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Tesoro Cibola Metal Detector Field Test Report by Ron Barnes

My first reaction, after the almost too-easy assembly of the Cibola, was "Wow." Finally, the ultimate competition hunting machine! The Cibola incorporates at least one function from several of my favorite Tesoro machines: push button pinpoint, selectable multi-frequency, adjustable threshold with a discrimination and sensitivity knob—all at fingertip control. I was amazed at the fact that this dynamic detector was powered by 1-9 volt alkaline battery, and as always, I was very impressed with the compact but very secure shipping carton utilized by Tesoro.

Folks, let me tell you that any similarity to past Tesoro models ends when the Cibola is turned on. The Cibola tugs at its leash like a well-trained hunting dog waiting to be let loose and go hunting! Treasure hunting that is! The Cibola will be at the top of the list of competition machines for sure, but that is just one segment of our hobby in which this detector will excel. The target separation ability and seemingly instantaneous recovery time will put the Cibola at the head of its class while hunting those trash-laden sites.

My first stop after assembling the detector was my workbench to perform some air tests on depth and discrimination. My test bench has a yardstick attached and to test for maximum capacity, I started at the 24" mark. Folks, you have to see the Cibola ("see bola") to believe it. It was but a couple of marks away from the starting point when the beeps began!!! I checked and rechecked and it was true. Incredible!

Now, you have to understand that I was at max sensitivity into the boost range with low discrimination and the threshold almost maxed out. At this setting, you are going to have some errant chirps and beeps, but the ability to go deep is there. Knowing that most folks don't like the occasional chirps or beeps, I backed off on the sensitivity and threshold boost until the Cibola smoothed out and stopped the chatter. Even with the controls backed off, the Cibola again started giving clear, repeatable target sounds just above the previously achieved mark.

From the bench test, it became clear that the average competition hunter has never had the power potential of this detector. In fact, most competition hunters would be well advised to start at a power/sensitivity setting of 2 or 3. With that setting, you can discriminate out most junk targets with no noticeable loss of depth, go for the tokens and coins, and not be concerned over most trash signals.

My next step in the process was to proceed to several sites that yielded "keepers" in the past. My first site was one at which I had dug some nice colonial coppers and large cents along with various colonial buttons and buckles. Upon arrival, I powered up and discriminated down as I had hit this field numerous times and knew that trash targets should be minimal. As a matter of fact, I had performed another field test on an I.D. type detector at this very site and had recovered several half dimes at very, very good depths for this type of detector.

As I worked methodically across the field, I turned up several lead fragments, averaging the size of a .22 caliber short bullet, deep in the loam-type soil. I had a feeling that deeper discoveries awaited me and thought that if there was anything left out here, it would entail some extra work—deep digging. In a few moments that feeling turned into reality. The Cibola tugged at the leash and brought me to its quarry! A nice smooth soft signal. Instinct told me that it was a button or coin.

I proceeded to take a plug from the target area but no target. I checked the hole, and it was still down there. As I was at the 7" or 8" mark, I started enlarging the sides of the hole assuming I had erred in pinpointing. Wrong! After cleaning all the loose soil out of the hole, I rechecked, and it was still down there. Dead center! At that point, I placed my equipment belt on the ground and walked back to my vehicle to retrieve my Lesche shovel with the D grip-type handle.

Back at the target site, I proceeded to take some serious amounts of hard-packed soil out of the hole as I was now below the level where the plows break up the soil each year. After several shovels full of dirt, I scanned the growing pile, and whamo, it was finally above ground. As I brushed the first layer of dirt aside, I saw something slide off to the side and plunk back down in the hole, but it couldn't hide anymore. I picked it up and carefully wiped the dirt off and lo and behold—a 1788 Spanish silver coin the size of our modern dime. It was an awesome feeling to hold an object that had not seen the light of day in over two centuries. The coin was in excellent condition and was placed in a separate holder in my pouch.

After checking the hole, refilling it, and tamping the soil down, I started my pattern again with renewed energy. As before, the Cibola seemed to keep tugging at me to go faster. On the return path, I was within 10 feet of the area from where the Spanish silver came out of the ground when the Cibola whispered that familiar smooth silver sound. Needless to say, I went right for the shovel. Forget the trowel. No point in fooling myself. Again, same as before, got down beyond the earth that was broken up, and after several shovels full of soil, I could see it in the loose dirt. It was the same size as the first one and would you believe, dated 1788. However, this one was well worn. I was elated to say the least, but at the same time couldn't help but think that I, as well as other seasoned hunters, had walked over this Spanish silver numerous times.

After completing that leg of my pattern, I reversed direction and continued my sweeps. As I approached the area of the two previous recoveries, I was almost startled by yet another smooth signal. No question. Dig it! As before, the Cibola's quarry was in the pile of dirt—a nice cast colonial one-piece button. As I stood back and looked over the area of the 3 targets, they formed an almost perfect triangle. It would have been virtually impossible not to have walked over the area numerous times. (Folks, at this point, I have to tell you that this new breed of treasure hunter from Tesoro is not for anyone who is afraid of a shovel! Matter of fact, perhaps, Tesoro should consider adding a shovel to their line of accessories!)

At several other sites, including a beach where numerous modern clad coins were recovered from impressive depths, the power potential of the Cibola really came into play. I took the Cibola to another colonial site that had an existing church dating from the early 1700's. In the fields surrounding this old church, I got that familiar smooth "silver silver" sound. After retrieval of the object, I was pleasantly surprised with a sterling silver crucifix, quite old by its design and markings.

Both silver producing sites have been in constant use since the early 1600's—one having been a major shipping port that was destroyed and its church desecrated by the British during the War of 1812. Now, the port area is basically a marsh due to siltation during the last two centuries, but the small surrounding fields now and then give us a glimpse of its past consisting mainly of bits and pieces of brick, glass, and pottery.

It seems as if each new generation of Tesoro is enabling others and me to enlarge and deepen the window to the past. Well, enough of this; my new hunting partner "See bola" wants to peek through that window again. Happy Hunting!


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