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If you own two machines you'd like to compare and have no nuggets under your belt, you can try a bit of lead fishing sinker as a substitute. Tape it to a card or glue to a poker chip for easy spotting and retrieval. Add on a string or cord, then you can bury it some inches deep, then simply pull it back up by the string after testing. When I was getting started, I bought a couple small gold nuggets from a local tourist mining exhibit, just to have the "real thing" for testing. But a piece of cheap ol' lead anything will read about the same. If all the spent bullet slugs I've dug were gold, well... I could probably afford to shoot gold bullets! ;)

Since local soils and one's own experience plays such a large part, it's good to be able to do your own testing and comparing. If I'm ever in doubt of how a nugget might sound in a particular spot, I can toss down my test nug and get some confirmation I've got the settings right and make mental note of the sound.

At least you have a "known" target to make more valid comparisons between machines you happen to have on hand.

We own the original Gold Bug. With so much iron junk in the hills, I tired very quickly of digging 1" long wire bits at 7 inches deep. Trash far outnumbers desireable targets here, so I pretty much insist on good ID in my detectors. I don't use discrimination, but I rely heavily on ID before digging. Both my old BH Time Ranger and Tek T2 have numeric ID in their no-motion all-metal modes, so I can detect everything with ID, then decide myself to ignore or dig.

Everyone develops their own methods that work with their detector of choice, but until you find that first nugget, it's hard to really know what sort of signal to expect. That's where the test nugget or fishing sinker can get you started on track.

All the best to ya!


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Congrats to the mom and baby ... always great to hear both in good healthy condition. Yup ... the Mesa show was a bust ... not sure it was a good time for those in the desert to be thinking about prospecting ... still too hot at that time. Chasing gators looks like fun on the TV ... might like to try it sometime ... but then there aren't any in AZ, NH or ME ... the 3 states I spend the most time in. Learning more about the MXT all the time ... had a hard time settleing it down in Rich Hill area couple days ago but will keep working on it. Fun to experiement when you are used to the White's platform. That little white eliptical dd gold coil is pretty sensative. Haven't tried the 9" or is it 10" dd coil yet but took the concentric coil to the park last weekend and found a few coins with it.

Now if you know of someone who is primarily a treasure, beach and coin/jewelry hunter and they are looking for a DFX (late 1990's vintage) in good condition I would be willing to sell mine. That is just in case you don't have one in stock new and someone needs one right away. LOL

Mike F

Hey Mike,

Read Steve's opinion about the MXT on this page and the coil to use on hot ground. Steve used the MXT quite a bunch. And yes it chatters a bunch on hot ground but he got use to it.


And here is a whole lot of history that went into the designing of the MXT on this page.


Lot's of good info on both sites and bar none, there will never be such a site with so many professional opinions about great detectors where all are listed on the same page. Well at least all of the good ones. Steve takes pride in using and learning pretty much each detector he writes an opinion about.

Hope this helps.


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Sorry for the delay in answering the above posts, Jeanie and I have been on the East Coast doing Gold Shows. Then we took a short vacation at our AL house. Those of you who want a free copy of my GMT advanced tuning settings pamphlet (which, for most areas, vastly outperforms the presets) can send me a self addressed, full size, stamped envelope to Jim's Metal Detectors, 56925 Yucca Trail, Box 503, Yucca Valley CA 92284. HH Jim

thanks for the pamphlet,,,, can't wait to try it !!!!

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  • 1 year later...

Very insightful information, i wish I would have saw this before I sold my Lobo ST just to test some other theories, never tried to hunt in discrimination mode. I have never had a MXT but hope to try one one day, currently I have the GB2 and a Minelab xt17000, on occasions I experiment with my Tesoro Vaquero on gold. I have yet to find my first nugget so I'll leave it to you pros as to which is better under which circumstances.

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Fred!!!! ... Way too much common sense information to let out of the bag! :200::brows::old: Can't tell you how many folks I have seen tipping large rocks and small boulders with their detectors. Have to agree wholeheartedly with your comments ... We work them hard enough pushing into bushes and other tight spots without using them as crow bars!

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As far as detectors, .......I have an SD 2100, and a SD 2100 version 2, a GMT, and a Gold Bug 2, and others that are more specialized. They all shine

in different applications more than others, and more importantly, they all serve as "back-up machines" at one time or another. For me, it seems that

regardless of which brand, or which machine, performance is largely affected by coil choice and other after-market helpers. Note: machine capabilities

do not, and will not necessarily equal finds. Hunting style and methodology, along with familiarity with the machine counts for a lot. I have seen folks

hunt gold or meteorites in the same area with the same machines, with significant differences in finds. The best equipment is always a big plus, but

time in the field, and knowing your machine, will give you an edge regardless of what you use.


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Ben ... Long handled picks are the way to go ... both of mine no matter the blade size are over 32" long. Carried over the shoulder when not in use is a learned skill and in my mind the best way to carry any pick.


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