By Steve Herschbach
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.
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.
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By Steve Herschbach
This year has not been going exactly as I imagined it would. My stated goal for the year was to set a new record for days in the field detecting. So far however, it has been anything but that. No complaint - I have been devoting myself to visiting family and other things that took precedence over prospecting. Weather has also been a bit dodgy this spring leading me to sit out things a little waiting for better conditions.
What time I have had for prospecting has mainly been spent in northern Nevada. I am really taken with the desert and am very partial to the sagebrush and grassland country. It reminds me a lot of the time I spent in Australia with huge wide open spaces to wander. I enjoy the idea that gold can be found nearly anyplace, the exact opposite of Alaska, and I love just wandering from valley bottom to hill top because, well, you just never know. There is some old and interesting geology here that leaves nuggets in what might seem to be pretty unlikely locations. I did find one nice little patch that produced about half my gold this spring, but the rest were just strangely random isolated nuggets. I would find one and get all excited, then after several hours of methodically gridding the area wonder why that one nugget ended up there all alone. My largest nugget, at 3/4 oz, was just such a find. I wandered out of what looked to be the "good area" and just lucked into this nugget all by itself on a hillside far above the valley floor. Where did it come from? Why nothing else near it?
I like to wander around freely but due to the nature of the gold deposits I am relying heavily on the GPZ 7000 map screen and GPS track to attack areas in chunks. I just start someplace and then use the GPS mapping screen to fill in all the pixels as completely as I am able in a given area. My goal is to completely hunt that area and then write it off forever as being hunted. Each hunt area is dumped to X-Change building my master map of hunted areas. I am approaching it much like building a jigsaw puzzle, each planned hunt taking in a segment and filling it completely. I still like to wander around a lot but the main focus is long term - the many years I have ahead of me hunting these areas. I could just do what I have always done and hunt piecemeal but I decided it is time to switch gears and get more methodical about things. I figure there is a lot of that random "scattered gold" out there and that a slower long term goal to gather it up is a major part of my plan going forward. Using GPS mapping is key to getting good coverage while eliminating the chance I might waste time hunting and rehunting the same locations over the years.
The GPZ is also critical to this effort as I have great confidence in its ability to sniff out almost any gold that finds its way under the coil. Small gold, flat gold, wire gold, deep gold - the GPZ is my gold vacuum. All detectors miss gold, including the GPZ. But right now if I have to hunt an area once and once only, and have my best shot at finding what might be there, I do not know of a better option for me than the GPZ 7000. One detector, one coil, one pass over the ground ever - what are you going to use?
If gold is found a person of course has the luxury of coming back with different coils and different detectors and trying to find gold missed before. The problem is finding that first nugget. If it does not get found, you just wander on, never knowing that maybe you just missed a great patch, for the lack of finding that first, most important nugget. I am convinced there are many undiscovered patches out there still. The patches with the big easy to find solid gold may be very rare now, but "weak" patches comprised of smaller, or deeper, and harder to find specimen type gold surely exist. They will be found by people hunting outside the commonly known popular areas. That is what I have been doing. Hunting locations where other prospectors are rarely if ever seen. I honestly think I have been a bit lucky as of late but the methodology is sound and it is what I will be doing for as long as I have left to swing a detector.
I continue to follow the various posts around the world about the GPZ 7000 and people's experiences with it. Mine are pretty boring. I turn the machine on, maybe do a quick ground balance routine, and go detecting. I may not even go through the ground balance motions. I just turn it on and pick up from where I left off the previous day. I usually run in High Yield, Normal Ground, Gain of 12, Smoothing Off, Ground Tracking On. I leave most audio settings alone. The detector will often run noisy with these settings, especially in alkali locations. I may lower the threshold to 20 to knock out some excess noise, or just lower the overall volume level using my headphones. The GPZ lacks a master volume control that lowers all sounds at once, and so benefits from the use of an external booster with master volume control. The problem for me is that is one more battery operated gizmo, and so I often just use my headphones instead to gain the overall volume control I crave. I tend to run my detectors noisy but like it to be quiet/noisy not loud/noisy.
When the ground responses get a bit much, as is the case with ground salt, I react more by slowing down and modifying my swing than changing detector settings. So far I would say about half the gold I found was pulled out of fairly high salt response ground with the attendant moaning/groaning or hee/haw responses the GPZ produces in that type of ground. That seems to be a show stopper for a lot of people but I don't pay much attention to it myself. I have this theory that killing those responses might kill my gold finding capability on this ground to a certain extent, as I know some of these locations have seen other detectors that ignored the salt. They also missed the gold. Coincidence? Maybe. I have plans for more experiments regarding this but have had a hard time tearing myself away from my limited detecting time to do more comparative tests. Later.
Anyway, I have quietly picked up just over a couple ounces of gold with my GPZ 7000 so far this spring. The largest nugget is 3/4 oz and there are several other nice pieces I am very happy with. Nice solid, clean gold, my kind of stuff. An odd mix from very worn appearing to rough. I am unfortunately getting waylaid again with things I must attend to before I can go prospecting again and so I decided I may as well post this update now. It could be weeks before I get out prospecting again. Until then, here are some happy pictures to enjoy.
