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New to detecting need help


Ant

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Hi Everyone,

I'm very interested in trying detecting as a hobby. I'm especially interested in nugget shooting. I live in northern Nevada not far from California. I also spend some time (winter) in AZ. So I have places to go. I haven't yet purchased a detector. I've looked at them but don't really understand all the features. Unfortunately my budget is limited. I can only spend $250 to $300 to get into this hobby. What detector to buy???? What features are needed for nugget shooting???? I've talked to salesmen and they all want to sell me something I can't afford. I've looked for used detectors but again I don't know what features to look for. I finally found this forum and hopefully you experienced detectorists can help me. Can I get a detector good enough for nugget shooting in my price range? What features should I look for? Any and all help would be appreciated.

Thanks for reading my post.

Paul (The Ant)

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Paul,

First off let me say, WELCOME ABOARD. Trying to find a good nugget machine for the price range you want is going to be tough. I personally would say that $350-500 is more realistic. This will put you into a VLF style detector. Now my personal recommendtions. Please remember that this is only my opinion.

1. Gold Bug 2

2. Whites GMT

3. Minelab Eureka(sp)

4. Toroso Super Lobo

5. Minelab Exterra 70

6. Whites MXT

Check the classified ads here on the forum. There is always some good deals.

Again welcome aboard.

Ol'29er

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Welcome, Paul;

in addition to 29er's list I would add the original goldbug...

All the forums have a classified section including this one which is kindly provided by Bill Southern...if you decide to buy new remember where you found help first...I am not saying Bill expects this I only offer my opinion regarding what I think is right...

There are lots of used detectors on Finds treasure forums, the new arizona outback, nuggethunting forums, arizona prospectors; and you might watch Craigs list. There is some risk buying from some stranger and so beware...you probably can find one in pawn shops but be very careful there, also, yard sales are good to watch.

I found a 100 dollar lobo that was hardly nicked for a friend and sold a goldmaster for 200 bucks so there is some hope for your price range.

Good luck

fred

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UUUUUMMMMMM Food for thought. :twocents: :coffeetime: :tisc-tisc: :Huh_anim]: :innocent0009: :angry-smiley-010:

PAUL, The MOST important thing to first consider is DO you want to buy a gold detector that has to be ground balanced manually or an autotracking machine.?

Let me tell you from personal experience it is best to have manual ground balance so you can set the machine for OPTIMUM sensitivity for each area you hunt.

I have owned both types, and currently have a Whites GMT which has both circuits or systems for use on it . I must confess I never use the autotracking feature I always manually ground balance.

Do not be intimidated by the fact of manual ground balancing, it is quite a simple procedure.

EVERYONE can suggest for you which machines to buy , BUT the most VALUABLE INFORMATION you will find is to spend a small amount of your time doing a search for the downloadable manuals which are available at most manufacturer websites for each gold specific detector you are interested in, this will plainly explain to you what features are included with each unit and many other "details".

When you have come to a decision of which one you are most inclined to look for to purchase either new or used If I were you I would make another post here suggesting which it is beforehand because there are a few machines out there that are just plainly "under par" and before you get stuck with one you won't be happy with you can refer to some of our "hands on" experiences which most all of us would share for your consideration.

And also remember The SHOPPING part of buying is alot of fun and much knowledge can be gained right there while doing it.

HAPY HUNTN :twocents:

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Ant, I agree with 29 Prospector:

1. Gold Bug 2

2. Whites GMT

3. Minelab Eureka(sp)

4. Toroso Super Lobo

5. Minelab Exterra 70

6. Whites MXT

For the amount you want to spend, it will have to be used. Stay away from the Garret Scorpion Gold Stinger. A used Garret Infinium might be ok.

I know you said you like metal detecting, but have you ever tried crevicing? I have had a lot of luck with studying washes and tributaries and cleaning out cracks in the rocks, and collecting up dirt from areas within these washes that might contain gold and panning out the dirt, etc.

You could buy a gold pan, a mesh screen classifier, a couple of buckets, panning tub, some crevice tools, etc for that amount and still have money left over for other miscellaneous supplies. Perhaps later save up enough for a gasoline vacuum and a drywasher or mini gold buddy type recirculator.

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Aloha Ant,

Welcome to this forum. As you can see, there is a wealth of knowledge just waiting for you here. the selections mentioned are right one the money. I own a GMT I traded a very nice pistol for and have never looked back. You might start by going to several of the gold forums and check their classified sections. you might also post a message asking for a used unit along with info on the condition and price. You would not believe what is out there in peoples closets just sitting and gathering dust.

Good luck with your search and hope to meet you at one of our gatherings.

