7 Best Places to Metal Detect in Rhode Island [Maps, Laws and More]

7 Best Places to Metal Detect in Rhode Island [Maps, Laws and More]

A deep and rich history includes being the first state to declare independence from Great Britain, and adventurous tales of pirates make Rhode Island an adventure to behold. It was a deciding factor when establishing our route for our experiences across the United States to find the best places to metal detect.

During my adventures with the family, traveling through Rhode Island, I found seven state parks, beaches, and recreation areas that I enjoyed the most. These parks all require permission to treasure hunt with a metal detector, but they are all well worth the approval effort (we’ll talk more about laws and approval here as well).

Let’s take a journey together through these seven state parks, beaches, and recreation areas. I’ll share some of my experiences and the activities and amenities each has to offer. That way, you’ll be able to get a good idea of what to expect and can plan that adventure of your own.

1. Lincoln Woods State Park – Freshwater and Good Times

Lincoln Woods State Park is a fantastic park that isn’t far from Providence. The freshwater beach is lovely (to hunt), and there are plenty of other things to do at the park, which I’ll get to in a moment.

Metal Detecting in Rhode Island State Parks
Metal Detecting in Rhode Island State Parks

The park was first officially started in 1909, but the land in the area dates back to Abraham Lincoln. Not betraying the rich historical trend that suits most of Rhode Island, the Lincoln Woods SP holds the promise of lost treasures, like any in place in Rhode Island.

Some of the great things you can do at this park are:

  • Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Horseback riding
  • Swimming

Here’s how to find the Lincoln Woods State Park – https://goo.gl/maps/K1MEu7s8Rx7obxDPA

Source: https://riparks.com/Locations/LocationLincolnWoods.html

2. Goddard Memorial State Park – Beach and Golf in One Park!

East Greenwich, Rhode Island, presents an opportunity to visit Goddard Memorial State Park. While the park has a lovely beach where you can request metal detect permission, the park also offers a 9-hole golf course. It’s handy if you like golf and not swimming while the beach is busy and you’re waiting to hunt. Why not just play a round of golf?

Here are some of the park’s highlights:

  • 9-hole golf course
  • Swimming beach
  • Horseback riding
  • 11 game fields
  • 355 picnic tables

You can find Goddard Memorial State Park here – https://goo.gl/maps/inKET7FjnS53Jq6n8

Source: https://riparks.com/Locations/LocationGoddard.html

3. Scarborough State Beaches – North and South Beaches to Explore

In Narragansett, Rhode Island, resides two beaches, the North Scarborough State Beach and the South Scarborough State Beach. These two beaches are run by the Parks & Rec division of the Rhode Island State Government, just like the State Parks. Therefore, they fall under the same rules for obtaining a permit. Just contact the regional manager to get your permit. Remember, as long as you aren’t digging up anything over 100 years old, it should be fair game on a beach. However, don’t forget to get that permit.

The sandy beaches of Scarborough have lifeguards working from 9 am to 6 pm. If it’s a hot day and the beach is busy, you can expect permission denied. However, on cooler or rainy days, there shouldn’t be much resistance to getting a permit.

Here are a few of the beach’s amenities and activities:

  • Boardwalk
  • Observation tower
  • Swimming
  • Picnicking

You can find the Scarborough State Beaches here – https://goo.gl/maps/R3d6xqwTuSPcjvEV6

Source: https://www.riparks.com/Locations/LocationScarborough.html

4. East Matunuck State Beach – Post Hurricane Beach Hunting

The East Matunuck State Beach was once privately owned lands that, over the 1950s, were ravaged by hurricanes that sometimes swept entire structures out to sea. Over the years, the state acquired the land and built a modern beach facility.

Here are some of the beach features:

  • Lifeguards on duty 9 am-6 pm
  • Swimming
  • No pets allowed

You can find East Matunuck State Beach here – https://goo.gl/maps/Cc6mVN8qkvMmEYmU7

Source: https://www.riparks.com/Locations/LocationEastMatunuck.html

5. Burlingame State Park – Beach and Camping

Burlingame State Park is located just west of Charleston, RI. The park is pretty big with lots of hiking, camping, and a swimming beach on the freshwater Watchaug Pond.

The park also boasts a DEM boat launch, so if you want to bring out your watercraft, you are welcome to do so. Fees may apply.

The beach has lifeguards working 9 am-6 pm, seasonally. There is also fishing permitted in the park if one has the proper fishing license, of course.

Source: https://riparks.com/Locations/LocationBurlingamePicnic.html

Metal Detecting Tip: Sometimes, I’m over-excited when I’m out in the field about what I might find. It leads me to want to rush ahead naturally. But this has been the cause of missing treasures on more than one occasion.

To prevent this, practice taking your time. Keep your patience at bay, and you’ll have a better chance of finding something that may have otherwise slipped through your rushed pace. For more great tips on detecting and more, read this article: https://metaldetectingtips.com/metal-detecting-tips/

6. Pulaski State Park – 13-acres of Recreational Fun

Pulaski State Park is small, but it packs a big wallop of fun. Between the incredible trout fishing and the swimming at the beach at Peck Pond, Pulaski offers something everyone can enjoy.

While at Pulaski, you can enter the adjacent George Washington Management area for over 10 miles of trails to enjoy.

Source: https://riparks.com/Locations/LocationPulaski.html

7. Misquamicut State Beach – New Facilities and New Adventures

One of the state’s most popular beach destinations, Misquamicut is known to fill to capacity on hot summer days. The destination offers over half a mile of sandy beach frontage; the area is often mixed with locals and those from abroad who want to enjoy and take advantage of the beach on a hot day.

The state beach was only formally opened in 1959. It means that being such a new facility, it’s unlikely you’ll run into any issues with potentially finding relics over a century old. After all, the beach is not a historic site.

