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Steve Herschbach

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Posts posted by Steve Herschbach

  1. Hi,

    Well, I figure it is out there now so might as well post one of my own. This is a picture of the White's PI prototype I tested on the island of Kauai last November. It handled that red volcanic soil with ease. I preferred hip mounting the unit for beach use.


    This picture shows a small pendant and little tiny bead I found with the unit on the beach.


    Steve Herschbach

  2. Hi Mike,

    Our ground was made for the GPX. Every unit before the GPX-4000 generates faint signals on the hot rocks and so you just ignore them. But then you miss really deep or really small gold. Dan Judd came up to our mine, and the patient guy he is he dug a pile of hot rocks. What he also got was small gold that was missed. But he did finally come up with a deep 1 oz nugget that everyone esle missed.

    Yeah, almost any nugget will read as iron when you get to the edge of VLF detection depth. The MXT at Ganes Creek it got to be standard practice to run in Relic Mode which is dual tone. Lo ferrous and hi non-ferrous. But if you got a ferrous reading you'd always want to knock off an few inches quick, andsometimes a ferrous reading will switch to non-ferrous. The problem using the Gold Bug 2 or Lobo in disc mode is the rejected item does not beep at all, and so you never know what you missed.

    That said I've dug pounds of gold with VLF units in disc modes. I figure it is all about what I'm finding. I know miss gold but it does not bother me much as I'm happy with what I get.

    Good day for me today. Just got some new claims I've been after for a long time. Life is good!

    John, I'll let you know how it goes with the X-Terra 70 up at the mine this summer.

    Steve Herschbach

  3. Hi Mike,

    I had an American Goldstriker and XT17000 that did well for me, especially the XT17000. But for some reason I never took to the XT18000 or Eureka Gold. I'm not saying they are bad units, but I simply like the X-Terra 70 more. I guess I'm really not asking anything as it is probably a local mineralization and gold size thing. But you and I seem to have used and favored a lot of the same units so I figured I'd drop a few random observations.

    My mine at Moore Creek has some pretty tough magnetic basalt hot rocks. The Eureka units do not seem to be able to handle them. This may sound crazy but I had better luck running the X-Terra 70 in coin mode and notching out the rocks. With the Eureka I just kept getting hits on rocks that sounded like a deep or small nugget. 6.4 kHz mode helped a lot but you can't hit squat at that freq except the really big ones.

    The GMT has similar issues in that you have to use it in iron id mode and listen to "grunt, grunt, grunt" all day long while waiting for a "beep". Very oppressive. We have had better luck with the Tesoro Lobo and Gold Bug 2 in disc modes as at least you can get the rocks to shut up. The Gold Bug 2 has very poor penetration in bad ground but is great on shallow targets. The Lobo seems to have the edge for overall performance at our mine compared to the Gold Bug 2 however. At this point I'm down to the X-Terra 70 and Lobo as best VLF units for what is really a PI detecting solution at Moore Creek.

    I want to try the X-Terra 70 out at the mine with the 3 KHz coil. The X-Terra 70 at 3 KHz seems hotter than the Eureka at 6.4 KHz but I need more time to prove that. Just a gut feeling at this point. I suspect X-Terra 70 may be better able to handle the hot rocks while still being able to hit larger nuggets at 3 kHz but then again I may be totally wrong. All I know is the unit is deceptively simple but the more I dig into it the more impressed I am.

    Steve Herschbach

  4. Hi Mike,

    Thanks for the kind words. We obviously think alike.

    Bill, you sure got that right. The Bigfoot is the kind of coil I'll buy a detector for. The only other option is the Tesoro Cleansweep which may even be superior as a coil but Tesoro does not make a unit that will let me notch out coins for jewelry hunting so I prefer the DFX. I may get into meteorite hunting though, and am thinking of a Tesoro Lobo with a Cleansweep coil on it as my tool for the task.

    These coils have little depth but are light and cover the ground. And for jewelry hunting depth is not always very important. Ground coverage and rapid target recovery counts for more in my book.

    I suggested to that other brand of aftermarket Minelab coil that they make a Bigfoot type coil for the SD/GPX units. One for the X-Terra 70 would be awesome.

    Bad news is the guy who made the Bigfoot coils died and they are no longer available. They were an after-market coil. I've been after White's to make a similar coil in-house. But I've got mine!

    Steve Herschbach

  5. Hi Mike,

    I have an X-Terra 70 myself and really like it. Fabulous all around unit and the Prospecting Mode is hot. It will pretty much do anything a DFX will do but costs less, is lighter, and is a better prospecting detector.

    About the only reason I keep my DFX is I have a Bigfoot coil for it that I like to use hunting parks or sports fields for jewelry.