Aloha from Vegas,

Stan aka Kaimi

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Ok. I have this to say and then I'll go research an old forum thread that answers your question really well. You might want to take the advice above. Learning prospecting through panning or sluicing is a good idea before you start detecting anyways. It shows you where gold can be found, what it looks like, how it acts, many more things. Gold pans are dirt cheap. Like 7-20 dollars. You can go out to a neat looking spot and take some dirt samples bring them home and pan them out. I also suggest buying some dirtbags with gold in them. They can be found REALLY cheap. Like 5 bucks and up. You learn alot that first time you see gold in your pan. If you do find gold when you go out then get on these forums and research why it's there. If you don't find gold then get on these forums and research why it isn't there. These thing are things you need to know before you start detecting for gold anyways. It will also give you time to research detecting and detectors and read more opinions. Ask lots of questions. You are entering a new way of thinking and it is a difficult transfer for your brain. Now knowing what it is like to have the bug and wanting answers to your questions I will go find you the thread I mentioned about buying your first detector and post it.

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OK here is the Post I mentioned. It is from another forum but I believe that is acceptable here. The post is from one person. Reno Chris. It is also a qoute from a book he is writing so let me give citation to my source.

http://www.arizonagoldprospectors.com/invi...=first+detector

However I highly suggest anyone intrested in this topic join the forum and read the entire thread because several intellegent/experienced people had alot to say on the subject.

"That's probably the most common first question asked on the electronic prospecting forums by new guys, and there are a lot of opinions out there. I am not a dealer, nor am I allied with any detector manufacturer, so I have no axes to grind one way or the other in buying or selling metal detectors.

Many folks considering the purchase of a metal detector will ask "which one is best"? This is not a simple question and the answer depends on your finances and what you intend to do with your metal detector. When considering what detector to buy it is important to consider what type of detecting you want to do. If you plan to only detect for nuggets once in a while, you probably will be most interested in a general purpose detector which can also be used for detecting coins and jewelry at schools, parks and other locations. If you intend to focus only on detecting for nuggets and have the cash, it is best to purchase a detector which is optimized for nugget detecting. If you are trying to figure out what to buy, you need to ask yourself two questions. First, What do I intend to do with my detector? Will I be using it every week? Some guys know they want to be able to go prospecting with their detector, but can only get out in the field for a few days each year, and that makes a difference. Second, you need to figure out what you can afford, even if you have to spend some time saving up.

There is no simple one "best" detector for all purposes – that's why they make so many models. When looking at the costs, many guys see how expensive the top of the line prospecting detectors really are and want to cut corners and buy a less expensive detector. Gold detecting isn't easy, and that may not be a very good idea. In all honesty, this is an expensive pastime to get into. You can sometimes get decent bargains in used equipment, but in the end you do get what you pay for. Commercially available gold nugget detectors use either VLF or PI (pulse Induction) type technologies in their operation. Each has their place, but it is no coincidence that the guys doing the best in AZ and NV (and many other locations) are doing so with Minelab pulse detectors in the GP and SD series. In certain parts of the mother lode country of California and also Alaska, there are places where the advantages of Minelabs are not really significant because the mineralization is mild, but unless you know that those are the only places you will be hunting, you may well be better off in the long run with that more expensive Minelab. Even in CA and AK, Minelabs have a big advantage in many parts of those states. In Australia there are places where VLF is acceptable, but the vast majority of the Aussie goldfields have fairly high mineralization, generally higher than the goldfields of the western USA. Minelab is an Australian company and the GP and SD series detectors were designed and tested in the heavily mineralized Australian goldfields.

In general, metal detectors specifically designed for use as coin and jewelry shooting machines make very poor gold detectors, they are just not sensitive enough to detect small or deep nuggets, nor can they handle the intense mineralization found in most gold fields. My honest opinion is that nugget detecting with a cheapie radio shack or other low cost detector made to hunt coins is a waste of time. Gold nugget detecting really is quite a bit different from coin or jewelry hunting in local parks. On the other hand, there are some multi purpose VLFs like the MXT and Xterra 70 which can also be used for coin hunting and other detecting, but were designed with nugget hunting in mind. VLFs which are specifically designed to detect gold nuggets have an advantage over PI detectors with tiny gold, and have better discrimination. They are generally less expensive than PI detectors, which is often a reason many are attracted to them. Unfortunately, they also have serious problems with hot rocks and mineralized soils which are all too common in many gold districts. In the many gold districts where mineralized soils are common it is necessary to turn down the sensitivity in order to use them, which is a serious disadvantage and greatly limits how deeply they can detect. VLFs work best and have their greatest advantage over PI detectors in old mine dumps, locations where the gold is finely crystalline and not very solid, and areas with shallow surface exposures of bedrock. As a result, I think there will always be a place for VLF detectors in prospecting – at least there will be for many years to come. However in desert areas and other locations where PIs have an advantage, that advantage can be very large. If you are working one of those regions where the advantage to the PI units is large, he can be very tough to find gold using a VLF machine when you are working behind a good PI operator.

Gold is heavy and it tends to work its way down deep, and here the PI detectors like the Minelabs have an advantage in seeing gold deeper, especially in heavily mineralized soils. Because they can ignore considerable soil mineralization, large coils can be used where deep detection is an advantage. The disadvantage to most is the high cost of purchasing a complete PI outfit, including accessories and a few aftermarket coils. The other disadvantage is in prospecting areas with large amounts of very deep trash, where your PI may have you digging crater sized holes for deeply buried trash – this is the downside of deep detecting. Gold is hard to find and you should not intentionally handicap yourself getting a detector that will be at a disadvantage in competing with other prospectors who have PI detectors. The deeper your detector can see, the more places will be open to you in detecting. Many prospectors deal with the two different technologies by having both a PI and a VLF detector, but it is certainly not necessary to own two detectors to be successful in finding gold.

