Every once in a while a detector comes along that is fun and easy to test. The new Silver Sabre II from Tesoro Electronics is one of those. Before this sounds more like a commercial than a field test, I should say that this new detector isn't perfect but it's getting closer.
The new Silver Sabre II, like the other Tesoro instruments, requires just a hint of motion for maximum depth in the discrimination mode. The ultra-slow sweep speed allows pinpointing of a target in the discrimination motion mode or the operator can select a non-motion all metals mode.
As for controls, the Silver Sabre II is a detector of simplicity. Located on the front panel are two adjustable controls, a sensitivity control and a discrimination level adjustment, and a three-position toggle switch. This switch allows the operator to switch from all-metal to discrimination or quickly retune to all-metal threshold signal.
The only other adjustment, a threshold control, is located at the rear of the control panel. This threshold control sets the audio threshold in the all-metal mode only, the discrimination mode runs silent in what is commonly called the silent search mode.
As standard features, the Silver Sabre II comes with an 8-inch open center searchcoil equipped with a cable long enough for hipmounting. The control housing is designed for either shaft mount or convertible hipmount. To switch to a hipmount operation, the plastic control housing can be slid off the shaft by depressing two metal buttons and attaching the control unit onto the belt using the attached belt clip.
Like the other new Tesoros, this new slim plastic control housing and the new brown 8-inch searchcoils incorporate a technical improvement called monolithic shielding. Imbedded in the plastic is a special material that helps shield both the coil and the electronics from extraneous signals-the result is fewer false responses.
The assembly of the Silver Sabre II is relatively easy if the directions are followed. The most difficult element of the assembly is installing the searchcoil to the stem. To assure a snug fit between the stem and the coil, Tesoro uses rubber washer inserts that initially mount in recessed areas of the stem.
To facilitate the assembly of the coil, washers, and the stem, moisten the rubber washers and the inside of the ears on the coil. I prefer to use a mild soapy water, a mixture which I have found makes the process quick and easy.
Once the detector was assembled and the two 9-volt transistor batteries installed, it was time to take the Silver Sabre II outside and give it a try.
From the onset, I liked the feel of the new Tesoro. The Silver Sabre II is very comfortable and lightweight (about three pounds).
As I have mentioned in previous tests, the Colorado soil in my hometown matches the most severe conditions I have encountered, so any detector that works well here should work well almost anywhere.
With the detector in the discrimination mode, the sensitivity set at maximum and the threshold set for a mild audio level, I began to test the instrument over several test targets I have buried.
After a few passes over these test targets, I was impressed. I found the detector respectably quiet and, more importantly, very sensitive. I found that even the deeper coins which have proven to be a problem for many detectors to sense responded with smooth, loud, reliable signals.
Rechecking all the targets with the all-metal mode, I found the detector somewhat less sensitive. Some of the deeper targets which responded with good solid discrimination signals were a little difficult to hear in the all-metal mode. After a little playing with the controls, I found I could get the best all-metal response with the threshold set to give just the slightest sound with no target present. Even with this setting, it appeared that the discrimination mode would easily surpass the all-metal mode of operations.
As with all new Tesoros, the Silver Sabre II has one weak point-the small speaker. In noisy environments, the speaker is somewhat difficult to hear because of the limited output capabilities. Headphones, of course, will eliminate this problem.
TESTING IN PARKS
Because this detector is aimed for the typical coin hunter, I decided to search a couple of parks. After a few hours I was convinced that this detector had exceptional depth. Although few older coins were found, various targets up to seven inches were easily detected.
Like most people I started out with minimum discrimination and dug a handful of junk items including pull tabs. After a while, I set the discrimination level to reject most screwcaps and continued my search. Except for an occasional screwcap or a newer coin, the detector was respectably quiet, responding with only a few loud false signals even in the trashiest of environments.
Finally after an hour or so, I got a respectable discrimination signal that could be barely heard in the discrimination mode. After about six inches of digging, I retrieved a badly worn Barber dime, the best find of the day.
During the searching in the parks I encountered two targets that were just too deep to retrieve without digging an unacceptable hole. Even small targets responded with good solid signals. At one park, I retrieved a .22 short casing from about 5 inches.
One of the strange quirks of this detector that I noticed was what seemed to be a very low volume chirping that I thought to be instability. Later I decided that these signals appeared to be responses to very deep or weak targets, or very weak responses to shallow trash targets.
Overall, I found that reducing the sensitivity to a setting of about 7-8 reduced many of these weak signals and still maintained exceptional depth capabilities.
