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Showing content with the highest reputation since 05/27/2017 in all areas

  1. 35 points
    I happened upon this toad today. Just under 2 Oz. 59.8 grams!
  2. 35 points
    So the pup and I headed out to some of my favorite bench areas above the creek; good thing I checked the depth of the water at the crossing before trying to take the side x side through like I normally did in previous years....mid-thigh high, so carried gear and pup to other side and hiked just under a mile to first site: A granite nob that's been hit by myself and several friends the past couple seasons, but it still keeps squeaking out little tiddlers: Got a couple there, then moved one to another spot where several more were found after moving some of the old-timers hand-stackings: Don't need a gym membership when you do this as a hobby! :-) Anyway, hit a few more areas with some success, but the creme de la creme (or should I say, creme de la crumb?) was this area I dug for hours and cleaned out at least 25 tiny bits....what fun the Monster was having! (To better get in under the roots etc, the Goldbug2 would have been better, but we managed) The next day and a half hit a couple more spots and ended up with this for my Bench Tour Total.....a lot of work(i.e. fun) for 1.4g lol! Pup and I had a great few days at the cabin.....but it's time to get the zed and 2300 out again, so off to California later this week! Cheers and Happy Hunting! p.s. kiwijw, I was inspired by your posts! :-)
  3. 34 points
    We'll i finally got to join the 1oz+ club!! My buddy Dave and i headed to Gold Basin for a half day trip. We hit our usualy spot and split up. I headed to a wash that i found a 5.4 gram piece a couple of weeks ago. I didnt hit the whole wash, so i figured id start where i left off. A bit later, i get a nice signal by a bush in the middle of the wash. It turned out to an 8 gram specie with some dark host rock mixed in. 10 feet away in the bank of the wash i get another screeming signal. This was the flat nugget, also about 8 g. I radioed Dave to tell him the good news. The next couple of hours there was nothing except a couple of meteors. I decided to hit the bottom end of that same wash on my way back to the truck. After a bit i get a nice signal in the wash, it was the .8g flat piece. The wash had widened out, and the bedrock was deeper, so i wasnt detecting to slow wgen i got a slight sound. I thought it was just ground noise because i was running the GPZ hot at 18 sensitivity and high yield and normal ground. I did a scrape and the sound was still there. I took about 6 inches off with the pick and the sound seemed more distinct. I fugured it wasnt mineralization but rather trash because the dirt was silt, not hard pack. I kep widening and deepening the hole and when i got to over a foot it was screeming. I was figuring tin can ir something. After about 6 more digs and around 2ft deep. I get it out of the hold. I did reach bedrock so i was feeling hopeful. It turned out to be a 1.41 (OZ) nugget and a pretty one at that, with a bit of quartz. I finally joined the club. I feel like i deserve a patch or something lol. I radioed Dave to tell him the good news, and he was eccited for me. (He was already a member pf the club) a bit under 2 oz for the day. I took Dave to the wash, with his big coil on the GPZ, to try to score him a big nugget, no luck. We packed up and headed home. oh and i finally paid for my GPZ in nuggets ...and some. thanks Chris
  4. 33 points
    Hello Finally had a day off after weeks of work to go detecting. My partner and i both had new purchases to try. First i tried out my new 18" detech mono coil for my 5000. It is an amazing coil. Very very quiet in tough soil. It is really sensitive to small targets. I dug one gold piece today at .24 gr. In about 20 minutes of detecting. And some lead targets missed by my previous grid sessions with the coiltek 14 and 18" elites. The detech 18" is definitely a keeper for my arsenal. Next was the amazing performance put on by my lovely partner and her new gold monster. I let her find quite a few undug targets at a site where we found hundreds of pieces of tiny gold in the past. Then once she had a few targets. I tried to follow her gold monsters performance with my makro gold racer running in all metal with sensitivity 75 and enough isat to run a smooth threshold. Any isat less then 7 dont work here. Blanks out the threshold constantly. In the end i could get a signal on 1/3 of her gold monsters undug targets. Mostly they were all a tiny break in the threshold. I also tried my disc 2 mode with the sensitivity turned up to where it gets sparky.(90) But they still just had a small beep. Her gold monster had a totally different reply to the undug targets. Very loud. Which i believe was already stated by steve in his report. We also had her try gold monster in many manual sensitivity settings in all metal. All the way to manual 10. But it is a little sparky up too high. Best manual setting for this site was 6. But the targets were either alot quieter or non existent with that setting. The disc mode was also applied and sounded off well on them. Just not as sensitive. The autoplus mode was definitely the best app for our conditions at the goldfield. The mineralization only made an occasional peep in autoplus. But was easily recognizeable. A few hot hematites sounded off. But they can be checked in a quick switch to disc. Then only once in awhile they would slightly ping only in one direction. So then we dug up the undug targets. Some were tiny birdshot but most were gold, missed previously with other detectors. Everyone of them amazed me how loud they were for their size. Especially the 2 that wont even weigh in the 10ths of grains. These targets were not right on the surface or i would have heard all of them with gold racer. They were deeper then gold racer could detect. I have mostly detected with vlf detectors for 32 years and i could not believe what i was seeing. It was actually pretty funny. Now i feel like i am running old school equipment with my gold racer. I am definitely going to be making the change to gold monster myself. No its not a zed or a pulse induction unit, but i am willing to put money on youll find gold you missed with whatever you are using now. If you already own a monster then take a look at the red dot at the end of the foreign writing and see how small it is. Thats how small the gold we found. Only it sounded like a shallow gram piece of gold. All the 18 pcs that gold monster found totaled only 1/2 dwt. Big money! I have seen the promised land and it is real and its called gm1000. Good luck
  5. 33 points
    Found a run in laterite yesterday, basically just laterite with the odd bit of quartz here and there. Picked up 1/2 oz of sub gr pieces and as it was late in the day and my ute was 6 klms away I marked and left in the ground 30+ signals. Returned this morning and picked up 40+grams of subs to 2.5grs. It was all reefy gold that hadn't travelled so I tried tracing it up the hill, marking another 50 or so signals to dig out later. All of a sudden WHAM!!!! The back of my ute now has 40+kg of rock absolutely riddled with gold and the signal is still going along and down. This spot will keep me amused for weeks as the initial run is about 30 metres wide and about 100 metres long and who know how big it will expand to. Not sure what I have yet and too afraid to estimate but it's multi ounces, just how many is the question. Half the bit I picked up were sunbakers too, sitting there winking at me. 40+grs from today 40+kg of rock / reef/ ore/ something Crappy pic of random chunk of what it's all like
  6. 33 points
    I managed to get the mighty Zed out to the hills today for a short hunt in some old Tertiary bench gravels. The ground proved a little too troublesome for the Locate Patch Ground Smoothing in High Yield / Normal, but by turning the Ground Smoothing off and changing to Difficult Ground Type I was able to nullify the ground response. It was only a short time before the WM-12 alerted me to a warble of moderate intensity. Switching back to Normal Ground Type, the signal became a solid, strong hi-low response which led me to believe that a respectable gold nugget was hiding below, but more likely it was just another piece of corroded square nail like the countless others I've dug at this particular location...only one way to find out! After blasting nearly a foot into the ancient gravels with my pick, I struck bedrock and the target was now screaming off the edge of the coil; definitely a promising sign. One final strike of the pick and the target was out - a chunky nine gram bit - in my book, a fat quarter ouncer. As an added bonus, there was a smaller, point seven of a gram piece in the dig pile. Happy Hunting!
