How to Pinpoint with a Metal Detector
You are ready to start digging up treasure. You have your new metal detector, and you have just located your first target. Congratulations, but how in the world are you supposed to know exactly where it is?
The coil on your metal detector could be anywhere from 4 inches (10 centimeters) to 20 inches (50 centimeters) wide. Your target is somewhere underneath the coil. It is time to pinpoint your target!
The concept behind pinpointing is pretty simple to understand.
Pinpointing is using your metal detector to precisely locate your target in the smallest possible area. A small coil makes it easier to pinpoint. Pinpointing with a larger coil can be some what challenging.
Luckily there are quite a few newer machines on the market that have a pinpoint mode. Switching your metal detector to pinpoint mode will make it easier to precisely locate your target. Since every machine is a little different, you will have to refer to your machine’s instruction manual in order to learn how to use its pinpoint mode.
Pinpointing is most definitely an art form. It takes some time to learn how to master this important metal detecting technique, but it is a necessity for a few reasons.
Being able to accurately pinpoint the location of your target will make recovery faster and easier. It will also mean that you will only have to remove a very small amount of earth to retrieve your target. This makes it really easy to put everything back the way it was and leave no signs that you were ever even there.People who have mastered pinpointing may not even need to dig a hole in order to retrieve their target.
There is more than one way to skin a cat, and there is more than one way to pinpoint a target
with your metal detector. Again, I highly recommend that you consult your instruction manual to learn which way the manufacturer suggests you pinpoint using your machine.
Most modern machines that have a pinpoint mode use an audio clue to help you understand the exact location of your potential treasure. As the center of the coil gets closer to the target, the audio response will be louder. As the coil passes the potential treasure and moves away, the audio response gets quieter.
There are even some models where the pitch of the audio response will change in relation to the location of your target. The pitch and the volume will generally get higher as you get closer to your target.
Some metal detectors also have a visual indicator that can help you locate the exact location of your target. Combine this visual indicator with a good audio indicator and you will have no problems pinpointing your target.
What If My Metal Detector Does Not Have A Pinpoint Mode?
There are some metal detectors that do not have a pinpoint mode, and there are some people who just don’t think that a pinpoint mode works. You don’t always have to rely on a specific pinpoint mode to locate your target. There are a few proven pinpointing methods that work just as good. All of these methods vary just slightly.
The PLUS Pinpointing Method
This pinpointing method is pretty easy to master. Use your coil to identify a target by moving the coil from left to right. Once you have located the strongest audio signal, change directions with your coil by moving it front to back.
Pay close attention to the audio signal as you move your coil away from you. If the sound gets stronger, then you are moving your coil closer to the target. If the audio signal gets weaker, then you are moving your coil away from the target. The same goes for bringing your coil closer to you.
The X or 90 Degree Pinpointing Method
As you will see, this pinpointing method is very similar to the Plus method. When you locate your target, you start the pinpointing process until you hear the strongest audio signal. When you locate the strongest audio signal, you keep your coil on the area where the audio signal was the strongest and move 90 degrees in either direction.
Once you have moved 90 degrees, you start sweeping your coil. You are essentially creating an X in the ground with your swings and your target should be directly in the middle of the X.
Wiggle Back Method
Yes there is yet another pinpointing method and it works very well. Locate your target and determine where the strongest audio signal is swinging left to right. Once you have located the strongest audio signal, slowly wiggle your coil backwards towards your feet. As soon as the audio signal drops away you are done. Your target should be directly in front of your coil.
I like to mark the location of my target after I have pinpointed it. I usually just make a small depression in the ground using my finger. I have seen other people use golf ball markers or golf tees to mark the suspected location of their target. Do what works best for you.
Pinpointing is one of the most important things you can learn. I suggest practicing in your own yard to see which method works best for you and your machine.
Sooner or later you are going to encounter a signal that you question. It doesn’t quite sound like the rest, and you may not even be able to get it to repeat. If you are using a metal detector with some type of visual display, then your questionable signal may even appear a little erratic on the screen.
You will wind up asking yourself this question. Should I dig it? Consider the alternative. What happens if you decide not to dig it and it is a piece of gold? I always say dig it. Even if you have been hunting for hours and your arms feel like they are about to fall off. You never know what you may be passing up.
That weak signal will haunt you for a while if you choose to ignore it. Trust me on this one. I have been there, but there is a method that you can use to help you possibly strengthen that questionable signal. It is the same idea behind using the X pinpoint method.
Sometimes all you need to do is move 90 degrees in either direction and check your questionable target again. You may find that your questionable target is much stronger when you swing your coil from another direction.
This simple method does not always make the target stronger. You may find that you need to completely circle the target until you find the strongest signal. You may also never find a stronger signal.
If this fails to strengthen the signal, try temporarily cranking up the sensitivity on your metal detector to see if it strengthens the signal.