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Steve Herschbach

Fisher Gold Bug Dp Vs Bounty Hunter Time Ranger Pro & F19

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There are three versions of the First Texas 19 kHz circuit for sale at many retailers. One is based on the original Gold Bug Pro model, sold with various coil options, and includes the now discontinued Teknetics G2. There is also a basic Gold Bug version with no manual ground balance, the bottom dollar variant.

The third version is a later design that added features to the Gold Bug Pro, the result being the Fisher F19. This is now also being sold with various coil options. The F19 is also available under the Teknetics label as the G2+, and now just released under the Bounty Hunter label as the Time Ranger Pro.

To reiterate, the Gold Bug Pro and G2 versions are the same circuit board, the only difference between the models are coil and rod options plus cosmetic differences.

The same goes for the F19, F19 Ltd, G2+, and new Time Ranger Pro. The same circuit board with different coil and rod options.

It is interesting then that the Gold Bug DP, the Gold Bug Pro with 7" x 11" coil sells for $200 more than the more capable Time Ranger Pro. "How can this be," you wonder? The power of name brand and a name, plain and simple. Fisher has a name equated with more expensive detectors, and the Gold Bug name carries it's own cachet. The Bounty Hunter name is usually for lower price models. Welcome to Marketing 101. Based on comparative capability I’d say the Gold Bug Pro is more like a $349 detector these days, so it’s fetching quite a premium.

Guide To Gold Bug Versions

Gold Bug Pro / G2 versus F19 / G2+

click or double click for larger versions....
Fisher Gold Bug DP and Bounty Hunter Time Ranger Pro

Gold Bug Pro and Time Ranger Pro features comparison

Gold Bug Pro and Time Ranger Pro controls

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I wonder if these newer versions have a new improved firmware over the older models.

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First Texas and others often do tiny tweaks and updates that are never announced. Small things slipped into the latest models. Sometimes to deal with parts changes as some electronics components go obsolete and cannot be had any longer. They do not advertise the fact or the detecting community goes nuts about old models being defective, etc. Bottom line is I’ll always take the latest over the older. You always have people that think older versions of firmware/software are better, but that is incredibly rare in my experience. But look what happens with every Equinox update for instance... always a few that swears the old version was better.

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There was a special on the F19 with 5" x 10" coil back in 2017 for $449. I see at least one dealer now has that price running again. So an even better deal yet for those looking for a gold prospecting unit at a bottom dollar price, and way better than Gold Bug Pro because it comes with the one coil we could never get standard on the Gold Bug Pro! First Texas simply refused to ever sell the Gold Bug Pro with the coil it should come with, the 5" x 10" elliptical. It could only be had as a dual coil package or an accessory. This same model is still going for $600 - $700 at other dealers so I'm not sure what the official position is on this or how long it will last. Big Boys Hobbies is reputable, so it's not a scam. Others are not, so beware.

Fisher Gold Bug Pro, Bounty Time Ranger Pro, Fisher F19 compared

Fisher F19 metal detector

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  • Similar Content

    • 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. 
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    • By phrunt
      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
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      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.
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      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.
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    • By ErikPeterFarr
      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.
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    • By phrunt
      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.
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