  7. 30 points
    I am always dismayed when I read of fellow detectorists who say that they have yet to find a piece of gold after one year, two years, etc. I am to the point now where I find gold almost every time I go detecting. I may get skunked 1 out of 20 times. That 1 time is usually when I am prospecting totally new ground, and just have not hit a new area yet. We all know the saying, "Gold is where you find it." I think that statement is wrong and very misleading and harmful. In fact I think it may give newbies the wrong impression about prospecting for gold. It implies that gold is randomly dispersed, and if you do happen to find it, it is only by some coincidence or luck. Nothing could be further from the truth. Finding gold is a science and an art executed by people with the skill and experience that know what they are doing. All we are doing with a metal detector is processing dirt. Now the more dirt we process the better chance we have of finding gold. But think of what a small amount of dirt we are processing. A column of dirt under the coil to an indeterminate depth and we sweep that coil back and forth. We do that for 6 to 8 hours a day? Now compare that to the tons and tons of dirt you see the boys on Gold Rush process. Yards and yards and tons and tons of dirt processed to collect their gold. It's amazing that we find anything when you compare the small amount of dirt we "process" with a metal detector. So, think about what a bizarre feat it is for a person with a metal detector to process such a small amount of dirt, and yet be able to find gold. It is the old adage "needle in a haystack" so to speak. Yet, experienced prospectors, like Steve and a host of others on this forum who are always posting pictures of their gold finds ...., us guys that have been around a while, how come we are more successful at finding gold than other people? Do we process more dirt? NOPE! Our secret is we spend our time processing dirt that is more likely to have gold, than other dirt. We have all heard go low and go slow. Well, I agree with that "go low" admonishment. You need to keep that coil on the ground. But SLOW? If you watch experienced detectorists, you will see that they vary their speed when they are "looking for gold." They speed up in areas that their knowledge and experience tell them they are less likely to find gold. They slow down in areas where that experience tells them there may be a greater chance for there to be gold. So they spend their time more productively by processing only dirt that has a higher probability of having gold. Now when they find a nugget, they may turn around and go back over the area they went through quickly. This time they will go more slowly. They do this because they now know this area may be more likely to have gold too. So they invest their time wisely. As an outlandish example. You are standing in a paved parking lot of a Walmart. Next to the Walmart are acres and acres of quartz strewn red dirt with all kinds of gullies where water has ran during the wet season. Where are you most likely to find gold? Are you going to spend your day in the Walmart parking lot swinging over asphalt? Well experienced detectorists are constantly looking at their surroundings. They look at where they are going and where they have been. They are calculating the odds. Is this a Walmart parking lot, or a gold vault? "Gold is NOT where you find it." "Gold is found in places it is most likely to be." Seasoned prospectors have spent their careers learning what those places look like. Now are we ever surprised to find a nugget in a place where we would never intentionally look. Certainly, but those are few and far between. Most times when we find a nugget we have a pretty good idea of why it is where it is. Deteriorated quartz is everywhere, we detect on a bench, in a tailings pile, in the bend of a gully, under a waterfall of boulders, behind a bush lining a gully, near an old mine or there are indications the old timers were there. I once was way off the beaten path on my ATV. I found a canteen that said BEAR BRAND, Patent 1918. Lid still on it, canvas completely gone. I stopped right there and detected the gully I found it in. I pulled out three nuggets. Let's say after a year you finally find your first nugget, under a boulder up on the side of a gully. From that day forward, you will check every boulder on the side of gullies. Why? Because you learned where to look. It's no coincidence that after taking so long to find their first nugget, newbies generally find their second nugget soon there after. WHY? Knowledge. I have often said, if you don't take at least 20 minutes with every nugget you find, letting it tell you it's story, you are missing a valuable education. "How did you get here little buddy? Why did you stop here? Where did you come from? What's different about this gully than other gullies I have checked? Is there a concentration of deteriorated quartz around here? A contact zone? You're sort of rough, you didn't travel far did you?" I can almost bet that any experienced prospector will tell you that they can be riding on their ATV and all of a sudden they come upon ground and their heart starts beating a little harder. They may even say to themselves out loud, "Oh man this area looks good." After years and years of experience, we sometimes just "get a feeling." It's not voodoo, it's just our subconscious telling us that at sometime in our past, we came across a place that exhibited similar conditions, and we found gold there. We may not even remember the specific area in our distant past on a conscious level, but our sub-conscious knows. So what is the moral of this story? Buying a detector and expecting to learn how to become a successful prospector without training is like buying a 747 and trying to get it airborne when you have had no training. I hear it time and time again. I've been detecting 2 years and never found a piece of gold. Who trained you? TRAINED ME? "Well I've done a lot of research and I have read a lot on detecting and prospecting and I belong to the GPAA ...." That's akin to someone saying, "I have had the worst luck with airplanes. I have owned five different planes and can't get the damn things in the air; I have crashed every one of them." Where did you get your flight lessons? "ME? LESSONS? YOU MEAN FLYING LESSONS?" So boys and girls, my lesson for today is: "Gold is NOT where you find it." "Gold is found in places it is most likely to be." So hire someone to teach you WHERE to look! There are great dealers who frequent this forum who offer training... it is invaluable. A company who only sells you a detector, is doing just that. They are selling you a detector. There is nothing wrong with that if you are a seasoned veteran who does not need training. Or if you have someone who is willing to take you under their wing and teach you this wonderful past-time. However, if you are new, or not successful at finding gold, look for dealers who sell detectors and offer training. Because then you are not just buying a detector. You are investing in a relationship with someone who wants to make sure you are successful at learning how to prospect and find gold. Doc © 2017 G.M. "Doc" Lousignont, Ph.D.