    Steve Herschbach

  6. Hi Billy Bob,

    I'd agree that the DFX is not my choice for nugget detecting. But that said I know I could find gold with it.

    "There are just too many adjustment to make and it still doesn't do what I want".

    What exactly are you wanting? Do you have any prior detecting experience? Some people new to detecting just expect to buy a detector and go dig up some gold. It is not that easy.

    In a nutshell go to the Prospecting Mode. Use it as is, but if possible I'd bump the Gain up one notch. Get the 6" elliptical DD coil to maximise the sensitivity to small items and reduce ground effect. The stock coil is not what you want to be using in highly mineralized ground.

    If the unit is too complicated, and I'd not argue with that, there are simpler alternatives for less money. You could get one of those options for pretty much what you can sell the DFX for used. I'd be talking to the dealer you got it from and asking about a possible trade as it sounds like you maybe did not get all the info you needed about the DFX before buying it. I often get people wanting to buy a DFX and I always ask if they are looking to prospect. People often assume more money means a unit is better. The DFX was designed for silver coins in parks. A unit like the MXT is a simpler and better prospecting machine for less money and I would advise anyone of that. Or the Tesoro Lobo, etc. or as some have suggested perhaps a used Minelab SD. But no matter what you get it will take time and practice to learn the detector. Figure about 100 hours of diligent detecting to get good with a unit.

    Detecting is like learning a musical instrument. Anyone can pick up a guitar and strum a bit or play chopsticks on a piano. But to get really good requires practice and lots of it. So it is with detecting.

    Steve Herschbach

  7. Hi Old Salt,

    Well, the short answer is that the Stinger is way overdue for an update. It has only a single accessory coil available, and the battery replacement scheme is a nightmare. You do not see many in use as nugget hunters.

    The GTI is a coin machine. It will hit a nugget if it is big enough, but so will an Ace 150 for far less money.

    The Infinium is a different beast. Garrett tried to have it both ways with the Infinium, and it is seeing more use these days as a beach and water hunting unit than for nugget detecting. It is not a bad little unit but poor on small gold. Unless you had severe mineralization it does not offer anything to advise it over the Lobo. The Minelab SD units are better than the Infinium, but compared to a new SD2100v2 the Infinium is half the price. If you were looking at PI units on a budget a used SD2100 would be a possible option.

    The more choices you look at the more confusing it gets. You really would not get hurt with the Lobo, and it would allow you to discover whether you really are going to get into this nugget detecting stuff at a reasonable cost. If it really floats your boat you can upgrade later.

    Some would advise that if you are going to do it, just get the best, or do not bother. The theory is that by not having the best you cut your chances for success and will lose interest. Nice theory for those with deep pockets. Rest assured plenty of gold gets found with VLF units, and if you can't find even a speck of gold with a VLF than a more expensive unit will probably not make much difference. The true game is in putting yourself on good ground and knowing whatever machine you have. If you persevere and find you really are into nugget hunting, you can always upgrade later.

    Steve Herschbach

  8. Hi,

    Had to make a few comments as I'm an old fan of VLF units. But a rule first - I'm only going to discuss units already mentioned.

    First off, we are talking mostly about Dave Johnson units. Dave was the engineer behind the Lobo, Gold Bug 2, and GMT. The Eureka is a Minelab design.

    So that said, the units are more alike than different when it comes to gold nuggets. Forget brand names, think engineer. The Gold Bug 2 at 71 kHz is hot on small gold but has extremely poor depth in mineralized ground on larger nuggets. The worst I've tested. But if you are into shallow or small it is the greatest. In low mineral ground it does not suffer this limitation as much.

    The Lobo at 17.5 kHz is much more tolerant of high mineral ground and has better depth on larger gold than the GB2 under those conditions. And it is still pretty hot on small gold, although not as good as a GB2.

    I'm not swearing this for everywhere, but I've found the 48 kHz GMT to have the best balance of small gold sensitivity and depth on large gold compared to the Lobo and GB2. The GMT will hit gold nearly as small as a GB2 and gold as deep as a Lobo in bad ground.

    The exception is super bad hot rocks. The GB2 and Lobo both have silent search disc modes that can tune out many iron hot rocks and still hit gold. The GMT was built to be safe, and so sounds on all targets. It does use tones, so most hot rocks sound like iron, but it gets pretty noisy in bad ground. You have to listen to a ton of iron tones hoping to get a gold tone. It really is the safer system but tiring if the hot rocks are too thick.

    The Eureka in my opinion is a 20 khz machine that can be switched to 60 kHz or 6.4 kHz. It works best at 20 khz. I can hit a smaller nugget with a 48 kHz GMT than a 60 kHz Eureka. It is a good unit, but heavy and overly expensive. Still, a good unit for gold in highly mineralized ground.