Ghost towning has always been a favorite pastime of mine, and I have also found this type of hunting is a real challenge to any metal detector. The high incidence and different types of trash can easily lead to frustration. With the Silver Sabre IL I found it to have many of the same problems of the more sensitive machines.
For the test, I selected two well searched ghost towns nearby. The first town selected, an old coal camp located about 40 miles south of my home, has proven to be a real challenge since I have searched it several times with other detectors and never found a coin.
After a few minutes of playing with the detector at this site, I began to find a few pieces of brass and copper items at depths varying to about 6 inches. Within 10 minutes, I made my only real startling find of the day-a 4-foot rattlesnake that didn't seem to want to share the area. This was the first one I had seen in quite a while and, as a result, I'm not sure which of us was the most shaken over the situation. I jumped one way and he went the other.
After a few minutes to calm down and give the critter a wide leeway, I began to search the area again, concentrating on the responses from the different targets. Finally after finding a few pieces of junk jewelry, a couple of tax tokens, and a handful of pocket-watch parts, I managed to find a 1925 wheat back penny, recovered from a depth of 4-1/2 inches
After about an hour and a half, I headed to the second town where I hoped things would get better. Unfortunately, they didn't improve much. Within 15 minutes at the other town I had found 2 more wheatbacks, more watch parts, and a handful of lead junk. Unfortunately, nothing else of significance surfaced.
The biggest problem encountered at this area was the same one I have found with all motion detectors
the rejection of the rusty pieces of cans and other thin metal junk. Because of the nature of the trash and the varying amounts of deterioration of the metal, some pieces just sound like good targets.
I found that with the sensitivity of the Silver Sabre II set at about 8, the tricks I use to eliminate most of the rusty metal trash that work on other Tesoro detectors also work on the Silver Sabre II The tricks include a couple of different techniques.
First, by carefully listening to the width of the target signal, I could tell many rusty objects from non-ferrous targets. The signals from rusty metal trash are narrower in response in the discrimination mode than similar sized non-ferrous items like copper and silver items.
By checking a target using both modes of operations, most large trash items could easily be distinguished as well as many of the smaller ones.
A non-ferrous target would respond with approximately the same width target signal in both modes while a rusty piece of metal will usually respond with a narrower response in the discrimination mode than it does in the all-metal.
Another little trick I found worked well on the Silver Sabre II was to sweep over the suspected target, varying the sweep speed on successive passes, and the good objects would respond with consistent responses only varying in the width of the signal.
The slower the sweep, the wider the signal on good targets. On rusty junk, the Silver Sabre II will have a tendency to stutter or reject the target at different sweep speeds. By varying the height slightly on successive passes would cause similar results.
Back home, I decided to give the Silver Sabre II a try in a couple of old yards in one of the older parts of my home town. The results were better. The first yard proved to be a lot of fun, retrieving about 40 coins including one silver quarter, a silver Roosevelt dime, and a handful of wheatback pennies.
The depth of targets ranged from the surface to about 7 inches. A couple of targets weren't retrieved since they were beyond the length of my 7-inch blade screwdriver. The second yard yielded only a handful of coins, including one 1902 Indian head penny.
The last tests of this instrument were in treasure hunts. The first was a local hunt held in Colorado Springs. This is where I found the Silver Sabre II really excelled.
Using the standard eight-inch concentric coil, I found the detector to be responsive to good targets at almost any sweep speed. More importantly, the detector was extremely quiet during the periods between targets. False signals from bumping the coil on clumps of dirt and grass were almost nonexistent. In fact, at times toward the end of hunts when targets were scarce, I would switch back to the all-metal mode to make sure the detector was working.
The second location was at Treasure Week in Indiana. At this location I also found the detector to be extremely quiet. More importantly, I had almost no interference from the other hunters in the fields. Again, I found I could swing the detector as fast as I wanted without fear of missing targets. At the extremely fast speeds, the detector would emit a brief but quick "click" while at a more logical but still rapid sweep speed, I would get a nice, sharp response from a good target.
Tesoro has developed another winner in the Silver Sabre II. Cost conscious treasure hunters, occasional treasure hunters wanting a simple but sensitive detector, and even very serious hunters wanting a very sensitive detector either for a back up or primary unit should stop by their local dealer's for a demonstration of this new instrument.
The beauty of this detector is that it's very simple to operate, has exceptional depth in the discrimination mode, and is very lightweight and comfortable. Equally important is the fact that this detector is very reasonable in price-just $299.
For more information on the Silver Sabre II or any of the other Tesoro instruments, you can contact your local Tesoro dealer or Tesoro Electronics by calling (800)522-3392. Tell them you saw the field test in Lost Treasure.