  8. 30 points
    Well I'm back from my California gold trip.....was a bit under the weather with a summer cold that turned into a sinus/cough thing that lingered the whole time! Argh! Anyway, took a day off early on and rode the quad to this beautiful view of the N Fork of American River: But on to the GOLD! Spent a lot of time playing with the Monster at a nearby hammered hydraulic pit, working bedrock areas like this: Found numerous small nuggies chipping away at the fissured areas, including this nice 1st one using the larger coil, which I love by the way! : However, I was eager to get out with the 7000 and went back to the American Hill area where my buhzillion dollar machine found me THIS!: Hmmm...the Monster was killing the Zed, until it redeemed itself in a wash finding me this nice 4.4g speci! : I had a nice time in CA detecting with Mike B. , Chet, and others, but since not feeling well decided to start heading home with a stop in Rye Patch to experience the solar eclipse at one of my favorite places: And I was rewarded with a beautiful 2.4g eclipse nugget: Here's a better pic: Thought I was the only idiot out there in the heat, but ran into 2 gals, Carol and Janna who had Gold Monsters so we detected together a few hours....Carol got her 1st Rye Patch nugget! Then I ran into Rick and Rudy who as you know from Lucky Lundy's recent post, found a fantastic 1/4 oz nugget. The guys were very generous with their time and gave me some nice tips! So no big lunkers for me, but I had a great time with some great people, and ended up with just about a half an ounce of beautiful Calif(Monster, 2300, 7000) and Nv(11 pieces on left w 7000) gold, along with a very special Troy oz silver Prospector coin given to me at the Goldhounds meeting by El Presidente Mike B! Till the next hunt! Cheers! :-)
  9. 28 points
    I had a couple of productive days in a new area me and my buddy Dave have been checking out. First was last Sunday, I found a wash that gave up 8 nuggets, 6 for me and 2 for Dave, then I found a few small pieces in a couple of nearby tributaries. Ended up with about 8.8 grams. Then today we tried an area nearby, and I guess I got the lucky wash. I was able to dig up 11grams, biggest was 4.9. Two nuggets came out of the same hole. Dave and I hiked a lot and dug a bunch of bullets. Deep ones on bedrock, a bunch of heartbreak digs. Worn out we called it a day. It was a beautiful day to be out prospecting. Chris
  10. 28 points
    Hey all.... I was out last weekend in an area I had been a few times before. After spending some time hunting the 'trashy' side of the gully. I made my way over to a spot where I picked up a couple right on the surface a few months earlier. The day I found the 'first two' I spent the rest of the day scouring the immediate area for any other 'easy' nuggets. Ended the day with just the two... So anyways, I kept looking at that spot and thinking there is no way I got the last two nuggets from this little 'patch'. My 5000 was running real smooth with the 11" Commander mono and I was running sensitive extra, gain 13, stabilizer 10, motion slow. I was just creeping along, investigating anything that made a peep. After 45 minutes or so, I picked up on an intermittent signal. It was there about half the time. I discovered that I couldn't swing directly over it because there was a large, buried quartz rock that the coil would bump if I kept it on the ground. If I lifted the coil off just a bit, the signal wasn't there anymore. I was able to get the target signal consistently if I swung the coil in a crescent motion hugging the side of the quartz 'boulder'. So I started to dig. Got down a couple inches and there's a dark grey/black rock and I'm thinking, 'oh, great...Hot rock'. It was about the size of a grapefruit when I got it out of the hole. Not a hot rock, and target still there and definitely a target now. Two more grapefruit sized 'wannabe hot rocks' and now it's screaming. I'm down about 10 inches and starting to scrape crumbly bedrock. Another inch or two, and out pops this beautiful 1 gram nugget. Luke
  11. 28 points
    This week I got a chance to get over to the goldfields for two days. It's a fair drive so I'm not able to get out as often as others so my experience is limited. Most of what I've learned has come from books, videos, forums, and Facebook. I was lucky last month to stumble upon some ground that had been worked over by someone else but not thoroughly. Out of that patch, i found another 2 ounces. Using what I learned from finding that patch I went looking for more in a different area. On Monday and Tuesday, i found another 40 grams of gold in 4 different locations. It's a shame I can only go prospecting once a month but at least now I know how to narrow my search area right down to make the time im prospecting count. Most of this was found using the 18" Coiltek Elite on a 4500. I do use a b&z booster with Gog headphones which I think picks up those faint targets better. I'm also thinking the reason I did ok is the ground is very cold and damp so maybe the signal strength is better than during the middle of summer. The biggest bit of gold weighed 16 grams and was dug at 350mm or around 14 inches. I was lucky to hear that one as I was walking pretty quickly swinging the coil.