Source: https://riparks.com/Locations/LocationMisquamicut.html

Metal Detecting Laws For Rhode Island

Rhode Island is a state with a rich history. State officials guard that history, and likely for a good reason. It causes an issue for metal detectorists. Concerning State Parks and other DEM-run properties within the state, such as beaches, the law is ambiguous and entirely transparent. Here is the low-down:

  • You must get a permit to hunt in state parks.
  • The area and possibly time of day will likely be limited, at the manager’s sole discretion, providing authority to process the permit.
  • Permits are stated to be provided by the Department of Environmental Management and approved by the Director.
  • State DEM management breaks the state down into regions. The regional managers approve permits, not the Director, according to a forum where a person stated their sibling works for DEM, and that is how they operate.
  • Most parks have regulations at the park entrance stating whether they allow detecting or not.

The state park regulations are worded as:

“A. No one shall excavate, disturb, or conduct field investigations on any site or underwater historic property, nor shall anyone disturb or remove any specimens from any property under the care, control, or custody of the RIDEM without first obtaining the written approval of the Director and a permit from the State Historic Preservation Commission.

B. All archaeological sites, underwater historic property, and archaeological specimens, as defined in the Antiquities Act of Rhode Island, R.I. Gen. Laws Chapter 42-45.1, are the property of the State of Rhode Island.

C. Metal detectors and other location devices are restricted to designated areas during specified time periods.”

Source: https://rules.sos.ri.gov/regulations/part/250-100-00-1

Quick Law Recap:

  • National Forests: Permit required from US Forest Service.
  • BLM Lands: Permit required for relics. The Bureau of Land Management is a great resource for metal detectors. Read more about the policies HERE
  • Rhode Island State Parks: Permit required. Designated areas and times may apply. Read more at the Rhode Island State Parks website – HERE
  • Rhode Island DEM Lands (campgrounds, beaches): Permit required. Designated areas and times may apply.

Private Property: Land owner’s permission required.

Metal Detecting Clubs in Rhode Island

  • Rhode Island Relics – Pawtucket, RI – This ‘club’ is essentially a metal detecting store that organizes some events. Their website is more focused on selling products than showing club information, but there are mentions that they meet regularly, so it might be worth investigating if you’re looking for a club in Rhode Island (there seems to be a lack of clubs). – https://www.rhodeislandrelics.com

Metal Detecting Tip: Be respectful and always follow the law. You may think you can get away with sneaking on a property to do some detecting, but without proper permission, it could have dire consequences. You could get a trespassing fine or worse, depending on what state you’re in at the time.

To maintain the good name of metal detectorists everywhere, mind your manners and keep out of trouble. For more great tips, take a look at this article: https://metaldetectingtips.com/metal-detecting-tips/

Metal Detecting Treasures Found in Rhode Island

Everyone likes a good mystery. Add some treasure, pirates, and a good old-fashioned chase and allude authorities, and you’ve got the makings of a great adventure tale. Rhode Island is not without its own stories.

Back in 1695, there was a fierce pirate named Capt. Henry Every. He allegedly attacked and plundered a ship carrying Muslim pilgrims home to India. The pirate eluded capture by posing as a slave trader and then disappeared.

Enter Jim Bailey, a metal detectorist who found an Arabian coin dating back to the 17th-century. The coin may hold a clue to how this notorious pirate escaped. Mr. Bailey also found the coin in Rhode Island.

The crimes of Every were so great that the incident was one of the first worldwide manhunts in history.

Read the full story here – https://www.masslive.com/living/2021/04/ancient-coins-found-in-new-england-pick-your-own-fruit-orchard-may-solve-mystery-of-murderous-1600s-pirate.html

Metal Detecting Resources in Rhode Island

Metal Detector Stores In Rhode Island for Expert Advice

The East Coast Has Some Amazing Places to Metal Detect

David Humphries, Writer and Creator of METAL DETECTING TIPS. After borrowing my son’s detector and finding $.25. I felt like a treasure hunter. FREE MONEY! I was seriously bitten by the metal detecting bug.

The 4 Best All-Round Metal Detector Setup You Need to See

The 4 Best All-Round Metal Detector Setup You Need to See

Experts recommend taking advantage of a couple of setups for your metal detector. It will, in the long run, help you and your mineral prospects. So here are the best all-around metal detector setups you need for your metal detector units.

The performance of your metal detector plays a massive part in the results you’ll be getting. Whether you’re searching for mineral deposits or ancient coins, here are the setups you need to consider:

1. The metal detector frequencies

2. Sensitivity settings

3. Discrimination settings

4. Ground balance

Metal detectors perform in different capacities, but you can open up a whole window of possibilities by tweaking a couple of the settings offered to you. Not only that, but you may also increase the probability of your finds.

These are but some of the setups this article will delve into as you keep reading. So, you’re welcome to take a seat and get more information on setting up your trusty metal detector.

The Best All Round Metal Detector Setups

In layman terms, a metal detector consists of two parts:

  • A control head with buttons, batteries, knobs, and display.
  • A coil that creates an electromagnetic field that transmits and receives electrical waves.

Of course, the brains of the detector is located in the control head. “Sensing” the changes in the electromagnetic field is where the different brands use technical magic. Let’s get started on what you need to set up for your metal detector.

1.   The metal detector frequencies

Metal detectors come in numerous formats. One such format that separates them from one another is the frequencies. There are multiple frequencies such as:

  • VLF (very low frequency)
  • PI (pulse induction)
  • ZVT (zero voltage transmission)
  • FBS (full band spectrum)

VLF and PI are the most common frequencies found in metal detectors. For those reasons, this article will only focus on VLF and PI. Here’s how they work.


Experts consider VLF or very low frequency to be pretty old. Why? Because they use magnetic fields. Nevertheless, old is gold, and experts recommend using VLF units when gold prospecting.

How does it work? The control box on the electrical unit generates an electric current. The electric current passes through the coil, and once it leaves the coil, it turns into a magnetic field.

The magnetic field produced by the VLF unit depends on the following factors:

  • The size of the coil
  • The type of coil
  • The frequency
  • External factors such as the environment

The magnetic field generated by the coil transmission vibrates at different frequencies. When you discover a metal object, the electrical current flows through the metal object. Now the object will create a magnetic field of its own.

