Did you recently purchased a Garrett Ace 250 metal detector or are you still trying to get the hang of things? Learning a new metal detector can be discouraging.
Learning to use the Ace 250 effectively will take some time and practice. It is not your ordinary entry level metal detector as it comes loaded with features such as notch discrimination, pinpoint, graphic id and search mode presets – features normally reserved for mid-entry level metal detectors.
Fortunately, you have chosen a good metal detector with lots of cool and powerful features that, once mastered, will allow you to find a lot of coins, jewelry and other cool relics of the past. It is a treasure magnet!
It can take some time to really learn what the Ace 250 was telling you and how to use it effectively and I would like to share some Ace 250 tips with you. If you are already a veteran user, then these tips may not be new to you. If you are just starting out or are confused, then you have come to the right place.
Disclaimer: I no longer have an Ace 250. I had one to loan out but sold it. I created this section of my site to help friends come up to speed with this detector and to avoid having to answer the same questions over and over.
While it is a good detector for its price point, I typically use more specialized detectors better suited to my style of metal detecting though at a higher price point. That said, if you are interested in the Ace line of detectors or currently have one, I hope you find the following articles helpful.
Garrett Ace 250 Videos
Here are some video clips of some finds made the the Ace 250.
Finding Gold Jewelry with a Garrett Ace 250
Not finding enough gold jewelry to quench your gold fever? Or worse, you haven’t found any gold at all with your Garrett Ace 250 metal detector?
Finding gold jewelry with a metal detector is something that we all look forward to. That glimpse of gold protruding from the freshly dug soil is truly amazing.
If you have not experienced this thrill or just don’t experience it enough, then there are two likely culprits, either one of which can lead to “no gold” frustration.
The first possible explanation is one for which you have limited control. In order to find a piece of gold jewelry, you must first swing your metal detector coil over a piece of gold jewelry.
Unless you are enlightened by the owner, you really have no idea where any piece of gold jewelry lay buried.
You can make sure you are in an area that is visited by people and that the demographic for that area actually has gold to lose, but you won’t find gold if it isn’t there. Perhaps you are doing everything right but merely have unrealistic expectations of what you should be able to find with a metal detector.
The other likely culprit is that you are relying too heavily on the Ace 250’s discrimination capabilities. Yeah that notch feature sure is great for ignoring all that junk foil and the insane amount of pulltabs, but all too often new metal detectorists do not realize that most gold falls into the foil nickel range. Even if you accept the nickel range, most gold rings are worn by women and being smaller, they tend to fall into the foil range. How will you ever find gold if you set your metal detector to ignore it?
For those of you who patient and willing to give up the easy coin pickings, there metal detecting strategy that can help turn your Garrett Ace 250 into a “Gold Jewelry Magnet”. I am warning you though, this method is not for everyone as it takes a lot of patience and most of you probably want quick results with minimal effort-it’s in our nature.
First off, you will want to run your sensitivity as high as possible while maintaining stability. Set your search mode to custom and make sure that every notch is black like you would see in all metal mode. Now gray out the iron notch closest to the left side of the display in order to eliminate much of the pesky iron targets. Now gray out everything from the 10 cent notch to the $1 notch.
Yes, you ARE going to eliminate all coins but the pennies. Here is why, finding gold jewelry is really a numbers game. The more area you cover and the more targets that you dig, the more likely you are to find a gold ring, chain or earring. Every coin that you dig adds a little to your poke but costs you time and consequently gold.
By focusing only on the gold range, you are giving yourself the best chance at finding the most gold in any given amount of time metal detecting. I would suggest eliminating pennies, but some of the larger class rings and such can show up as a penny. By following this approach, you are going to dig a ton of trash, but at the end of the day what is more valuable, a 14k gold wedding band with a 1 carat diamond or $100 dollars in change, some of which even the coin counter machines won’t accept?
This strategy works especially well at the beach, where more gold rings tend to be lost. At locations with an insane amount of trash, this may not be the right approach. In ultra trashy locations I like to spend the first half of my time using this “Gold Jewelry Magnet” strategy and then spend the last half picking up coins just to switch things up. It really is customizable.
