Tesoro Deleon Field Test
By Andy Sabisch
From Page 36
July, 2003 issue of Lost Treasure

Jack Gifford founded Tesoro Electronics more than 20 years ago with a single goal in mind and the company has stuck to it since day one - "to build high-quality metal detectors using the latest technology at prices that won't break the family budget." I've personally used Tesoro detectors since they were first introduced and have always found them to be simple to use and solid performers in the field. After a few-year gap with no target-ID detector in their line, Tesoro spent a considerable amount of time developing a new target-ID detector and a little more than a year ago, released what has become a proven addition--the Cortes.

Leveraging the research and development efforts that went into the Cortes, Tesoro's staff worked on a new detector that incorporated many of the features found on the Cortes and in early 2003 unveiled the DeLeon.


The DeLeon is the latest addition to the Tesoro family and was developed using similar technology as found in the top-of-the-line Cortes. As with other Tesoro's, it is extremely well balanced and lightweight - weighing in at less than three pounds. The standard coil is the 9"x8" concentric spider coil which is a proven all-purpose coil.

The DeLeon is controlled with only three (3) knobs and a toggle switch. The knobs are DISCRIMINATE LEVEL, THRESHOLD and SENSITIVITY (turns the unit on and adjusts the power output of the detector). The 3-position toggle switch allows the user to switch between the motion discriminate and non-motion all metal search modes as well as check the condition of the battery at anytime. The DeLeon uses a preset ground balance setting in both the Discriminate and All-Metal modes which has been selected to provide optimum performance in most areas (NOTE: Some chatter will be experienced when hunting in highly mineralized ground or near wet salt sand reducing the sensitivity will minimize this response.)

The DeLeon's easy-to-read 8-character LCD display provides users with a wealth of useful information. There are three specific sections of the display. The left-most segment indicates target depth ranging from 1" to 8". The next five segments correspond to specific groups of targets and are labeled Iron / Foil, 5c, Tabs, Zinc c and Silver Coins. The last two segments provide a Target ID number ranging from 0 to 95. Iron registers as "0" and clad, silver coins & most wheat cents register as "95". All other targets will register in between these values and, when used in conjunction with the 5 middle segments and the target depth reading, allow users to quickly and accurately determine what the DeLeon has detected and whether it is worth recovering. If the detected target is too close to the coil for the DeLeon to accurately assess it, the display will show several up-arrows or the words LIFT COIL. When this occurs, the coil should be raised slightly and swept across the target for a more accurate reading.

Another feature of the LCD display is that the five center segments will vary in height depending on the amount of information obtained from a specific target. The circuitry of the DeLeon acquires information in minute blocks of time; i.e., milliseconds. As the coil is swept across a target, the electronics inside the detector collects these blocks of data and uses the information to generate an LCD segment. A full-sized bar indicates that the detector was able to collect a lot of data and while a partial bar indicates that the signal was of a short duration (typically indicating a small target near the surface) and little data was received. A useful aspect of the DeLeon is that target ID and depth reading is provided in both the discriminate and all-metal modes.

The DeLeon is powered by 8 AA batteries contained in two drop-in boxes beneath the armrest. Alkaline batteries provide 20 hours of use and rechargeable batteries can be used with no adverse impact on performance.

Field Test

The winter of 2002-2003 was one for the record books in most parts of the country and central Pennsylvania was no exception. Some areas still had several inches of snow covering them when the DeLeon arrived so I had to rethink the sites I would visit during the field test. Unfortunately this eliminated many of the older sites throughout the wooded areas nearby but one needs to be flexible.

