Metal Detecting Monday in Tick-ville

21 May

With Papa Bears active duty time at Camp Lejeune drawing to a close next month, he took a road trip north this past weekend and met up with some metal detecting junkies friends of his in what he called his last big east coast hurrah.

“So I drove up to Pitt County Friday afternoon. M was getting his stuff ready and suggested a field a few minutes away where he had found some flat buttons. I went out there and while not finding any buttons I did find a rusty circular thingy. When I went back to M’s he got pretty excited and showed me a similar lump of iron. His had been through electrolysis and was rust free and black in color. He told me that it was a wagon axle hub washer. He hooked mine up to his electrolysis (In his back shed. I know how to build one now…..) and left it to cook.
I had to look this up, but electrolysis can be used in the cleaning and preservation of old artifacts)

1:30 in the morning Matt, Jim, and myself were off to MD.

We got there about 7am and trudged into the area under the guidance of M’s buddy, R. After a quick area brief it was off to detecting. The area in question shall remain as an area in Southern MD. While not a private area to relic hunt in, the guys want to keep the area somewhat secret. They want others to do their homework and not find the place by merely reading a blogsite or forum.

I trudged around scanning slowly and carefully. I found one button back about 7 inches down and not much else at first. I also found some old glass and a broken file while out and about. M asked me to help him with a hut hole that he was working because he had found a few things in it. I found another button back and more glass. Finally we figured the pit was played out.

R and J started digging a raised mound under a tree and started finding some things. Near them was another raised mound covered in brambles. I stuck my coil in there and got a faint but steady signal. After cutting away the foliage I started digging and 10 inches down I pulled out my first .69 Caliber Minie Ball!!!

Anyway the day toiled on and we eventually went to a hill that the Union troops had apparently used as the backdrop while shooting their muskets. Talk about not being able to swing a dead cat……. I had a great time as half of my bullets came from a 1 meter square area.

At the end of the day we headed back to NC. Tired, dirty, sweaty, and absolutely ticked out.

Yes, the ticks. We new that they would be present and as such some preparartions were made. I had my snake boots on and light tan pants (tucked inside) and a light tan t-shirt tucked into my belted pants. I also made sure that I was doused liberally in bug juice. It was amazing. You would get a signal, flick a tick off your pants, dig the hole, flick a tick off your glove, finds the target, flick a tick off your arm. It was continuous. Poor J (He is 61 years old) got the worst of it. When we got back to the truck and did the tick-check on each other, he had then under his shirt, under his t-shirt, on his socks. We drove to a McD’s to get a bit to eat and were picking them off him in the restaurant. Back out at the truck we found two more on his pants. He found two on the back of the drivers seat. We liberally sprayed the seats of the truck (not my truck) and got back.

I showered and checked again but I was hosting no tick parties. Today we contacted Jim and he stated that his wife had found two more on his back last night.

I even rechecked today once back on base. I am tick free.

Onto the photo of the labelled items. I have an idea for the glass bottle necks and it involves candles. The flat round ball had a dented edge. It is as if it was used as a target item for some target practice, and was actually hit….”

This weekends finds.

And here’s tick heaven.

If your like me and wouldn’t know a 58 caliber from a 69 caliber minie ball, PB sent a photo this morning to show the difference.  The 69′s on the right.  To me their both huge and I wouldn’t want to get hit by either!

Good finds PB!
Aside from the shapes being different, I think PB needs to enlighten us as to the differences between a 69 caliber minie ball and a 69 caliber round ball.

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4 Responses to “Metal Detecting Monday in Tick-ville”

  1. PB May 21, 2012 at 3:50 pm #

    Okay then. The round ball is exactly that, a round ball of lead. The minie ball, as it is always called, is actually misnamed because it is not a ball but a bullet.

    The following is from the Smithsonian Institute website:

    Prior to the development of the minie ball, rifles were not used in combat due to the difficulty in loading. The ammunition used by rifles was the same diameter as the barrel in order for the bullet to engage the groves of the rifled barrel. As a result the ball had to be forced into the barrel. The minie ball, originally designed by Captain Claude-Etienne Minie of France and improved on by manufacturers in the United States, changed warfare. Since the minie ball was smaller than the diameter of the barrel, it could be loaded quickly by dropping the bullet down the barrel. This conical lead bullet had two or three grooves and a conical cavity in its base. The gases, formed by the burning of powder once the firearm was fired, expanded the base of the bullet so that it engaged the rifling in the barrel. Thus, rifles could be loaded quickly and yet fired accurately.

    Here is the link:

    Hope this helps!!!

  2. Evil Nell May 23, 2012 at 9:24 am #

    Very cool stuff – and educational too! Sure hope no one gets sick from those pesky ticks though.

  3. mommy dearest June 2, 2012 at 10:51 am #

    After reading this, the feeling that something is crawling on me ( esp. on my head) is driving me nuts. Hope you can clear our yard of nails when you are here. ” You know who” has had 3 flat tires between his mower and the trailer.

  4. supernova July 2, 2012 at 1:36 pm #

    Great post. Yes, I’m just in the process of sorting through my bullet and musket ball collection (there on the floor in front of me now), like you I don’t know much about them. Those large bullets or mini balls look remarkably like a few I’ve found. I’ll post some photo’s. Never had the misfortune of encountering ticks but I’m prone to be bitten from acorn weavels (bugs that live around oak trees), they give a nasty bite that is intensely irritating. Take care, Supernova

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