  12. 28 points
    I have been doing a lot of what I call “blue sky prospecting” where I get out and hunt areas not known currently as “nugget hunting areas”. There are a number of well known areas in the western U.S. that people converge on and hunt repeatedly year after year. The attraction is that although these areas are well hunted, detectable gold is known to exist and proficient nugget hunters have a high chance of finding at least a little gold by visiting these locations. Going to areas that have no real history of producing gold nuggets with a metal detector has however a much greater likelihood of producing no finds at all. It is just the nature of exploring off the beaten path and for people with limited time it is very hard to choose to hunt an area where nobody has ever detected gold before and where you will probably find no gold as opposed to hunting known productive areas. The problem of course is these areas are well known and are well detected, so the best one can usually expect is to eke a few missed nuggets here and there from these places. I do have more time however to apply to the search, and so have made looking for new “patches” an integral part of my prospecting program. I seek out and hunt outlying unclaimed areas peripheral to known gold bearing areas for at least half my time in the field, falling back to known locations now and then to find at least a little gold to boost morale and help pay for beans and gasoline. Going many days at a time without finding gold takes a lot of patience but the hope is that eventually I will make an exceptional find in the form of a virgin patch that makes up for all the hours of non-productive hunting. I say non-productive, but I never come away feeling like that is the case. I always learn something, even if it is to the negative, about my detectors and the gold itself – where it is and is not found. On to the hunt. I was exploring an area in northern Nevada where quite a lot of past prospecting is apparent in the form of pits, trenches, and small prospects. Lots of quartz veins exposed and surface quartz. Nearly all the prospects looked to be "busts" where the initial trenching or pit digging was abandoned with no further work done. Some showed a little more work that indicated that there was possibly at least a little positive results - or just an overly optimistic prospector. I have pretty much abandoned day trips and "hit and run" type detecting in favor of parking my posterior in one camp location for days (at least) and methodically exploring the surrounding area. That being the case I decided to spend a minimum of three days hunting this area to see if I could scare up any sign of gold. I of course relied heavily on my GPZ 7000 for a lot of the detecting but also got in lots of hours with the Gold Monster 1000 and Garrett ATX. A lot of the ground featured shallow exposed bedrock and so depth was not the issue, and the GM1000 was great for these areas and for checking quartz around the old prospects. I did get a couple pieces of quartz that gave non-ferrous beeps. I broke one and it appears to be a copper mineral of some sort that signaled in that one. Might be the same for the other but I have to check it out still. It sounded better so I decided not to just break it but wait until I could scan it with my Falcon Gold Probe and examine it better before taking action. I was up early to beat the heat and so getting in lots of hours. Great looking ground but other than a bullet now and then nothing much to report. Sometime into the second day my GPZ started acting up. It seemed like extreme EMI and nothing I could do would make it quit. Even my last resort of a full reboot did not eliminate the noise. So I broke out my Garrett ATX that I have along for backup, which really needed doing anyway as I wanted to get more hours on the new coils. The new 11" x 13" DD coil is enclosed to shed debris, center mounted rod for better balance, and most importantly, resistance to knocks and false signals that is at least as good as my GPZ if not better. A side bonus is salt ground and hot rocks the GPZ sees I can tune out completely with the ATX. I also found the ATX with slightly smaller coil to be a better option in thick grass and weeds than the GPZ due to the 13" x 14" GPZ14 coil wanting to float on top of the grass to a slightly higher degree than the ATX 11" x 13" coil. Not a huge difference but just enough to help. Still, a day of hunting with the ATX also got no gold. The next morning the mystery interference was gone - either the GPZ healed itself or it was a temporary but strong EMI issue. On the third morning I therefore went back to the GPZ 7000. This was going to be the last day although I was really liking the look of the ground. Finally, in early afternoon I got a lone signal in a clay layer in a shale zone, and down near a foot out popped a 2.39 gram nugget! I have to admit I was real pleased with this nugget, found I have no idea how far from where anyone has found a nugget before with a detector. I proceeded to grid the area for a couple more hours and my initial excitement slowly dropped into "here we go, yet another lone nugget" all by itself. Heat and lack of water caught up to me so back to the truck for refreshments. Then when time came for another go - the weird EMI issue was back. I have not run into this in the couple years I have used the GPZ in northern Nevada, so it was concerning me that perhaps the GPZ had some sort of intermittant issue. I broke out the ATX again to finish out the day with no more nuggets. Still, that made another couple days mandatory. The EMI thing went away again, and has not returned since (fingers crossed). A couple more days detecting however did prove that one nugget was a lone ranger. I decided to make the move to an old patch to see if I could add at least a little gold to the vial before returning home. I got spoiled the first couple seasons here as drought conditions made for lots of bare desert. Now, with all the rain last winter, some areas are now thick with grass and weeds that make detecting very difficult if not impossible. The ATX does do a bit better in this stuff than the GPZ and so I hunted the weeds with it for a couple days. Still lots of targets but they kept turning out to be trash, until I finally popped a 1.5 gram nugget out of a drywasher tailing pile. I decided to leave the next day, but had time for a morning hunt. I was just ready to quit when a nice 2.19 gram nugget popped out of the ground. A week of detecting and only three nuggets, but that is to be expected when out trying new ground. What was odd was only three nuggets but all three were at or over a pennyweight in size, with no small stuff, just over 6 grams total. Go figure, but it left me actually satisfied with the trip as far as gold found and lots of new country experienced.
  13. 27 points
    I am just back from a little detector outing and while I was at it I reflected on how once again I seem to do things a bit differently than other people. I am usually shy of talking about my specific settings because I am the last person to claim I know what's best when it comes to other people and how they detect. Ground conditions vary as do people's personal styles and preferences. Therefore I will include my usual caveat here that I am not claiming what I am doing is "the best" way of doing things. On the other hand I do seem to be able to make detectors deliver for me and I am willing to share how I do things in case it may help somebody else. Hopefully that proves to be the case with this post. For me the key is knowing my detector and how it reacts on my ground. I then let the detector tell me what to do when it comes to balancing sensitivity and ground responses. The task at hand has a lot to do with it. The Minelab Gold Monster 1000 is from my perspective two different detectors in one package. There are two basic tasks I usually expect to perform with it: 1. I have an acre of ground I want to detect from end to end. This for me requires using the larger of the two coils included with the GM1000, a blunt tipped 10" DD elliptical. Due to the GM1000 being a very high gain detector in more ways than one, my basic goal here is stability. I want the machine to be well behaved so that I can cover ground relatively quickly without having to deal with spurious false signals that require analysis. I am going to sacrifice a little theoretical "hots" in order to efficiently