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Anybody using a pinpointer to detect/sample with?

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Thinking about adding a Whites TRX pinpointer to my toolbox. Just wondering if it would be sensitive enough, or able to go deep enough to use to pinpoint cracks/fissures in bed rock, or to pick up fines in a gold pan?

Here's what I'm thinking… there's a ton of gullies I have mapped out for exploration. Rather than wasting time detecting them, I'm contemplating just doing a run and gun operation where I hit all the likely settling points in the exposed bedrock areas, do a quick dig out in some of the crevices, pinpoint for any gold, if I get a signal then take the vac and suck up a bucket full, dry pan the fluff out, check for any signals, if I get a hit, then bag and tag it. Hopscotch to the next spot and do the same all the way up till I hit the end of the gully.

Any suggestions or ways of doing it differently would be appreciated… :idunno:

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I was going to say that I didn't think the TRX pinpointer wouldn't hit on very small pieces of gold but I found this review on white's website.

From his tests it appears that it will hit on smaller gold than I thought it would but only at 1/2", so unless you find small gold within 1/2" to 1" of the surface the TRX might not do what you wanted it to do, I still don't think it will hit on deposit of fine gold, even if you have a 1 ounce vial filled with fine gold most detectors won't detect the gold because it not seeing the 1 ounce as a whole but instead each individual piece of fine gold that are beyond the detector's ability to detect the piece/s.

The Falcon MD20 is probably the best at hitting on very very small gold, but only at around 1" to maybe 2", the reason it will hit on gold most detectors can't detect is because it operates at 300kHz., it also help the way it detects gold/non-ferrous metal compared to iron, I can't remember exactly but on one it hits only over the metal, single signal but the other it hits coming to the metal and going away, e.g. double signal, so you can tell if it's non-ferrous or not.

That all being said, no pinpointer will hit targets very deep because they're designed to "pinpoint", usually not more than 4" on a large enough object for the best pinpointers, and much less on targets the size of most gold found by prospecting, unless you hit a nice pocket of nuggets!!!

Here's the review/bench test.


"White's Bullseye TRX

by Paul Southerland

I watched as a fellow hunting partner's pit grew deeper while he searched for an object his metal detector told him was still in the hole. It was typical Oklahoma red clay with the current summer drought baking it into a hard mass tough to dig.

As he tried to get deeper I offered to recheck the hole. My White's MXT Pro showed the object was possibly a quarter, still there and not centered in the hole but off to one side.

Checking the side of the hole indicated by my detector a bright silver quarter was barely visible resting on its edge. Retrieving a nice 1925 Standing Liberty quarter my partner's head dropped in disgust as he noticed, while trying to get deeper in the hole, the point of his digger had scraped along the side of the coin leaving a very noticeable scratch.

The pinpoint mode on most metal detectors will only get you close to begin digging. If your using one of the really large coils while out detecting you can be off a couple of inches when you start to retrieve an item. The use of smaller coils on a detector will be more accurate when pinpointing but at a loss of depth while searching.

I've attended many seeded hunts put on by metal detecting clubs. As I search the hunt field I make a point of sweeping my coil over the holes dug by other contestants that have been filled back in. I often discover tokens or silver coins buried for the hunt left behind by those who don't own or use a pinpointer and have given up on the hole in their haste to move on.

Both of these common occurrences can easily be avoided by the use of a small handheld pinpointer. The Bullseye TRX pinpointer just released by White's can help speed up the recovery time and insure accurate locating of targets while digging. With its excellent sensitivity and ability to detect items you can even zero in on shallow targets before you start to dig, thus avoiding damage to a find while retrieving it. More on the sensitivity of the unit in the bench test below.

Using the latest miniaturized components available, White's has put a complete ground-balancing VLF circuit inside a rugged weatherproof housing. Operating at a frequency of 12 kHz it searches in an all metal non-motion mode. The unit is 10 inches in length and weighs only 6.5 ounces.

The TRX indicates targets with Audio and Vibrate Alerts that are both turned on by default or can be turned off and used independently. The Audio Alert operates as a series of beeps that increase as the tip gets closer to the target. Within 1/4 inch of the target the beeps become a continuous tone. Equipped with an Overload Indicator feature the TRX alerts will give a series of long responses to indicate detection of an excessively large target.

Upon unpacking the unit the first thing I noticed was the dual battery holders the TRX comes with. You can operate with either two AA batteries or a single 9-volt. Most detectors on the market today use one of these two battery sizes and if you carry spares in the field for your detector, as you should, you'll also have extras with you for this pinpointer as well. The unit is equipped with an audio alert that issues a two-tone alarm indicating a low battery status.

There is an LED light that shows the unit is turned on and can be used in low light to illuminate a digging hole. It will blink continuously to indicate the batteries are low.

The TRX comes with a sturdy well-sewn holster that will fit up to a 3 inch belt. That is a plus for those like me who prefer to use a wide belt around our waist to carry digging pouches. A loop to attach a lanyard is provided on both the holster and rear of the unit if you desire to use one to avoid laying your pinpointer down and forgetting it. Should you do so White's has incorporated a Lost Pinpointer Alarm mode in the electronics of the unit. If you walk off and leave it on the ground when left powered on the TRX activates the Lost Pinpointer Alarm after 5 minutes of inactivity and will issue a long beep every 15 seconds. The TRX also has an automatic power-off mode and will turn itself off after five minutes in the Lost Pinpointer Alarm mode to conserve battery power.

The outside shell of the unit is marked with a ruler in one inch increments and the rear molded in bright orange so it can be easily seen if left in the grass. The shell is easily replaceable should it get damaged. You simply remove one screw inside the battery compartment, slide out the main interior and slide on a new shell.

The TRX is made in America at White's Sweet Home, Oregon plant and comes with a full two-year warranty.

Bench Testing:

I popped an almost dead 9-volt battery in the unit to test the low battery tone alarm and flashing LED warning. Both worked as stated by the manufacturer.

I used a penny, nickel, dime and quarter to check the Audio Alert. I found that it worked perfectly with the beeps increasing and becoming one continuous tone as the tip of the unit was against the coins. The unit detected a quarter from 4 1/2 inches away.I also found that by using the on/off button I could shrink the size of the search field the unit was seeing. When hunting playgrounds in the city parks this will be useful to pinpoint items that are only a few inches away from the large metal poles holding up the playground equipment.

On checking the TRX's sensitivity I tested the unit to see how it reacted to one of the smallest items of value I find while hunting park playgrounds, a .925 (sterling silver) earring back. It detected it with no problem. I then tried it out on some very small pieces of gold. The smallest was a tiny .042 gram flake. This was about the smallest piece of gold the unit would sound off on. I tried it on a .512 gram picker and found the TRX could see a piece that small from 1 1/4 inches away. A .078 piece was detected at 1/2 inch from the unit's tip. Those are extremely tiny pieces of gold and I was amazed it saw them. A lot of the metal detectors on the market will not locate gold that small for you to even begin searching for with a pinpointer.

Field Testing:

I took the TRX along with a White's MXT Pro to hunt a large field that was the former site of a dairy farm started around statehood. The field has yielded a lot of coins, mostly wheat pennies, along with a few of the tokens good for one quart of milk the dairy supplied to customers.

We usually can't hunt there in the summer as the ground has gravel mixed in with the clay and gets extremely hard. The recent melting snow left it much easier to dig this time of year. The first item detected was a WW II silver nickel at 4 inches. I then dug several pennies. My detector's screen finally flashed the VDI number of 75 I was looking for that the tokens usually read at. The target was 5 inches down and my digger was glancing off pieces of gravel as I tried to dig. I kept using the TRX to keep the item centered in my digging hole. The tokens are made of aluminum and easily damaged. I was lucky not only to dig one of the dairy tokens but also a version not found before.

The TRX is very effective in detecting the smallest of metal objects and accurately locating their position for digging. The sensitivity is very impressive. I found the unit to feel both sturdy and very comfortable in my hand."

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The Falcon MD20 is probably the best at hitting on very very small gold, but only at around 1" to maybe 2", the reason it will hit on gold most detectors can't detect is because it operates at 300kHz., it also help the way it detects gold/non-ferrous metal compared to iron, I can't remember exactly but on one it hits only over the metal, single signal but the other it hits coming to the metal and going away, e.g. double signal, so you can tell if it's non-ferrous or not.

Hmmm… me thinks the Falcon warrants more investigation. Thanks for the heads up. Might be exactly what I'm looking for. I don't really need to go all that deep as I'll be digging cracks and fissures at likely settling points, then hit it with the pointer to see if I can get a signal. If so, then vacuum up a bucket load, dry pan the fluff out while probing for a signal. If I get a hit on any of the dirt in the pan, then I'll just bag it and tag it for later recovery at home. If the samples look good enough, then I'll figure out how to bring in the heavy equipment and do some serious digging. Just looking for a method that will be fast and efficient, as there are thousands of acres of remote gullies and gulches out there that haven't seen any activity for many years. :thumbsupanim

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Yeah I see they run about $250. No biggie… if it's gonna hit on small gold better than other pointers, then it's money well spent. I'm just looking for something that's gonna shave some time off my sampling procedures and hit on the gold whether in the pan or the crevices. No hits, then I'm outta there and on to the next spot. If I hit, then I'll dig a little and get a good sample.

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AZBB my experience with the Falcon is limited but when I was using one many years ago it did a good job of pinpointing for me but I wasn't after the little stuff like you will be looking for. I agree with Skip I would go with the Falcon.

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Hi Shep... already have a GMT, but looking for something a little more portable and slimmer that will get into tighter areas. I plan on beating on a few rocks here and there, so something that I can carry on my belt and have quick access too would be ideal.

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Never had a need as I own a detector and they pinpoint just fine enough for me. Forwards and backwards whilst swingn' side to side and there she be for over 53 years so no toys needed to find nuttn'-John

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Hi Blackbird,

I have used the Falcon, but strictly for sampling. It does not have the range to be used as a pinpointer, but pinpointers won't

see small, fly crap gold, that you'd want to know about if your doing a mineral survey. I used to go to small gullies, dig down to

bedrock, scrape out the last inch of material, and any cracks, then put that 12 ounce, tumbler-full of soil/gravel through a quarter-inch

screen over my gold pan, then level the remaining stuff, and "stir" that dirt with the head of the Falcon. No need for wet panning to

know what's there, It dry, and it's fast. Also, don't waste your time trying to use the Falcon on rocks from an ore-dump. Again,it

won't go deep enough - just get out the Goldbug 2 for that. The Falcon is locally made, too.


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