Just as I do when searching for modern jewelry on tourist beaches, I really take my time when attempting to recover a target on the beach.
I converted from using a closed basket style scoop, to an open scoop basket, so I stand less chance of breaking anything of value while trying to recover targets.
Old shipwreck artifacts like these Spanish military buckles from the 1700s, are some of the things I typically hope to recover, in one piece if possible.
You can still see the file marks on the left hand side buckle, the buckle on the right still has the pin attached.
Both buckles were found at the same Spanish 1715 fleet shipwreck site, deep targets trapped in a layer of hard packed shelly sand on the lower beach.
When I try to recover targets that have a high probability of being old, I press the tip of my scoop basket at least 10 inches behind where I believe the center of the target is located.
Pinpointing skills are easy when you really know your metal detector, but I still leave plenty of room to avoid hitting the target with the scoop basket.
I always take my time recovering targets, unless water is rushing in over the lower beach.
When I use a digging tool or spade when searching inland, my preferred method of target recovery is to cut a plug.
I cut a wide square shaped plug of soil using my digging tool or spade.
It is basically the same safe method of recovering targets on land, as I use on the beach.
Luckily I have never broken anything old, or dinged a nice piece of modern jewelry.
Recently I have started using a pin pointer more frequently on the beach, especially when searching rocky lower beaches.
My pin pointer helps me to recover targets faster, and again it can save you from scratching a potentially good target, instead of poking around in the rocks with a flat head screwdriver.
Whenever I go beach hunting to a new site, I never assume there is nothing old to be found.
I still try to scoop around targets, I learned the need to be careful when recovering targets many years ago while bottle digging in England.
There is no worse feeling than seeing a fork tine sticking through the middle of a beautiful old bottle.