    The bottom line is they are all good. So how to decide?

    Here is how.

    1. Only the GB2, Lobo, and Eureka can be hip or chest mounted. Is that important to you?

    2. Only the Lobo has a full range variable discrimination control. You can coin, jewelry, or coin hunt with it. Is that important to you?

    3. The Eureka coil is not warrantied as waterproof. All the rest are. is that important to you?

    4. The Eureka can run a 15" round Coiltek WOT coil at 6.4 kHz that sucks on small gold but is good on really large nuggets or coins and jewelry on a beach. Is that important to you?

    5. The Lobo, Eureka, and GMT can all automatically ground balance. The GB2 cannot. Is that important to you?

    6.The GB2 and GMT can manually ground balance. Is that important to you?

    7. Only the GMT can both manually and automatically gound balance. It also can run in manual but because it always tracks, can be set to a proper ground balance while in manual with the push of a button. Like the GP 3500 did many years later. Is that important to you?

    8. Only the GMT has an LCD meter that gives you an iron probability. The other units are "yes/no" units that decide for you by beeping if they think it is gold, and no sound if they think it is iron. The GMT always makes a sound, and shows you the probability. YOU decide. Is that important to you?

    9. The Eureka and GB2 have very poor coil selections. The GMT is not much better. The Lobo has a superb selection of accessory coils. Is that important to you?

    10. Only the Lobo comes with a lifetime warranty - and Tesoro backs it!

    There is more, but I have a show to watch! Personally, I think the Tesoro Lobo SuperTraq looks pretty darn good. Good general overall sensitivity, waterproof coils, great coil selection, can hip or chest mount, good price, reasonable weight, lifetime warranty, all metal prospect mode and full range disc mode and beach mode, good hot rock handling, easy to operate.

    So I find it hard to see how a person who wants a new unit under $1000 can go wrong with the Tesoro. Second place, you decide. It all depends on how you answer all those questions. The answer I get is not the same as yours.

    I'm been favoring the GMT as of late. I want to hit tiny gold, but I'm not willing to give up the depth on larger gold that the GB2 imposes on me. The iron disc sytem, while a pain in hot rocks, is more nuanced and less likely to lose gold. And I really like being able to either manually ground balance or run in tracking. That is a feature unique to the GMT of the units mentioned. Again, however, I'm just illustrating how my needs reflect on my choice of a unit. They are all good.

    Units not mentioned but should have been - White's MXT and Minelab X-Terra 70.

    There are no good detectors, only good detectorists!

    Steve Herschbach

  9. Hi Bill,

    Nope, you are right on. I think it is farily common knowledge the Eric Foster's Goldscan 5 was the base unit. All I can tell you is that there is nothing at all left of original unit. Everything including the circuit board, physical layout, and coils are being redone from the ground up. Eric has worked closely with White's throughout the last couple years improving the product.

    I'll certaining not be ditching my Minelab but I'm chomping to get the White's in addition to my new GPX-4500. I think thet will complement each other very nicely, and the White's will be good for more than just nugget detecting. I've got a lot of coin and jewelry hunting planned for mine in addition to whatever gold nuggets I can find with it.

    I'm like a kid at Christmas. A new GPX-4500, a new White's, and who knows, maybe a miracle will happen and I'll have a new Nemesis. 2008 is going to be fun!

    Steve Herschbach

  10. Hi Digger Bob,

    You dog! That should have been me!!

    Last August I emailed White's that I was making one last trip to Moore Creek and that it would be an ideal place to test the prototype. I jumped the gun and had to leave early, and found when I got back they were going to send me a unit but I missed my chance. When I finally did get one later it was middle of winter here. I'm froze out of nuggets until May.

    Well, good on you, but I am jealous.

    Steve Herschbach

  11. Hi Steve,

    some truly beautiful specimens you have there. None found lately with a Garrett Infinium I suppose? There is a bit of debate

    on the Prospecting in Oz forum presently regarding the usefulness of the Garrett unit and your use of them for your tourists

    to use. Care to make a comment there regarding, sensitivity, depth etc??? Cheers, Dwt

    Hi Pennyweight,

    I saw the posts on the Oz forum. I'd respond over there but frankly I find the Minelab bashing there to be tiresome. That, and the bashing of the Minelab bashers!

    People choose to not get what the Infinium is all about. It is a fine little machine in its own right. It has performance roughly on par with a Minelab SD2100 with a stock 11" round DD coil. The claim that it will not pick up a .22 bullet is not true for an Infinium that is working properly. I say that as I trust the poster who felt otherwise so I surmise his machine was not working properly. An Infinium will hit gold as small as 5 grains or 1/3 gram. I detected plenty of .22 bullets with mine!