So now you have your VLF unit and an object that have produced two different magnetic waves. Eventually, only the magnetic field from the metal object will remain while the other decays.

In terms of depth, the rule of thumb is that the lower the frequency, the deeper the signal will travel. The downside to this rule is that lower frequencies do not respond to small targets, whereas higher frequencies are more receptive to smaller targets.


The second frequency is PI. PI refers to Pulse Induction. How does it work? PI units send and receive different pulsing frequencies from the ground.

How can you set it up? You can set it up by adjusting the pulse timing and the delay settings. This adjustment will help you determine the depth of your target as well as the sensitivity.

Experts do not recommend PI units if you’re into coin hunting.

They’re an all-rounder type of machine. They cannot discriminate between metals. When do you use PI units?

  • They are great for gold prospecting in highly mineralized soils.
  • They are also great for beach hunting.
  • You can also use them for relic hunting.

2.   The Sensitivity Settings on Your Unit

When you buy a metal detector, it will come with a sensitivity feature. This feature allows you to either increase or decrease the sensitivity of your metal detecting unit.

The problem with sensitivity is that it’s one of the most critical features, but users misunderstand its value and functionality. How do they do that? The sensitivity settings allow you to toggle the degree to which your detector signals in response to objects passing through its magnetic field.

Best Metal Detector Setting
Best Metal Detector Setting

If you have a higher sensitivity level on your unit, you’re capable of finding smaller targets or objects. However, if you have a lower sensitivity level, it allows you to pass over unwanted targets.

It is true that the higher the sensitivity, the more the depth. However, the higher the sensitivity, the higher the risk that you will get phantom signals.

So, how do you attain balance? Experts recommend raising the sensitivity level to the point where your unit starts acting erratically. After that, you can slowly lower the sensitivity to an agreeable level.

Metal Detecting Tip: All those buttons and screens can seem confusing. Like sensitivity? Read the what’s and how’s in this article – What is Sensitivity and How do I Set it?

There is no way to remove phantom or false signals altogether. But dialing it down should reduce the risk of them occurring. It’s getting the best of both worlds. As you get more ad metal detecting, you can slowly start to increase the sensitivity level. It’s a slow and steady process that requires a lot of time and patience.

3.   The Discrimination Settings on Your Unit

Next on this list is the discrimination settings. What is discrimination? Discrimination is the ability of your metal detecting unit to ignore any unwanted signals. At the same time, your metal detecting unit should only allow the targets you want to make a sound.

You get a null sound when you pass over a target metal that you don’t want to hear. That’s the essence of it. The majority of modern metal detectors come with the discrimination feature.

Best Discrimination Setting for Metal Detector
Best Discrimination Setting for Metal Detector

They also come with numerous options you can choose from for this feature like iron, tin, etc. If you come across a metal detecting unit without a discrimination feature, it’s referred to as an all-metal machine.

The downside to this feature is that the more you discriminate, the higher the risk of missing out on valuable targets like gold. Metal detecting units that are beginner-friendly have a discrimination level system.

How does this work? The higher the level of discrimination, the more objects you will block out when prospecting. On the other hand, the more expensive metal detectors come with a notch discriminator.

Metal Detecting Tips: I put together an awesome article all about setting discrimination and how it works – How to Set the Discrimination on a Metal Detector

The notch discriminator allows you to block out specific metals without being limited by a scale. Nevertheless, nothing is perfect, and even notch discriminators aren’t a sound of reason. The best way to find out what you’re prospecting is by digging it up.

4.   Ground Balance

Fourth on this list is ground balancing. What is ground balancing? Ground balancing is a feature that allows your unit to reject naturally occurring minerals in the earth as a target and instead use the earth as a baseline of sorts to find larger or foreign targets.

Currently, the ground balancing feature occurs in two ways:

  • Manual ground balancing
  • Automatic ground balancing

Furthermore, there’s another occurrence known as ground tracking automatically. You can find this feature on more modern metal detectors, and your metal detecting unit adjusts according to the ground conditions.

Metal Detecting Tip: Everyone wants there metal detector to go deeper. Read how in this article – How to Increase the Depth of Your Metal Detector

Manual Ground Balancing

As the name suggests, it’s a manual process. The user has to adjust the unit as they listen for targets manually. The metal detecting unit relies on you to make the ground balancing. With every change in the environment, the user has to optimize the unit for ground balancing.

How do you change the ground balancing? Well, you can pump your coil up and down every couple of minutes. You can also pump the coil if you notice a change in terrain.

Automatic Ground Balancing and Ground Tracking

The second ground balancing method is the more modern option for metal detectors. The machine will do most of the calibrating as long as the user has done a sequence.

The sequence involves pumping the coil up and down, and the unit will do the rest. Here’s a step by step process:

  1. Hold the ground balance button while pumping the coil up and down. Ensure to do this on some ground with no metal.
  2. Stop when prompted by a detector. Some detectors will have two values: the detector’s current ground balance setting and the continuous readout of the ground conditions. When those values drift apart, you perform another ground balance.

The alternative to both of these options is ground tracking. A metal detector with the ground tracking feature will adjust according to the terrain. The downside to this feature is that you can find it with expensive metal detectors.

Helpful Metal Detector FAQs.

1.   What Should You Look for When Buying a Metal Detector?

When buying a metal detector, it would be in your best interest to take sensitivity ground balancing, operational frequency, and discrimination into account. It sounds a lot at first, but it should be a breeze once you get accustomed to it.

2.   How Do Beginners Get Started with A Metal Detector?

The first thing you need to do is find a beginner-friendly metal detector. Experts recommend the Fisher F22 or the Garett ACE 300. Fisher and Garett are one of the best brands in the industry, so you’re in good hands.

3.   Is It Worth Getting a Metal Detector?

If you’re interested in starting a metal detecting hobby, by all means, go for it. You might find yourself deeply invested pretty quickly.

