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Many people use consumer metal detectors to look for coins on the beach. Most metal detectors are good to detect metal only within a foot or so below the ground. The detection depth depends on the type of metal detector, type of metal in the buried object, size of buried object, type of metals in the ground, and other objects in the ground.

There are five major types of hobbyist activities involving metal detectors:

  • Coin shooting is looking for coins after an event involving many people, like a baseball game, or simply looking for any old coins. Serious coin shooters will spend hours, days and months doing historical research to locate long lost sites that have the potential to give up historical and collectible coins.
  • Prospecting is looking for valuable metal like gold and silver.
  • Relic hunting is very similar to coin shooting except that the relic hunter is after any type of historical artifact, relic hunters are usually very determined and dedicated not only to the research and hunting that they do but also to preserving historical artifacts. Coins, Minié balls, buttons, axe heads, and buckles are just a few of the items that are commonly found by relic hunters.
  • Treasure hunting is looking for valuable items in general.
  • Beach combing is hunting for lost coins or jewellery lost on a beach. Beach hunting can be as simple or as complicated as one wishes to make it. Many dedicated beach hunters also familiarize themselves with tide movements and beach erosion.

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