    The problem with the Infinium is it has no larger coils, and so although it is roughly on par with the SD2100 running the stock 11" DD coil the SD easily pulls ahead on depth simply by running larger coils. I do think the Minelabs overall are better units. But that said you can buy a brand new Infinium for half the price of a brand new SD2100 and gold can be found with them. I think the key is simply how much a place has been detected. If I'm first over the ground with an Infinium I will get the majority of the gold. And then if I go back with a Minelab I will get that smaller percentage of super deep gold the Infinium misses. On the flip side, if the ground has been thoroughly hunted with a Minelab first there is not much chance the Infinium will turn up gold the Minelabs miss.

    So we can take Infiniums out at Moore Creek and find gold with them simply by being the first over the gold. This whole nutty idea that just because one machine gets 10" of depth and another gets 12" of depth that the unit that gets 10" is absolutely worthless baffles me. I'm not trying to toot my own horn but give me an Infinium and give the average Joe a Minelab and turn us both loose on an area for 12 hours and I'm betting that more often than not I'll get more gold. Not because the Infinium is great but because I'm a darn hard working prospector with a real nose for gold, plain and simple. One thing hosting a couple hundred people at Moore Creek has hammered home for me is just how much skill is involved in detecting. I can hand a GPX-4000 to a novice and I can take a Tesoro Lobo out and probably get more gold. 10% of the people that visit Moore Creek find 90% of the gold, and it sure is not the detectors making the difference in most cases. The truth is I've only ever met a handful of people that are truly good at metal detecting for gold. Others I've never met but sure know by reputation on the Internet. I don't need to name them; we all know who they are. It's a pretty small club. Most of them do use Minelab units because that is the best machine for where lots of people hunt. But I know those guys could find gold with an old original Gold Bug if that was all they had to work with.

    In the end my biggest disappointment with the Infiniums was that I had the impression that as a simple waterproof unit they would be somewhat bulletproof. The fact is we suffered a pretty high failure rate on both Infinium control boxes and coils at Moore Creek. After seeing plenty of them in action over the years I've come to feel their quality is not what I would have expected.

    Steve Herschbach

  12. Hi Chris,

    Yeah, about the only vein quartz I find at Moore Creek is attached to gold. All the rest I've found so far would fit in a 5 gallon bucket. At Ganes Creek you could fill a pickup bed full of big checks of quartz in an hour. But I have yet to ever have one go beep running my detector over it. Moore Creek is definitely unusual.

    Here is another Moore Creek specimen. This one started out at just over 5 ounces. Again, gold was poorly exposed on the surface. I ground it down evenly until gold was exposed on all surfaces and got it halfway polished. Final weight is 2.8 oz (yes, I got a bunch of gold panned out of the grindings).


    This piece is interesting since it is a rather clear, crystalline quartz instead of your normal opaque quartz. It gives the piece a unique translucence that lets you actually look into the quartz and see gold beneath the surface. And again, the typical Moore Creek dendritic type structure.

    Steve Herschbach


  13. Hi,

    This 1.5 oz Moore Creek specimen looked like a round rock with just a bit of gold showing. The weight made it obvious it contained a lot of gold, and so it was sliced in half. Revealed is a dense web of dendritic gold dispersed evenly throughout the interior of the specimen.


    The quartz is quite solid, and in fact I sold the piece to a gentlemen who sliced it up some more and polished it up. Although the quartz in not the pure white demanded by jewelers he made a very nice and unique pendant from the piece.

    Here is another shot with the light reflecting off the gold:


    It makes me wonder how this stuff was deposited. The recent article by Chris Ralph in the ICMJ talks about gold being deposited last and filling cavities left in the quartz. That certainly fits for most gold in quartz I've seen. But this stuff would have to have been remarkably porous quartz for that to be the case.


    Then there is George's spectacular specimen found at Moore Creek. It has more gold than quartz and the quartz is of a coarse "surgary" texture. Did the gold and quartz form at the same time?

    It would be interesting to take something like this and dissolve the gold out. Would the quartz hold together or fall apart? Or conversely, if the quartz were dissolved out, would you end up with a gold sponge or discrete pieces of gold? Which is holding the other together? It might help reveal which came first.

    Another one I'll have to try and get a picture of is a nugget a friend found at Ganes Creek. It was solid gold, with a few crystal clear beautifully formed quartz crystals imbedded in the gold. Almost like you had molten gold and tossed in a few crystals and stirred it up. It looks totally as if the crystals grew inside solid gold.

    Heck if I know the answers but there is some complicated stuff going on inside the earth!

    Steve Herschbach

    Moore Creek Mining LLC

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