About 42 years ago a classmate of mine brought in a US buckle he had found while metal detecting with his father. That got me started metal detecting and the bug bit me bad. I borrowed a home built Heathkit detector from my uncle and proceded to find my fortune. To say the least, the Heathkit left alot to be desired. The only thing it was able to detect was a piece of iron about 6 feet long in 1 inch of soil. Time to do some research. It seems that everyone was using a machine called a MetroTec. Well that machine sold for $150 and that might as well had been a million for a kid in the 60's. I was able to find a used one for $75 and the rest is history.
The MetroTec 220D was one GREAT machine. It was a TR (transmit/receive) so iron did not give a signal unless it was a nail bent in a U shape. It had no ground balance, it took 1 nine volt battery and it would detect a bullet at about 4" max in good ground. It had a handle like a walking cane and a great big head and it would WEAR YOU OUT in an hour. I found a TON of Civil War relics with that machine.
The next machine was a Whites Coin Master 5. That machine WOULD detect some buttons but it also would detect nails bigtime. My button collection increased substancially and my pile of junk iron grew exponentially. Gotta take the good with the bad. After that , I have owned various flavors of Whites machines up til my present machine, the Whites Blue & Grey Pro which is a modified for relic hunting 6000 Di Pro SL. It works GREAT. We have been going back to camps I considered about dug out 20 years ago and finding TONS of relics. The only problem is digging bullets at 12" wears this old body out. I laugh when people on the forums talk about detecting a dime at 24". Wonder if they have ever dug a hole 2 feet deep without a posthole digger. How in the world did a dime get 2 feet deep to start with.
My wife Rose and I, with the help of some close friends have started organizing quality relic hunting events called DIGGIN' IN VIRGINIA . We saw a need for good honest non-competition hunts geared towards recovering Civil War relics from land that is threatened by development. We seek out and lease sites that have been mostly off-limits to relic hunters in the past. We have had some success and look forward to lots more.