What is Discrimination in Metal Detecting?

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Cory Haasnoot

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When one thinks of the word discrimination they often think of the discrimination of a race of people or discrimination of the sexual orientation of a person. Well, discrimination in metal detecting has nothing to do with that.

So what is discrimination in metal detecting? Discrimination in metal detecting is a mode you can set on the metal detector that lets you pick out certain items you want to search for and eliminates those you don’t.

How to set the discrimination on a metal detector

For example, many metal detectors come with a coin mode which when activated, your metal detector will search for coin-shaped targets and will eliminate iron targets such as iron nails. You will hear a certain pitch which is usually a high pitch sound when you have detected a coin object. This helps the detectorist not waste time and effort digging up trash like rusty nails or beer can pull tabs.

Like the coin mode, some metal detectors have other discrimination mode settings like jewelry, relics, and custom. There is also an all metals mode that when activated doesn’t discriminate at all. In the all metals mode the metal detector will detect everything it comes into contact with.

Discrimination Modes

Metal Detector control panel identifying Discrimination setting.

Most of the medium to high-end metal detectors come with discrimination modes which helps you search for a certain type of target and leaves out all the trashy signals like tin foil and nails that you don’t want. When in these modes most metal detectors will even tell you the approximate depth that your target is buried. I will now explain what the different modes are and how to use them.

All Metals Mode

When you are in all metals mode your metal detector will not discriminate anything. In this mode, you will be detecting everything from junk to treasure and everything in between. Although you will get a lot of different tones in all metals mode which is a good way to learn the different sounds your machine makes for what you are detecting.

It’s good to use this mode when starting out so you can learn everything there is to know about your metal detector. But after you have gotten used to your machine then you can start experimenting with the other discrimination mode settings that your machine has to offer.

Coin Mode

Coin mode lets you specifically search for coin-sized targets. Some metal detectors like Garrett’s Ace 300 will indicate what size of coin you are detecting from 1 cent up to 1 dollar-sized coin. So you will know the exact size coin before you dig it up. You will only hear specific tones that relate to coins and it leaves out all the junk tones like foil and nails so you don’t waste your time digging when you could be finding valuable coins.

Digging Deeper: Beginners Guide to Metal Detecting For Coins

Jewelry Mode

Jewelry mode lets you focus on searching for jewelry-type targets like rings. Some metal detectors will indicate the size of the ring and also the metal composition of the jewelry be it gold or silver. And like the other modes, you know the depth of the target before you dig it up.

The deeper the target usually means the older the object because over time coins, jewelry and relics will usually sink into the ground.

Digging Deeper: 5 Best Places to Metal Detect For Jewelry

Relic Mode

Relic mode is used when you are searching for roman artifacts all the way up to civil war era artifacts and anything in between. For example, Whites MXT Pro metal detector tells you what your target is in relic mode. On the display screen, it will tell you if you have found Iron, Button, Bullet, or Buckle. This is a very useful feature that not all metal detectors offer on their relic mode settings.

Digging Deeper: Metal Detecting For Civil War Relics

Custom Mode

When using your metal detector in the custom mode you can notch out or discriminate objects that you don’t want your metal detector detecting. For example, let’s say you want to search just for coins that are in the 50 cent size range. You can adjust the settings so you are only hearing tones for that size of a coin.

Not all metal detectors let you do this but if you want to search for a particular target then the custom mode is a feature you would want on your metal detector.

What is Discrimination in Metal Detecting Finale

All metal detectors are different and they all don’t come with discrimination but most of your name-brand detectors do like Garrett, Minelab, and Whites.

Make sure you read your owner’s manual which will explain in more detail how to properly adjust and use the discrimination setting on your particular machine. With knowledge on how to use discrimination effectively and enough practice, you will start finding the treasure you are looking for more efficiently.

If you have any questions or comments please leave them in the comments section below. Until next time Happy Treasure Hunting!

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Author: Cory Haasnoot

Cory Haasnoot is an author, entrepreneur, metal detecting enthusiast, antique, coin collector, and founder of Treasure Seekr.

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