Field test by Randy Albin

Last Fall I was contacted by an acquaintance on a popular metal detecting forum. Tesoro was looking for someone to do a field test on the new Outlaw. He explained that he is a friend of Rusty Henry and would I be agreeable to have him contact me about doing this. After Rusty contacted me, we agreed that the Outlaw to be tested would be on loan for six months and after the end of the trial, I could either return it or buy it. I was not being compensated in any way for the test. I will tell it like it is, no holds barred.

I received the three coil package Outlaw by Fed Ex. I looked at the small box in wonderment. How did they get all of that equipment in such a small package? It was double boxed and everything was in there, and packed securely. Each of the three coils had their own separate lower rod and coil mounting hardware, Nice! The Outlaw was easy to assemble and came with a 9 volt battery, so I was ready to go in minutes.

The 8” coil was mounted up first to try out. I walked outside my house, turned the Outlaw on, waited for the short battery test signal to fade out and plugged in my headphones. The battery test is very loud.

The first hunt was at a house that is owned by a friend. I took along another detector for him to use, and was kept busy answering questions and checking out his targets, so this particular hunt was not turning out to be very productive. Since it was proving to be a fruitless hunt, I decided to change my strategy, and do something I don’t normally do. There was a lot of aluminum trash in the yard, so I set the discrimination above pull tabs. This proved to be a good decision because I started finding some coins! I found three wheat-back pennies anywhere from 5 to 7 inches deep, and some small clad pocket spills at similar depths, so I was getting good depth, even with a high level of discrimination.

The second hunt was at an old abandoned two story house dating back to the turn of the century. I was invited to hunt there by my good detecting buddy. He was using a high end metal detector and I was using the Outlaw with an 8” coil. I didn’t feel out gunned at all because the Outlaw was proving to be as good as my ole Bandido. The yard was full of zinc pennies and I was digging all of them because they have the same conductivity as an Indian Head penny. My buddy started ignoring these zinc signals as they are pretty worthless except when you walk by something good in that same conductivity range. I found a neat old watch fob with a crouched cougar on the front. It was a loud zinc penny range target. I’m glad I dug it! We both ended up with about the same amount of coins including some wheat pennies, but no silver. I got a cool watch fob, which I think is better than a common date silver coin.

Three Coil Package

The three coils that came with the Outlaw cover just about all hunting needs for different trash densities encountered in the field. The 8” concentric coil is my favorite and most used coil on all my Tesoro units, so most time was spent with it mounted to the Outlaw. The little 5.75” concentric coil that is also included in the package was used some. I have used smaller coils with my Tesoro’s for many years, especially when working around old house foundations where the ferrous trash is thick with nails.

Then I tried the new 12 x 10” DD. This coil is truly a new 5 pin coil (uMax-Epsilon). This is what I have wanted for my older units for many years. It was introduced with the Outlaw 3 coil package in 2012. I need a coil this size for certain hunting spots that require a lot of coverage. I knew just where I was going to take it because I hunted this place a few years ago. Back then, I went on an organized hunt with about 80 people hunting on two large fields. One field of about 5 acres was where I found a club prize token. The second field I haven’t hunted, but I heard reports of hunters finding some Civil War 3 ring mini balls. I got to see some of the mini balls and they looked like they were dug in Virginia but this was in a small old cattle town in Kansas. I was surprised.

Now ... several years later after the organized hunt, I’m at the mini ball acreage with my hunting buddy, the one who organized the hunt back then. I’ve got the Outlaw equipped with the 12 x 10” DD coil and my buddy is using an Australian import detector. The area we were hunting was big. I’d guess about 5 acres and I just knew it was going to be a good hunt. I used the auto-tune all metal mode for this, because there were few targets and I like to listen to the threshold when targets are sparse. Then when I would get a signal in all-metal I would flip the mode switch to Disc mode to check the signal. The hunt went pretty slow until I got near an active electric cattle fence. I started to get false signals at the end of each swing of the coil in Disc mode. I could not use all-metal mode here but I figured it out pretty quick. If the signal did not repeat, I move on. Pretty soon I was finding all kinds of older hollow based bullets from .22 cal, .32 cal, .38 cal and a few .44 cal from shallow depths to about 8”. These bullets had been there for a long time because they had a nice white colored patina. In all, I found around 20 of these bullets but I didn’t find any mini balls.

The Return of the No-Motion All-Metal mode on the new Outlaw

I’m glad Tesoro has brought back this neat feature on the Outlaw. In my opinion, it’s one of the most important modes that has been missing since the Bandido ll uMax was discontinued about 12 years ago. I have enjoyed using the manual retune all-metal mode for years on some of my other detectors. It is a nice feature for those that appreciate the precision and ease of knowing the exact target location in the ground.

I have hunted yards where the owners were very nervous that I would destroy their yard by digging big, deep holes. After demonstrating this technique, they usually give me permission to hunt. Suppose you are using the Outlaw with the 8’ coil and you’re hunting at an older house site with a manicured lawn and get a good signal in the motion discrimination mode. Now you want to narrow down and pinpoint the target. You flip the three position mode switch to the middle position All-metal. If the target is mid-depth, say at about 4”, the all-metal signal is going to be loud and cover a large area when the target is closer to the coil. If you are hunting on a plush and well maintained grass area, then you’ll want to do this… keep your coil motionless over the loudest part of the signal, then barely move the coil off to the side a little bit. While just getting the partial edge of the signal, push the RETUNE button all the way in and release it This will shrink the signal (de-tune)to a smaller area while listening to the signal and looking at the ground through the center of the 8” concentric coil if you keep doing this, it will make the signal smaller and smaller until you know the exact location. After recovering the target, simply raise the coil up in the air and fully depress the RETUNE button again and release it. This will restore the Outlaw to full power again. This method is so precise, once you have mastered this technique, it is possible to take your probe, push it in the ground and touch the coin, and then pop it out.

Now that I have explained the usefulness of the de-tuning method or what Tesoro calls “Super Pinpoint”, I will talk a bit about the no motion, all-metal mode without using the de-tuning method. The audio of the all-metal signal is modulated. It gets a softer sound and covers a smaller surface area when the target is located further away from the coil (deeper in the ground). I use the no-motion, all-metal mode to judge the depth, and size of the target. A deep coin will give off a softer, more faint signal. That will also tell how large the target is and if it is long and narrow, like a buried piece of pipe, just by following the signal. This saves a lot of time and frustration by not digging up big junk. I hunt most of the time in motion Discrimination mode and can tell by the sound if it worth digging by checking the signal by switching over to all-metal, then if the all-metal signal confirms that the target is small and deep, I’m digging it! I get excited over these types of signals and usually are good targets if in an older productive spot.

Summary

I have had the Outlaw now for six months, starting the end of October 2013. I think Tesoro has a winner with this detector, and the addition of the no motion all-metal mode is a big plus. It’s something that was missing in their lineup for almost 12 years. Since I only had six months to finish the test, I went on some cold weather hunts. I have to mention the last hunt with my grandson who is 13 years old. I took him to an old farm house and turned him loose with the Outlaw. He found 4 wheat pennies to my one wheat penny. This was his first time using the Outlaw.

In the beginning of my field test, I mentioned I have quite a collection of older and modern Tesoro units.( 10 as of last count) The Outlaw performs very close to my old beloved Bandido ll uMax, so I will be returning the Outlaw back to Rusty along with my field report. If I didn’t already own the Bandido however, I would have bought the Outlaw, it is just that good!



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