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what type of detector

dan lestelle

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i am new to your site. i love reading the articles. however i cant possibly afford a mine lab detector. i have a whites gmt. i am new to nugget hunting. my first trips i went to some old places near hydralic mining areas out side of grass valley. i found nothing but bullits. i thought i was doing something wrong until i talked to a pro. he stated to me that i was doing all the right things if i was finding bullits. what say you pros? when i purchased my whites i was told at keen engineering in northridge calif that a whites was just as good as a minelab.and the whites would find much smaller nuggets than the minelab. now in regards to a minelab whats the average cost for a nugget detector? also i just retired to sparks nevada and i am interested in new site to nugget shoot.

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Welcome aboard this crazy ride, Dan!

If you're finding bullets, it's working. Small gold doesn't make a loud sound on the detector. Several folks on here have been successful with a GMT and here's hoping they'll chime in.

The hard part is figuring out how the detector works and sounds in the field. Air testing and such will give you false ideas about hw it works. Get yourself a test target (buy a small piece of gold) and epoxy it on a poker chip. This is called a throw down. Attach some goo thick string to the chip and throw it on the ground (see the name coming in to play?) and do some test swinging with the lock trigger pulled back. Now, bury that poker chip a couple inches down - 2 or 3 max - and do the same thing. Keep burying it until you can no longer hear it with the gain and such cranked up.

Now, do this and try to find it without the trigger pulled and in both Auto and Manual ground balance.

The trick is low and slow.

Every time you start to hunt, throw down that chip to get your ears right.

There is no such thing as a "gold detector" they all find metals. Some just have programs in them to help focus on Gold.

Finding smaller gold is a trait that VLF detectors have held on to for some time. The latest Minelab PIs are getting very close to the abilities of a VLF for small gold, though.

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Welcome to the forum!

If you are finding bullets than you will be able to hear gold the same size as the bullets and you can use very small to large fishing sinkers to give a good idea what your detector will do. Also a test nugget is a good idea and do these tests in the areas you plan to hunt to help you learn your detector and how it will hear targets there. How a detector handles the soils in the goldfields is often an issue for many VLF detectors, but your GMT should do OK for you.

As far as Minelab detectors not finding small gold your friend is very mistaken...


These are are all nuggets found with a Minelab PI detector...

Any gold detector designed for use in the goldfields will find nuggets if you get the coil over them and are able to maintain a smooth steady threshold. The main difference in PI detectors and VLF is in the ability of a PI to work areas a VLF struggles in and it the difference in depth and stability achieved while working in these soils.

Good luck and let us know how you do...

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  • 1 month later...

thanks all for the advise. i dont feel so bad now with my choice of detector. now i am wondering if i want to haul my self to rye patch and start looking lol.

Hi Dan, I am right next to you in Reno. I have a GMT, TDI, Garrett Infinium and a Minelab GPX5000. If you ever want to get out and do some nuggett shooting or to try out the other machines let me know, im looking for someone to hit the gold fields with.

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