Everything about metal detecting should be fun to you so don’t feel like you have to do anything. Switching things up and experimenting is part of the fun. As I mentioned earlier, this approach is not for everyone, but it can definitely bring home the gold and quickly pay off your Ace 250! One good find is all it takes!
Finding Silver with a Garrett Ace 250
Have you ever been given the opportunity to metal detect at an old home or building with your Garrett Ace 250, but just didn’t have the time to finish? Do you sometimes wonder what you left behind? Generally, it is a good idea to decrease your discrimination when metal detecting old homes.
You just never know what kinds of old relics you might find or it may be necessary to clear some of the junk metal in order to get down to the old silver coins. But at times, you might only have an hour or two hour window of opportunity, which is not enough time to be thorough. It is at times like these that I recommend using a “Silver Coins & Jewelry” strategy to maximize your success.
To do this, you will want to blacken all notches from just below pennies and up through the dollar notch and then blacken the nickel notch on your Ace 250. Everything else should be gray. Run your metal detector at a high, but stable sensitivity level and swing a little slower than normal.
Even though time is limited, you don’t want to pass up a good silver coin by being sloppy. Make a pass through the yard and only dig the targets that appear in the dime through dollar range in order to recover as much of the silver as possible.
Keep some red and white round playing card chips in your pouch. Whenever you encounter a penny drop a white chip over the target and when ever you locate a nickel target drop the red chip. If you have dug up all of the silver range targets and have some time left, then pick one color of chip and recover the targets. If you still have time, then repeat the process for the other color of chip.
Finally, if possible, you can set your Ace 250 to all-metal mode and start looking for relics and checking iffy signals. By following this process, you will be able to cherry pick the best targets and then quickly return to the pennies and nickels without having to rescan the whole lawn.
At other locations such as hardly detected parks, it can also be worth it to cherry pick the quarters and dimes so that the next guy to come through there with a metal detector might get discouraged and look for someplace else to search. If you wait, someone else might clean it out before your next visit.
Tips for Finding Coins with the Garrett Ace 250
There are millions of lost coins to be found just by searching lawns around people’s homes with your Garrett Ace 250. Add in the coins lost in public locations such as parks and beaches and this number greatly increases.
The majority of these locations are relatively new and so the lost coins and jewelry tend to be quite shallow and within range of the Ace 250.
With one of the larger accessory coils, the Ace 250 can punch down to SOME of the deeper coins in older areas. To find the deepest coins, however, it may be necessary to upgrade to a more powerful metal detector such as the Garrett At Pro or to one of the Minelab multi-frequency detectors for the deepest depths.
Despite the fact that the Ace 250 costs much less than the $1,000 plus high-end detectors, the Ace is very effective when searching most modern locations. The moderate recovery speed and easy pinpointing features of the Ace 250 as well as its price tag make it one of the best coin shooter metal detectors on the market.
By using the notch discrimination feature to eliminate all but the coin range, the Ace can be used to cherry pick coins and ignore must of the trash. Unfortunately, some bottle caps and other trash can trick the id but the number of trash items recovered will be greatly reduced. Fortunately, the majority of silver items are also located in the coin range and will be recovered while digging the coins. Some of the thinner silver items, however, fall just below the penny notch and may be missed.
When metal detecting areas that may contain older coins, it is better to run the relic or jewelry modes as some valuable coins may be missed due to target masking. In old locations, I prefer to dig all strong repeatable non-iron signals. While I end up digging more more trash, I also find some coins hidden among the trash.
Parks, schools, yards, sledding hills and ballfields are great places to find coins, especially when located in older neighborhoods. Dimes, quarters, and half dollars minted before 1964 are 90% silver so focusing on places in use before 1964 can result in finding some nice silver coins. Demo sites, where old houses or buildings are being torn down are also fun to detect because the top layer of grass is often removed, making it easier to detect the older coins that may have been too deep to detect prior to sod removal.