cover large areas, areas that may or may not contain gold. 2. I have a 20 foot by 20 foot area that I already know has small gold in it. My goal here is not to cover ground but to clean out the gold. This will at minimum mean running the Gold Monster as hot as possible, and may very well include going to the smaller of the two coils, a 5" round DD. However, I can find gold down around the 1/10th grain (480 grains per Troy ounce) region with the 10" coil and it will hit the larger bits at greater depth in milder ground so I am generally going to stick with the 10" coil unless I really am trying to get the very last flyspecks. What follows is predicated on the moderately mineralized ground of northern Nevada, where alkali (salt) ground is as much or more a consideration as small hot rocks. Even small depressions like a hoof print will collect water during a rain, and when almost but not completely dried the small damp spot may create a positive signal if the Gold Monster is running at high sensitivity levels. Once again I will warn that the specific settings I mention will vary under different ground conditions. Under the first scenario where I am trying to cover large areas I have found both manual sensitivity and auto sensitivity to be useful. Deciding between the two is as simple as knowing how variable the ground is. If the ground is relatively homogenous with minimal variation then manual sensitivity can work very well. If the ground gets too variable requiring constant burdensome adjustments of the sensitivity control to keep up, then going to auto sensitivity is more efficient. What does that mean in actual practice? Let's go over that but first I need to discuss the power up procedure. Much has been made of the necessity to hold the coil in the air as opposed to on the ground when the detector is first powered up. I will admit I am perhaps less stringent as regards that procedure. If I have any nearby electrical power sources, like a power line, cell tower, another detectorist nearby, etc. then I will raise the coil off the ground and point it directly at the tower or other person. This gives the GM1000 the best chance of "seeing" the interference during the few seconds frequency scan so possible interference can be eliminated or at least reduced as much as possible. However, in the interest of being completely honest, I have not found the Gold Monster at 45 kHz to be particularly sensitive to electrical interference and while in the middle of nowhere Nevada I often just turn the machine on and go about my business will no ill effects noted. The raise coil and point at nearest electrical source is a very good habit to develop, but in my experience at least it is not as critical for me as it appears to be for others. I am always going to use the deep seeking all metal mode whenever possible. This is not just because this mode goes deeper, but also because the coil is more forgiving about reporting items that are not centered well under the coil. The discrimination mode has the net effect of reducing the overall size of the detection area under the coil. This means that when running in the iron discrimination mode more care should be used to overlap sweeps. When my goal is covering ground that little bit of extra ground coverage per sweep does add up and all metal mode helps reduce the chance a nugget will be missed on any given sweep. The Gold Monster is noteworthy in that Minelab finally seems to have realized that the speaker actually needs to be loud enough to hear! I am quite enthralled by the boosted audio and the way the smallest targets pop even with my admittedly poor hearing. In fact, the Gold Monster bangs out so loud without headphones that I will often run a notch down from the maximum volume setting - it's so loud that in quiet locations it can be too loud. The volume control is also a secondary sensitivity control in a way, and so I usually run it full out. I do this as much to help create a forced threshold sound as to enhance my ability to hear small targets. More on that later. One of the greatest features on the Minelab Gold Monster 1000 is the automatic ground tracking. In my ground at least it is very efficient at effortlessly keeping up not only with ground conditions but in taking the edge off many hot rocks that would be problematic for other detectors. The beauty of this is that it eliminates the need to keep up with and make small adjustments to the ground balance control as would be the case with a detector that lacks an efficient automatic ground balance. I think most companies are equivalent when it comes to many features, but I do think when it comes to automatic ground tracking technology that Minelab has been and continues to be the industry leader. I was a "manual tuning only" diehard for a long time, but my experiences with the Minelab SDC 2300 in particular taught me to let go of that old thought process. The automatic ground tracking shifts the burden to the sensitivity control as the prime operational control on the GM1000. Minelab has positioned this control close enough to the center of the control panel that it is easily manipulated up or down with a thumb press by either left or right handed individuals. To summarize, I will raise the coil and point it at the nearest electrical source and then I will power the detector up and wait until it completes the frequency scan. The Gold Monster defaults to the last settings and so my machine will already be in all metal mode, but if not I will switch to that. From there I will go to manual sensitivity setting 7 and do a short walk around sweeping the coil over the ground. For me this means the coil is sliding lightly over the ground or no more than a few millimeters over it. So far for ground I have been frequenting the magic settings are 6 - 7 - 8. With the Gold Monster at full volume what I am seeking is a very minimal amount of ground feedback. These are very soft sounds that are quite unlike the hard edged pop of a genuine target. These sounds are created by the sensitivity being so high that ground noise is just starting to overcome the ground tracking ability to silence the ground. The problem with a silent search machine while in manual ground balance mode is that without a threshold you can end up leaving some performance on the table. If a setting of eight generates a little ground feedback, and you decide to go with 7 to make the machine completely silent, there is nothing wrong with that per se. However, if the ground changes and gets milder you may have the ability to run at a higher level of sensitivity, and without a change in the audio to alert you to a change in the ground, you will just leave the setting where it is. In my case if a setting of 7 is completely silent, I will bump to a setting of 8, and this almost always gives me that little ground feedback I want. If 7 is too noisy, I will drop to a setting of 6 and this will probably do the trick for me. The range between each setting seems about perfect for a person to settle on a range of three settings, too little, too much, and just right. For my areas 6 - 7 - 8 are the magic numbers. For worse ground the range may shift lower, to 5 - 6 - 7. Try and picture this. At sensitivity 7 I am just scanning along, coil lightly on the ground, with soft ground feedback, waiting for that hard little signal that even the tiniest target will generate. Then all the sudden the machine goes dead quiet. I have entered less mineralized ground. One thumb tap to sensitivity 8, and I get my "false threshold" back. Or, at a setting of 7 the machine gets noisier. Maybe a little alkali patch or more mineralized ground. A quick tap down to 6 reduces the feedback to my desired minimal level. What I am doing is letting the ground tracking do its job, and then just bumping the sensitivity up or down a notch to ride the ragged edge of best performance for the ground. "Gee Steve, sensitivity 6 - 7 - 8, aren't you giving up lots of depth running at 6 or 7 or anything less than 10"? My air testing...." A pox on air tests! They have uses but have little bearing on how to get the best performance out of a detector in the field. I do like to run my detectors hot and that does often mean with some ground noise, but it has to be kept within manageable limits. For the purposes of covering a lot of ground pushing the GM1000 to the edge is good but any farther and everything sounds like a target and knock sensitivity shoots up