Garrett ACE Apex: Not Just for Beginner Metal Detecting
There are many in the world of metal detecting who agree the Garrett ACE Apex is a great machine for detectorists of all levels. That is an incredibly important feature for a good metal detector to offer. The ACE Apex is a versatile machine for hobbyists who want to give detecting a try and are just learning but it is also just as powerful for the advanced detectorist.
You do not need an incredibly expensive metal detector with all the bells and whistles to become an advanced detectorist. You need to invest time into learning your machine and how to use it to find desirable targets. The best advice I can give fellow Apex detectorists is to metal detect a lot and then detect even more. I have heard fellow detectorists in the community state that in order to know your machine expect to put in at least one hundred hours of detecting with it. I agree and I’ve put more than one hundred hours on all the metal detectors I have used. Having progressed through an assortment of detectors, and spending hundreds of hours learning each of them the best I could, I gained a deeper understanding of what features I needed in a detector to take my metal detecting hunts to the next level.
I did my research before transitioning to a new detector. I wanted a machine I could use for a long time and would have the options I needed. The Garrett ACE Apex kept topping the list for my needs and budget. Though the ACE Apex is labeled as a beginner to intermediate-level detector, in my opinion, I feel it is due to the fact that the Apex is not submersible in water. The more advanced metal detectors can be fully submerged in water up to a certain distance. The Apex is limited to shallow water metal detecting. Other than this limitation, the Apex offers a lot of the same features as the machines labeled as advanced.
Garrett ACE Apex Adjusting the Frequency for Specific Targets
To top the list off of the advanced features the Apex offers is the option to hunt in Multi-Frequency (MF), Multi-Frequency Salt (MS), or a set frequency from 5kHz up to 20kHz. If you know what you’re searching for, the ability to change the frequency is important. Say you are out recovering a lost piece of small jewelry for someone you can adjust the Apex’s frequency to a single frequency such as 20kHz which will give you increased sensitivity for finding small targets. If I am out on a permission I visit often, I will sometimes drop my frequency from MF to 10kHz to see if I can come across targets that I may have missed in MF mode. By using a lower frequency such as 5kHz or 10 kHz you will be more likely to uncover targets that are a bit deeper and larger.
Unlike beginner-level metal detectors, the ACE Apex offers the ability to customize settings for better target identification. Advanced detectorist, Ryan McKnight, has been experimenting with his Apex by hunting in Multi-Salt (MS) mode on dry land absent of beaches. He took his Apex to a site he logged over two hundred hours on and found multiple coins that other modes haven’t detected. Ryan has discovered this will uncover targets missed in different modes due to the fact that the MS mode will discriminate out the iron. With this setting, you will have to be patient, but it does produce results.
I often use the MF mode when I’m metal detecting a new site. The Multi-Frequency mode can be a little noisy at times since it is detecting at so many frequencies at once. Dropping your frequency to one single kHz level can sometimes quiet your machine, but in turn you may miss some targets. In combination with adjusting frequency outputs, increasing or decreasing the sensitivity levels depending on the trash levels in the ground at the site and maintaining ground balance will help you tune your metal detector for prime results. I tend to ground balance my Apex once every few hours when I’m on longer hunts or when I change locations. Soil is not consistent in every single location, so making sure you do this will help keep your metal detector tuned for changes in the mineral content.
Garrett ACE Apex Does Coil Size Matter?
It sure does. I have hunted my 1800s Western Ohio homestead for years and I have yet to hunt it out. I have used an assortment of coils on my metal detectors to see how they perform. Currently, I have a NEL Super Fly 11×12 DD coil and the Garret Viper Coil for my Apex. Both are good in their own ways at finding different targets. The larger the coil, the more ground you can cover but you will also have more interference from competing targets and sometimes miss the smaller targets. The smaller Viper coil is my go-to for trashy sites and woods. The smaller coils do not detect as deep as the larger coils, but the smaller detection field is incredibly useful for uncovering shallower targets that are mixed in with other competing targets such as nails. Being mindful that smaller coils will require a slower swing speed is also important.
Each coil will unearth different objects from the same area. I like to grid an area and metal detect that area from all different directions. I will then change to a different size coil and run over it again. This is not necessarily useful when field hunting, but I can usually come away with a target or targets, the previous coil did not pick up on at residential sites.
The coil selection for the Apex is just as good as the ones available for other detectors and it is worth an investment to make sure you have a few different sized coils in order to increase how the Apex performs. Just remember each time you change your coil out on the Apex you will need to sync the coil. This is as simple as putting the new coil on, turning the machine on, and then holding the power button down until the screen changes to Coin mode which indicates your coil has been synced.
Increasing Metal Detecting Finds
If I had a Nickel for every time I saw a detectorist swing their coil incorrectly I’d be able to buy a new detector. If there is one skill every advanced detectorist should perfect it is their swing speed, coil overlap, and coil height from the ground. Plain and simple, if these can be mastered you will increase finds tremendously.
Depending on the surface conditions, I will have my coil “kissing the ground” as I detect. I keep it as close and parallel to the ground as I can so I don’t lose any depth and I make sure to overlap my swings so I am covering the ground thoroughly.
You are swinging around a machine that emits an electromagnetic field (EMF). In order to understand the EMF, picture your metal detector as a flashlight. If you are searching for something in the dark, you will not be moving your flashlight erratically all over the place missing areas you need to search. The same concept can be useful for metal detecting and taking full advantage of the EMF. By overlapping your swings at a consistent speed you are ensuring the ‘beam’ is covering the search location completely and you will be less likely to miss targets.
Swinging your metal detector too fast will decrease finds. I’m not saying you need to go incredibly slow, but being mindful of how quickly you are overlapping your swings can make a big difference. Garrett suggests a swing speed of three feet per second. For me, that is too fast for a location such as an old homesite that may have a lot of trashy iron targets to work around, but will work just fine for woods locations and such. Different locations require different methods but swing your metal detector too fast and you will miss a lot of desirable relics and coins.
In conclusion, if you are looking to increase your metal detecting finds and push your detecting skills to the next level these are just a few of the advanced techniques you can use with your Garrett ACE Apex. Quite frankly, regardless of the metal detector you hunt with the more skills and knowledge you gain along the way will determine your skill level and success rate for great finds.
Putting these tips into use and spending time to thoroughly learn your machine will help you to become an advanced metal detectorist with your Apex. Should you need help with using your Garrett ACE Apex, feel free to reach out to me. I love to help others in this amazing hobby enjoy their time out metal detecting. Happy hunting!
Nicole Bauer resides in western Ohio. She is passionate about local history and works to preserve it for future generations as a member of multiple historical societies in her area. She has written for local newspapers as a lifestyle columnist and photojournalist. Nicole has been a lifelong relic hunter and has enjoyed metal detecting for over five years. She is a mom to two sons ages twenty and eighteen and has been married to her husband, Chad, for over twenty years. Metal detecting is a daily part of her life and she can usually be found out walking creeks, woods, and fields searching for items from the past. You can follow her explorations of Ohio on social media and YouTube at Ohio Metal Maven.