I was plenty skeptical about the Minelab PI units when they first came out, and I wondered if they were significantly better in the gold fields beyond what the VLFs could do. Only after seeing one produce gold in the field did I see how much better they are, and that they were indeed a significant improvement over the existing VLF models of the time. If you are going to detect for nuggets regularly in well mineralized areas, it will be worth it for you to purchase a pulse induction detector.

A big part of this decision does depend on the part of the world you live in – there is no one simple answer that is perfect for everyone. The USA has many different detecting sites, as does Australia. If you don't know what kind of prospecting sites are near you and which type of detector might be best for that location, get some information first and don't rush things. Take your time and learn before you invest you money. Probably the very best advice possible is to get the very finest detector you can possibly afford, even if you have to save up for a bit. Many new guys who have never prospected, enthusiastically decide to rush out to buy a VLF, but later regret it. They would be better off buying a $10 pan, and joining a prospecting club, taking their time and learning about prospecting for 6 months or a year while they save to buy PI detector, even if they end up purchasing a used model.

In the end, much of this decision comes down to what you plan to do with your metal detector, and what you can afford. If you can afford it, get both a VLF and a PI machine. I own a Whites MXT and a Minelab GP Extreme, and use them both. The MXT is a multipurpose detector, and between the two of these detectors, I pretty much have all the bases covered. If you plan to mostly detect for coins and jewelry in local parks and the like, with only an occasional prospecting trip, then a multipurpose machine like the MXT or Minelab Xterra 70 might be a good choice. They sell new for around $700, and a couple hundred less if you can find one that is used. The Lobo Supertraq by Tesoro is also a good inexpensive multipurpose machine that can detect parks and schools, but can also do some work in the gold fields.

For detecting the smallest gold in areas with mild to moderate mineralization and shallow bedrock, I recommend the Gold Bug II by Fisher (now part of Bounty Hunter detectors). They are still making them, and new one is around $700, but used gold bug II can be had for around $400 or so. The Gold Bug is a VLF detector built specifically for gold nugget detecting.

There are some new detectors designed for gold prospecting on the market. As Reg noted, Whites Electronics is about to come out with a PI machine desiged with gold detecting in mind. The exact price has not been released, but people who should know expect it to be in the range of around $1500 give or take a few hundred - and thats a lot cheaper than the Minelab top of the line GPX4500.

If you really are going to be seriously detecting for gold on a regular basis, in most cases you probably would be better off with a PI machine. In this class, I recommend a GP class machine (GP Extreme through the current model, the GP 4500). A new GP4500 may sell for $5000, but a used GP Extreme can currently be purchased for around $1500. Some SD class Minelab PI detectors can sell for as little as $800 (SDs are an older model of minelab Prospecting PI type detector). In a few months, the Whites machine mentioned above should be available - it probably would make a good choice as well. Unless money really is no object, take your time and think about what you want to do, don't rush, and as I said, get the very finest detector you can possibly afford."

Chris

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Hi Everyone,

First let me thank all who have answered my post. The welcome and the advise are greatly appreciated. To those who suggested panning and other techniques, I've done that in CA and Alaska with some success. I'd like to try detecting. There are many old mines here in NV and I'd like to try searching the tailings and other areas around these mines. I'd also like to use my detector to establish the presense of gold and then maybe bring back some dirt for panning. Keep in mind that this will be a hobby for me. With all my other hobbies and the honey-do-list, even though I'm retired, I'll be lucky to get out a couple of times a month.

The list of detectors provided by 29 prospector (thanks) started me doing some research. I found that most of these machines have manual ground balance. (as mentioned by Frank C) I also noticed that the frequencies used by these units are higher than other VLF's. This combined with the responses to my post has led me to the conclusion that a specialized gold detector is a must and the cheaper ones are to be avoided. As a result I'm shopping for a used unit from the list provided. I like the Whites GMT but can't find many and they're way over my price range. I found a couple of Gold Bug's but they were already gone.

I'll keep looking on this and other forums, craigslist, ebay and local pawn shops. I'll try posting a "wanted" post in the classified sections. If anyone out there has a good lead, please let me know. Also, please keep the advice coming. I'll keep active in the forum and let everyone know when I get a detector. I'll even let you know when and where I find that 5 lb nugget. :laught16:

Thanks Again

Paul

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Paul, you have been given great advise by some folks here who have done quite well with their VLF detectors.........Friends that I hunt with use older style VLF's and do well with them......If you stay with this madness long enough, most likely you will move up to a PI type unit.......I will be willing to bet the VLF you buy in the near future will still be with you.......If during your research you decide that a Minelab XT 18000 is a detector you might consider, give me a holler......I know of one that is going on the block.......at any rate, I'll let you know if I run across something of interest ......Jerry

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