It is also possible to find coins at the beach, but often these coins are heavily corroded. When at the beach, I prefer to focus on finding jewelry though some old coins can show up after a big storm if it makes a cut in the beach sand.
Beach Metal Detecting Garrett Ace 250
Tired of cutting plugs in hard soil? Then you should definitely consider metal detecting beaches with your Garrett Ace 250. Digging in sandy beaches is much easier than recovering targets at the park and you are more likely to make some awesome finds.
With the right tools, such as a beach sand scoop, target recovery couldn’t be any faster unless the coin was lying on the surface of the ground. If you will spend more than a day or two metal detecting on a beach, then it is well worth it to purchase a sand scoop. Plastic scoops are less expensive, but they wear out fast and can easily break. You can purchase a decent aluminum sand scoop for around $25 that will last a long time.
A great benefit of metal detecting beaches is that you stand a lot better chance of finding gold jewelry than you would in other settings. Sun screen and sun tan lotion make it easy for rings to slip off fingers and all too often someone will shake off their towel, tossing forgotten valuables into the sand.
When metal detecting at the beach, it is important to run your Ace 250 in all-metal mode. Because it is so easy to recover targets, you will want to dig everything including the trash as some of the smaller gold rings and pendants will id in the foil and pulltab range on the Ace 250’s target id screen.
While you can find lost jewelry and coins just about anywhere on a well visited beach, areas close to the water tend to produce more finds. The reason for this is that when a person’s hand gets wet, the cold water causes their fingers to shrink some and can become very slippery when using lotions.
Unfortunately, saltwater and minerals concentrated in these wet areas can cause the Ace 250 to false a lot. If the wet sand areas on the beach that you are metal detecting is too mineralized, then you will be better off staying on the dry sand. If, however, you can get close to the water without a lot of falsing, then it is worth spending some time detecting this area.
Lowering the sensitivity on your Ace 250 metal detector can help reduce the falsing over wet sand, but it will also decrease your detection depth. At some freshwater beaches, you may not even have a problem metal detecting the wet sand.
In the dry sand areas, some good places to metal detect are the volley ball courts, the towel line, along paths leading to the parking lot as well as areas near food stands. It can be helpful to visit a beach during the busy season see where the people congregate. Sometimes, you can also find satellite images on google maps that shows a beach during the busy season. The people will only appear as little dots, but you can see where they hang out.
The Garrett Ace 250 in Shallow Water
Perhaps you want to venture out into the water with your Garrett Ace 250 metal detector to try and find more gold rings and chains. With its waterproof coil, the Ace 250 is quite capable of locating lost rings and other valuables in the water.
Before venturing off into the water with your Ace 250, it is very important to remember that even though the coil is waterproof, your control housing is not. If you drop your metal detector into the water or if you lift the coil so that water runs down the shaft, then you can damage or destroy your metal detector.
As a result, it is extremely important to use caution around the water and I highly recommend that you tether the metal detector to your belt or to a backpack in order to catch the control housing should it fall. For the more technically savvy, you may try waterproofing your Ace 250.
When metal detecting freshwater beaches, you will likely encounter a lot of bits of junk iron metal, bb’s, bobby pins, lead sinkers and other objects that have not corroded away. The Ace 250 sniper coil can help you work around the trash, but you should definitely dig any signal from foil on up if you want to find gold jewelry and coins.
If you want to increase your odds of finding gold, then you may also want to ignore coins and only dig targets in the foil to penny range. In less trashy areas, the stock coil is ideal for better coverage.
Some freshwater areas may have large concentrations of black sand and iron mineralization that cause your machine to get unstable and false. If this should occur, try turning down he sensitivity until it becomes stable. You will lose some depth by doing this, but at least you will be able to differentiate the good signals from the bad.
In saltwater, you will need to turn down the sensitivity and will be limited on depth more so than in most freshwater locations. While you can find recent drops with the Ace 250 in saltwater, it really is not the best metal detector for this environment. Most saltwater hunters use dedicated waterproof metal detectors such as the Garrett Garrett Infinium that can handle the salt mineralization well.
