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Test Report - Laser Rapier PLUS

Laser Rapier (part 1) - Field Test by David Williams
(reproduced by kind permission of Treasure Hunting magazine)
This report is not so much a Field Test but more a “field experience”. After 30 plus years of detecting, like many people I had ended up with the latest fully computerised wonder machine, with a list price of over £1.000 (does anyone pay list price nowadays?). With this technological marvel, I felt I could go out into the fields confident that I’d reached the pinnacle of performance.
During my detecting career I’d owned various excellent units and over those years I’d kept records of every one of them. Apart from the occasional blip the general trend over the long term was downwards, as you would expect. After all, the old finds don’t grow in the ground, and the more you find the less are left.
I recently invited my friend Les along to one of my long term sites. Over the years it has turned up finds from Roman to Victorian, and it is always one of the first I visit when the new season starts. Les owns a slightly older model of the machine I use so I was surprised to see him pull a Laser Rapier from his bag. He explained that he had bought it for his wife, but that every time they had been out together recently, she had beaten him in terms of finds. Seeing that his wife and daughter had gone out together for a day’s shopping trip he had borrowed her detector.
At the end of the morning session we sat down for some sandwiches and tea, and as usual started to compare finds. Coin wise I had two Roman, five worn George II - III coppers and one jetton. Les, with a theatrical flourish, laid out a strip of towel roll and produced seven Roman coins, one Elizabeth I hammered sixpence, one Edward hammered penny, two cut hammered farthings and four Georgian coppers.
I asked Les if I might borrow his little Rapier for the afternoon session but Les said “I’m afraid I must decline your request my dear friend”. Well, he actually didn’t quite phrase it like that as he only used two words, but in the end the answer was the same. I replied, “Well, as it’s my site we might as well call it a day”. Les passed me the Rapier, accompanied by various references to my parentage which I thought were totally uncalled for. Any way, as they say, “Time flies when you’re enjoying yourself” and the afternoon flew by. The experience was like a time warp, and memories flooded back to when I owned a Tesoro Silver Sabre Plus. Those were carefree days of turning one knob clockwise to start the day and counter clockwise to go home … while in between putting a steady flow of finds in my pouch. (It’s no surprise the Rapier reminded me of my old Silver Sabre Plus as Laser source all their machines from Tesoro and the Rapier is a direct update of the Silver Sabre Plus design).
This, I thought, was what detecting used to be about: hassle free and not worrying whether I am using the right program; I haven’t found anything for 10 minutes - should I alter anything? No! Turn on and detect, turn off and go home. Simple!
At the end of the afternoon session results were broadly similar to the morning with the Rapier comfortably in front. Les had one Roman coin, one William III sixpence, and three Georgian coppers. I had four Roman coins, one hammered silver penny, one cut hammered silver halfpenny, two cut farthings, and two Georgian coppers. I would point out that nothing seemed to have come from any deeper than normal, but the Rapier had both times outshone a very expensive machine.
When I got home I started to review my past records. I made a rough graph from when I started to the present day. As previously stated, after my learning curve led to a rise in finds, the long term trend was down. But the graph showed two prolonged high blips. The first started in the 1970s when I purchased a Compass 77B TR (the supreme farmland unit of it’s era). The second was when I was using my Tesoro Silver Sabre Plus (the Rapier’s predecessor) during the 1980s-1990s. The line went down from when I sold it and never recovered. Anyway, to sum up, I now own a Laser Rapier and the graph line is rising again.
Have I got rid of my super computerised wonder? No! I still find it is excellent on my more modern sites - particularly beaches - and don’t regret buying it. But for older finds on farmland I’m a “KISS” convert (Keep It Simple Stupid) and I’m starting to think that perhaps old finds do grow in the ground after all.