dramatically, especially at the hyper sensitivity settings of 9 and 10. The reality from what I have seen so far is that the Minelab Gold Monster 1000 at settings of 6 - 7 - 8 will match or exceed most detectors in its class. Let's save manual sensitivity 9 or 10 for my next detecting scenario up next. Again, a reminder that 6 - 7 - 8 is working well for me in moderate ground. In more mineralized ground it may be 5 - 6 - 7 or even 4 - 5 - 6. If you simply listen to the machine it will tell you where you need to be. Too high, too low - just right. I have actually found gold with the sensitivity as low as 3 when in some nasty salt encrusted ground. People seem so adverse to lowering sensitivity I often wonder how many would just give up before going that low. It just can't find gold set that low, can it? Yes it can. You either tame the ground or go home and even though depth is reduced you can still find gold a low sensitivity settings if that is what it takes to get stable performance in the worst ground. So what about auto sensitivity? Simple really. If you are finding that you are having to bump the sensitivity up and down too often (you will know when that is for you) then it is time for Auto sensitivity. Auto sensitivity is different than manual in that you can trust it to keep the detector at the optimum level even if running silent. In general Auto is the silent running mode whereas Auto+ usually introduces a slight amount of ground feedback at full volume. As I mentioned earlier the volume control acts as a secondary sensitivity filter and running it lower can reduce or eliminate slight ground noise while still allowing targets to sound off loud and clear. Auto+ works best for me in most places but if need be I can drop to simple Auto for more difficult variable ground where Auto+ may get too noisy. OK, we have been hunting as described above and get a target. What next? If you are digging everything, a good practice, then just recover that target. If it is faint, either bumping the manual sensitivity up two points or dropping out of Auto into a high manual setting can aid greatly in pinpointing and recovering the target. What about trash? Too much and I don't want to dig them all? I am hunting in all metal mode and I rely on the meter to make a dig or no dig decision. In some ways it is a probability thing. If a few sweeps over the target from various directions produce a series of "hard left" ferrous meter responses, the target is likely ferrous. My goal is to try and coax a non-ferrous response with the meter kicking to the right. Just one non-ferrous response raises the odds you have a non-ferrous target. Even then I might pass in a trashy area, but two or more non-ferrous responses and you had better just dig it. Small nuggets in mineralized soil are fighting the ferrous content of the soil itself and in bad ground the ferrous ground response often wins. If you are looking for gold look for reasons to dig targets, not reasons to walk away. The amount of trash will help determine just how aggressive or lax you decide to be in these dig or no-dig decisions. Running is disc mode should be reserved for situations where there is no other option. It may be needed to eliminate a certain hot rock response. Or there may be multiple trash targets per swing - you can't analyze them all. The iron discrimination mode can be a real lifesaver in these instances. However, consider the borderline nugget that will read ferrous seven out of ten swings. That means you only have a 30% chance on a single pass over the target of having the machine give an audio non-ferrous report while in iron discrimination mode. The odds are even worse if you are not perfectly over the target, a bit too high, or swinging a little too fast. If the detector decides ferrous on that first pass, you get no sound and go right by, never knowing it was there. This is where detectors with a ferrous tone have the advantage in alerting you to every target so you can double or triple check. With a silent rejection system you get just one chance at the target and if the detector is wrong, the nugget is missed. Minelab Gold Monster 1000 Iron Discrimination Mode Versus All Metal Mode All metal is more forgiving in multiple ways, but mostly by alerting you to every target, allowing you to stop, get the coil lower if need be, slow the sweep, change the angle, etc. all with the goal of trying to coax a non-ferrous response from the target. I highly recommend that if you use discrimination you use it sparingly and conservatively, and only go to full blown iron disc mode it you must. We all have a different threshold for when that will be but rest assured hot rocks or thick trash will pretty much force the issue. That sure sounds complicated! In practice, hunting at sensitivity 6, I am going to get a signal. If it is faint, I will bump the sensitivity a couple notches now that I am on target. Too hot for general hunting but fine for spot checks. The target response will enhance, giving much surer results on the discrimination meter, and allowing for easier pinpointing and recovery. Target in pouch, sensitivity back down two notches and I am on my way again. For extreme ground JP has a bit more complicated method for getting back into the hunt as described here. For me personally hunting in moderate ground simply going back to my base sensitivity setting and swinging away is working fine. Again however, I am discussing just general detecting at this point, not getting the best and finest edge on the performance. Which leads me to.... ...that 20 foot by 20 foot spot I want to clean out. The 5" coil has an edge on the really tiny gold and in more mineralized ground in particular it "sees" less ground and is the coil of choice for cleanup duty. In moderate ground I run the Monster at manual sensitivity 10 and much like running my GPZ 7000 fully maxed out with Steve's Insanely Hot Settings I tame the machine strictly through coil control. This means moving at a crawl, and because at sensitivity 9 and especially 10 some knock sensitivity is introduced, I employ my magical ability to keep a coil 1 mm off the ground while never touching anything. In severe ground sensitivity 9 or 10 may not be attainable at all, and as always I defer to JP and his operating procedures for dealing with really bad ground. But for my milder ground I can crank the GM1000 all the way up and even with the 10" coil hit gold down to around 1/10th grain and with the 5" coil smaller yet. Again, extreme coil control is the answer here but the catch is that you are never going to cover much ground in a day doing this. If covering ground is the goal, stick with more stable settings. But if you want to chase flyspecks (they do add up) then be very patient while working the coil and the Minelab Gold Monster is pretty amazing in what it can do. I do hope this helps somebody somewhere. Again, all I am doing is telling you what I am doing and what is working for me. If you prefer to do something different by all means - I am not trying to say these settings are the "best settings" as in my opinion there simply is no such thing. The best settings for my wife would probably be Auto sensitivity while in disc mode. "Here honey, swing this closely over the ground, and if it goes beep, dig it up." Different ground and different experience levels mean different settings. Never be afraid to experiment. If you only use settings you find on a website and never experiment yourself you will never truly learn any detector and what works best for your circumstances. Good luck out there and above all, have fun! More Information On the Minelab Gold Monster 1000 Sensitivity Settings Photo below: Some gold I just found, 4.9 grams total. The top four nuggets were found with the GPZ 7000 (largest nugget 2.2 grams) and the bottom nine with the Gold Monster 1000 (smallest flake ?? gram) using the methods described above.
  14. 27 points
    We went up to an old wash site on a shape ridge and I got a good reading on a rock out crop. I dug down and found a nice picker about two inches in the dirt and rock. I went over the hole and got another reading. Another picker. I kept doing this until got about 6" down. I got 9 pieces that weighs 3.9 gram. It was at the end of the day and my battery was down. I will go back another day and tear that top of the ridge apart. There will be more gold in that area. I am about to put my Gold Bug II away for a while, but never sell it.