If you want to water hunt regularly, then I suggest you purchase a waterproof metal detector. However, an underwater metal detector may not be economical if you will only water hunt once or twice a year.
In addition to your metal detector, you will also want to use a beach scoop designed specifically for water hunting. These will have longer handles and will have holes punched into the metal instead of the metal mesh found on sand scoops. Quality scoops will cost you around $100, but are worth it because they make target recovery faster and you don’t have to bend over to find the target.
Garrett Ace 250 for Relic Hunting
Not only do old homes and structures provide an excellent opportunity to find old coins with an Garrett Ace 250 metal detector, they often contain a variety of interesting and sometimes valuable relics from the past such as military items, early buttons and perhaps a money cache.
Most successful relic hunters prefer to run the Ace 250 in all-metal mode so that they do not miss any good finds. This typically requires a lot of patience to dig through all of the bits of iron in order to find a lost pocket watch or other piece of the past. Relic hunting differs from other forms of metal detecting in that you want to dig all signals.
In areas with a lot of trash, it is helpful to metal detect in stages. I prefer to start with a smaller coil like the 4.5″ sniper coil. With a sniper coil it is easier to differentiate between close targets and will allow you to cherry pick the high conductors like silver coins and will also remove the more shallow iron targets.
Once the shallow targets have been removed, you can use the stock coil or one of the larger Ace 250 accessory coils to find the deeper targets. Because it can take multiple trips to clean up some of the larger sites, I prefer to concentrate on a smaller patch and clean the shallow and deep targets from the selected area on the same trip.
Old books, photographs, postcards and maps can be helpful when trying to locate places to hunt for relics. Longtime residents of an area can also provide a lot of useful information.
Remains of older structures can provide clues to the layout of the site, but at some sites there may be little evidence of prior use. At such sites, it is helpful to start with a larger coil to cover ground quickly until you start to find some targets. Patches of old nails can indicate the location of an old structure and can help you to date that section of the relic hunting site.
Once you are onto some metal finds, it is good to slow down and work out from that area. As you search an old site with your metal detector, keep an eye out for glimpses of exposed glass bottles. Some of these antique bottles can be worth quite a bit of money.
When relic hunting, it is important to be respectful of other people’s property and to obey the laws of the land. Be sure and always ask for permission to metal detect a site and always fill in your holes and remove the trash you find.
Personal note: I think that old homesteads and other structures are really cool and should be preserved for everyone’s enjoyment. In my opinion it is fun to metal detect the structures themselves, but I recommend only recovering coins and such items that are accessible without damaging or altering the structure.
Gold Nugget Hunting with a Garrett Ace 250
Finding gold nuggets with a metal detector is a lot of fun and actually finding a gold nugget is quite an experience. I still consider my first gold nugget to be one of my most exciting finds. The good news is that your Garrett Ace 250 can detect large gold nuggets. The bad news is that ground mineralization may prevent your from being able to tell the difference between the gold nugget and ground minerals.
This is to be expected as the Ace 250 was never designed to be a gold nugget hunting metal detector. While your Ace 250 may be a gold ring magnet at the park, gold country typically consists of heavy mineralized rocks and sediments that can cause your metal detector to sound off. For this reason, gold metal detectors often utilize higher frequencies, ground balance control and metal detector circuitry suited to these conditions.
This does not mean that you cannot find gold nuggets with your Ace 250. It does mean that you will need to have realistic expectations and use some specific nugget hunting strategies. To get started, you must be able to distinguish a good target from mineral induced chatter. For this to happen, you will likely need to turn down your sensitivity until you achieve some stability.
Because gold nuggets come in a variety of shapes, sizes and may be combined with other minerals, you will want to set up your Ace 250 to accept all targets. When metal detector for gold nuggets, you will want to dig everything even targets that id in the iron range. If the signal is iffy, dig it. If you are having difficulty locating the target, you may be picking up a mineralized hot rock. You will likely dig a lot of trash, but this is part of the nugget hunting game. Nugget hunting requires more patience and persistence than other types of metal detecting.
