detectors and bronze

Do Metal Detectors Detect BRONZE?

do metal detectors detect bronze

At the very beginning of my metal detecting journey I was asking all sorts of questions …

… And the main questions I was asking back then were about the capabilities of metal detectors to detect many kinds of things. One of the elements I was wondering about was Bronze!

So, do metal detectors detect bronze? Yes, even if bronze don’t really have a very high electrical conductivity like Silver or Copper for example. It still has the ability to react to the magnetic field coming from metal detector’s coil. Thus, this will let you know accurately where to dig to get your bronze target.

As a detectorist, it is extremely important to be aware of the different types of metals/elements out there. So, all you will need to know before recognizing the detectability of a specific element is to recognize its category.

In addition, I will introduce you to some cool things, like what valuable items made of bronze you can find. Where to find them and how you can actually do so …

Bronze is nonmagnetic, but it is still detectable …

Many people think that bronze is an independent metal by itself like copper or gold for example. Indeed, bronze was invented in the “bronze age” that took place mainly in Europe and Asia!

It is mainly an alloy containing about 88% of copper mixed with 11-12% of tin. Other metals may be added like zinc, nickel or even aluminum.

So as you’ve might noticed all these metals are non-ferrous ones. Thus bronze is considered in most cases a non-ferrous metal as well. There are some rare cases in which bronze could have a bit or iron in it which could make it a bit magnetic. Yet, most of the time this is just not the case.

Most Modern detecting machines have the ability to detect all sorts of nonferrous metals. Gold, Bronze, Mercury and Aluminum are all common examples.

There is another category called ferrous metals, also named magnetic metals. This category is also detectable not only by modern machines but also by the old ones. Iron is one of the most common examples …

Some people consider stainless steel as a nonferrous metal, yet many experts categorize it as an independent category. It is one of the most difficult metals to detect due to its extra poor electrical conductivity.

So, from now on, each time you get to know a new metal! If you are sure that it is a ferrous or a nonferrous one so it means it is without a doubt detectable.

Valuable Bronze targets you may find.

You may be wondering whether there are valuable items made out of this metal that you may target. Indeed, the metal in itself represent a significant value that you should not overlook. Plus, there are several types of targets you may expect:

Coins: Many hobbyists are focused on bronze olds coins. The latter is mostly copper combined with tin and zinc. They represent an interesting historical value! In addition, some medals which could be considered as a form of coin are pretty rare to find but are also made of bronze.

Musical Instruments: Chinese bells were mostly made of bronze with pretty high concentrations of tin (around 23%). Bronze is also used as a main component for Professional cymbals. The winding and nylon strings of many musical instruments like guitar and piano are also based on bronze.

Singing bawls that were first introduced in the 16th century are also based on this nonferrous metal. Phosphor bronze which is a combination of copper, tin and also phosphorus was used in recent years for producing saxophones.

Mirrors: When they were first produced in their flat form, bronze was the first metal used as a frame for it. Egyptian, Greek and Roman civilizations were all notorious for these mirrors.

Other Relics: Many old monumental statues were made of bronze BC. It was the main element for sculpture for the ancient Greek. India and many countries in Africa are also known for bronze sculpting.

Dishes: There are many kinds of dishes like some old Moroccan large plates that were made of this metal.

Largest bronze Object ever found!

The Simuwu ding is considered as the biggest piece of bronze ever found that has survived from the old first civilizations. It has a rectangular form with 4 legs.

For more inspiration, you can have a look at this list of the best ever metal detection finds!

Best Metal Detector for Bronze

Garrett AT Pro

One of the best in my opinion is Garrett AT Pro (You can Check it Here on Amazon!!).  It is absolutely a solid asset when it comes to all kinds of coins including bronze ones!

It will help you to avoid digging for trash, so you will have more chances each time you hear a sound that it is potentially a good find.

In addition, it is adapted for different conditions. This includes woods, in and around rivers, even beaches and saltwater. You can even use it during a raining day with no issues …

If you have used a different machine before, you will soon notice that AT Pro will help you find more coins than you’ve ever found before in a short period of time. I’ve never seen a hobbyist use this machine without having a big collection of old bronze coins.

Due to its low learning curve, this device remains adapted for starters. The price is not that high and the screen shows many details including the depth and the potential nature of your target.

Whites metal detectors are legit machines (I’ve never used Whites before), but detectorists who have used both of them just confirm that AT Pro is way better!

It can operate very deep underneath the ground which is a great thing if you are looking for old coins and relics.

Finally, AT Pro is a very popular machine. Thus, if you have any issue troubleshooting your machine or a setting that you can’t get right. Internet and Youtube are full of helpful guides to resolve any issue that you might have …

… Btw, if you are not a Garrett fan, you can check my favorite detection device for Bronze Here on Amazon!

Places to Find Bronze…

This is a difficult one to tell, yet there are some places in which, chances are, you may find some bronze pieces:

Around local businesses: If you know any local business that uses bronze or produce bronze items. Then places in which it throws trash could be a valuable location for you.

Dumps: Generally they could hold all sorts of metals, bronze is one of them.

Old trading circuits: They could generally hold great things made of bronze including old coins. So having an historical awareness of these old trading circuits and locations may be fruitful.

Want more ideas?! Check these locations!

How to identify Bronze Targets?

One of the skills that you should have is being able to identify targets and metals that you are actually finding. By doing so, you will have an initial idea on its real value …

… Now for bronze, there are couples of techniques that you might use to recognize it:

Check the weight: The target should be heavy enough comparing to its size. Indeed, some constructors may use bonded bronze to make things and market them as being real one. One of the ways to know that is to check the weight. For example a real bronze object that weight 10 pounds for examples will only be 3 or 4 pounds heavy with this fake one.

Use a magnet: If the bronze object is attracted to a strong magnet this means that it is mixed with iron. The latter lowers its overall value. Otherwise, this probably means that the metal is real.

The color of the surface: When real bronze reacts to air a very thin patina layer forms on its surface. It should not be easily scratched; otherwise it is just a painted color.

How to clean bronze finds?

I’ve just talked about identifying your targets as a must-have skill. Now, cleaning your finds is another must-have one which is no less important than the first one.

Indeed, you will be able to preserve its value so it would last much longer …

… Below few tips that you can follow to properly clean you bronze finds:

  • If you are dealing with a coin, always handle it from the edges. Otherwise, you should use gloves.
  • Run some warm water (preferably with pressure) over the bronze object you are dealing with for about 60 seconds.
  • Soak the objects overnight in hot water. So stains would disappear over time.
  • If there is any hard to remove deposits, you can use white vinegar or lemon juice for about 5 minutes.
  • Don’t use other metals in the same soaks!
  • Rinse the object using warm water for a minute.
  • Dry the object and keep it in a dry place.

For more information about this topic! Then you definitely should check this Coin Cleaning Guide! You will learn a ton of different tips!!


I really hope your answers were properly answered!

Bronze is an underrated metal that you should opt for. I mean, many detectorists just go for gold, platinum and gemstones. Yet they tend to forget about other metals that hold a significant value like copper and bronze.

So, I don’t want you to fall in the same mistake …

… Finally, if you are looking for similar metals to detect, then you may want to check this Brass detection Guide! There are some good info to learn …

About the Author

Carissa Harmer

Carissa is the huge metal detecting enthusiast that loves collecting coins. She is also highly interested in other treasure hunting activities like magnet fishing and gold prospecting/panning.