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(not just) Metal Detectors (anymore)
"What is the BEST gold detector?" A common question. Here you can learn...
all about GOLD DETECTORS.
First off, the best metal detector is the one you'll be able to use properly. Although it doesn't take a rocket scientist to operate a metal detector, in order to use one successfully, you should be absolutely sure you are going to buy it from a reputable dealer who has a showroom to demontrate the products and does no shady deals in parking lots or parks. This is the only way to make sure you get the right machine for you and that you will have personal support when you need it.
So let Big Valley Metal Detectors help you to choose the
best metal detector
to meet your personal
requirements and budget.
Now read on:
Gold detectors are all-metal-detectors. This means they respond to all metals, be it gold, copper, lead, silver, nickel, iron etc. What qualifies them as 'gold' detectors is that gold generally is found in difficult ground-mineralization, so the metal detector must have the proper controls to deal with ground conditions that can be noisy, obscuring the detector's ability to 'see' gold nuggets in the ground. In order to neutralize this ground noise the gold detectors rely on ground balancing circuits, either auto tracking or manual ground balance.
The other important factor is the frequency of the circuit. VLF detectors optimize to sense gold nuggets (the average size in California is about match head or 2 to 3 grains). They tend to operate at a higher frequency than your traditional coin metal detector, about 10kHz to 72kHz. Pulse induction detectors, particularly Minelab's super detectors, multi-pulse, sensing under 3 kHz, but have been designed to see fairly small gold nuggets in addition to the larger gold nuggets. Their strongest advantage is in their ability to virtually ignore most hot rocks that will challenge a high end VLF detector and render the ground very quiet.
Top Dog (yes, this dog will hunt)
Comments: released in the summer/fall of 2010, Minelab's GPX5000 represents the very top of the line pulse induction metal detectors. An excellent, lighter battery system, digital controls and digital audio output, make this the quietest of the super detectors. The one drawback is that, precisely because of its superior qualities, the GPX5000 is a constant target of counterfeiters, and they have become quite adept at making their fakes look like the real deal!
This metal detector was preceded by the GP Extreme, GP3000 and GP3500. Guys using the GPX 5000 continue to find deeper gold nuggets in previously heavily hunted areas. As a replacement for the GPX4000 and GPX4500, the Minelab GPX5000 is currently the 'gold standard' of gold machines.
See the Minelab GPX5000 here.
Top VLF Gold Detectors
Garrett Scorpion Gold Stinger, 15 kHz
Comments: Manual Ground Balance. Garrett Gold Scorpion continues the tradition of the Garrett Ground Hog circuit, so popular in the 1980s. Its 15 kHz circuit is quite sensitive on small match head size nuggets.
The Gold Scorpion is a smooth operator and comes with a 6x10" wide scan loop, which is pretty much the industry standard. Manual ground balancing is done with a 10-turn ground balance control with a fixed auto tune. The Gold Scorpion has a full range motion discriminator, as well as a non-motion TR discriminator.
The Gold Scorpion has a light-weight feel and can be pole- or hip mounted. No VCO. Its dual discrimination circuits make it an effective coin and relic detector.
See the Garrett Scorpion Gold Stinger here
Garrett AT Gold
Comments: This nice little gold machine from Garrett is great for the traveling prospector. It will hunt on land as well as in water, and is submersible to 10 ft!
The smaller DD coil and higher frequency give this metal detector a high level of accuracy, and make it an exciting machine in the Garrett line-up.
See the Garrett AT Gold here
White's SGT - Sierra Gold Trac
Comments: Super simple to operate!! It has only 2 controls and the same sensitivity and ground rejection as its 'Big Brother' the GMT. I have never seen this much prospecting performance in a metal detector priced under $600!
The 48 Khz signal is optimized to hear gold nuggets - much of the gold to be found is small in size and low in conductivity, so having the right frequency is a must.
A long battery life - using the 12 Volt AA holder - of 25-40 hours makes this a popular, useful and effective prospecting metal detector.
