Tesoro Electronics has always been a company that “marched to the beat of a different drummer” in the design of metal detectors that have made up their line since they started building detectors nearly 30 years ago.
Jack Gifford - the company’s founder - and later his sons, who took over the reins when Jack and his wife retired, have always focused on building products that remained true to the guiding principle that Tesoro has become known for, which is to “provide hobbyists with detectors that are simple to operate, offer true performance in the field, and don’t break the family budget.”
It’s been nearly a decade since the last new detector has been introduced by Tesoro, which may cause some to wonder what happened over that time.
The old saying, “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it,” can be applied when looking at what they have offered to treasure hunters worldwide during that time.
Having used Tesoro products since when Jack first opened his doors (and I still have some of those original detectors), I was looking forward to “getting back to basics” and giving the new Outlaw a spin to see what might turn up.
The Outlaw is a VLF-based motion discriminator with a full-range ground balance circuit, an all metal search mode, and a non-motion pinpoint function.
The Outlaw operates at 10.6 kHz, which was selected as being well suited for all forms of treasure hunting without sacrificing performance for one type of the other.
While one can select another model in the Tesoro line with a different operating frequency - either higher or lower - if you plan on only hunting for one specific type of target, the Tesoro engineering team responded to requests from users to offer a detector that “does it all” and the Outlaw was the result of their efforts.
The Outlaw uses only four knobs, a toggle switch and a two-position pushbutton to control the unit’s operation.
The function of the controls on the housing’s face is similar to many of the current detectors in the Tesoro line.
The SENSITIVITY knob serves a dual role - it turns the unit on / off and allows the user to adjust the power output from the coil.
When the detector is turned on, the battery strength will be indicated by a tone that diminishes as the battery strength drops.
The DISCRIMINATE knob allows users to select what type of objects will be accepted or rejected and, as this report will cover, can actually provide a measure of target identification even without a meter or LCD screen.
The THRESHOLD knob is used to set the audio threshold heard when the unit is in the pinpoint or all-metal mode.
The GROUND BALANCE knob is used to “dial-in” the Outlaw so that the effect of ground mineralization in whatever area you might be searching can be virtually eliminated, allowing for maximum detection depth.
The push button located on the control unit’s face labeled RETUNE is a two-position button that will provide a quick way to quickly retune the detector to its original settings in the field, as well as switching to a non-motion, all-metal mode to zero in on detected targets and reduce recovery time.
The Outlaw’s control housing measures an diminutive 3-1/8 inches wide by 2-3/4 inches high by 2 inches deep and is powered by a single drop-in 9V battery, which provides up to 20 hours of operation on a standard alkaline cell.
It has always impressed me just how much performance Tesoro is able to fit in a small package and the Outlaw follows suit in this area.
A standard ¼” headphone jack is located on the rear of the control housing and the use of headphones will ensure even the faintest of signals is not inadvertently missed due to outside noise.
The construction and design of the Outlaw follows along that found and time-proven on many other Tesoro detectors.
Lightweight (weighing just 2.2 lbs.), extremely well balanced, and featuring a three-piece breakdown rod, the Outlaw can be used all day without fatigue and broken down to fit into a briefcase-size carrying bag.
The Outlaw comes with three separate coils – a 5.75” concentric, an 8” concentric and the new 12”x10” Wide Scan – which provide owners with a suite of coils designed to cover a wide range of applications.
The coils feature the five-pin connector used on some of the other Tesoro models, which makes this package even more versatile in that you will have coils that are easily interchangeable.
Field testing is often driven by deadlines for the test report and equipment availability.
Unfortunately, in the case of the Outlaw, time was not on my side and the weather was not “playing nice,” but I was able to get out with the detector and the coils it is packaged with at several sites before the report for the magazine was due.
The online version will have some additional field test results along with photos of finds made with the detector.
Following the obligatory air test and spin through the test garden to see how it responded to various targets, and define the points where targets were rejected on the Disc control, I headed to two local schools that dated back to the 1940’s and a small town park some 30 miles away to see how the Outlaw did for coin hunting.
Opting to start with the 8” Concentric coil, I bumped the sensitivity to “9” and set the DISC control between “foil” and “5c” to eliminate most of the low conductive and ferrous targets.
Ground balancing took seconds once I got the hang of the two-position button – the middle position is easy to push through until you get the feel of it.
Switching back to DISC, I headed out across the front lawn of the first school.
As expected, coins were plentiful within the 10-foot band of grass that paralleled the sidewalk where students waited for the bus, and recovering a handful in an hour was quick and easy…the pinpoint mode allowed me to zero in with a high degree of precision which reduced the time needed to find each one and move on to the next target.