Learning How to Use Your Metal Detector Can Be Tough, But I’ve Got You Covered with These Articles


David Humphries, Writer and Creator of METAL DETECTING TIPS. After borrowing my son’s detector and finding $.25. I felt like a treasure hunter. FREE MONEY! I was seriously bitten by the metal detecting bug.

Additional Sources

  1. Brandon Neice, The Metal Detecting Bible (Berkley: Ulysses Press, 2021) 128.
Can Metal Detectors Find Bullets? Let’s Find Out

Can Metal Detectors Find Bullets? Let’s Find Out

Metal detectors are pretty exciting tools. They allow users to find nails, ancient coins, sunken treasures, and gold sediments. Essentially, a metal detectors’ purpose is to find, well, metals. But can metal detectors find bullets?

Yes, metal detectors can find bullets. Metal detectors operate by sensing changes in the electromagnetic field around a metal object.  Because bullets are made of electrically conductive materials like brass, lead and steel a metal detector will get a strong “signal” from a bullet.  Finding bullets with metal detectors is how relic hunters and police recreate past events.

The average bullet consists of metals. There are other types of bullets, like rubber bullets. However, if you consider an average shell, it’s a metallic object by definition.

Nevertheless, this article will delve into how metal detectors find bullets. You’re welcome to sit down and learn more about the science behind it all.

Searching for bullets metal detecting
Searching for bullets metal detecting

Can Metal Detectors Find Bullets?

As shared earlier, metal detectors can find bullets. It all lies in the metallic composition of the bullet and the metal detector in use. Some Mid-tier and expensive metal detectors can find shells because they have target options on the screen.

Let’s give an in-depth explanation as to how that all comes about.

The Composition of a Bullet

According to the National Forensic Science Technology Center, a bullet consists of the following materials:

  • A Solid Bullet is swaged and cast in lead, or a single metal composed of either aluminum, zinc, copper alloys, or brass.
  • Bullet Jackets consist of either copper alloys, brass, aluminum, nickel, or steel.
  • A Bullet Core consists of heavier metal like lead or steel.
  • Bullet Coatings are typically copper, brass, nylon, or Teflon.
  • Lastly, the modern sabots consist of plastic. The sabot is a sleeve or adaptor surrounding the bullet and allows the user to fire it from a caliber.

The Different Types of Bullets

The NRA shares that there are five primary types of bullets. The bullets typically consist of the same material, but they tend to differ here and there. Nevertheless, here are the main types of bullets:

  • Flat-base bullets
  • Hemispherical bullets (usually found in Europe)
  • Boattail rebated bullets
  • Hollow or recessed bullets
  • Boattail-standard bullets

You might have come across rubber bullets and wondered if a metal detector can find one. The answer is a simple yes. Both the bullet’s core and jacket consist of metal, so a metal detector is likely to find one.

A metal detector can find any of the types of bullets mentioned above thanks to metal manufacturers use to make the bullets. Now that that’s out of the way, we can discuss the answer to this article’s central question: Can metal detectors find bullets?

Metal Detecting Tip: Without properly registering any ammunition before boarding a plane, a metal detector WILL find it.  TSA Guidelines

How Do Metal Detectors Find Bullets?

There’s a science and historical aspect to how metal detectors find bullets. You can try asking yourself how does law enforcement find missing bullets? Well, they use specialized metal detectors to find bullets in strange places like forests or grasslands.

The term specialized refers to high-quality metal detectors suited to finding bullets in criminal cases or the like.

The History of Metal Detectors 

Medical treatment is a major factor in the development of finding bullets.  Just think of how many people have been shot, and treating the patient involves locating a bullet.

So, let’s go back in history – metal detector history, that is.

In 1874, a Parisian inventor, Gustave Trouvé, created a device to find bullets in patients. In 1881, Alexander Graham Bell (yes, the guy that created the telephone) refined the invention to locate a bullet embedded in President James Garfield’s back. Unfortunately, the attempt failed, and the president died from the gunshot wound.

Once people realized that maybe metal detectors were pretty helpful, they used them in World War I and II to locate land mines.

In 1931, Gerhard Fischer made a metal detector that consumers could purchase and use. Finally, in the 50s, metal detecting became a massive hobby and led to a demand for metal detectors. Since then, metal detecting has contributed to society, and you can find some of these treasures on display in a museum.

Metal Detecting Tip: If you really want to dig into the portable metal detector science, read the patent that Gerhard Fischer filed – find it here – Portable Metal Detector

So, you can now understand that initially, inventors created metal detectors to find bullets within patients and for physicians to remove them. The theory and practical part worked, but it only gained momentum in the 50s due to increased hobbyists.

This explanation was the historical explanation to answer the question: can metal detectors find bullets? Now it’s time for the more modern scientific aspect of how metal detectors do it.

The Discrimination Feature on Metal Detectors and How It’s Used to Find Bullets

Before buying a metal detector, you ought to have educated yourself on the features of a metal detector and how to use one. One of the essential features is the discrimination feature.

A discriminator is your metal detector’s ability to ignore unwanted signals and allowing only the wanted signals to make a sound. So, if you’re looking for a bullet, you could focus on specific metals. Bullets mainly consist of lead, so that you could choose lead as your target metal.

Discrimination on a metal detector
Discrimination on a metal detector

Another example, you can think of nails. The majority of nails consist of iron. So, if you don’t want to find iron, you can silence your metal detector whenever it passes over an iron object. You can do the same with bullets but vice versa.

Since you prioritize lead, you can silence all the other metals and let your metal detector make a sound when you’ve come across a lead object. Different bullets consist of different materials; you need to have some backstory on which type of bullet you’re looking for, what material it consists of, and the caliber that shot the bullet.

However, there might be an instance where you ‘accidentally’ find a bullet or maybe an empty shell while prospecting. The possibilities are endless, but the discrimination feature can be both your friends and your enemy.

