By Rob Allison
Well its that time of year where most of the US Prospectors are searching for gold, in the Southwest at least. I managed to get out this weekend with some friends, just roaming around some old stomping grounds in hopes to turn up a few bits missed years prior. I was toggling between my GPZ 7000 with the NF 12" coil and my GPX 6000 with the 11" coil. My other two friends were using the GPZ 7000's with the stock 14x13" coils.
Later in the day I can across some old piles left from prior mining and got a softer sounding signal and decided to investigate. My friends both had a few dinks now, so I was behind on the gold count. There's a lot of left behind rubbish in this area due to prior mining, hardrock and placering. I figured it was just another deep nail or something, but as I got down deeper, the target was actually on bedrock below the pile. I ended up scratching everything away from the bedrock and pinpointed the target in a crevice or depression (seen in picture below). Low and behold, it was a nice gold nugget, 4.6 Dwt's, just shy of 1/4 Troy Ounce. I was pleasantly surprised to say the least, didn't expect it.
I thought this would be good time to see if my Minelab GPX 6000 would hear this target with the stock 11" coil on it. I walked back to my truck, got the GPX 6000 and hiked back to the target location. I figured this would be a crude, but interesting test as there is so much debate on depth and how now many believe the GPX 6000 is better. I fired the GPX 6000, balanced and make sure the EMI was good, then scanned over the target area with the nugget back in it's original location. I couldn't hear a peep of a signal, which honestly is what I figured. I didn't expect to find it, or hear it with the GPX 6000. I played around with a few settings and even had my buddies come over to check it out. They both scanned their stock coils (GPZ 7000 with 14x13") over it, both heard the target, but it was still faint (not a super obvious signal).
This is one reason it's hard for me to put down the GPZ 7000, I have found many nuggets at depth, but deal with the heavy, bulky unit. I thought about going back and trying the 14" DD to see what it would have done, but for the most part, I never use the 14" DD, so it wouldn't have really proved anything to me, as I don't use it. It would have been interesting to see what the 17" coil would have done, but I didn't have it with me. I would think the 17" would have heard it.
I'm swinging the GPZ 7000 with the NF 12" Round coil 90% of the time, the GPX 6000 about 10% of the time. There are some bedrock gullies I have revisited in years, so I'm looking forward to spending more time there with the 6000 and 11" Mono coil. I think I also might be able to pack the GPX 6000 into a few canyons as I wasn't easily able to do that with the GPZ 7000.
Here are a few pictures below. I didn't have a tape measure, but Doc's pick is 22" handle length. I'm thinking between 18-20 inches was the true detection depth, but faint signal for sure.
I haven't done a story on a gold find for a while, partly because once you find a patch with a bunch of nuggets everything else seems pretty insignificant, a couple of months ago I did just that, it's only my second patch but had quite a number of nuggets, I'd guess at least 40 (Correction: at least 80 nuggets) and over 30 grams in total. I lost count of both the nuggets and the grams we got out of it in the end. I did take a couple of videos on the first and second day of it, after that I stopped filming and just worried about detecting as filming videos is very time consuming and wastes valuable detecting time 🙂 That patch has been the highlight of my detecting time and hopefully I can find another in the future, I'll put links to the videos for anyone that wants to watch them and hasn't seen them already.
Now to the more recent adventure, one of the most common gold spots I've been to is being developed, very soon it will no longer exist, already a large area of it has disappeared over the past few months with more to go yet, seeing it's probably the closest gold spot to home and one I've found a reasonable amount of gold before so it will be missed greatly. It's obviously getting extremely hard to find gold there as it's not a huge area really and it's been done a lot over the years by a number of people being an obvious spot to look.
My focus on this day was to take advantage of how well the GPZ and Concentric coil handles EMI to hunt almost exclusive in and around the power lines where people including myself with previous setups were unable to really detect very well, especially with my GPX 4500, it was terrible near the power lines, and what inspired me to try out a QED which ended up working quite well under the power lines but just didn't have the power of the GPZ.
I didn't take all that many photos as my aim was to get some video, I always struggle to get gold finds on video as I just use my phone to film and I have to put it down to do the recovery 🙂 I have a GoPro but just haven't bothered to use it yet.