To get a feel for how the DeLeon performed, I opted to start out in a public park in a town some 15 miles away. It dated back to the 1940s and despite having been hunted on a regular basis, still produced an occasional "keeper". I wanted to see if the Max Boost range could be used so I turned up the Sensitivity control into the orange region, set the Discriminate control to "FOIL" and started hunting along a dirt path the crossed the park. Unfortunately this park, like most sites in the area, contained coal cinders and associated hot rocks that resulted in a fair amount of chattering. Turning the Sensitivity control counter-clockwise, the DeLeon quieted right down at a setting of "8". It wasn't long before I started picking up several clad coins alongside the pathway. On those that were just under the surface, the Up-Arrows appeared and lifting the coil an inch or so produced an accurate target ID and depth reading on the LCD display. Switching to the All-Metal mode using the toggle switch made pinpointing targets a snap even with the larger coil.

As I approached a set of bleachers near one of the ball fields I noticed that there was a fair amount of trash visible on the surface (and the DeLeon indicated how much more was under the surface). Initially I continued hunting with the discriminate control set at FOIL and tried to pick out the good signals based on repeatability and LCD indications. A smaller coil might have worked using this technique; however, I opted to turn the discriminate control up to TAB to see if it was easier to pick out the keepers from the trash. The DeLeon performed like other Tesoro's when the discriminate control is turned up the trash was gone and did not give any pops or chirps often seen on some other brands. I slowed my sweep speed down and worked along the edge of the bleachers listening for repeatable signals. The first few turned out to be clad coins, a few dimes and a quarter. Near the end of the first bleacher, I received a signal that indicated 7 on the LCD, registered between 85 and 89 and had a bar between zinc c and silver coins. Cutting a plug, I pulled out a 1934 Wheat Cent from a measured 7 from right where I had centered the coil. I spent the better part of the morning wandering through different areas of the park and was able to find a pocketful of clad coins, a few wheats, two silver dimes, a 1946 quarter and other interesting goodies from areas dozens of other detectors had been over before.

The next site I took the DeLeon to was a foundation on a friend's farm. It was just inside the tree line but received enough sunlight to have thawed the ground enough so targets could be recovered. Not wanting to miss any interesting relics, I set the discriminate control at MIN and started searching near the front of the foundation. The first few signals produced partial bars in the IRON/FOIL range and a Ɔ' digital ID and were exactly that a few square nails, a rusted bolt and another unidentifiable piece of iron. Near the base of a large tree I received a solid signal that read between ྆ & 77 and indicated tabs/zinc c with a depth reading of 8 inches. After removing some of the black soil, I pulled an 1889 Indian Head from the bottom of the hole. Since this was my first Indian Head of the year, it made a great start to the day. Over the next hour or so I was able to find three more coins--a 1902 Indian Head, a well-worn V-nickel and a 1979 penny (wonder how that got there) along with a few items such as a skeleton key, child's metal jack, a lead soldier and some things I have still not identified. The DeLeon had done an excellent job identifying targets it came across and several nice pieces had been added to my collection.

I took the DeLeon to other sites before this report was due including a few that had been heavily hunted for many years. Even in those areas, the DeLeon located coins and other items at impressive depths despite the sites being highly mineralized and in some cases, quite trashy.


The DeLeon has been developed with both the novice and experienced treasure hunters in mind. While it is a "turn-on-and-go" detector, the DeLeon offers performance not typically associated with a detector this simple to operate. The combination of the variable-height target ID bars and the numerical values allow one to determine with a high degree of accuracy what has been located and whether or not to spend time recovering it. It can be quickly disassembled to pack into remote areas or put into carry-on luggage when traveling. If you are looking for a new detector with value, simplicity and performance, make sure you give your local Tesoro dealer a call and check out the new DeLeon.

The DeLeon lists for $599 and includes the industry-leading lifetime warranty. A complete line of optional search coils ranging from a 4" concentric to an 18"x3.6" wide scan are available which greatly expands the DeLeon's versatility.

For more information on the DeLeon or any of the other Tesoro detectors, contact the factory at 715 White Spar Road, Prescott, AZ 86303, call them at (928) 771-2646 or visit their website at and be sure to mention that you read about the newest addition to the Tesoro DeLeon in Lost Treasure.
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