Another great thing about the discrimination feature is that it reduces the risk of ear fatigue. Many metal detecting enthusiasts will use headphones to listen out for signals. Some metal detectors also come with a loudspeaker option while also giving users a headphone jack. The possibilities are endless with this tool.

Metal Detecting for Bullets
Metal Detecting for Bullets

As shared earlier, the majority of metal detectors have discrimination features. However, there’s a group of metal detectors that do not have the discrimination feature. These metal detectors are commonly known as all-metal machines.

As the name suggests, they give you signals of all metals when prospecting. They have their advantages and situations, but if you’re looking for something specific like bullets, experts recommend that you purchase a metal detector with the discrimination feature.

Not only that, but experts also recommend getting a metal detector with the discrimination feature if you’re new to the hobby. There are numerous metal detectors to choose from when you’re new to things.

Here’s a table on the different levels of conductivity and sounds to different targets.

0-10Low tone or gruntiron
11-25Low to mid-tonesmall bits of aluminum, birdshot, and other small bits of metal
26-50Mid-tonepull tabs, bottle caps, nickels, small gold rings, shotgun shells, and other low conductors
51-70Mid to high toneLarger gold rings, zinc pennies, Indian Head pennies, buttons, and bullets
71-100High tonesilver, dimes, quarters, half dollars, dollars, and various large items

The discriminator tool may come across as a fantastic tool that will help you differentiate what you want from what you don’t want when prospecting. The unfortunate side to this assumption is that discriminators aren’t perfect.

The only way to honestly know what object or target you’re picking up is to dig it up and get it out of the ground. It’s the full proof way of getting things done the right way.

What Are the Most Common Things to Find When Metal Detecting?

From my experience, I find a lot of trash.  Bottle caps, gum wrappers and pull tabs.  In terms of finds with value – my number one is clad coins.

finding trash metal detecting
finding trash metal detecting

Metal Detecting Tip: The best way to get invited back to a private property to metal detect is to complete your search and asking the property owner where to throw out the trash you picked.

When consulting with detectorists with more experience than me, coins and jewelry are some of the most common things to find when prospecting.

Bullets aren’t as common, but there’s still a probability of finding a bullet while prospecting. Particularly when scanning battle fields or hunting camps.

What To Do When You Find Bullet While Metal Detecting?

Let’s say that you did find a bullet; what do you do with it? Well, on their own (without a firearm, that is,) bullets aren’t dangerous. The only problem comes when minors misuse them.

Not only that, but it’s challenging to set off a bullet without a firearm. The point is that the bullet will not explode if you do not involve a firearm. So what do you do with it?

There are three places you can go to dispose of ammunition:

  • Your local police station
  • Your local hazardous waste collection point
  • Local gun range

If you find a used and invaluable bullet, you can take it to your local police station, and they can dispose of it for you. But what if your local police station doesn’t do that?

You can take the bullet or bullets to your local hazardous waste collection point. You can put your trust in the training of the staff there. They know how to take care of hazardous waste items like bullets and cleanly get them off your hands.

On the other hand, what if you don’t have either of these options? Depending on your location, you can visit your local gun range and ask them for assistance. If none of this work, go back to the police station and request a way forward to properly get rid of the bullet.

Remember that bullets are not dangerous if they are on their own. On the other hand, when loaded into a firearm, they become a whole new object entirely.

What Not to Do If You Find Ammunition While Metal Detecting

Now that we’ve covered what to do while metal detecting and you come across a bullet, here’s what not to do in the same scenario.

Experts recommend that you should not bury the bullet. Why? Bullets consist of metals. Metals are not biodegradable materials. You can use gunpowder as fertilizer, but the rest of the bullet, the jacket, etc., are non-degradable.

Next on the list of things you shouldn’t do is throw it away in the trash. When your garbage truck comes to pick up your trash, it runs through a compactor. The compactor is capable of causing the bullet to explode, which isn’t safe for the people collecting your trash. Not only them but anyone else around the truck. Experts recommend avoiding your trash can altogether. There are other ways (mentioned above) to get rid of the ammunition.

Lastly, don’t soak the bullet in oil and water and then throw it away in the trash. Dispose of it correctly. The legend is that if you soak old bullets, the gunpowder will lose its spark. There is some truth to it; however, there’s no guarantee that the gunpowder will lose its spark.

Not only that, but you will also be throwing the uncertain bullet in the trash where it might explode when running through the compactor. It’s better to cover your bases before disposing of ammunition, and to choose to soak the bullet and throw it away isn’t a full-proof method.

It’s best to contact one or two of the places mentioned above to get assistance on how to dispose of your bullet. They in the future you’ll have the knowledge to get rid of it properly.

What We’ve Learned from Metal Detectors and Bullets

Metal detectors are capable of finding bullets because of the metal material used to make bullets. This feat is possible thanks to the original purpose of metal detectors and their current purpose.

Nothing about their mission has changed over time. Not only that but disposing of bullets is a responsible thing to do. Ensure that you take care of yourself and the people around you by disposing of the ammunition properly.

But if you find an old bullet that might be worth something, it no longer becomes trash but treasure. Ensure that you get an estimate of its value and work on whether or not you want to sell it or keep it as a token of your hard work while prospecting.

Old bullets can hold some value, so be sure to consult your local expert and get a price for your bullet. You have nothing to lose, and it can make for a great story.

Are You Interested in What Other Metal Detector Enthusiasts Are Asking? Here Are Some Extremely Helpful FAQs.

1.   Can A Metal Detector Find Guns?

Guns are typically made of metal. So, a metal detector may be capable of finding a gun. The same applies to the majority of weapons. Most weapons consist of metals, so it’s pretty likely to find one with a metal detector.

2.   Can A Metal Detector Find a Rubber Bullet?

Rubber bullets have a metal core and sometimes a metal jacket. So, a metal detector can find them.

3.   Do Bullets Set Off Metal Detectors?

Bullets are capable of creating magnetic waves that can sound off metal detectors. They are metallic and are thus capable of setting off metal detectors.

