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Question For Club Members And Those That Attend Hunts

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I am looking for some objective non-partisan opinions on what detectors are in use right now. I am seriously not interested in people promoting their favorite brand but just hoping for some honest observations.

At your club what are the most prevalent brands and models you are seeing? Same thing at the hunts. What are the top two or three models you are seeing?

My last couple trips to the UK it was simple. Now these are groups comprised not of locals, but visitors from the U.S. I’d say 95% were swinging either a XP Deus or Minelab Equinox, plus a few CTX 3030. That seriously was about it.

In my circle of the serious prospectors I know it’s pretty much a Minelab PI/GPZ world. For VLF prospecting units lots of Gold Bugs, Gold Monsters, and White’s Goldmasters/MXTs. Garrett AT Golds are pretty rare. 

But what about general coin and relic across the U.S.? Not the serious forum types but the folks at the clubs and hunts. I’m guessing some regional preferences, and I’d have to guess Garrett is still big with many club type hunters going by YouTube activity. But I honestly don’t know what the masses are using and thought you all might enlighten me on that? This is really nothing other then pure curiosity on my part. Thanks in advance for any comments.

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Steve- I belong to one club and attend their outings regularly. Most of them swing a whites, I see the MXT, MX7, DFX and XLT being used.

Now the group of 6 relic hunters I hang out with that are not members of the club swing either a Deus (4) or an Equinox (2). I'm in Utah.

The only other hunts I attend is DIV which as you know is dominated by PI's. But I also see quite a few Garrett's and Equinoxes, occasionally see a Whites MXT.

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I am a member of a big club. Most of the really serious relic hunters are using XP Deus/ORX and the Equinox. Our local dealer here mostly sold Whites and Garretts, so many of the more casual turf hunters use those detectors. A couple of outstanding all-around master, incredible detectorists still use Whites MXTs, DFX, V3i, Fisher F75/T2 and Garrett AT Gold/Max. Some of them are manufacturer sponsored. Gold prospectors are all using Deus/Orx and Equinox/ Gold Monster along with Minelab PIs and a few TDIs. No Nokta/Makros  and rarely see a Tesoro either.



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My Northern Colorado club is very small and most of it's members don't have the resources for newer high performance, multi-freq detectors. They have older VLFs like White's DFX, Garrett AT Pro, Ace and even some BH. The club mostly focuses on relics and coins. I'm considered the "outsider" that likes to hunt for those elusive gold nuggets and old coins, using high end Minelab PI/GPZ units.


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8 hours ago, cobill said:

most of it's members don't have the resources for newer high performance, multi-freq detectors.

That is one reason I ask. Forum members are kind of a detecting elite. The last few times I spoke at club meetings it was obvious there are lots of retirees on limited budgets. Many are there as much for social connections as detecting. I had one well attended meeting, like about 100 people, and I asked how many had a DEUS. Only a few hands. I'm guessing $200 - $700 detectors were more the norm. In Alaska $700 - $800 detectors were easily my sweet spot, best selling models. It was weird actually as nobody wanted a $400 - $500 detector. They either wanted inexpensive $200 - $300 detectors or they wanted best bang for the buck at $700 - $800. $400 - $500 was a squishy middle ground no-mans land from a sales perspective. Not cheap enough and not good enough all at the same time.

Certain places favor a brand. White's is in Oregon and I was a White's dealer in Alaska for 35 years and sold a ton of White's up there. They make solid performing reliable machines that last forever. So that brand is favored in the northwest especially. Garrett seems stronger back east and south.

Nokta/Makro despite strong forum presence I would have guessed as near non-existent in the real world U.S. Just way too new and with no advertising except online. Most people have probably never heard of them.

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Where I am located there are no clubs within 50 miles, however I know that Whites are mostly used around here because there are a couple of dealers in the area.

When I go on a group hunt I am taking my 800 with me, but most of the time we use a system that we have made.

It is for relic hunting only and we have to use a laptop to see what is in the ground. We have a depth of over 5 feet with this setup and can find the shape of what is down there before we dig.

I used to work on loop systems for parking garages and fast food systems for over 20 years and had this idea brought to life.

The software was made from a friend who works for John Deere in the programming dept.

I will explain it more to you Steve in a message if you are interested.


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On 1/1/2020 at 3:49 PM, Steve Herschbach said:

Forum members are kind of a detecting elite.

Absolutely my observation.  People think the Vanquish is going to put Garrett out of business.  I wonder if it will even make a dent in their sales.  That Duracell battery commercial has likely gotten them more exposure than all the other detector manufacturers' ads in history!  I say that because of the near-sighted view we get when we depend too much on the forums as indicating what the run-of-the-mill detectorist is reading and thinking.  Walmart, Bass Pro Shops, Cabellas, Dick's Sporting Goods (oh, and I almost forgot Amazon) -- they have such a huge advantage when it comes to exposure.

