By Steve Herschbach
I as just alerted by a forum member that Cabelas is advertising the Fisher Gold Bug 2 for $574, a new low price. I do not know if this is a clearance sale, or a permanent price reduction, or if it is offered at other dealers. I'm sure we will sort that out real fast!
They also have the basic Gold Bug on sale for $375. Do not confuse this with the Gold Bug Pro. The Pro has both ground grab and manual ground balance, the basic Bug has ground grab only. Otherwise however they are the same detector.
This may be temporary but it also in my opinion is overdue as a permanent move on the basic Gold Bug at least. That model really should just be discontinued in favor of the nearly identical Gold Bug Pro, but if not it sure needed to come down in price. It adds to the confusion out there and some people buy it thinking they are getting the Pro. Just clear it out and discontinue it.
Gold Bug 2 is a tougher story. It is in a class of it's own as an old analog model that with 6" concentric still may best the best tiny gold getter on the market. Newer machines at lower prices may very well equal it though, or close enough for most people. The main problem with the Bug 2 is it is expensive to manufacture so I am not sure a permanent price reduction would be sustainable. Fisher has discontinued several models in the last couple years and may be consolidating or revamping their lineup around the introduction of a new website.
Lond story short this may be just a temporary sale or a sign of bigger things... we will see.
By Steve Herschbach
I have to admit to being an elitist snob. Way back decades ago I formed the impression of Bounty Hunter as being low cost, almost junk. Plus some of their physical designs are kind of laughable. That did change over the years but it came in useful when I was a detector dealer and Walmart came to town. Bounty Hunter was the "Walmart Brand" and so when people asked about them I went with the flow. "That's just the low end Walmart stuff - you can do better than that." It worked, and mainly because lots of people thought that way.
First Texas eventually purchased Bounty Hunter and has been sliding variants of some Fisher models into the Bounty Hunter lineup. I've always liked the First Texas 19 kHz models, and when the F19 showed up in new Bounty Hunter clothes at with a lower price I finally bit. There is not much to say about the detector itself, since it is just a Fisher F19 or Teknetics G2+ in a different package These are well known models with a long track record, so no need for me to do some kind of new detector review. Long story short I always wanted a F19/G2+ but thought they were overpriced, at one point costing more than an F75, and in fact many online dealers are still selling the F19 for $799. The new price lower price at $399 and the blue/black color scheme got me over the hump. Interesting note. The red bottom of the stock coil is not a coil cover, it is the actual bottom of the coil! No scuff cover is included but arm rest strap and a couple velcro coil cable straps are included.
I ordered a new NEL 3.5" x 6.5" DD coil to go with the new detector. It did come with the scuff cover. I as much got this to run the coil as the detector as they are a good match in dense iron/trash. Total weight with NEL 2 lbs 9.5 ounces.
The bottom line is Bounty Hunter is slowly changing and there are definitely a few of their models worth a look these days. I'm still a little amazed I own a Bounty Hunter, but fact is it's a nice little unit and I like it. If nothing else I think it's a sharp looking detector.
Bounty Hunter Time Ranger Pro Data & Reviews
Bounty Hunter Time Ranger Pro with stock 7" x 11" DD
Time Ranger Pro with NEL 3.5" x 6.5" DD "Snake" search coil
Bounty Hunter Time Ranger Pro Features
Note from moderator: The following posts were all moved from this thread to this location. It is worth a separate thread. See our List of Legitimate Metal Detector Dealers
Seeing you're new to detecting you probably don't know about the pitfalls yet, there are fakes, fakes of many of the best detectors, here is an example
Whatever you do don't buy one, it won't work well for you. Also if you're buying second hand Minelab are extremely helpful in verifying the detector you're buying is genuine, contact them about it! get the serial number off the seller, they can name the seller and where they purchased it from for you if it was a real one.
I hope you purchased your Gold Bug Pro from a reputable dealer as it's also a highly faked detector.
Here is a fake Gold Bug Pro for sale
It looks like they're clearly made to be sold to the African market, note the Depar sticker on the shaft
Since its origins in 1976, DEPAR has been, and still is, Middle East, Africa and Turkey leader in distributing quality metal detecting technologies for consumer with its experienced personnel and succesfull dealer network and serves as an authorized technical service.
By Steve Herschbach
Fisher Research originally released the 19 kHz Gold Bug model about 1987. It was a real breakthrough design at the time with a compact control box, S-rod, and elliptical coils. The detector is a good unit but is strictly all metal (no discrimination). It has no LCD readout and looks much like the current Gold Bug 2 but has a white lower rod and a black control panel face. Some people are confusing this old model with the new so be aware of this when looking at used detectors. The 19 kHz coils for the old Gold Bug will not work on newer versions of the Gold Bug below.
Around 2010 a number of new Gold Bug models were released by Fisher. First came the Gold Bug in 2009. Then came the Gold Bug SE (Special Edition) which added manual ground balance at a bargain introductory price. The SE with minor tweaks later became the Gold Bug Pro at a higher price. So now we have two basic versions, the Gold Bug and the Gold Bug Pro. They differ from the old 1987 model by having an LCD readout. The standard version of either detector comes with a 5" round coil. There is a Gold Bug DP (Deep Penetrating) which is nothing more than a Gold Bug Pro with an 11" x 7" DD elliptical coil instead of a 5" round DD coil.