More Metal Detecting Articles:

David Humphries, Writer and Creator of METAL DETECTING TIPS. After borrowing my son’s detector and finding $.25. I felt like a treasure hunter. FREE MONEY! I was seriously bitten by the metal detecting bug.

Additional Sources

Brandon Neice, The Metal Detecting Bible (Berkley: Ulysses Press, 2021) 128.

How to Increase the Depth of a Metal Detector (Range Adjustments Guide)

How to Increase the Depth of a Metal Detector (Range Adjustments Guide)

How deep do metal detectors detect is a question that can be difficult to answer. The reason is that each device has a different level of depth. But one thing applicable for all metal detectors is increasing their detection depth.

To increase the depth of a metal detector, you can:

  • sweep the coil close to the ground
  • increase the sensitivity setting
  • reduce the discrimination setting
  • install fresh batteries
  • upgrade to larger coil

These factors affect how a metal detector detects targets.

Detector Guide: How to Increase the Depth of a Metal Detector

How deep do metal detectors detect? The truth is that there is no exact number that can answer this question since these devices are so diverse and exist with many capabilities. So, there are no actual numbers that tell the depth level that a metal detector can reach.

Additionally, the size of the object to be found affects how deep metal detectors can detect. However, you can always increase the depth level of a metal detector.

Increasing the depth of your device will allow you to find old relics and objects that detectors are not too sensitive and often miss. (source)

Sweep the Metal Detector Close to the Ground

One of the most common and easiest ways to increase the depth of your metal detector is to sweep the search coil the closest to the ground possible. This tip may seem like an obvious thing to do. However, many metal detector users often lose sight of how high they are swinging their coils. The primary reason is that they pay more attention to how they swing the search coil.

Metal Detecting Tip: “Low and Slow” is a popular saying among detectorists. I’ve seen folks scan right behind someone and find coins.

But the problem is that if the search coil is too high from the ground you are searching objects from, the shallower its detection level will be. So, when using your device, you need to ensure that it is not too far from the ground.

Increase the Device’s Sensitivity Setting

The higher the sensitivity of your metal detector the more it can help you increase the device’s detection. But it is important to note that the increase in the depth level will depend on the various circumstances. These circumstances include the soil type, target type, and the object’s size.

However, a metal detector’s sensitivity is a double-edged sword. Yes, it will increase the depth level of your device. But increasing the sensitivity can also reduce your device’s ability to identify targets.

Reduce Your Device’s Discrimination Setting

Most of the time, metal detectors give wrong readings to deeply buried and desirable objects. The culprit behind it is often your device’s discrimination setting that is set too high. A high discrimination setting affects how deep do metal detectors detect.

You can reduce the device’s discrimination level to the lowest setting that you can stand for a deeper detection level. Meaning you still should hear alerts for objects detected. Once you hear deep signals, you should examine them closely before you start digging. It would be best to watch out for a jump into the desirable range while swinging the coil.

With these steps, you will find deeply buried objects, not just nails buried close to the surface.

Fresh Batteries Provides Maximum Power

If your batteries are down just 10%, you could be losing inches of detecting depth.  Example: With fresh batteries my older Garrett Ace 250 can scan reliably to 12 inches. 

fresh batteries affect metal detector depth
fresh batteries affect metal detector depth

With batteries down 1 level on the indicator I’m losing close 2 inches or more depth penetration.

Upgrade Coil Diameter

If your detector is capable of swapping out coils a bigger coil can increase depth.  This does come with a trade-off.  Your machine will lose some discrimination sensitivity.  This may mean you dig deeper trash.

Metal Detecting Tip: If you can go metal detecting after a rain when the soil is soft, your detector will work more efficiently.  The moisture will create a stronger electromagnetic field around the target.  As a bonus, moist soil is way easier to dig.

How Deep Do Metal Detectors Detect: A Range Adjustment Guide for Beginners

If you are still starting to learn how to use a metal detector, you may need a guide in terms of the range adjustment. Thanks to the continuous advancement of technology, new metal detectors already come with range adjustment settings. If you know how to set these adjustments correctly, you will experience smooth and hassle-free hunting.

How deep do metal detectors detect will depend on how you adjust the settings. For this reason, it is essential that you have enough knowledge when it comes to this area.

  1. Set your stock settings to low

The stock settings are likely one of the aspects of metal detecting that people often overlook. But if you are a beginner in metal detecting, the stock “turn on and go” settings can be an excellent place to start. This aspect is often set at a power of 60 to 70 percent. With such a setting so high, your metal detector will be able to discriminate out iron, foil, and other undesirable objects.

Many users turn their stock settings high and use the full power of their metal detectors to find out how deep do metal detectors detect. While that seems a good idea, using the maximum sensitivity of your device cam chatter from electromagnetic interference. Such is especially true if you live in areas with multiple cellular and wifi signals and substantial power lines.

That said, less is more in your detector’s stock settings if you are a beginner. Ideally, you only need to adjust the stock set to 7 of 10 (70 of 100). (source)

  1. Pay attention to the ground balance setting

Not all metal detectors have a ground balancing setting. If you own a beginner detector, it may only allow you to use a factory preset ground balance.

But if you plan to go for an intermediate or advanced metal detector, you should never overlook the ground balance setting. Incorrectly set ground balance can lead to false signals and reduce how deep metal detectors detect.

Metal Detecting Tips for Ground Balance

Manual Ground Balance: This allows you to adjust the ground balance setting manually for you to hear the minimum amount of ground signals

Automatic Ground Balance: The detector itself will determine and set the best ground balance automatically. This option is more straightforward and more accurate than setting the ground balance manually.

Tracking Ground Balance: The device constantly adjusts the Ground Balance setting as it detects targets. This setting ensures that your metal detector’s ground balance is always set correctly. (source)

3. Use a metal detector with low frequency

The frequency is one of the factors that tell how deep do metal detectors can detect. Similarly, it is the aspect that tells how well the device can detect targets.

