup for the optimal settings for the ground that you are searching. The only way to do that is to experiment with different settings until you get it right – every metal detector is different and a lot will have to do with the type and size of coil that you are using.

Generally speaking, if you turn up the sensitivity to high, you will find everything, but that will include plenty of junk that isn’t worth your time digging up. If you turn it down too low, you risk missing targets. So you see, you really are looking for that Goldilocks zone.


Ground Balance

The last thing I want to talk about is the ground balance. Most machines have auto ground balance as standard these days, and to be honest, the auto balance works pretty well. If you are new to coin shooting or metal detecting, just leave the ground balance set to auto. If you don’t have a machine that offers automatic ground balancing, you will want to adjust the ground balance to be neutral, then adjust up or down depending on the soil condition.

    • Negative Ground Balance will get quieter as the coil is lowered to the ground.
    • Neutral Ground Balance will not make any changes as the coil is lowered to the ground.

Positive Ground Balance will get louder as the coil is lowered to the ground.


Good luck with your coin shooting!

I Found a New Favorite Metal Detecting Location

It’s not often that I find a new spot worth raving about, but over the last few weeks I have been going back to this same spot and I keep finding interesting items buried only a few inches or so below the surface.

I’m not going to give the area away, but it is a really old township that used to be famous for having large amounts of gold. Most of the town died off once the gold ran dry and the area started to be used for cattle / dairy farming. The picture below was taken by a friend of mine who likes to explore some of the remote locations that I visit – I reckon this one should be framed and hung on the wall.

Fave Location

Anyway, I started searching in and around a shallow stream about a mile out side of the main town area and so far I have found 3 small nuggets, a heap of old panning equipment and a few coins (nothing all that exciting).

Small Nugget

I’m not sure how the gold prospectors of yesteryear missed the nuggets I found, but i’m glad they left some behind for me. I suspect the stream used to be more of a river and I am now searching in what used to be the deepest part, which may not have been easily accessible. At the moment the stream is only about 2 feet deep, so it’s pretty easy going. Looking at where the river used to flow and you can see that where I have been detecting over the last few weeks would have been far too deep for anyone to prospect with any rigor.

Here’s a picture of the area I have been working.River to Stream

I’ve actually been camping quite a few times out this way looking for treasure, but I never tried the river this far down, I always assumed anything worth finding would be further up stream.

Giving Metal Detectorists a Bad Name

I’m not sure how many of you keep up to date with the latest news and TV shows when it comes to metal detecting, but I am appalled by this latest one. Apparently National Geographic was supposed to show a new series called Nazi War Diggers, however it recently got cancelled due to the way in which the treasure hunters on the show went about their business.

Locked Gate

It seems that the guys were digging old grave sites in Latvia looking for graves of German and Red Army soldiers on the Eastern Front. Now to me digging up graves is just a big no no. Seriously, who would think this is a good idea? Secondly, apparently the guys were completely mishandling the remains that they found and were very cavalier in their approach to excavation.

It is no wonder that so many countries and counties are looking to ban amateur metal detectorists from treasure hunting, when you have these so called “experts” treating human remains like trash and potentially damaging historic relics.

Anyway I am pretty annoyed that these type of activities keep occurring and expect that it is only a matter of time before blanket bans become the norm. It would be a real shame though as some really important discoveries have been found by amateur detectorists and I for one want that to keep happening.

You can read more about this here

Declaring treasure finds

I take part in a number of different hobbies in my spare time and it is possible that one of them may have just paid off. The hobby that I am talking about is metal detecting, which is something that I used to do regularly when I was younger, however nowadays I just never seem to find the time. Recently though I did find the time to go out and do a spot of treasure hunting after I bought a top of the line Garrett ATX Gold Metal Detector as a gift to myself for all the hard work and effort I have been putting into this website.


I had been wanting to buy this particular detector ever since it was released, but never quite had the amount of money saved up to go out and buy one. It turns out I should have done it sooner as I discovered something recently that I’m not 100% sure what to do with. You see I believe the item in question has potentially significant monetary value and so I am hesitant to bring it to the attention of government officials in case they try to take my find away from me, or list the location of my find in their public directory for everyone to see. That would immediately send hundreds of other treasure hunters straight to the area where I made the find. I remember reading about nighthawks (people who move in on other peoples areas where they have found things) on the BBC a while ago and I would hate for this area to become more widely known until I have had a good chance to sweep it for myself first.

So I am in a bind. I know that legally I am supposed to declare the item and have it looked at by officials, however I don’t trust the cronies at the government as far as I can throw them, so at this point I am thinking that my best course of action is to get the item valued by a professional and then try to sell it on eBay.