It is also important to remember that heavy mineralization and decreased sensitivity will reduce your detection depth. Being so dense, gold will naturally work its way down through the soil until it rests on rock or compacted sediment. When nugget shooting with an Ace 250, it is important to make sure that you are searching areas where the bedrock or compacted sediment layers are shallow.
In general, the slopes of hills and gullies tend to have more shallow and exposed bedrock, whereas the base of hills will often have deeper sediments. While it is possible to find a shallow gold nugget in areas of deeper sediments, you stand a much better chance of finding a gold nugget by focusing on shallow areas.
If you have tried metal detecting for gold nuggets and are discouraged, keep in mind that you likely have a better chance of finding a gold ring at a park or at the beach than you do finding a gold nugget. Gold nuggets tend to come in clusters, called nugget patches, and even the best nugget shooters can go days or weeks without finding gold and then they hit a patch that rewards them well.
Note: While it is possible to find gold nuggets with the Ace 250, there are other metal detectors better suited to this type of metal detecting.
Ignore Trash with Garrett Ace 250 Discrimination & Id
Using the discrimination feature on the Ace 250 is quite easy. After moving the cursor to one of the target identification notches, simply add or remove a notch to either accept or reject a type of target.
If you have been using your Garrett Ace 250 for a little while, then you have probably discovered that there is a nearly endless supply of junk to be found such as pulltabs, bottle caps, shredded cans, foil, nails and a bunch of other odds and ends. Finding a lot of junk and only a few coins can be very discouraging.
If you aren’t already using the Ace 250’s discrimination feature, then you will likely be tempted to notch out the junk signals and focus on the coins. If you are only looking for coins as well as silver jewelry, then this approach can work just fine.
If, however, you have caught the gold bug and are hoping to score a nice gold ring, then you will want to alter your perception of digging junk targets. As frustrating as it can be to dig junk, the unfortunate truth is that foil, pulltab and gold jewelry share the same target identification range due to similar conductivity and size. By using your Ace 250’s discrimination feature, you may be missing the gold.
Another problem with using the Ace 250 discrimination settings is that deeper targets are more difficult to identify and will often jump around. If the target is a deep coin that is bouncing between a dime and a notched out position, the tone can break up and sound like a bad target.
For this reason, I recommend that you use as little discrimination as possible and rely more on the general location of the target id. If the id cursor spends more time in the coin range or gold jewelry range then it is worth checking out. If the cursor spends more time in the iron range, then you may choose not to dig the signal.
It is important to remember that the target id can provide hints about a target, but that it is not always that accurate. Even the most expensive metal detectors’ TID programs can be fooled at times so it is best to view the TID reading as a probable guess rather than actual target.
False Signal Tips
If you are experiencing frequent falsing on the Ace 250 when sweeping the search coil side to side, you may believe that there is something wrong with your metal detector. While it is possible that you have a faulty coil or some other internal problem, often the answer to the falsing is quite simple. Here are 4 things to check before sending your Garrett Ace 250 metal detector in for a checkup.
1. Is the coil connector fully plugged in and with the collar tightened. If the coil cable connector is loose, then the electrical connection will be intermittent and this can lead to falsing and erratic behavior. Do not over tighten the connector but it should not be loose.
2. Is there a lot of slack in the search coil cable? If your coil cable is really loose, then it can swing side to side over the coil and sometimes create a false. Wrap the cable more securely and this problem goes away.
3. Lower your sensitivity. Sometimes the ground mineralization can be high enough that it interferes with the Ace 250’s stability. The Ace 250 does not have the ability to ground balance in order to counter the mineralization, so the only option is to lower the sensitivity until the metal detector becomes stable enough to operate. This will result in a loss of depth, but there are areas where this is unavoidable. The DD coil will help in these circumstances but it will not completely overcome bad mineralization.
4. Make sure there is not a lot of sand or dirt sliding back and forth on the coil cover. The design of the concentric proformance coil covers easily allows sand and soil to be scooped up onto the coil cover. If this sand has concentrations of mineralized iron then the metal detector may give a false signal as it slides back and forth.