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Competition Hunt Metal Detecting Tips Please?

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big seeded hunt coming up in 2 weeks in central indiana and all I have is my old Headhunter Diver water machine. Thick mowed grass hunt. Should I get something with a small coil like an old Tesoro Compadre or Ace 250 or? Will I need my Garett Propointer or just eyeballs to pinpoint? And I do have tennis elbow right now, what to do about that as well? Wear a compression band around elbow and forearm? I know my Garrett Propointer sometimes picks up interference from the Garrett Ace 250 which would be bad news in a speed hunt.

Any tips on competition hunting appreciated. Do I need headphones, full earcups or the little foam ones?


-Tom V.

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The Vanquish 340 is lighter than the Simplex. The 340 weights around 1,2kg while the Simplex weights around 1,4kg. Part of the difference comes from the coil weights , the Vanquish V10 coil weights only 360 grams while the Siimplex 11 coil weights 480grams. This makes an important difference . At the moment the lighter machines are the XP Orx ( 750 grams) and XP Deus ( 850 grams ).

If you have a tennis elbow using a harness like the Minelab harness could be a good idea whatever the detector you use.

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A lot will depend on how big the search area will be, the concentration of targets, and the time you have for the hunt. In a small area with lots of targets, I like a real small coil. It's faster and easier to zero in on a target and move on to the next one. Speed is thing here on this type of hunt. If it's a big area with few targets, I'd want a bigger coil, maybe an elliptical one. Something that will cover ground, but also be easier to swing and pin point. Usually nothing is deep on a seeded hunt, so, reduce the sensitivity to make it REAL stable and less likely to crosstalk with other detectors, including pin pointers. I'm not sure I'd want to use a sling in a seeded hunt (though I admit, I haven't tried it). It seems to me it might reduce the speed at which you make recoveries. If you have a machine that can change frequencies and/or noise cancel, I would use that machine. You get all sorts of detectors in that close proximity and you're likely to get some interference. I use my Equinox on seeded hunts with no problems. 

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The Simplex is waterproof so you can use it for other places besides the 1 hunt. There is also the Ace Apex but that is more $$.

I X over my targets to pinpoint or use the tip with dd coils.

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It's all about speed and efficiency. Use a Bigfoot or Cleansweep coil if they are not prohibited by hunt rules. Some hunts won't allow them as they are deemed to offer an unfair advantage. Which pretty much tells you the story on how well they work for scalping shallow targets.


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21 hours ago, Steve Herschbach said:

Use a Bigfoot or Cleansweep coil if they are not prohibited by hunt rules. Some hunts won't allow them as they are deemed to offer an unfair advantage.

I participated in a club hunt which had about 60 participants.  There were four rounds and the survival count after each round was something like 24, 12, 6, (1 winner).  I didn't keep an exact count, but from memory the fraction of survivors with White's Bigfoot coils (didn't see any Tesoro Clean Sweeps) was something like 40%, 75%, 83%, (and winner).  The only detector in the finals not a White's+Bigfoot was an XP Deus.  (I got knocked out in round 1 using my Fisher Gold Bug Pro with 5"x10" DD coil.)

I've heard of hunts that don't explicitly ban Bigfoots & Cleansweeps but just limit the max dimension of the coil.  Not surprisingly that dimension is small enough to eliminate those two.

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ok, thanks. I resurrected my 20 year old Tesoro Lobo ST. I modified it a little a few years back, cranked up a certain Pot inside 1/4 turn, was sposed to get more depth at the expense of more chatter and less accurate discrimination.  I still could not get a coin past 8 inches? Well, stupid me, when I tested the machine this time, I happened to notice the black sand mode switch was engaged !!!   This cuts depth in half in favor of more stability in Hot ground. I flipped this back to Normal mode, cranked Sens not quite to the Orange line, sudden air test depth boost to 10 inches on a quarter in disc from previous 7 inches. 11-12 inches with headphones.

No minerals around central Indiana where I have now moved to West Lafayette to be closer to the Indiana gold fields. Black dirt. Hunt will be in tall grass but mowed, several acres in size, thousands of coins and tokens, hunt cost $35. They had issues with poison ivy last time but supposedly it has been heavily sprayed this year. Wonder if I should wear some lite gloves?

I could possibly neck or hip mount the LST to cut my arm weight. The machine is VERY easy at  pinpointing , VCO audio, fast sweep speed, and I removed the nylon ties I had holding the skid plate to the coil so it won't get hung up and rarely has interference with other machines. Plus this is the only machine I ever really liked and learnt how to use it best, despite no meter, not waterproof, hardly any bells and whistles. Should I use the 8 inch round or 9x8 coil for the hunt?

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35 minutes ago, tvanwho said:

Should I use the 8 inch round or 9x8 coil for the hunt?

So you don't have the stock 5"x10"?  Coverage is important (driven by the head-to-toe dimension) so unless you're faster pinpointing with the smaller coil I'd go with ~10% more coverage (sweep direction) of the 9x8.

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If your using the Lobo then see if you can find a clean sweep for it if that is allowed like Steve said. If not the 10x12 is a really good coil and very easy to pp with. Targets will hit dead on where the coil connector is. One of my favorite coils of all my machines and do pretty well with it on my Tejon. I got mine as an open box for around $80 shipped but like most Tesoro coils they can be difficult to find.

Alternatively there is the Nel Thunder 10x14 1/2 but seems a little pricey and possibly heavy.

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