See White's SGT Sierra Gold Trac here
White's Goldmaster GMT, 48 kHz
Comments: Auto tracking ground balance with manual ground balance or quick grab ground balance, variable auto tune or self adjusting threshold and a 6x10 wide scan search head make this a nice machine. VCO. The pole mounted GMT delivers an impressive audio response on nuggets down to sub-grain size.
The ground tracking system is fast and efficient.
The GMT sports a unique visual identification system that indicates the percentage of iron in the target from 0 to 100%, the amount of mineralization, and amount of black sand concentrations.
The Goldmaster made its debut in 1990 as the Goldmaster II. Subsequent models were the Goldmaster V/SAT, Goldmaster III and Goldmaster 4B.
Note: A few years back, my buddy Greg from Trans Bay hunted with a GMT at Lake Tahoe, looking for finer jewelry and scored a 1934 Peace Dollar, 1942 Mercury head dime and a 6 diamond 18K gold ring.
See White's GMT GoldMaster here
Fisher Goldbug Pro
Comments: with this new introduction Fisher has hit a home run. This series can be used for coin shooting, relic hunting or gold prospecting, and is considered a crossover.
Comes in various packages that include different accessories.
See Fisher Goldbug Pro here
Tesoro Lobo SuperTraq, 17.5 kHz
Comments: Auto tracking ground balance with 3-position mineral switch and single speed auto tune, hip or pole mount. 6x10 Wide scan search head. Full range motion discriminator.
Tesoro Lobo SuperTraq was the first American detector made with a ground tracking circuit. Although it has slower sampling than White's GMT or Eureka Gold, Tesoro's smooth circuit and 3-position mineral switch can tame the ground very effectively to ensure those deeper nuggets are recovered.
The all metal audio response, like on most VLF gold detectors, has VCO audio for improved target recognition.
Can be used as a coin and relic detector.
See Tesoro Lobo SuperTraq here
Minelab Eureka Gold, Selectable 6.4 kHz, 20 kHz and 60 kHz
Comments: Auto tracking ground balance about as fast as the GMT by Whites. Two speeds of auto tune. Comes standard with 6x10 loop, no factory accessory loops made due to the complexity of being able to select between three different frequencies; 6 kHz for deepest/largest gold nuggets, 20 kHz (the preferred frequency, with impressive sharp response on match head sized nuggets and larger), and 60 kHz for sub-grain nuggets.
Most impressive is the quietness of the circuit that Minelab is so famous for, which translates into less noise to better see and hear that small elusive gold nugget.
Although not advertised as having the ability to coin shoot, you can use it for that, as it has a ferrous or iron discriminator.
Big Valley recommends to hunt at 6.4 kHz with tracking off. You can also have fun looking for the coveted fine jewelry and chains using 20 or even 60 kHz around the tan bark. Predecessors included the American Gold Striker (first tracking detector at 32 kHz) and Minelab 18000 GT.
See the Minelab Eureka Gold here
If you have read to here, you should watch this video for my best advice!
Other VLF models recommended for coin, jewelry & relic hunting with good gold nugget detection.
*White's MXT PRO
*Minelab X-Terra 705
*Garrett GTI 2500
Pulse induction detectors & super prospectors.
White's SPP (Sierra Pulse Pro)
Comments: The Jimmy Sierra's SSP (Sierra Pulse Pro) operates with full ground balance capability, but is also able operate without ground balance when ground minerals are low thus adding increased depth to the signal.
The SPP sounds off on all targets with either a high or a low pitch tone, depending on the conductivity of the target. It is also adjustable for hunting near power lines, microwave or other interference.
This makes it popular with beach hunters, relic hunters and treasure hunters seeking deep large targets
See White's SPP Sierra Pulse Pro here
White's TDI PRO
Comments: what can be said about this incarnation of White's best pulse machine? The Pulsescan TDI Pro metal detector offers standard-setting performance, even in the most difficult ground conditions. It provides unbeatable depth and sensitivity and is ideal for prospecting, beach exploration, and hunting relics and coins.
Pulse delay control further customizes performance for small targets, large targets, gold, conductive materials, and more. User-controlled ground balance allows different audio tones to sound for different target materials.
