But How Deep Will It Go?

This morning I came across the following YouTube video on Facebook and found it somewhat comical. Why? Because it’s indicative of the extremes, the lengths we will go to find the ‘deepest detector’ on the market and please, I’m not picking on South Coast Detecting. Many of their videos are well done.  It’s the “Dark Destroyer” setup that got to me….

It used to be we just buried a dime at eight or ten inches and challenged our friends to see if their detector would sound off over it. Now apparently we need to build a contraption that does pretty much the same thing. Yeah I know you’ve added trash items and you’re looking at masking, recovery speed, and other convoluted theories but come on now, be real. These tests are well intentioned but they’re not all that accurate and I suspect they can be controlled to suit the end result if needed.

I get that everybody wants their detector to find what their last detector couldn’t. At least I assume that’s why you keep investing in the latest and greatest every year and why you keep going back to the same ole sites after it arrives, but have you ever thought about all the variables involved when it comes to the depth capabilities of your detector? Things like –

  • The composition and size if the buried item (think rings)
  • The position of the buried item in the ground (straight up, on edge, diagonal)
  • The soil composition
  • The wetness or dryness of the soil
  • The type of detector being used (VLF, PI, etc.)
  • The various detector settings (modes, sensitivity, disc settings, frequencies, GB, etc.)
  • The size and type of the searchcoil being used
  • The experience and ability of the detectorist

Anyway my point is why do we go through all this hyperbole? Why do we waste our time with tests when you bought the detector to use in the field? Wouldn’t that time be better served searching? Researching?

I get the obsession with depth and remember having it too, big time. Part of our club meetings were often spent outside with members challenging other members see who had the deepest detector, and because of fewer settings/coil types and sizes those early tests were probably more accurate than those we see performed today. Today we have 5o page owner’s manuals and 30 day learning curves.

Now if you have the time, if you are bored and if this sort of thing makes you happy, build a better bucket. Design a few more contraptions and ways to test the depth of your detectors….go for it. Maybe one of the manufacturers will buy it from you and make you a wealthy guy/gal. Hell they already sell every other conceivable item related to the pastime.

Okay I’m done, that’s all. My critique, my rant is over. Go detecting and have fun. I’m heading to Home Depot to buy PVC piping and a five gallon bucket…..



Without a doubt Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It typically means good friends, good food and good wine and unlike Christmas no one needs to go in debt to make it work. This year of course it will be different, at least for Fay and I. Thanks to Covid 19 we will be celebrating without the kids and grandkids. Having said that we will be celebrating the fact that our kids and grandkids are healthy and doing well in life. That means the world to us.

Please, if you are celebrating with family or friends, mask up, social distance and do all you can to stay safe. You don’t have to like it, just do it for those around you. Enjoy the day and remember to have one for me!




Filed under Metal Detecting

19 responses to “But How Deep Will It Go?

  1. Yo Ricardo:
    But how deep will it go? Oh what memories. So, on to detecting….
    “Wouldn’t that time be better served searching? Researching?”….absolutely! But then again these kinda videos fill a need I suppose and are good fun so long as you take ‘m with a trowel of salt.
    I still reckon the ‘in-air’ Rule of Thumb is the best measure. Whatever distance you get from waving a coin or ring under the coil at MAX SENS, subtract a third, and you won’t go far wrong.

    i’m just sayin’

    Have a great Thanksgiving

  2. Joe Patrick

    Depth has its place but… In the past few week I have found a 1901 Barber quarter, two 1898 Barber dimes, a 1917-D and 1925 Mercury dime. All at less than 3-inches depth using a 30 year old metal detector with an 8” search coil. Site selection and knowing how to use my detector was the key to making these recoveries. Sometimes great metal detector depth and larger search coils are simply not needed. It all depends on the site. This particular site has been hunted by many detectorists. I know, because I was once a member of the detecting club were its members talked about hunting this site and their finds made. That was 30 years ago or so. Perhaps my success will give others something to think about.

    Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

  3. Joe Patrick

    Not this time. It was another one of my all-time favorites. Read my past Stout Standards Q&A for a big tip-off.

  4. john taylor

    great finds joe! now go ‘gloat” somewhere else! yeah i guessed ‘tesoro” too! i own one, and they are nasty 6″ to surface. who needs the latest and greatest!.joe nails it!learn your detector,and site selection. that’s your “ace” in the whole!
    i’m just sayin’

  5. john taylor

    it’s ok dick! you’ve been known to “miss” a line or two in the play from time to time! it’s “kool” we all been there!happy thanksgiving mr.stout! ..i’m just sayin’


  6. Joe Patrick

    OK, I’ll spill the beans. They were all found with my good old original-model Minelab Sovereign and 8″ CoinSearch coil.

  7. Todd Hiltz

    I can only think of two examples where depth would be important to me. A farm field that has been over turned or an old home site in which top soil has been brought in. If your digging holes in someone’s yard over 10″ deep, you’re probably not going to be invited back anyway. I mostly hunt cellar holes where separation and accuracy rule the day.
    Depth… overrated but I suppose it has it’s place.

  8. Joe Patrick

    Yes Todd, “separation and accuracy” are the keys to the trashy sites that I search and still pull coins from. I seldom need more depth thus why I usually use only 8″ or smaller search coils. Sometimes I use larger search coils, but more so for their increased ground coverage and not their depth capability.

  9. It’s amazing over the last 40 plus years how many people have called our service center complaining that their detector won’t pick up a quarter buried at 4 inches! We explain that the only true test of depth is to lay the quarter flat on the ground and raise the coil over it noticing the maximum depth between the coil and the quarter. This is the true depth..DON’T bury it. Ground conditions along with how long the object is in the ground may effect at what depth your detector may actually hear it!! Sorry to rant Dick but you can’t imagine how many times we have to explain this!!!

  10. Tony

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

    I guess that guy is new to the hobby and thought this hasn’t been discussed since the dawn of detectors.

  11. Ed B.

    Do you mean to say that those guys on YouTube may be exaggerating a bit when they say they’re pulling silver dimes at 19 inches because they’ve got the “magic coil/detector” combination that goes deeper than any other?

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