Back to your topic question, like 2Valen I don't have a local detecting club and I doubt there is one within 100 miles of me -- yes, I've searched for them.  In the few recent years I've been dectecting around here, the detectors I've either seen or been told of people owning (alphabetically by manufacturer):

First Texas:  Teknetics Omega

Garrett:  AT/Gold and AT/Pro

White's:  V3i and Beachhunter

Minelab:  XT705, E-Trac, Equinox 800

Dealers are nearly non-existent within 100 miles.  (And again, I've looked for them.)  The only one I know of claims to be a multi-line dealer, but is only open twice a week for half a day each, doesn't answer the phone, and takes several days to answer e-mail, very curtly, as if they don't care if they get my business or not.  (OK with me; they don't.)  People like Gerry, Rob, Doc, and Brian are a dying breed.




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On 1/1/2020 at 11:55 AM, Steve Herschbach said:

I am looking for some objective non-partisan opinions on what detectors are in use right now. I am seriously not interested in people promoting their favorite brand but just hoping for some honest observations.

At your club what are the most prevalent brands and models you are seeing? Same thing at the hunts. What are the top two or three models you are seeing?

Steve, this information was compiled in 2015 by Chris Davis who is a club member of the PPAL  Club (Colorado Springs area) and now the president of the Eureka Club (Denver area) it was in the PPAL July 2016 newsletter. I know their has been a lot new detectors introduced between then and now, but I thought you might find interesting.


PPAL/Eureka! Demographic Survey – 2015

Chris Davis

Demographic and suggestion surveys were run on both the Pike’s Peak Adventure League (PPAL) and the Eureka! Treasure Hunter’s Club (Eureka!) for the year of 2015.

PPAL is based in Colorado Springs and reports a paid membership of 65 during 2015. The Eureka! Club is located in Littleton and has 150 members. I am a member of both Pike’s Peak and Eureka! and can tell you from personal experience, they are both great clubs.

Responses were received from 54% of the Pike’s Peak folks, and 39% of the Eureka! members.

As with most surveys, there was room for error involved in this one. Of course, the more respondents, the better the information. Many respondents did not answer all questions. I could not assume, just because nothing was in the blank, the answer was “0” or “No”. If no information was submitted on a particular topic, it was excluded from calculation. Inadvertently, I asked several questions of one club, but not on the other. Never-the-less, all-in-all, I think we got some interesting and useful information.

I discovered both clubs had a very good sense of humor. For example, for “Sex”, 3 PPAL members listed “Yes”, while Eureka! only had 2 “Yes” and 1 “Seldom”.

As you might expect, there were similarities and differences between the clubs. According to the data:

-The Male-Female Ratio and Age Composition of both clubs are similar. It appears most detectorists in the clubs are mature (older), averaging around 58 years of age. Half were retired.

-PPAL members report twice as many years of metal detecting experience as Eureka! members.

-The average PPAL member has been in the club twice as long as that of Eureka! members.

-The Detectorists own an average of 3 to 4 machines. One PPAL member reported owning 14 machines. One Eureka! member said he/she owned 18 machines.

-While a wide variety of detectors were used, it appears the most popular machine used by PPAL was the Garrett AT Pro. Eureka! members preferred the White’s MXT by a wide margin.

-Eighty percent of both clubs used Garrett pinpointers. White’s fell in at 10-15%.

-Both clubs averaged finding one gold ring, 3 silver rings and 3 silver coins per member during 2015. The 2 clubs reported finding a total of 93 gold rings and 236 silver rings last year.

-Eureka! members attended more club hunts (6) than PPAL (2), but Eureka! held twice as many hunts, and the PPAL hunts were often multi-day affairs.

-PPAL members report making approximately 3 hunts a month. Eureka! hunters averaged 4.

-The data seems to confirm PPAL has more of an emphasis on Relic Hunting, while Eureka! being in the big city, focuses more on Coin and Jewelry Hunting. Most members of both clubs hunt parks. Eureka! hunts parks the most (92%), while 74% of PPAL hunts parks. On the flip side, 76% of PPAL hunt Private Property, while only 49% of Eureka! hunt private lands.

-Eighty-odd percent of both clubs regularly read their Newsletters.

-All suggestions and comments have been submitted to the Officers for consideration.

A breakdown of the data, averages and ranges is listed below:

PPAL Eureka!