This well-balanced detector weighs 5 pounds with its waterproof 12” spider search coil, which offers great detection depth. Other accessory coils are also available.
Its high-performance lithium-Ion battery can be recharged with the included wall charger and car fast-charger.
See White's TDI here.
Comments: Very similar circuit to the 2200D but has some big advantages.
It is water proof to 200 feet or more and is ergonomically much lighter and easily pole or hip mounted. The circuit sounds very close to Minelab's 2200 and it appears that Charles Garrett and the engineering staff likewise took a page or two out of Eric Foster's technology.
Some time ago, Mark the Locksmith, a Trans Bay customer, traded in his Detector Pro Head Hunter PI (Eric Foster Circuit) with which he found a man's gold ring holding two 1/4Ct diamonds at over 14" deep. Mark had been doing his homework and asked to borrow an Infinium demo. He decided he liked the high-low conductive tone ID and ordered one. After he received the new Infinium he remarked that this new Infinium seemed to be more stable and, after checking with my national rep, Carl Mathias, it turned out that Garrett has quietly continued to make improvements in the development of the Infinium with very little fanfare.
The Infinium has a great selection of factory mono and double D or wide scan loops at its disposal. Three years ago, the other number 1 in the power of 2 took the Infinium to Lake Tahoe and it cut through the heavy volcanic black sand with ease. There were even coins too deep to dig, at over 20". The Infinium is definitely a best buy.
See the Garrett Infinium here
Minelab SD 2100 and 2200 V2, Analog Output : now discontinued, but still worth a mention!
Comments: Back in the early 1990s Jimmy Sierra received one of the first SD 2000s from Bruce Candy, Minelab's chief engineer. The very first one had been given to Peter Hedyler, a Ex Dutch Marine who was living and prospecting in Australia and used the Fisher Gold Bug and White's Goldmaster II. Within a short time, Peter heard a very deep but large signal in hard pack iron stone and calichi soil. Trash was unlikely. Peter couldn't put a dent in the hard soil with his pick, so he had to go back to town to rent a jack hammer. It took him most of the day to get down more than four feet, where he pulled up a 60 oz. gold nugget.
The SD2000's ability to virtually neutralize any ground reactivity that's generally noisy and challenging to most VLF Detectors was the key to Peter hearing that very deep target. It wasn't too long before Bruce Candy sent one to Jimmy Sierra for evaluation. Eventually, Minelab saw the performance of the prototypes and insisted that Bruce Candy go ahead with production. These SD detectors opened up a whole new world of nuggets whose depth was previously beyond the capacity of any of the other detectors on the market at that time.
The 2000s became 2100 V1s and then Bruce Candy, taking some of the expertise from Eric Foster, the father of pulse induction technology, developed a sophisticated ground tracking system along with some other enhancements to aid the pulse induction. Thus, 2200 V1 was born.
Today, the 2100 and 2200 have evolved into the V2s with the 2200V2 being the most popular. Despite the great success of the GP series, in when they had a gold rush in Mongolia the 2200 V2 seems to be the detector of choice. When the SDs started to first show up in America right around 1998, "Digger" Bob Van Camp (Comstock Metal Detectors in Paradise, CA) and Jim Williams went to Rye Patch to do their annual prospecting in an area they thought they had cleaned out with Fisher Gold Bugs and White's Goldmasters. They ran into some detectorists that had been camped out at Rye Patch for several weeks. They showed Bob and Jim all the good size nuggets they had been finding in this so-called worked out area. Bob and Jim's jaws dropped. Several signals that were clearly heard with the SD Detectors, Bob and Jim could not hear with their Goldmaster IIIs. It was clear that Minelab had made a big leap forward in terms of their gold machine technology. The SDs still will not see the smaller nuggets seen by their VLF counterparts, which have become better and more efficient with advanced ground tracking circuits.
See Minelab's metal detectors here
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Gold Country has been named one of the US ten top destinations for 2012 by Lonely Planet, so come see Big Valley to start your trip off right!