If you have a single-frequency metal detector, it will transmit high-frequency signals. Such a type of metal detector is ideal for finding small targets.

On the other hand, a single-frequency metal detector that can transmit low frequencies will provide more depth in detecting large targets.

Furthermore, there are also detectors equipped with Pulse Induction (PI). This device has more coils than single-frequency detectors. For this reason, it can send bursts of electromagnetic waves that bounce back as they hit a target. However, you cannot tell the difference between those targets that the PI detects.

4. Utilize the notch function

As mentioned, the higher the discrimination level of a detector is, the lesser trashy signals you will detect. But apart from this option, many metal detectors have a second way of doing that — the notch setting.

A notch setting is one way of removing a category from the detector’s adjustment range.

When you utilize the discrimination setting, you have to go from left to right to eliminate trashy signals one after another. But with the notch setting, you can bypass several categories. Meaning you can select what stays in and what goes out.

For instance, you can remove various categories, such as foils, and pull tabs while leaving in the 5c category. Such is an excellent option for people who use their metal detectors to detect coins and want to leave the 5c while removing the other types such as iron and 10c. (source)

Find out more about essential metal detecting gear with these articles


David Humphries, Writer and Creator of METAL DETECTING TIPS. After borrowing my son’s detector and finding $.25. I felt like a treasure hunter. FREE MONEY! I was seriously bitten by the metal detecting bug.


  1. Carolyn Yohannes, Metal Detecting Tips: Fine-Tuning Your Detector, KellyCo Detectors, https://www.kellycodetectors.com/pages/metal-detecting-tips-fine-tuning-your-detector/ Accessed September 3, 2021.
  2. How To Use Your First Metal Detector – A Beginner’s Guide, Teknetics Direct, https://www.tekneticsdirect.com/blog/metal-detecting-treasure-hunting/233-how-well-do-you-know-your-metal-detector-7/ Accessed September 3, 2021.

Ground Balancing Your Metal Detector, MetalDetector.Com, https://blog.metaldetector.com/2019/08/ground-balancing-your-metal-detector/ Accessed September 3, 2021.

7 Best Places to Metal Detect in South Dakota [Maps, Laws and More]

7 Best Places to Metal Detect in South Dakota [Maps, Laws and More]

Having an interest in history, I couldn’t pass up seeing Mount Rushmore when our family went on a tour across the United States. We went to many different fun locations for the whole family and the best places to metal detect. It was a family adventure in experiences and treasure hunting.

Noting our stops along the journey, I found seven State Parks that caught my attention. The following list of State Parks in South Dakota represents those that I found had excellent metal detecting and other amenities we were looking for on our trip.
I’ll cover each park and offer some of their featured amenities, features, and activities that drew my attention and will likely be helpful to you for planning your adventures.

1. Custer State Park – More Fun Than You Can Shake a Detector At!

Starting our adventures in the western side of South Dakota, we stopped first at Custer State Park. The park is a great place you can see some large wildlife at a pretty close range. There are bison in the park, and they are awe-inspiring to see up close, well medium-close anyway.

While the majestic bison entrance your family, you can slip on over to the beach to get some metal detecting in. Ensure you call ahead so a manager is there and can sign off on your permit. That isn’t all there is to do in the park, though. Some of the other great things you can do at this park are:

Finding coins metal detecting in South Dakota
Finding coins metal detecting in South Dakota
  • Camping
  • Biking
  • Hiking
  • Fishing
  • Horseback Riding
  • Picnicking
  • Visit the Museum/Visitor Center

Here’s how to find the Custer State Park – https://goo.gl/maps/1v2vKKhj98jrVdif7

Source: https://gfp.sd.gov/parks/detail/custer-state-park/

2. Hartford Beach State Park – A Ton of Fun Activities!

Hartford Beach State Park is one of the most scenic parks in the mid-northern United States. Amidst a wooded forest, you’ll find Big Stone Lake. The lake is our central point of interest here at Hartford. Although, there are several things you can do in the park that aren’t necessarily associated with the lake.

The beach is busy on hot summer days, so you can trust that there is booty to be found, seemingly lost to the sands of time on the shores of Big Stone Lake. Get your permit to detect from the park manager, specific and maybe you’ll find a cache of your own nestled in the beach sand.

Some of the park’s great features and activities:

  • Camping
  • Disc Golf
  • Canoeing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Hiking
  • Horseshoes
  • Kayak rental
  • Paddleboard rental
  • Volleyball
  • Fishing

You can find this incredible park here – https://goo.gl/maps/P358StANHt797JDy9

Source: https://gfp.sd.gov/parks/detail/hartford-beach-state-park/

3. Lake Herman State Park – Excitement in The Northeast!

Lake Herman is a fantastic choice for a destination adventure. In fact, the lake has been a popular campsite for hundreds of years and was enjoyed by native peoples who lived in the area.

The beach here can get quite busy on hot summer days, so make sure you keep that in mind when you contact the office to get your permit approved. The park staff may ask you to hold off until a certain time of day or offer that you treasure hunt early morning before the beach is busy.

There are numerous other activities and amenities at Lake Herman State Park to keep your family entertained while visiting Northeast South Dakota. Here are a few of the park’s amenities and activities:

  • Camping
  • Rental Cabins
  • Hiking
  • Fishing
  • Canoeing & canoe rentals
  • Boating
  • Biking
  • Hiking
  • Kayaking & kayak rentals
  • Paddleboard rentals
  • Swimming
  • Stargazing
  • Wildlife watching

You can find the Lake Herman State Park here – https://goo.gl/maps/8Z81AK8EdHCcdLim6

Source: https://gfp.sd.gov/parks/detail/lake-herman-state-park/

4. Oakwood Lakes State Park – Glacial Lakes Adventure!

A year-round park that offers so many activities that you could stay and forever be entertained. I enjoyed the beach, of course. However, there’s more to life than treasure hunting, as my family likes to tell me.