More Information on Minelab GPZ 7000
Click photos for larger versions...
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By Steve Herschbach
OK, you have seen the ad above in the Minelab GPZ 7000 brochure. Now you get to hear the rest of the story. This is a more detailed version of an email I sent to Minelab last fall regarding the new GPZ 7000. The background is I had been using the GPZ prototype for some time but was underwhelmed. I was initially put off by the weight and frankly it was just not my trusty old GPX 5000 and I was slow to shift gears. Yes, the machine performed but I had not seen anything that particularly knocked my socks off and had not been shy in saying so to Minelab.
I had an opportunity to return to a location in northern Nevada I had hunted gold previously in 2013. On that visit a portion of hillside was pointed out as the location of several nice nugget finds, including some delicate specimen gold. I did what any prospector would do and concentrated on hunting this area hard with my GPX 5000. I knew I was dealing with an area hunted hard with previous Minelab PI detectors and hot VLF detectors like the Fisher Gold Bug 2. I was the first there with a GPX 5000 however so figured I was going to find something others had missed. I was running a 14” x 9” Nugget Finder mono and set it up in Sharp at Gain of 16 which is a reasonably hot setting.
I was disappointed to find nothing but bullets, and so I switched to a used White’s GMT I had just acquired. This high frequency VLF detector was able to find two small and very porous gold specimens. http://www.treasurenet.com/forums/metal-detecting-gold/379162-nevada-gold-found-white-s-gmt.html Having found these, I again scoured the area but there appeared to be nothing else to find. I was not the only person to detect this location of course and so I just figured it was pretty well detected out.
The Minelab SDC 2300 came out in 2014 and Chris Ralph and I both had units which we were using with great success on gold the GPX was weak on. Small, porous, prickly gold. An invite came to visit the property again in the fall of 2014 and Chris and I figured the SDC would be just the thing to succeed where the GPX had failed.
We were field testing the GPZ 7000 prototype also by this time. Chris was tied up but I had a chance to leave earlier and camped out a couple days in Humboldt County hunting with the GPZ. I was really pleased finding just shy of a half ounce (15.5 grams) of nice gold, including a solid 6 pennyweight (9.4 gram) nugget which was my largest with the GPZ to date. I was now starting to warm to the machine which seemed particularly well suited to the wide open spaces of northern Nevada.
15.5 Grams of Northern Nevada Gold Found with GPZ 7000
The GPZ was of course a super secret project at that point, and so when I met Chris at the miner’s claims I had it carefully stowed away and pretty much forgot about it. The plan was to hunt with the SDC detectors.
I pointed out the location where I had hunted with the GPX and GMT to Chris Ralph so he could give it a go with the SDC. Frankly, I did not think he would find a lot but the new SDC 2300 certainly had a chance of making some finds there. I hunted another hot spot nearby, and my own SDC 2300 found four or five nice little specimen pieces. I was really pleased when Chris showed up and showed me two fat specimen pieces, weighing about one quarter ounce in total. Everyone was very impressed with the SDC 2300 and the gold it was finding in areas hunted over and over with PI detectors and hot VLF detectors like the Fisher Gold Bug 2.
We stayed the night but Chris had to leave the next day and it was good he went home with gold in his pocket. One of the claim owners also left, and it was down to just me and one claim partner. I stayed and hunted, finding another small specimen with the SDC 2300. I went a couple hours with no finds, and decided to wander over to the area where Chris had scored to see if I could do anything there. The claim owner and I puttered around awhile there then he decided it was time to go back to camp and grab some lunch.
I was about to get going again with the SDC 2300 when I realized I had the new GPZ prototype still in my truck. The claim owner was over the hill out if sight, and since he had just left me I figured it was pretty safe to get GPZ out and give it a quick go. So I went back to my truck, switched out detectors, and headed to where Chris had marked his gold finds.
Chris had hunted right where I had found the two specimens the year before with the GMT. I was a bit surprised I had missed two nearly 1/8th oz pieces but they were deeper than the GMT was going or I had written them off as ground noise. His two specimens were found only ten feet apart, and I could tell he had hammered the location. Every square inch of the dusty ground was covered with footprints. I fired up the GPZ and gave it a few swings, and was surprised to almost immediately get a nice signal exactly between the two little rock piles marking his find locations. I gave a few digs and revealed a nice specimen weighing about 3 grams!
I know I had been over this location with a GPX 5000 and a GMT. Chris is very methodical when on a patch, and I know the SDC 2300 is more capable than the GPX 5000 when it comes to small specimen gold. How could this be? I suddenly realized I had something very special indeed in my hands.