Interestingly I only bought the ATX because of a great metal detector review site that I saw recently that pretty much said that the ATX was unlike any other machine and that it would find things that you will miss with other detectors. In my younger days I used to travel all over the country in search of precious metals and only ever had minor discoveries. So I thought I would give this new detector a whirl at one of my old stomping grounds where I had the most success in the past whenever I used to travel. It turns out that the guy was right – this thing really does find stuff that other detectors miss. The reason that I am so sure is that this item would have to be a couple of hundred years old at least, so it was definitely there the last time I went treasure hunting.

I now can’t wait to use this thing in even more places to see what else I can uncover. It honestly feels like I have rediscovered this brilliant hobby all over again and I can’t wait to get out each and every weekend to see what other goodies await me.

Man metal detecting pulls pin on grenade thinking it was a ring

More interesting metal detecting news this last week, with a bloke digging up what he thought was a ring, but was in fact actually a hand grenade! The man who’s name is John Hill was out metal detecting with his 3 grandchildren when he found what he thought was an ancient ring. He started pulling the ring out of the ground and luckily realized that it was actually a hand grenade before pulling the pin all the way out.


The big danger in this situation is that his grandchildren all came over to see what he had found. Should John have pulled the pin all the way out they might not all still be around to tell the tail. It is an important reminder for those of use that enjoy treasure hunting that we need to be very careful when digging up finds. You never know what it is that you will be unearthing, so taking your time and doing so with care is the order of the day.

John contacted the local authorities who safely detonated the device. The grenade was found ten inches beneath the ground close to the Grand Western Canal.

For more information and pictures head over to

Another big find! Californian couple finds $10mil in gold coins in their backyard.

Can you believe it – another massive find in a matter of weeks! Last time I wrote a post it was in regards to the Nibelung treasure that a metal detecting enthusiast uncovered in Germany. This time it is a Californian couple that have found a reported $10 million dollars worth of old coins!

Apparently the couple (who wish to remain anonymous) were out for a walk with their dog on their rural property when they stumbled across $10 million worth of rare, mint-condition gold coins. The coins were buried in the shadow of an old tree along a path that the couple walked many times in the past. On this particular day however, the woman decided to examine a rusty old can that was protruding from the ground.

Rusty Can

What she found was that there was in fact more than just 1 rusty can, but a few and all of them contained mint condition gold coins – 1,427 to be exact, none of which have been in circulation. The coins have been dated between 1847 and 1894 and have a face value of $27,000 based on today’s gold price.


The real importance of the coins isn’t their gold value, but the rarity. It has been stated that some of the individual coins could fetch nearly $1 million a piece!

More recently it has been insinuated that the gold coins are actually those stolen by Walter N. Dimmick. Dimmick was accused of embezzling from the San Francisco U.S. Mint in the early 1900’s.

According to the Daily Mail

Dimmick began working at the mint in 1898 and by 1901 was trusted with the keys to the vaults – until an audit revealed a $30,000 shortage in $20 Double Eagle coins, six bags in all. He quickly became the prime suspect as he was the last person to see the missing gold coins and had already been caught practicing how to forge the Superintendent’s name. After a month-long trial, Dimmick was convicted of stealing the coins and sentenced to nine years at the San Quentin prison in California.

The coins that Dimmick stole were never found, leaving some to now wonder if the Saddle Ridge Hoard is the very same set of lost coins. There is certainly compelling evidence to link the two bounties. According to 1901 reports, 1,500 coins were stolen by Dimmick – only 73 coins less than the 1,427 discovered at Saddle Ridge. The dates on the coins fit the time frame and the type and denomination of the coins match too.

The couple are planning on selling the coins on Amazon, but there are some concerns around whether or not they can do so legally or if the coins need to be returned to the state. Regardless of whatever unfolds, the couple do not want to reveal their identities for fear of prospectors with metal detectors scouring their land.

Treasure cache found in Germany possible Nibelung?

I happened across an article last week regarding a big treasure find – apparently it may well be the prized Nibelung treasure. From what I read it looks like someone may well have found it using an electronic metal detector.

The article on the Huffington post says that the find may be worth up to 1 million euros! Apparently the guy that made the find was a little bit naughty and was treasure hunting illegally. He came unstuck when he tried to sell it on the black market where the authorities discovered his bounty and charged him with numerous offenses.

When the experts had a look at the find they initially claimed that it was the Nibelung treasure, but they aren’t 100% sure.