  15. 27 points
    It has certainly been a busy year for me so far, with not as much detecting time as I would like. Still, I have been getting out a little and thought it was time to share a few photos. My first couple bits were found with the Minelab Gold Monster 1000 on some scouting runs. I am liking this detector as a grab and go unit for checking areas out quickly. I am not trying to hunt for max performance but instead looking to cover a lot of ground quickly to check things out. I have learned the GM1000 auto sensitivity actually suits me well for this. I just fire up the detector in all metal mode, full volume, and start with auto sensitivity set at Auto+1. Then I just start swinging. If noise intrudes (usually in salt areas) I will back down to Auto+0 (there are just two Auto settings available Auto and Auto+1). Once the GM1000 gets out and about people will no doubt note the Auto settings are not the hottest. Which is why I like them. The GM1000 is a super hot machine already, so I am looking more for stability than anything else, and know it will pop hard on any small nuggets I get over. If I were pounding a patch hard I would use manual sensitivity and push it high, but that would introduce noise and require very careful hunting. For me however the GM1000 serves best as a light weight quick and dirty way to check new areas - just grab and go. I posted previously about finding a nugget using Auto sensitivity which is where I learned how useful the setting is. Here are two more small nuggets located using Auto+1. Both nuggets banged hard, one at maybe an inch and the other at about three inches. I am not trying to promote or to push the use of this setting, I am simply reporting what I am doing and you can decide for yourself if it is useful for you. 0.1 gram and 0.4 gram nuggets found with Minelab Gold Monster 1000 running in Auto+1 sensitivity I did finally get a GPZ 19 coil for my GPZ 7000 and it was time to give it a go. I tried one area I had hunted before in case a larger deeper nugget was lurking. My first lesson with the GPZ 19 was not how large and deep a nugget it can find but how small and shallow! The only thing I had missed and left to find was this less than 0.1 gram nugget. It was practically on the surface and so gave a small warble when it got close to the coil winding. I was surprised and impressed the coil can find gold this small. The next location is one I scouted with the GM1000 and found the 0.4 gram nugget. The spot got my interest so I went back with the GPZ 7000 and 14" coil to hunt it. Turns out it was a nice little patch with some chunky gold! The ground was deep so I mounted up the GPZ19 and hunted it again. I did come up with one nugget I missed before, whether from sloppy detecting or just a little too deep I do not know. It was a little 1.2 grammer at around a foot down. I continued hunting outside my area and came up with another at 1.3 grams. GPZ19 Nuggets I had removed the Minelab skid plate that came with the coil and replaced it with the closed Nugget Finder cover. I like this cover for uneven ground as it does not get hung up of rocks and sticks as much, but it does rapidly collect a pile of debris! The coil did false if banged on a rock and would require care in rocky ground, though I was running it as hot as ever so that contributes to it. I usually hunt grassy and sagebrush country and it does well here just gliding on the grass, though if the grass is deep it will ride up on it above the ground. Still, the larger size gave me this feeling that I had a little extra insurance in that regard and so I used it to hunt over low brush where it might reveal nuggets hidden when others went around the brush. False signals from banging a rock aside I do think the coil actually runs a bit smoother with my Insanely Hot settings. The GPZ19 is slightly too heavy for me for general use in hilly terrain and too large for a lot of the sagebrush areas. It is just the ticket however for covering large open terrain and that is where it will see the most use with me in the future, or for pounding old deep patches. The extra pound was not quite as bad as I was expecting and in flatter ground just my regular bungee setup sufficed. I did try out the Hipstick though and think it a better option for long hours with this coil. Well, lots of info there I hope people can get some use out of. It's always nice to be out prospecting whether or not I find any gold - but gold does help! 24 grams or about 3/4 ounce with largest nugget 4.5 grams or just shy of three pennyweight. This post has been promoted to an article
  16. 26 points
    My prospecting partner from San Diego and I made a quick trip down to Baja for some prospecting. The area is an old placer site about 190 miles south of the border. He's been detecting the area for over 20 years, from Gold Bug through Minelab 2200 and now with the GPZ. All the patches have been hit pretty hard but we managed to scrape up a few nice pieces. We had 3 good days of detecting, I spent one day on the old patches and the rest of the time exploring for new spots. My nugget total was half of his since he opted to stay on the old patches. We drove as far as we could up an old wash then traveled another 2 to 3 miles by motorbike, then hiked another mile or so up some steep canyons. He uses a Yamaha Big Wheel trail bike, I used my newest prospecting steed the Rokon 2 wheel drive mototractor. The Rokon is a terrain traveling son of a gun, if you can hang on. I managed to dump it a couple times, invariably in bowling ball sized rocks or on steep boulder strewn hills. I'm still nursing a bruised ankle after that 200 lb machine came down on top of me pinning my leg and ankle underneath. It's definitely not for the faint of heart or those that are 2 wheel vehicle balance challenged (like me). All my falls occurred from momentary indecision and hesitation. The solution seems to be pick a line, then hit the gas or stay at home. My nuggets all came from a single wash where recent rains had blown out some of the overburden leaving bedrock within detector depth. My partner pulled almost an oz swinging low and slow over the old hillside placer diggings. This was really our tune up trip, preparing for an extended trip another 300 miles south after Christmas.
  17. 26 points
    Took a break from chores and getting the cabin ready for winter, and got a couple afternoon sessions in with the Monster. Went to a decomposing granite knob I first hit a couple summers ago, digging along the edges and got a few. Then I removed some sagebrush and exposed a couple crevices where I scraped out little guys like this: The other deeper crevice was really fun! Ended up with just a tad over a gram for 2 afternoons of playing. Worth MUCH more in fun! :-) Will be getting snow soon, so not many more days to get out!