I wandered down slope, and right at the bottom of the hill where it started to flatten out I got another signal, and another couple gram specimen. Then only about 20 feet away I got another one. Now I was really getting excited. Less than ten feet away I got a real boomer signal, but it proved to be a bullet. Then a few feet, and another large signal. I dug deep into the hardpan, and know at that point it has to be gold. I dug carefully so as not to damage it, and finally recovered a solid lump quite a few inches down. It was an 11.2 gram or just over one third ounce gold specimen!
The property owners were very gracious and had told Chris and I we could keep all the gold we found. I appreciated that, but I also know that is easy to say when you do not think people will find very much, and the owners thought the ground pretty well detected. I was thinking at that point I needed to give them a share of the gold, but truthfully I did not want to part with this big lump, so I told myself I needed to find more gold. The problem was time was running out and I was worried the claim owner might come looking for me soon and see me with the GPZ. So I started scanning with 7000 as fast as if I was in a VLF competition hunt. My goal now was to just cover as much of this area as I could in a short amount of time.
Apparently speed does not hurt the GPZ all that much, because in short order I found another couple gram specimen. More frantic scanning, and another nice piece popped out of the ground. This was crazy – I know I had hunted this area! I expanded the area of the hunt, but the gold seemed to be on a very tight line heading down the slope. Some time passed, and another two or three gram specimen saw the light of day.
Now I was getting really worried the claim owner would show up and see me with the GPZ. I had a pouch full of gold specimens, and was really amped up at that point. I had not found that many large chunks of gold that fast in very many years. To say I was stunned would be an understatement. I had to quit though, and so I hunted up the slope so I could go back and show the claim owner my finds, and bring him back to hunt some more. I just figured I would put the GPZ away and go back to using the SDC 2300.
I made a bee line up the hill to where my truck was parked, swinging all the way, when I got another good signal. I dug and it got louder. And louder. I was into the hard material now and knew it had to be gold, so I slowed up and worked the edges of the hole carefully. The last thing I wanted to do was ruin a nice specimen. Finally, about a foot down I grabbed a handful of loosened soil that screamed when I waved it over the coil, and I felt a lump drop into my other hand when I went to separate it. This one was at least twice as large as the big one I found earlier!!
I was having a Eureka Moment. This whole experience was mind blowing. I was finding gold right and left as if this location had never seen a detector before. The GPZ 7000 was working some serious electronic magic, and it seemed it was particularly effective on porous specimen gold at depth that other detectors have a hard time seeing. The GPZ 7000 was hitting this stuff not with weak but with strong signals, like the SDC but with a coil size much larger than that on the SDC 2300. It was able to not only detect the kind of gold once only found with hot VLF detectors, but hit it at depths far exceeding what one of the best hot VLF detectors, the White’s GMT, could attain in this soil.
I was literally shaking I was so excited. The large specimen looked to be all gold with no rock showing but was very porous in appearance. Not like steel wool but more like a lot of tiny pieces of gold all lightly stuck together. I could tell it was going to be spectacular when cleaned up, and it later weighed in at just over 24 grams or nearly eight tenths of an ounce. I decided then and there I had found the chunk I would give to the property owners. They certainly deserved it and I still had about an ounce of specimen gold I could take home with me.
People may wonder at this a bit, but I believe in taking care of people that take care of me, and the day I was having was as good as it gets for me metal detecting. I just found 1.6 ounces of gold in less than three hours, was on cloud nine, and wanted everyone to share as much as possible in that experience. To say the property owners were surprised and appreciative would be the understatement of the century. It really just does not get better than that. All this happiness and great times were facilitated through the magic of metal detecting and the extreme capability of one detector in particular. Not to be overlooked however is the SDC 2300 which also shined very much along with the GPZ. My only regret is that I could not tell the claim owners the complete story at that time. Sorry friends, I hope you understand, but now you know the rest of the story!
Click images for larger views....
Fresh Out Of The Ground
On The Scale - 1.64 Ounces!
A Quick Rinse and a Side View Of Large Specimen
On The Scale - 0.79 Ounce
My Share Of GPZ Gold After Initial Cleaning - 0.85 Ounce
Photo Emailed To Me Of 0.79 Ounce Specimen After Cleaning
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I have noticed since I have been detecting in semi auto tracking, at the start of the day when I drop the ferrite ring on the ground, I can never hear the ferrite, but I do the thing with the quick track button anyway.
My question is: Once I have set up the detector to the ferrite ring in semi auto tracking, if I NEVER touch the quick track button ever again, and never take the detector out of semi auto, do I ever have to use the ferrite ring again?
It seems to me if you dont touch the quick track button in semi auto the detector always has the correct ferrite balance regardless of ground conditions. Dave
What ground balancing mode does everyone use? Only reason I ask, is I recently saw a video with Johnathan Porter on Facebook, , where he got a faint signal, that ended up being a nugget. He mentions if he was in auto, passing over the target 3-4 times, more than likely the signal would have went away.
Now I hunt in auto, and I can't count how many times I've come across a faint target, and it went away after a few swipes of the coil. Now I wonder how much gold I've missed....😢