Hello from Canada!
Long time lurker here from Canada reading up on many many pages on here (and others) on detectors and needed some advice/user experiences that people have had (and thank you in advance as i appreciate any reply taking the time to do so!).
This would be a first time detector for me and ideally i would like to spend around $400usd and can maybe stretch it to $600-800usd if i wait, although i'd really like ideally something in the $400 range.
My primary use would be for small tiny gold nuggets in my area (~0.1g-~1/2g) mainly hunting placer gold in rivers/riverbeds, and some relic/coin hunting on the side if possible with coil swaps.
A couple of detectors that made my short list:
-Bounty Hunter Time Ranger (non pro) ~$300usd (Pros: comes with 8-inch search coil and 4-inch Gold Nugget coil Cons: Operating frequency 6.6 kHz) Seems like it can get the job done and used for both gold nuggets and coin/relics, price hard to beat, only downside is the 6.6 khz on smaller nuggets i think.
-Minelab Vanquish 440 ~$300usd (Pros: Multi IQ Frequency 5-40khz Cons: Not specifically designed for nugget hunting, no small 4-5" coils) Also seems like it could get the job done with the v8 coil although more geared towards coin/relic, still with possibly playing with sensitivity and no discrimination could be a viable option and was thinking about this one heavily.
-Fisher Gold Bug 2 ~700usd (Pros: 71khz frequency Cons: Specifically designed for gold nugget hunting, high price, not multi versatile as not many coils) On the higher end of the budget with price, not really versatile in the sense that i can only really use it for nugget hunting, on the other hand excels at nugget hunting but that's all.
-Minelab Gold Monster 1000 ~700usd (Pros: 45khz frequency Cons: Pretty much the same as the Gold Bug 2) Again high end of the budget, same as gold bug 2 except lower khz but easier to use.
-Minelab Explorer 2 ~300usd used! (Pros: 1.5khz-100khz, multiple coils Cons: Discontinued, Not designed for nugget hunting) I found a user Minelab Explorer 2 that comes with a carbon fiber shaft, 10" coil, 7" coil, 2 battery packs! I think for the price it's a steal! I also read that although general consensus is that it can't do gold nuggets, however a couple people had tweaked the settings and were still able to pick up nuggets that were as small as 2grain (0.1gram) with small coils!
Please let me know what you guys think would be a good fit, as well as any others that you can think off, and again thank you in advance for reading this and replying!
By Steve Herschbach
The waterproof pulse induction field is very limited at this time. It divides into two classes. Pulse induction metal detectors that ground balance, and those that do not.
A pulse induction (PI) detector by its nature tends to ignore mineralization, so much so that in milder conditions a PI works fine without a ground balance circuit. As I noted above however a PI is not immune to mineralization. A non-ground balancing PI detector will sound off when raised and lowered over true black sands. The more concentrated the magnetite, the more intense these signals will be. The bottom line is that on real bad black sand beaches even a basic pulse induction will sound off if the coil height is varied too rapidly over the beach. In the water with troughs and depressions false signals are all but impossible to avoid. The most extreme situations require a ground balancing pulse induction (GBPI) metal detector.
Pure white non-magnetic coral beaches - most any detector will work well Even a hint of mineralization - a multifrequency detector has an edge over single frequency VLF where there are both saltwater and magnetic minerals. Moderate mineralization - you want multifrequency or pulse induction. Severe mineralization - at some point a ground balancing PI (GBPI) is required. The above conditions grade from one into the other seamlessly. Hot rocks are a wild card as hot rocks in a normally mild beach can cause false signals on a PI detector that lacks ground balancing capability.
Finally, I should note that PI detectors with ground balancing capability have a crude sort of tone discrimination that can be used to advantage.
Fully submersible pulse induction metal detectors
Here are the current mainline waterproof PI detector offerings:
Bounty Hunter - no PI
Garrett - Sea Hunter Mark II (PI) and ATX (GBPI)
Fisher - Impulse AQ
Minelab - SDC 2300 (GBPI)
Nokta/Makro - no PI
Teknetics - no PI
Tesoro - Sand Shark (PI) (Discontinued)
White's - Surfmaster Dual Field (PI) and TDI BeachHunter (GBPI)
XP - No PI
Finally, here are the key specifications for comparison:
Fully submersible pulse induction metal detectors
By Gerry in Idaho
As a very fortunate and experienced gold hunter who has had my share of success with a variety of gold detectors and found my share of heavy metal, I get asked this question all the time. Yes I have my favorite but will not share it at this moment. The reality is, there is no "the best", for all situations and or people.
What I'd like to see, hear and read is your input and answers. No wrong answers as this is your opinion. In fact, even those who have yet to find gold with your detector, your input is wanted. After all, why did you decide on the model you own? Was it price, features, weight, depth, warranty, or referral from a friend?
There are many to choose from. Just off the top of my head, I can think of 20+ different current models of gold detectors. Surprisingly each manufacture makes more than 1 so there is a reason.
Some on here are well known salty pros, others are seasoned veterans and quite a few accomplished rookies. Now with the price of gold we are seeing a new run of wantabees. Realize everyone's experience is different, so please also mention your level at gold hunting with a detector.
Thanks for sharing your time, input, thoughts and knowledge.
Me personally, I've been chasing Au for 25 yrs. Again, I'll mention my favorite at a later time.