When we camped at the park, the sunset was fantastic. If you need to find a place to stay, remember to book your campsite in advance. That way, you can also enquire about getting your permit approved to hunt for lost treasures on the sandy beach.

Here are some of the park’s amenities and activities include:

  • Disc Golf
  • Biking
  • Basketball
  • Boating
  • Canoe rentals
  • Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Horseshoes
  • Kayak rentals
  • Paddleboard rentals

You can find the Oakwood Lakes State Park here – https://goo.gl/maps/wa64h5aH9BJmJwGF9

Source: https://gfp.sd.gov/parks/detail/oakwood-lakes-state-park/

5. Sandy Shore Recreation Area – Beautiful Long Sandy Beach to Explore

If it’s one thing that Lake Kampeska in South Dakota is known for, it’s the beautiful, long, sandy beach at Sandy Shore Recreation Area. This Game, Fish & Parks run property features a large beach on the glacial-formed lake.

While the history of the lake may go back to the last ice age, there’s plenty of modern amenities and activities you can enjoy at Sandy Shore. These include camping, hiking, biking, fishing, boating, and much more.

Source: https://gfp.sd.gov/parks/detail/sandy-shore-recreation-area/

Metal Detecting Tip: Practice using your metal detector with a movement that sweeps the ground with the coil as close as possible and as parallel to the earth as possible. Whether you practice in your own yard or out in the field, a consistent method of motion of the coil parallel and close to the ground is vital to maximizing the detector’s sensitivity. For more great tips on detecting and more, read this article: https://metaldetectingtips.com/metal-detecting-tips/

6. Farm Island Recreation Area – Lewis and Clark’s Expedition Was Here!

Another busy park, often bustling with visitors of all sorts, the Farm Island Recreation Area is home to various beauty and beaches. Boasting a rich history that includes the Lewis and Clark expedition, the area is rich with culture and possibility.

Considering the great activities and amenities, including camping, archery, fishing, basketball, biking, boating, canoe rentals, hiking, kayak rentals, and more, your family is sure to have fun without you. At the same time, you’re treasure hunting on one of the beaches at Farm Island Recreation Area.

Source: https://gfp.sd.gov/parks/detail/farm-island-recreation-area/

7. Lake Vermillion Recreation Area – Clear Waters and Great Fishing!

The last stop I’ll mention from my adventures through South Dakota is the Lake Vermillion R.C. in the southeast of South Dakota. The 512-acre reservoir makes for excellent boating, fishing, and swimming. A beach is a great place to treasure hunt. Just ensure you’ve got your permit lined up first.

The Lake Vermillion Recreation Area has a lot to offer. Such activities as biking, hiking, fishing, camping, canoeing, and others are permitted in the area. With camping available, you can stay the night so you can have the next day to continue your adventures.

Source: https://gfp.sd.gov/parks/detail/lake-vermillion-recreation-area/

Metal Detecting Laws For South Dakota

South Dakota is a metal detecting friendly state. Although they require a permit for metal detecting in state parks, the state recognizes the hobby and its importance to some of its citizens in particular beach areas. There are two stipulations that most of us treasure hunters need to know about obtaining permission (a permit) from a park manager.

  1. Metal detector use will only be granted for recreational purposes on designated swimming beaches.
  2. Metal detector use will be granted if you are looking for a lost personal item. Digging will only be allowed in designated swimming areas though. Other areas are assumed the lost possession would remain on the surface. Ergo digging is not required (or permitted).
  3. There are two more stipulations, that you are already in possession of an approved permit from the State Archaeologist or you are a parks department staff. Neither of these will apply to most hobbyists though.

Quick Law Recap:

  • National Forests: Permit required from US Forest Service if you want to dig.
  • BLM Lands: Permit required for relics. Read more about BLM land and metal detecting at the BLM.gov website – HERE
  • South Dakota State Parks: Permit required, designated beaches only. Check out South Dakotas State Park System – HERE

Metal Detecting Tip: I’ve found working with the folks at the property is the best way to find the best treasure. I ask a park ranger where he thought a great place to metal detect was and he pointed me to a set of stairs by the beach. His words “folks are spilling stuff there all the time” That spot earned me a ring and some change!

Metal Detecting Clubs In South Dakota

  • Black Hills Prospecting Club – Rapid City, SD – An active club that has monthly meetings you can find out about on their website here. – https://www.blackhillsprospectingclub.com/
  • There don’t seem to be any other active metal detector clubs at the time of writing.

Metal Detecting Tip: Depending on your energy level and where you are detecting, you might find yourself out in the field for hours. Keeping comfort in mind, you’ll want to ensure that your headphones are comfortable and breathable. Always use them too, don’t rely on hearing a beep from the detector if it has a built-in speaker. If the wind rises, it may be difficult to hear, it may also be annoying for anyone in the vicinity. Using a good quality pair of headphones is vital to your success and your comfort. For more great tips, take a look at this article: https://metaldetectingtips.com/metal-detecting-tips/

Metal Detecting Treasures Found In South Dakota

Sometimes metal detecting clubs get their name in the paper. That’s precisely what happened in South Dakota for the Black Hills Prospecting Club. On National Metal Detector Day, the club held an event for its members at Old Storybook Island. The event made the local news in Rapid City, SD. Read the full story here – https://rapidcityjournal.com/news/local/metal-detectors-hunt-for-treasure-and-sometimes-useless-items/article_50214149-3a98-5d87-b1c8-3d7bc934fcad.html

Metal Detecting Resources In South Dakota

Metal Detector Stores In South Dakota For Expert Advice

There are no specialty metal detector businesses currently operating in South Dakota. However, here is one store that does sell metal detectors in Rapid City.

  • Scheels – Rapid City, SD – https://www.scheels.com/ – This sporting goods and outdoor outfitter has everything you need for outdoor adventures, and they even carry metal detectors.


David Humphries, Writer and Creator of METAL DETECTING TIPS. After borrowing my son’s detector and finding $.25. I felt like a treasure hunter. FREE MONEY! I was seriously bitten by the metal detecting bug.