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Digstock 2020, Best Detector To Use?

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(Update... im not taking the ctx3030 and instead I’m buying a equinox800 and practice with that and take it to the digstock event.

there has been some very good advice offered I  the comments... things that as a newbie I wouldn’t have considered.)


I’m recently retired and decided to start some new hobbies, metal detecting is one of them.

i bought a CTX3030 used at a great price from the president of the Ohio Detectorist association. It included the stock coil and a 17 inch. I’m still learning how to use it and so I basically dig every signal I get.

my question is this... I’m going to travel to Chazy NY for DigStock 2020 and will be hunting relics and coins... in open fields.

should I use the CTX3030 or should I also invest in a Garrett ATX and deepseeker for this event or should I take both?



Edited by Django
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Welcome to the forum.

The last thing you want to be doing is learning a new detector at an event.  My advice would be to stick with the 3030.  

If I were you and still considering another detector, frankly, you’d be better served by an Equinox or even a Vanquish as they are more straight forward to use than either the ATX or CTX  (meaning your learning curve could be achieved prior to the event) and just as deep overall to the CTX and have a higher recovery speed giving them better separation than the CTX in thick junk situations.  

The primary advantage of the 3030 is that you can program in sophisticated discrimination patterns and get super accurate target IDs at depth.  But that comes at the price of a fairly steep learning curve and a greater probability of programming in settings that can actually hinder performance.  If you are digging it all, you are not taking advantage of these advanced features and may actually have some counterproductive settings dialed in hindering performance.

Regarding the ATX, it is basically a big heavy but deep dig it all Pulse Induction machine.  It has no true iron discrimination or rejection.  It has a semi reliable “iron check” feature. It’s main advantage for relic and coin hunting being good depth in mineralized soils.

Not familiar with the Digstock event but I doubt you need something like an ATX there, especially at the ATX price point.  CTX should serve you fine unless you get information that the site is highly mineralized.  But like I said, if you are still climbing the learning curve on the CTX, I would really seriously consider a Vanquish or Equinox.  I think you will find the combination of straight forward operation, fast response, versatility, and value in these newer Minelabs very enjoyable as a newer detecting hobbiest.





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I don't know what you retired from but I hope it had something to do with the fitness industry!!!!! The CTX and ATX are two of the heaviest detectors out there and will definitely give you a workout even during a 2 hour hunt. Trust me, during 2 days of 8 or more hour hunts, heavier is really not better.

Sounds like the Digstock hunt is similar to Pound the Ground and is for wild Colonial Era targets. I have friends who hunt at PTG and they usually just take a deep VLF like a Whites V3i, MXT, MX7, Fisher F75 or the Minelab Etrac, CTX or Equinox. Maybe a pulse induction detector is not needed. So it is not a timed, speed necessary hunt for planted targets. The CTX is close to the last detector I would take to a seeded, timed hunt. The CTX is an awesome detector and will be fine for the mid and higher conductors. Sounds to me like you might want something better, lighter and just as deep for the mid and low conductors with good target ID and multi frequency operation to handle any mineralization around the Lake Champlain area. I would go with the Equinox 600, 800 or the Vanquish 540. They do just fine on high conductors like silver and will really hit hard on copper, brass, lead, gold and ferrous targets. Plus, they have some of the same operating characteristics as your CTX.


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Welcome, Django!

I see from this that the hunt is in mid-October.  So you have about 8 months to tune up your detecting skills.  Jeff mentioned that the CTX 3030 would not be good for a competition hunt, and I can see from their Facebook announcement that part of the entry fee includes one of these.

You didn't mention a price limit if you choose to invest in a different detector.  Most would interpret that to mean it's not a factor....  Both Chase and Jeff pointed you towards the Minelab recent entries (Vanquish and Equinox).  In particular Chase specializes in battlefield relic hunting and both of these guys are quite experienced with multiple detectors, so the coincidence of their recommendations is meaningful.  Internet prices are $369 for the 540 with large coil, $499 with large and small coils.  The Eqx 600 is $649 and the Eqx 800 is $899.  Each of those comes with just one coil -- the 11" diameter round DD.  However, that is my go-to coil for general (coin & relic) hunting.  I think the large 12"x15" for the Eqx is around $239.  The biggest differences between these three detectors are the features/options.  If you decide to take their advice and $899 doesn't scare you off then IMO go with the 800.  That's what I have and I do use many of its options that aren't available on the other two.  If you get an Equinox, in the short run you'll probably be best using one of the default modes so in that sense it's not much different than operating the Vanquish. That being said, it's easier to get yourself off-course (settings-wise) when you have options.  Detectors really are a personal match.

Finally I'm going to give a plug to Gerry McMullen (Gerry In Idaho is his site name here) if you decide to get any of these three.  Call him and he'll give you even more details and recommendations.  He's a multi-brand dealer and if he thinks a different detector is best for you I'm sure he'll point that out.


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Welcome Dejango and as others have already stated the 800  is a really good unit. Make sure you do the update and you will love it even more.

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On 2/13/2020 at 6:47 AM, Django said:


(Update... im not taking the ctx3030 and instead I’m buying a equinox800 and practice with that and take it to the digstock event.

there has been some very good advice offered I  the comments... things that as a newbie I wouldn’t have considered.)


Great decision.  Be sure to check out the Equinox forum here for some great advice on how to learn and use that Equinox and ask questions as necessary.  There are also some great books out there by Andy Sabisch and Clive Clynick on the Equinox, specifically. You will have plenty of time to learn it before October.  Maybe I’ll see you there.

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  • 2 weeks later...

If I could only take ONE machine (flying there) it would be the one I can log the most hours on and understand the best. I’ve got both machines in question (CTX and 800) and while they both work well for me in a variety of places, there’s not a chance in HELL I would leave the CTX at home. That’s ME. Because of its accuracy and the lack of prior knowledge about how many targets I might find, I can locate and mark “sketchy” signals with GPS and check those later when I’ve run out out of better signals to look at. In a place that’s been pounded by SOMEONE over the years (or perhaps several “someones”), the remaining signals might all be pretty sketchy, but the superior discrimination of the CTX allows ME (because I have ALOT...i.e. a couple THOUSAND hours on this machine) to interpret the information in a useful and efficient way. After around 250 hours with the 800 (yes, I hunt RELENTLESSLY) it is showing itself for what it does well and what it is really good at. The two machines have an “overlap” in ability, but to say one is clearly “better” than the other...period...it’s just not the case. If I could, I would take BOTH. If you can only take ONE, take the one YOU understand the best by the time the event happens.

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Welcome Django,

Don't be afraid to look at the Nokta multi kruzer. Very user friendly, great discrimination and goes deep. I'm having a lot of fun with mine. They run around $636 and they often throw in a pin pointer with it. Good luck with your decision.

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