Monday, July 31, 2017

How to start Metal Detecting

Every time I think I can’t come up with something else to do outdoors, I stumble upon something fun and engaging! Have you seen the new metal detectors that are on the market now? They are amazing!

I love the idea of finding treasure (or something of historical value)! No matter where you live there is the potential to find something interesting. I live in the historic Hampton Roads of Virginia. It is rich in history from colonial days onward. Most here people metal detect for Civil War artifacts. I know one guy in my area who found a saber on his property! The second most popular use is on the beaches. This can actually turn into a small source of income as people often loose jewelry at the beach.

If you are like me and are new to metal detecting, you will need to pick up a just few things. Really, you probably already have a lot of them!

  1. Metal detector (Obviously). There are TONS of metal detectors on the market. It is beyond the scope of this post (and my knowledge) to tell you how to choose the best one for you. Instead, I recommend you head over to which is an awesome resource for researching metal detectors.
  2. Headphones. These are not going to be always necessary, but if the area you are in is noisy they are necessary. Really just about any headphones will work at first. You probably already have a pair.
  3. A digging tool. Some people carry a small folding shovel, but I prefer a gardener’s knife. It does not do as much damage to the ground (you can easily dig small holes) and it is lighter to carry. Your choice here is going to depend on your area. If your ground is sandy or rocky, you might want to go with something else.

  4. A pinpointer. Another fun gadget! A pinpointer is basically a small metal detector that only goes off when it is very close to metal. These are invaluable when trying to find something small. They cut the time to find something in half easily! Like metal detectors, there are a ton of these on the market. It would take all day to go over and compare the features of all them, so for pinpointer reviews click here.

    A bag to hold your loot (and the garbage). You will need a tough bag that can get dirty to put the stuff you find in. MOST of what you find will be junk. While I guess it is not technically littering to leave it where you find it, I like to pack it up and toss it appropriately. A lot of the stuff you find will be sharp and rusty. I’d hate for a kid or pet running through the area to get hurt on it. Plus, trash looks trashy. I use a small, old tool bag I have. You can find these in the hardware section of any department store. They are the perfect size and are almost indestructible.

A pinpointer

See, not that much stuff!

Once you have collected your gear, you will need to find a place to metal detect. I recommend starting in your yard. It will help you become more confident with your equipment and will serve as a good dry run. Who knows, you might find something valuable!

In the US there are a few places you CANNOT metal detect. Do not metal detect on:

  • Private property (without permission). This includes seemingly abandoned property, property owned by railroads, farmed and fallow fields, school playgrounds and sports fields, ect…
  • National monuments. Want to get arrested? This is how you get arrested.
  • National parks. It is illegal to take or leave anything on national parks, or to disturb the ecosystem.
  • Civil & Revolutionary War Battlegrounds.
  • Native American Lands. (unless you are a member of that tribe assumingly)

So where can you metal detect? Lots of places. Lots and lots of places.

  • Private property with permission.
  • National forests. (unless otherwise posted)
  • Most BLM land.
  • City, County and State parks. (unless otherwise posted)
  • Wildlife Management Areas
  • Most beaches (check local laws)

One Wildlife Management Area alone would give a lifetime of metal detecting, so your options are very open.

So, with a few simple tools and a place to search, what will you find?

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

How to Teach a Kid to Shoot - Part 1 Safety

I am so excited! My kids are finally old enough that I can teach them how to shoot a gun! I have been waiting for this for years!

What I found surprising was how nervous I was for the kids safety the first time we went shooting. I am very comfortable around guns. The safety procedures come second nature to me. However, for them it was all new. Kids can be unpredictable.....

So before we started I drilled into them a few basic rules. I tried not to be too complex, they are kids after all. These are what I cam up with:

1. Keep your finger off the trigger.

I simply taught them to not touch the trigger until they were looking down the sights. I was expecting this to be one of the hard ones to follow, but they caught right on.

2. Never point the gun at anyone. 

This was the hard one. Kids are naturally oblivious to anyone and everything around them. Keeping a gun safely pointed is tough for even most adults I've taught, so this does not come as a surprise.

What ended up helping was when I told them to imagine a laser beam shooting out of the barrel that cut anyone it touched in half. Being Star Wars fans, this game caught on quite well with them.

3. Pretend the gun is always loaded. 

This was another easy one. They don't know enough to tell if it is loaded or not anyway, so treating it as if it was always loaded came fairly naturally.

Using these simple three rules, and going over them religiously, has kept all of us safe and let us enjoy the process without worry.

In Part 2 I am going to talk about the gun I chose to use when teaching them, and why I chose it.

Would you like to see a video of our first shooting session? Here it is! (The shooting is at the end of the video.)

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