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Tips & Tricks
Although this is a metal detecting site, I feel obligated to at least mention bottle hunting. Bottle collecting has a big following and some old bottles are very rare and can be very expensive. If you metal detect long enough, you're most likely going to start collecting bottles also. Simple fact is that your going to find some nice bottles when your out metal detecting. A good bottle probe is a handy item to have.

A bottle probe is a long thin metal rod that can be pushed into the ground to test for buried bottles. I've see bottle hunters that were so good with their probe that they could tell you not only that a bottle was there but, how deep it is, how big it is and sometimes even if it's broken or intact . I'm not going into the art (and it is an art) of bottle probing here. There are many time, especially when detecting civil war camps that you will get a good signal, start digging and start seeing burnt wood or rusty metal. My advise here is "stop digging" as you might be in a fire pit or small trash pit. Both civil war fire pits and trash pits are gold mines for civil war relics. This is where your bottle probe come in handy. Before you dig any deeper, take your probe and probe around your hole. If you hit an object, pull your probe back lightly and tap the object with the probe. Glass will make a very distinct sound when taped with your probe (this is something that must be learned). If you find glass, slow down and dig slowly to recover your bottle. This has saved many a nice bottles from being broken by my shovel.

Where do you get a bottle probe? Answer; you don't, not to my knowledge anyway. I don't think anyone makes them so, here's how you make your own:

I have found that the best bottle probe is made from a stainless steel CB antenna. You can cut them to any size you want, rig up a handle (mine is Duct Tape) and your ready to go. I have two. The small one is about 24" long. I carry this with me on my belt. The other is 60" long. That one I use for probing possible deeper trash pits and privy locations. Here's a picture of my smaller probe:

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A question that I get very often is how many coils do I need and what size? My answer to this is, that depends on what type of detecting you're doing.

Relic Hunting
Relic hunting requires the most coils. You need your standard (8"-11") coil for your normal hunting. You need your small coil (4"-6") for those trashy, iron heavy areas. And you'll need your large (11"-15"+) for the large deep stuff.

Coin Hunting
To coin hunt you really need a minimum of 2 coils. Your normal (8"-11") search coil. And, a small coil (4"-6") for those trashy, iron heavy areas. If you want to have a large (11"-15"+) coil for coins, that ok but, I'm not sure you'll gain much as the added depth from the larger coil will for the most part be negated by the less sensitivity of the larger coils to small object like coins.

Beach Hunting
Beach hunting requires only one coil and I'd stick with the higher end of the standard size (8"-11"). Because your searching for not only coins but small jewelry, the good depth of the standard size coil as compared to the small coils and its grater sensitivity to smaller objects than the larger coils makes it the best fit for beach hunting.

Extra Metal Detector Coils

Bottle Probes

Modern digging tools are nice but, sooner or later your going to get that good signal, dig down only to find a good size tree root blocking your path. For this I carry a Root Saw. It's really just your standard dry wall saw available at any hardware store and will cost around $10. They are small, light, easy to carry and really do the trick clearing out the roots.

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Root Saw

Metal Detecting Probes

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Electronic Probes are designed for faster recoveries of valuable finds and for less unnecessary digging while metal detecting. Because they assist in locating the position of the target in the hole, they can also save that valuable coin or relic from being damaged during recovery. There is nothing worse than finding a great coin or valuable relic only  to discover  that you have damaged it with your digging tool.

Electronic probes/pinpointers/mini metal detectors come in two types: Detector-Mounted (inline probes) and Hand-Held.

In-line Probes work with your metal detector and use the detectors settings (discrimination, sensitivity, VDI readings etc.). It's like having a 1" coil on your metal detector.

Most Hand Held Metal Detecting Probes operater in the "all metal" mode and so, they provide no discrimination. They are however, light weight, easy to use and function extremely well for most situations.

Metal Detecting Probes have become a "must have" item in the hobby. As for my recommendation as to what Probe to get, I will simply say, "get a good one. The old saying "you get what you pay for" is very true when it come to these probes.