Total Club Paid Membership: 65 150

Total Responses: 35 (54%) 59 (39%)


Demographic Survey Continued

Age 60 (39-88) 56 (16-82)

Sex M (75%) F (25%) M (70%) F (30%)

Retired or Working Working (50%), Retired (50%)

Years Detecting 19 (0-61) 9 (0-48)

Years Club Membership 10 (0-43) 5 (0-31)

Ever in Other MD Clubs No (64%), Yes (36%) No (95%), Yes ( 5%)

Number of MDs 3.9 (1-14) 130* machines 2.8 (0-18) 142*

*Husband/Wife teams probably double counted machines

What Activities Are Folks Participating In?

-Coin/Jewelry Hunting 97% 95%

-Relic Hunting 89% 64%

-Prospecting 49% 36%

-Bottle Hunting 40% 12%

What do Folks Say They Do Most?

-Coin/Jewelry Hunting 61% 92%

-Relic Hunting 29% 8%

-Prospecting 7%

-Bottle Hunting 4%

Machine Used

Coin/Jewelry Relic Water Coin/Jewelry Relic Water

Fisher F-75 1

Fisher CZ-21 1

Minelab (no model) 1 1

Minelab Explorer 1 1

Minelab ETRAC 2 1 1 1

Minelab CTX 1 2 1

Minelab Excalibur 1 1

Minelab Sovereign 1 1 1?

Garrett (no model) 1 1 1 4 3

Garrett AT Pro 7 4 2 4 3 4

Garrett Ace 150 1

Garrett Ace 250 1 1

Garrett Ace 350 3 1

Garrett AT Gold 2 2 1 1 1

Garrett Sea Hunter 1

White’s (no model) 4 4 2 2 2 1

White’s XLT 2 1 6 1

White’s MXT 1 1 17 12 4

White’s V3i 3 2 4 2

White’s DFX 1 5 4

White’s Surf Master 2 1

White’s Beach Hunter 1

Makro Racer 2 2

Teknetics 1 1


Demographic Survey Continued

Machine Used

Coin/Jewelry Relic Water Coin/Jewelry Relic Water

Tesoro Shark 1

Bounty Hunter 1

Radio Shack 1 1

XP Deus 1 1 5 4

Pinpointers Garrett 81% Garrett (80%)

White’s 10% White’s (15%)

3 Misc. 3 Misc.

Gold Rings Career 5.5 (0-50) 176 total 7.2 (0-100+) 371 total

Gold Rings 2015 1.0 (0-15) 33 total 1.1 (0-18) 60 total

Gold Coins Career 2 total 6 total

Silver Rings Career 11 (0-50) 240 total 27 (0-200+) 1,046 total

Silver Rings 2015 3.1 (0-30) 103 total 2.5 (0-20) 133 total

Silver Coins 2015 12.5 (0-200+) 399* total 4.7 (0-100+) 222*

*2 PPAL individuals listed 200+ and 100 silver coins found in 2015. 1 Eurkea individual listed 100+. May have been quoting lifetime recovery, rather than 2015, possibly included planted coins. That, or they need to invite me over for a hunt. If drop the fliers we have:

3.3 (0-25) 99 total 2.7 (0-20) 122 total

# Club Hunts Attended 2.0 (0-6) 5.9 (0-12)

# Hunts per Month 2.7 (0-10) 4.0 (2-23)

Where Are People


-City Parks/Schools 74% 92%

-State Parks 35% 27%

-Private Property 76% 49%

-Other 35% (NF 5, BLM 4, etc)

Where Do People Hunt The Most?

-City Parks/Schools 92%

-State Parks 0

-Private Property 8%

Read the Newsletter? Yes 88%, No 12% Yes 81%, No 19%


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Interesting, not one XP machine in either club.

Most of the relic detectorists I hang with are using a Deus or Equinox (or both).  I have seen an interesting trend of folks moving from Equinox to Deus.  Those folks usually moved from AT Pros or Whites MXTs to Equinox and then on to Deus in iron infested sites.  The various central Virginia relic hunting hroups are dominated by the GPX due to the soil conditions, with ATX's and TDI's coming in a distance 2nd and 3rd.

On the beach, hard core water detectorists still appear to prefer their Excals with some smattering of Equinoxes and Beach type PI's.  On dry sand, it's the Equinox and AT Pros.


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14 minutes ago, Chase Goldman said:

Interesting, not one XP machine in either club.


Chris Davis who wrote the article is using a XP Deus now and I'm not sure in 2015 if he was using an XP.  Of course the Equinox wasn't around in 2015. Both clubs now have more XP and Equinox users, in which I've recently acquired a XP Deus.

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