I am in two minds about this find. I like that this stuff has been uncovered and we can all learn about it’s historical significance, but I do not like that unscrupulous people want to hock it off and try to make a quick buck. To me this type of find has to be stored in a museum. The guy that got busted gives all ameter detectorists a bad name and this is exactly why many people want to have detecting outlawed.

I would be interested in hearing what others think about this – you know, make sure I’m not just talking to myself over here :p

Queensland Metal Detecting Laws

There are a number of different laws/rules and regulations regarding fossicking in Australia. When I first got started with this hobby I was shocked to learn that such laws existed, and while the chances of actually being caught are remote, it is important that you understand the laws and the potential penalties should you be caught doing the wrong thing.


The first thing that you will need to know is that the rules and regulations are governed by the Department of Natural Resources and Mines, this is where you need to apply to get your license to enable you to legally go metal detecting.

According to the DNRM website – Fossickers require a current fossicking licence, which can be obtained online, from our regional and district offices and authorised agents. Licences are not required at tourist mines and similar sites that charge a fee for entry.

License Fees

The following is the schedule of fees as of February 2014.

Period Individual Family Club Educational
tour operator
1 month $7.05 $10.10 NA $29.75 $52.45
6 months $26.65 $34.25 NA NA NA
1 year $44.75 $59.90 $74.95 $59.90 $451.20



  1. You are able to use tools to assist with metal detecting, including electronic detectors, but no machinery is permitted.
  2. When digging for items you are not allowed to dig below 2m of the surface of the land, or below 0.5m in streams and rivers. Tunnels are prohibited.
  3. No digging is allowed on roads or reserves.
  4. You are able to collect pretty much anything with the exception of fossils and meteorites.
  5. You are allowed to sell the occasional “lucky find”, but if you are repeatedly selling items and making a living from metal detecting then you need to buy a commercial license.
  6. The threshold for fossicking is $100,000, anything more than that and the royalties are owned by the Crown.
  7. If you do not have a license and are busted detecting then you face an on the spot fine, and if you do not follow the rules of the license you will be prosecuted and have your license revoked.

More rules can be found here

Where can you fossick in QLD?

Provided you have a fossicking licence and the written permission of the landowner, you may fossick on most land throughout the state.

Fossicking is not permitted at:

  • Reserves, national parks, conservation parks and high preservation areas, timber reserves, state forrests (exception being declared fossicking areas)
  • waterways of wild river areas
  • locations where there is a native title that exists. If there is a land usage agreement in place that permits fossicking then you are able to.
  • other areas declared by regulation (these will be signposted).

More Information

So there you have it, metal detecting in Queensland is actually more highly regulated that most people first think. So make sure you don’t get into trouble. If you are unsure then contact the local council or the Department of Natural Resources and Mines at the following:

Phone: +61 7 3199 8133



My Best Coin Finds of 2013

Unfortunately i didn’t get to do as much treasure hunting as I would have liked to have done last year with the birth of my first child, but I did manage to find a few interesting items, which I will share with you here.


I struck GOLD

This is the biggest piece of gold I have found since using the Garrett AT Pro as my primary detector. I was camping on a block of land in rural Queensland (just north of the dams) and decided to do some detecting in the dried up river bed. At first all I kept finding was old horse shoes, a couple of bullet casings and even a few old 1 and  2 cent pieces.

Anyway towards the end of the day I decided to check over near some rocks and the AT Pro started going off. I didn’t have to dig very far down (perhaps 10 – 15cm) and this is what I came up with.Gold PiecePreviously my best gold finds had been when I had been actually searching for gold, this was a great surprise though. Needless to say, I kept checking for more for about another 2 hours after I had planned to leave (in the dark no less) and nothing. Not even a hint of any more gold. I’m not sure how it ended up there, but I’m glad it did :) Next time I’m out that way I will try climbing the hills in the area a little bit further up to see is anything else shows up.

Some Old Coins

I also found a couple of old coins which I believe are worth a bit of money to coin collectors. I’m not really big into selling stuff though, so I have no idea how much these would fetch.

Australia 1925 Florin Coin

I found this when hunting with a friend down by my usual fishing spot. I was sick of not catching any fish, so I decided to switch things up. The tide was low and I managed to walk out a fair way to where the water normally would have been. I suspect someone threw this into the lake a very long time ago.


Australia 1914 Threepence Coin

This one was found when I was looking for an engagement ring. We didn’t find the ring – I don’t think the woman lost it where she thought she lost it as we spend a VERY long time looking for it :(

Australia 1914 Threepence Coin


I would love to hear about what you have found recently – feel free to comment below.