Although many in the metal detecting hobby don’t care, Tesoro Metal Detectors closed their doors. Actually, this is old news and we are coming up on a year and a half since the company stopped selling metal detectors.
So why am I bringing this up now? I guess you could say even with so much time passing it has really been on my mind. This past winter I spent just under 3 months back in my home state of Ohio where I love to relic hunt. For many years now, when the crops are out, I will track down house sites that have been gone (for whatever reason) for 100 years or more and is just a farm field. Sometimes it is a small wooded area or even a pasture but the majority of the time it’s just a field for beans or corn.
Digital display detectors came out when I got into metal detecting twenty some years ago and like most, that’s the route I went. For many years I couldn’t wrap my mind around why analog metal detectors (think knobs and switches and no display) were even still on the market, why would anyone want one of these antiquated detectors and for what purpose?
I found out about 10 years ago how an analog metal detector is still very relevant! I was hot and heavy into field hunting and although I had one detector I always used, I was going through other detectors left and right trying to find a better metal detector for the sites I was on. These field sites of Ohio I mentioned (100 years or longer they’ve been gone) aren’t littered with pop tabs, foil, cans and other modern junk often found at other sites like schools. The big hurdle in hunting these field sites is find a metal detector that will work through the heavy infestation of iron that is most prevalent.
So there I am, borrowing a Tesoro Outlaw to try in the fields of Ohio. This is after trying SEVERAL so called digital “relic” metal detectors that everyone was raving about. One after another I found myself being less than impressed with all of them and no better than the heavy detector I was using that was incredibly slow at recovering from one target to the next yet, I found myself finding more with it than all the others I tried. I will never forget the day the Tesoro Outlaw arrived. My very first thought after seeing it was “this thing looks like a 1970’s toy” and I was less than impressed. The control housing was tiny and it just looked…. Old!
I put it together, loaded up my go-to metal detector along with this “toy” and headed out to a familiar field site I had done really good in but felt I had picked it over pretty good. I was literally there minutes when I started digging good targets. At first, I felt it must be a fluke, I simply had to have just not covered these areas well. By the end of the day though, I was starting to feel a little different about it all though. I just couldn’t deny the number of targets I had dug, some of which I had to have missed with my go-to metal detector.
I would say It was the third site that I was absolutely convinced this little “toy” was much more than that and that is how my love affair started with Tesoro Metal Detectors.
Since then they quickly became my go-to detectors for these sites. With a single tone I simply discriminated out iron and listened for a good, repeatable signal. Although you can turn the Discrimination knob and get a good idea of what you’re digging, I don’t need it at these sites. I know I want to dig everything that isn’t iron because even trash at these sites is a wadded-up piece of copper which is worth digging!
Ok, so back to my Ohio trip! I went to Ohio with 5 metal detectors and had 2 more shipped to me to try out in those fields I love so much! So not only did I have 6 of the latest and greatest detectors on the market I was fortunate enough to meet up with a few other people who use top notch detectors and see how my Tesoro stacked up against all these different, newer metal detectors.
I guess before I go on I should tell you though I didn’t take my Outlaw that came with 3 coils and 3 shafts for roughly $550 dollars new, I brought Tesoro’s last detector they came out with, the Mojave that could be purchased for around $220 dollars.
So why do Tesoro metal detectors work so good for relic hunting those field sites in Ohio? I’m no engineer so what you’re getting from me is a guess! I think there is something to be said about the simplicity of Analog metal detectors and I believe they handle the iron so much better than digital metal detectors. I suspect that a digital metal detector is trying to determine to many things and often gets confused by all the iron. Yeah that doesn’t sound very technical now does it?!
Let me give you an example. I took my 10-year-old nephew out detecting a field site. It was his first time ever metal detecting so of course I gave him the lightweight, easy to use Tesoro to use. After a few minutes of showing him he wanted to listen for a clear, repeatable signal he was off and running AND digging good targets! So, there I am with my $800-dollar, top of the line, debatably the best metal detector on the market right now, struggling with a target. I’m getting a high tone mixed in with a low (iron) tone. I’m getting iron more than a higher tone and as soon as I’m ready to walk away, thinking it’s just iron, my nephew walks up behind me to ask me a question “hey let me see your detector real quick” as I grab it out of his hand and swing it over the spot. A consistent, repeatable tone no matter which direction I’m swinging from. I grab a shovel full of dirt and retrieve a button that had bits of old nails in the hole with it.
To me it’s like digital metal detectors are busy arguing with themselves in all the iron. When the iron is that heavy its spending to much time trying to analyze each target and you get a lot of falsing if you try to run with any discrimination. Analog metal detectors, especially Tesoro’s do a great job at locking on to good targets even in the thickest of iron. I’ve compared many digital metal detectors to my Tesoro’s on targets in the fields in heavy iron. I have yet to find any digital detector that is as good.
I will say digital metal detectors have come a long way. They are getting much faster recovering from one target to another and getting better when in heavy iron but in my opinion, I’m still not seeing performance in the heavy iron that will match my Tesoro Metal Detectors.
It’s also very important to mention not all Analog style metal detectors are up to the task. Over the years I’ve tried several analog metal detectors from other manufacturers. Although I have come across some good ones I’ve also come across some that just wont get the job done in the iron.
Even the best digital metal detectors get tripped up at these highly infested iron sites. Of course, the Tesoro’s I’ve used will some as well but a fraction of what the digital metal detectors I’ve used will!
For most people in the hobby today, losing Tesoro was no big deal. Many new to the hobby and a whole bunch more who would have never thought to give a Tesoro a try could care less that they are gone but for me, they will be missed for many years to come!