Hoping to find a few older coins, I worked closer to the building and pushed the coil under the edge of the bushes that bordered the walls.
I was not disappointed and, over the next hour, was able to recover four Wheat cents along with a key chain containing four keys and one of those small license plates with a 1965 date on it from depths ranging from 4” down to about 7”.
A trick I have used effectively with Tesoro detectors for years to help me identify targets and determine if they are worth recovering even without a target ID meter is the following.
When coin hunting, for example, I tend to run with the discrimination just above FOIL, which means anything above that setting is accepted.
Since there is a loss of detection depth at higher discrimination levels, lower settings are clearly preferable.
When a signal is received, I reach up with my thumb and slowly rotate the DISC control clockwise while sweeping across the target.
Monitoring when the signal begins to break-up and then drop out, I can ascertain the target’s probable identity with a high degree of accuracy yet not lose detection depth as a result of the discrimination being set too high.
I tend to only use this on the stronger signals from targets closer to the surface, as one never knows what the deeper targets might be; i.e., trinkets, keys, etc. After a little practice, this trick will become second nature.
As I was leaving the second school and heading to the park, I saw an older house that had suffered a fire and was awaiting demolition.
Asking a neighbor about the property and the chance of hunting it, I was told the city had taken it back for back taxes and there should not be a problem as long as I stayed out of the structure itself.
Starting with the 8” coil, I was able to find a few coins, but it was clear that the yard was a junkyard and a smaller coil was called for.
Well, swapping out the coils was a snap since they each have the lower rod included and it took just a few minutes for me to be back in the yard with the 5.75” coil.
The coil made all the difference in the world and it clearly was separating good targets from the trash.
There was not much grass available due to the size of the yard and the Caution tape around the building, but I did recover three more Wheats and a nice 1944 Mercury dime from just over 6 inches near the edge of the sidewalk, which was impressive considering the size of the coil.
Over the years I have found that, in many cases, deeper is not always the answer when looking for more finds, but rather target separation which is where small coils excel.
Wanting to give the larger Wide Scan coil a try, I visited a site in the woods that had been used in the mid-to-late 1800’s.
I’ve found some interesting items here over the past year or so, but they are not localized so walking around is the rule when hunting this site.
The 12x10 Wide Scan allowed me to cover a large area in a short period of time and it did not take long to start recovering targets from the period the site had been used.
The best find I made here was a sterling silver spoon with the initials “HOM” engraved on it, which had been nearly 10 inches deep.
The deepest target recovered had been an axe head, which came to light at more than a foot deep.
Pinpointing took a little practice with the larger coil, but that’s part of the learning curve after all
As I mentioned earlier, the online report will contain additional details on the detector itself and how it performed in different applications and under different ground conditions.
A point I’ve made in previous field tests of Tesoro equipment is that often we tend to fall into the mindset of having to spend more to find more when it comes to purchasing a metal detector.
Clearly there are some applications where the latest and greatest technology or additional “bells & whistles” will provide an edge to users.
That edge correlates to more finds due to factors such as the target’s depth, its small size, or the severe ground conditions in the search area.
But there are countless treasure hunters or would-be treasure hunters that can and do make impressive finds with equipment that does not require one to take out a second mortgage to pay for it and the new Outlaw from Tesoro was designed to do just that.
Providing three search coils complete with lower shafts and mounting hardware to make changing coils a snap, the Outlaw is equally at home searching for coins at the local parks and schools, lost valuables on beaches, long-forgotten military relics, or artifacts spanning the centuries.
With its Ground Balance circuit, users are able to use the Outlaw effectively under a wide range of soil conditions with a simple adjustment.
Combining its light weight, simple yet effective controls, and level of performance, users will find the Outlaw provides a cost-effective detector that will put finds in your pouch regardless of the type of treasure you might be searching for.
The new Outlaw sells for $649 and comes with the three different coils described above, which is an industry first, as well as Tesoro’s limited lifetime warranty…something Tesoro has always offered and truly demonstrates how confident the company is of the quality and durability of their products!
In addition to the coils that come with the package, additional coils in varying sizes and internal design (Concentric and Widescan) are available at prices that make adding a few to your arsenal to cover all possible conditions you might come across an affordable proposition.
For more information on the Outlaw, the rest of the Tesoro line, or to locate a dealer in your area, call the factory at (800) 528-3352, write them at 715 White Spar Road, Prescott, AZ 86303 or visit their website at http://www.tesoro.com
Be sure to mention you read about the new Outlaw in Lost Treasure Magazine!