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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-vs-bounty-hunter-time-ranger-pro.jpg
Fisher Gold Bug DP and Bounty Hunter Time Ranger Pro

fisher-gold-bug-dp-versus-bounty-hunter-time-ranger-pro.jpg
Gold Bug Pro and Time Ranger Pro features comparison

fisher-gold-bug-dp-vs-bounty-hunter-time-ranger-pro-controls.jpg
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-dp-versus-bounty-hunter-time-ranger-pro-versus-fisher-f19.jpg
Fisher Gold Bug Pro, Bounty Time Ranger Pro, Fisher F19 compared

fisher-f19-sale-flyer.jpg
Fisher F19 metal detector

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    • 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! 
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      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.
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      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.
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      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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    • 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.
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