The only difference listed by Fisher between the Gold Bug and the Gold Bug Pro is that the Gold Bug Pro has a manual adjustment option for the ground balance and also offers "higher sensitivity".
Both models use a "Ground Grab" button as a simple ground balance method that is quite effective. The Gold Bug Pro allows you to also manually adjust the ground balance setting up or down. The manual adjustment can be used in conjunction with or separately from the Ground Grab button.
The big question is the "higher sensitivity" claim. There are two possibilities here. First, that the Gold Bug Pro actually allows for higher gain or sensitivity levels. However, I was in marketing too long and have a more jaded thought. Manual ground balance allows for a higher degree of control that if used properly can get you more sensitivity. There is a very distinct possibility the higher sensitivity claim follows directly from the ability to manually ground balance the Gold Bug Pro. This could be tested with both units set side by side with identical ground balance settings and max gain. If the Gold Bug Pro is inherently more sensitive an air test should show it. I have not had the chance to do this my self but if somebody wants to there you go.
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My opinion? I believe the Gold Bug and the Gold Bug Pro if outfitted with the same coil are basically the same detector. The only real difference is the manual ground balance option on the Gold Bug Pro. Do you need it? Not really, and especially when you consider that for $499 vs $649 that is probably all you are getting. The Ground Grab function is remarkably effective and would suit most people just fine.
I personally do like manual ground balance and so for me spending the extra money to get it is a non-issue. I do as a rule tell people that if cost is not an issue get the Gold Bug Pro. It is far more popular and would be easier to resell. But in all honesty I think the Basic Gold Bug is the real bang-for-the-buck unit. There is nothing else close to it at the $499 price point that offers full LCD readout target discrimination while in full power all metal prospect mode.
I should note that First Texas owns both Fisher and Teknetics. The Fisher Gold Bug DP (Gold Bug Pro with 11" coil) is marketed by Teknetics as the G2. The Fisher Gold Bug DP goes for $699 and the Teknetics G2 is $749. The $50 extra gets you a pistol grip rod instead of the Gold Bug S-rod and an arm strap. Nice gray paint scheme also. Really boils down to pistol grip vs S-rod, purely a personal preference thing.
I use the 5" x 10" elliptical myself and consider it to be the best all around coil for the Gold Bug. However, right now you have to get it as an accessory or as part of a two coil package. Fisher would be doing us a service to release the Gold Bug with this coil as standard on the unit.
My Gold Bug 2 is slightly better on the tiniest of gold but the Gold Bug Pro easily outperforms the Gold Bug 2 on larger nuggets at depth. For all around nugget detecting the Gold Bug or Gold Bug Pro (and G2) have a better balance of both small gold and large gold capability than the Gold Bug 2.
Fisher Gold Bug Pro & Teknetics G2 Detailed Comparison
To recap first came the original 1987 era Gold Bug with knobs and switches:
1987 era analog Fisher Gold Bug
Then in 2009 we got the new Gold Bug:
Fisher digital Gold Bug
Followed quickly and briefly by the Gold Bug SE. Note how the plus and minus buttons now have dual functions, both Disc and Ground Balance, compared to the basic Gold Bug above:
Fisher Gold Bug SE
The Gold Bug SE was basically the prototype for the Gold Bug Pro, which got a new faceplate decal and a higher price:
Fisher Gold Bug Pro
And finally, the Gold Bug Pro was also marketed under the Teknetics line as the G2 with a different rod/handle assembly:
Gold Bug Pro DP compared to Teknetics G2:
Click on images below for larger versions.....
This is my first post and I'm still relatively new to detecting. Wondering if the size of my nonferrous pieces is indicative that I would miss gold. This was from about 6 hours with a Fisher F19 that I got on sale. The California ground is annoying in that it needs balancing every few steps. Anything above gain 60/100 and >0 threshold would be way too chirpy, I think that indicates decently hot ground. Got a really good feel for negative rocks, though the tones with Iron sound an awful lot like everything else. Discriminate mode blocked a lot of the chatter but it made me worry some about missing targets.
Note that I did pan good areas nearby and take samples, none of which had even the tiniest speck so I doubt I actually missed any. I'll need to take longer trips either north or east where the better claims are.
Here where a majority of our old coins are deep it makes absolute sense to hunt in all metal on the Bug, the depth is better in All metal, and the detector is still smart enough to give you an ID in all metal so it's a shame you can't take advantage of that to it's fullest by having the ID's in the location they should be. The ground phase being dominant is a puzzle to me. They must still have someone there who is alive and kicking and knows how to change the software. I would not think that would be a significant change either, it's just the source of data to the display output being modified. It would have been harder for them to display the serial number on startup which they do on the newer ones.
The thing I've noticed with large UK old half crown sterling silver coins on the Bug is they can wrap around in disc mode depending on the depth from the coil, they can go beyond the 99 of the ID and be a weird scattered rejected target that shows up bouncing in the high 90's to iron. In all metal they work and show up right high in the 90s. I would say it's not a good large silver detecting unit. The smaller silvers are no problems but this weird large silver oddity is a bit of a worry. It might be fixed in later models who knows but mine both do it.