Why Less is More When Metal Detecting

When it comes to metal detecting, I am a strong believer in the concept of less is more. By that I mean that we should attempt to accomplish more and find more by doing less. It may sound a little confusing at first, but it is a principle that has helped me in more ways than just metal detecting.

Let me give some examples to make this more clear. If you were to take a walk through a metal detector shop or visit some of the metal detecting forums, it is easy to find many metal detecting accessories that are all giving someone an edge that they didn’t have before using that accessory be it a coil, a special set of headphones, or whatever else it may be.

Reading all of these reports may tempt you to head down the path of buying and selling every accessory in hopes of getting an edge. This pattern can actually have quite the opposite effect on your metal detecting successes.

Here is why. Each new accessory and each setting on a metal detector can change the tones and performance of the metal detector. This is a problem because even expert detectorists can spend hundreds of hours learning a new machine. If each accessory and setting combination results in new tones, then it could take thousands of hours to achieve a level of competence with all of the accessories.

How many metal detectorists actually spend the time learning each accessory long enough to get past the initial frustrations and then be able to do it over and over again. Not many. That is why used metal detector accessories are bought and sold like crazy on some of the forums.

My approach to this problem is to apply the less is more though process. Here is how it works. I get a new metal detector and spend time figuring out the settings I like. I currently run a Minelab Explorer II and there are several options for running this metal detector. Once I found a couple of settings that worked, I decided to stick with them.

Depending on the situation, I might purchase a small coil as well as a slightly larger coil, but I don’t want to have more than three. The stock coil works most of the time, but the smaller coil helps with trash and the larger one covers more area.

Generally, even with multiple coils, I will spend most of my time with one size. I have found that by sticking with a few settings and coils, I can become much more proficient at metal detecting than I could owning a large collection of accessories.

As a result, I spend less time learning and more time digging which means more recovered targets at the end of the day. In summary, each of us has to make a choice as to how we will become competent metal detectorists.

We can either take the wandering path that samples every piece of equipment available or we can take the shortest path possible by following the less is more approach. It really works and it will even save you money.

As an aside, if I were retired and could spend much more time metal detecting every week, then I might be willing to test out other accessories and then stick with what works best.

About the author

James Cross

Leave a comment: