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I had a couple questions that many of you could answer. I am relatively new to gold detecting but I have dredged, sluiced, panned etc. I have owned a cheaper metal detector and had no luck with it. I purchased a Minelab SDC 2300 and have only about 10 hours using it. I have found a lot of trash metal and a couple pieces of copper. One thing I have been doing wrong is not using the headphones, which from here on I will be using. I am in California, around Sonora, and this machine is amazing on hot rocks. I used to get hot rocks ALL the time with my Whites detector I owned. Not with the 2300, but I dig up trash metal all day. Kind of frustrating, and the wife knows how much I spent on the machine so when I get home I hear "Did you find anything?". I say no and she sighs. Is there any tips that any of you could throw my way? Im guessing that I just need to put the time in. I just get anxious when I read topics about people finding gold nuggets everywhere using the sdc 2300 and I live in the richest gold bearing county in California but haven't found anything. Maybe I should save all the metal I get and take it to the scrap yard for money. :grr01:

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Ok, perhaps we should add some 'truth' to your concerns.

The first 'truth' would be that you can't find gold everywhere. The old timers didn't and we can't find gold where it isn't.

If it isn't everywhere then where should you go in one of the richest areas in the United States? You can try to find 'new' gold where others have not found it before or you can try to find the gold others missed when they were finding gold in the past. Let's leave the 'new' gold for a geologist or someone who gets lucky.

Go to a place where gold has been found before. It could be a placer or lode mine or near one of these places.

Since you have been sluicing and dredging you will have been near some of these places so if you have rights to the claims give it a try. The trash will be there where the miners lived. Sometimes there is gold under this trash but you have to dig it to find out. The 2300 will make you dig everything. If there is too much trash but a lot of mine activity then you know gold was there so try the edges of the slopes where they stopped washing them into ground sluices.

So, what can you do with a 2300 that others can't? You already know it ignores a lot of hot rocks that drove other metal detectorists away. It will also find some smaller pieces and specimens missed.

If all of that doesn't work, hire a guide and have them take you to their place or take him/her to your spots and say TRY HERE. :thumbsupanim

Then you will be able to go out on your own with confidence.

Wes, are you available?

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Thanks. I have been hunting in worked areas I am sure have been detected before. I will be honest, I have not put in the time I think. I mostly try areas by streams, but I am going to try old mine tailings and such like you suggested. I also need to do some research on where hot spots are for nuggets. Thanks again

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Took me two years to find my first nugget. It takes time.

The best advice I can give is GO SLOW. Listen for the whispers. Gold likes to settle deep and that's what you want to listen for.

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Sonora ... Try old hydraulic mine areas ... try joining a local prospecting club ... and the idea of taking a lesson from an experienced miner is a good idea too! I might suggest a PM to TrinityAU aka Ray Mills ... He has been known to help a few CA gold seekers find first gold and gives an occasional lesson.

Mike F

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Sonora, Seems like California is going to get some serious rain this year. I was just up near the Yuba river watching the water rise last week, and cant wait to get back up there this spring/summer and go back to some spots i sniped out last summer.... If we get the amount of rain that is expected its going to move some new gold over all those hard hit places in all the drainages. Iv been back to the same spots year after year, and when your the first person to get there after a flood it can be golden!

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Sonora: You might consider starting your search on a club claim (perhaps GPAA) where others have found small nuggets with detectors. I found my first sdc 2300 nugget on such a claim and it was within a foot of two other dig holes. I have found that when I am searching for a new area to detect I spend many days coming home to a wife who asks why I didn't get anything. I do find my 2300 to be much less effective without head phones. Don't get discouraged. This activity can be humbling but it can also be rewarding even if not in a monetary way.

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