I went to some bedrock and worked my way up digging every signal and recording and deleting all the recordings as they were turning out to be shotgun pellets, this is entirely normal in this area as it has a big rabbit plague and shooters love spreading their pellets around all over the place for me to dig back up again.
Here is a video of the first gold find, a .109 of a gram nugget, I was pretty happy with that to start the day as often at this location I go home empty handed. I didn't get the entire thing on video and I had my detector in difficult from when I was messing around the other day doing some testing and didn't check my settings, I'd never normally use difficult in my soil as Normal works just fine. Fortunately it didn't prevent me finding the gold, or the numerous pellets before it
Once I'd finished that bedrock area I walked up under the power lines to detect hoping I'd find something others couldn't get, I took a little video there of how the detector was working under the lines, I really love how well the GPZ handles power lines seeing they're in many of my gold areas. You'll also notice at the end of the video the millions of bits of rabbit poo on the ground, this is the reason for the shotgun pellets everywhere.
You'll notice in the video I discover I'm in difficult and seem a bit surprised, this is when I worked out I may have wasted the past hour detecting in difficult and it went through my head now I'll have to go check that bedrock again 😛 I was quite happy at that point I took the video or I may not have noticed for the rest of the day.
I started detecting along under the power lines and ended up in a little area I don't think I've been into before, I'm terrible with directions and locations so it's quite possible I have been there before and don't remember it but it didn't look familiar, I was still recording every target dig to try get a gold find on video and managed to do it, I think this might be my first time ever getting one from start to finish on video, quite happy with that.
And a couple of photos of it.
And my lucky last nugget of the day if you could call it that was a 0.038 of a gram nugget, very shallow on some bedrock, it took me about 20 minutes to recover this one, but I only got a portion of it on video, I kept moving it around but couldn't pick it up, I had no idea where it was in the cleared area, I was wishing I had a VLF with me with tiny coil to narrow it down.
I'd imagine there are quite a lot of these little guys around it's just the amount of pellets you'd have to dig to find them would be crazy. I do it more for the challenge but the novelty wears off after digging a massive amount of pellets and not finding any nuggets and if you ignore the pellets you'll miss these little bits of gold.
So here are the 3 little bits for the day
and the weights
All a bit of good fun, I really enjoy chasing these little bits especially after the first one pops up to get you into gear looking for more. I can't compete with the photos lately out of Alaska for gold though, I'm just glad I can do the hobby near home and find a few bits to keep me happy.
Here is a little tour video of where I was detecting.
Keep in mind to run these coils you need to have an adapter and that involves cutting the end off your existing GPZ coil and making an adapter out of it, it should only ever be taken on by someone very skilled at electronics or really the best thing to do is get a professional to make the adapter for you to avoid any problems.
I change coils more than most, in fact I've changed coils 10 times in a day when testing out various coils on bits of gold, by doing this I'd caused myself some lower shaft wobble, it turns out I'd cracked part of a clip on the shaft, the clip with the little rubber pad had a crack in it, so the shaft wasn't holding on tight. I suspect the people that had upper shaft issues where it wobbles a bit have either got the same crack on the pressure pad or they've just worn the little bit of rubber out. Fortunately it's a very easy and cheap fix.
Here are the part numbers for the clip mechanism
X2 8008-0056 Pressure blocks
X1 8008-0072 Camlock lever
X1 4308-0033 Pin
The part I'd broken was the pressure blocks. They come in a twin pack for replacement and are very easy to replace.
You dismantle the clip by removing the pin, I used a small screw driver to push it out of the clip. You then just use a small flat head screw driver to lever them off, pushing each side of the pressure block away from the camlock lever as pictured below.
This is the shaft with the clip removed. You can see the grooves cut out of it where the pressure pads need to slide into so when reassembling made sure they're straight so they fit into the groove.
You can see the little circular lump on the left hand side pressure pad, it's what goes into that dug out groove.
This is how the rubber pads look, I guess they can wear out over time and if they do your shaft would be wobbly.
Minelab sell all the parts individually, so you can just order what you need for the repair. They were very helpful with me, and had me solved by the next day using express shipping. I bought a heap of the little parts so I have spares seeing I change coils so often.
In my case I just needed the pressure blocks, the pin and camlock lever were obviously fine.
So if anyone's putting up with some shaft wobble, it's cheap and simple to fix.