  18. 26 points
    I got a call at my business the other day. A miner was desperate to get some reclamation work done. I thought I had this guy pegged as another miner that made a mess on public land and now he is being told he has to clean it up. I was wrong. I ask his where the work was and what needed to be done. When he told me I told him this could cost several thousand dollars. He said he well understood the cost involved but the U.S.F.S. was going to keep his bond in addition to charging him for them to do the work which was several times more expensive than what I told him my work might cost. The work was to construct erosion control in his access road, remove a section of the road, and block off the road from future access. This didn't sound right and I told him I needed to see his Plan of Operation. He drove 100+ miles to bring me a copy of his plan. It was for occupancy for more than 14 days and to construct and maintain an out house- nothing more. The bond amount was extraordinarily excessive. I called the U.S.F.S. minerals officer to try to get a better understanding of the situation. She said that she considered the road as part of the reclamation. I replied "maybe it was but it wasn't part of the plan". She didn't care and if he didn't do as told he would be charged for the costs of the U.S.F.S doing the work. Somehow I managed to hold my smart@$$ mouth and my temper and politely said I believed the historic public road was protected by statute and she was acting outside of their own minerals administration guidelines, that if I could be shown a regulation, forest rule or any thing the claim owner signed or initialed that obligated him to eliminate his own claim access or something that gave her the authority to make these demands, I would immediately load up equipment and do the work otherwise I would need a better explanation from District Forest Ranger and Forest Supervisor. The claim owner received a call soon thereafter and was told he did not have to do the road work. The claim owner nearly spent thousands of dollars needlessly. So if any of you own a claim, please take the time to familiarize yourselves with regulations that apply to you AND regulations that apply to the regulators. Claim owners have more rights regarding their claims than what most realize. Please-no anti government rants if you reply. Thanks. Klunker
  19. 26 points
    I spent a few days up in the high Sierra running the 7000 around looking for a new patch, a first patch...not to be this trip and not surprising as hopeful as I tried to be I have also come to terms that finding a new patch will likely be a long term endeavor. Exploring is fun however and every outing provides a tid-bit of new info, view of old workings new to me and more experience hunting that elusive nugget. Paying attention to the sage advice of those far more experienced than me offering their wisdom here for us newbies I allocated a portion of my time to hunting previously fruitful earth. This proved to be very good advice as I've scored one of my most important goals, finding a nugget suitable as a pendant for my wonderful wife (she did give me the 7000 for my b-day, I think that was a good thing). It only took 2 1/2 years, but on the afternoon of the second day I hit a old well known patch and scored a nice flat 9.7 gram nugget sitting on edge down only about 5 inches with another 4 or 5 inches of Forrest mulch on top of the dirt. I had been hunting for about 30 minutes when I got near an area I'd found a small round 1/2 gram on the previous trip. The 7000 was running so smooth with the new update I decided to jack the sensitivity to the max just because this spot has been so heavily pounded...after swinging the coil forward possibly 3 feet I picked up a promising target signal and out popped this little hanger for my sweethearts birthday next month. I also scored another little half gram nugget back at the old patch on the next day to sweeten the drive home. The little round one was found hunting the previous time up after meeting up with forum member relic/park master Strick for a little social hunting. Happy hunting, clark
  20. 25 points
    Most of us Prospectors are avid outdoorsman! You can find us with the same smile on our faces be it fishing or hunting. This Deer Season my old Buddy NuggetSlayer (Jeff), headed up to the hills to hunt some Deer. Well early into the hunt on opening day, he took carful aim at a 2x2 Blacktail Buck. One well placed shot, Jeff let the Deer run over the top of the ridge to bleed out as he hike to find the blood trail to track it down. It ran a little further than he expected, but the woods opened up and was easy hiking following the Deers trail. Called his hunting partner on the radio for some help, he had it field dressed ready for the hump back to the truck, when he arrived. With all the excitement of the hunt, he was dreading dodging all the pine trees and brush on the other side of the hill and down to the truck. Then it hit him, he was smack in the middle of and old Hydraulic Pit. He quickly changed from his hunting hat (even though it’s the same dirty one) to his prospecting hat! Deer hanging at camp and rested up he hiked back to the Hydro Pit and scouted it, he sent me pictures of both Deer and Hydro Pit. I told him it looks like a no-brainer, just a matter of getting it under the coil and dig it! We waited well after hunting season to finally get there with our GPZ’s. Chilly start with the trucks temperature gauge saying 25 degrees. But the little hike over the ridge made it feel a few degrees warmer, lol. As any Hydro Pit, plenty of trash...Relics to some, but the wrong color for today’s hunt. I finally, found a dink and called Jeff on the radio. Didn’t take him long to find one several yards from me. Jeff, made a big circle and came back to his spot and heard another possible target at the edge of his dig hole...yep another nugget! Well to make a long story short, he found a little spot that didn’t get washed away back in the day. We messed around making his hole bigger and 14 of them 15 nuggets came out of that pay material. Well this spot is to far for a day trip and it’s way to chilly, until after next Springs snow melt to finish this spot off and to explore the entire Hydraulic Pit. Now, Jeff can afford some Potato Salad with his Deer Steaks! Until the next hunt LuckyLundy
  21. 25 points
    Finally got the GM1000 out on the lode mine gravels I have access to. The small coil picked through the iron and trash easier than my GB2 did, and with it being so hot it was REALLY nice not having headphones on. Dug lots of crap, but eventually got a couple nice specimens. Tomorrow, up to one of my favorite benches if I can get across the creek! :-)
  22. 25 points
    This winter I did a lot of climbing the hills. Sometimes it pays off good..... The fellow I sold this nice find to made this Youtube of it... Hope you enjoy it.
  23. 25 points
    Picked up my GM1000 from Gerry on Friday, then after doing chores up at the cabin got it out yesterday and today. Used the larger coil for scouting out a new spot and after a couple hours of no decent targets yesterday, went over the same area with my GB2. Still nothing, so at least I didn't miss anything in that area, but I wasn't real comfortable with the Monster yet. So today, after yacking with VA Nurse Paul last night and Scott T today...both singing its praises, I put the small coil on it and went to my "old reliable" bench to see if I could squeak out another baby nugget. Moved rocks and dug up some sagebrush....initially hunting with trusty GB2 to get a target, then compare it with the Monster. Wow, it could hear the Fly-poo AU I find up there, and the disc was pretty reliable! I found 3 pieces using the GB2 first, then once I was more comfortable with how the Monster responds, it sniffed out 6 more! I noticed on some "iffy" signals that the Goldbug heard, the Monster picked them up a bit better. I was using manual 10 sensitivity and All Metal/deep, and as others have mentioned, it does false if you hit a rock etc. Not using headphones and having no threshold hum was actually nice for a change too. Pretty cool machine....tomorrow I'm going to hit the hard rock gravels and see how it does. :-)
  24. 25 points
    Got out for my first nugget hunting trip since getting back from my "Snowbird" gig in FL (loved it!). Spent several days looking for new areas and patches.....skunked at Rosebud/Rabbithole, and wandered seemingly aimlessly along the outer edges of Rye Patch where I did stumble across a nice little nugget all by itself...unfortunately not a new patch :-( So hunkered down and got in the "zone" to hit some of my hammered areas......and the zed didn't fail me! Here's some pics...
  25. 24 points
    Like a lot of people, I detect for gold because I want to find gold, not because I want to make heaps of money out of it. If I was doing this for a living I would have starved to death years ago. A mate of mine yesterday found this 1½ kilo rock with a 5000 and brought it around to my place to have it SG`d. It SG`s at 11.1 grams gold and I`ve never seen a piece anything like this so when my mate said he was going to smash it up to recover the gold I offered him spot price for it. This is the first piece of gold I have ever bought, I thought it looked too good to smash up. It looks better in real life than it does in the picture. And I scored major points when I gave it to my lovely lady as a birthday present. She loves this kind of stuff. Dave upload my photos