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Selecting A Detector For Appalachian Ground


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I'm looking to buy my first detector this year, specifically for nugget hunting. After lots of research I'm leaning towards the SDC 2300, but wanted to see if you have other suggestions based on my terrain/conditions. We don't have much public land for detecting because the national forests and state parks don't allow it. But I have access to a private 10 acre property with a creek flowing through it. There was allegedly an old gold mine that was buried decades ago in a neighbouring property, so hopefully it is a good place to work. The ground is covered in lots of organic matter sitting on top of soil heavy in granite and red clay. The creek contains a wide variety of minerals specimens and a good amount of magnetite. So it looks like I'll need to focus on PI machines. Here are my main questions.

Will my time be better spent in the creek where the gravels and rocks are exposed, or should I also focus efforts in the higher areas covered in humus?

Should I wait for the Fisher Impulse Gold to come out (and prove itself with users) before dropping a few grand on older technology?

Does anyone recommend the Garret ATX or any other detector over the SDC 2300 for the area and conditions I'm dealing with?

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Golden,

Will the owner of the property let you pan samples?

I would pan to see if you can get some color.  That will help you determine what type of detector to get.

Mitchel

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North GA area??? --

I would seriously save up some gas money and spend it driving to AZ and spend a week or two detecting there---

I cant imagine detecting for nuggets the east--- its difficult enough in the western state...!

BTW I am from east tennessee--- 

If i were not able to travel away from the east (for whatever reason) I would be coinshoting and relic hunting--- maybe even down to the panhandle of Fla and do some beach hunting--

Just being real---- Good luck on whatever you choose----

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There is a prospector & detectorist in Virginia (site name is pg-prospecting) who has had success there.  I don't know how much his experiences transfer over to your situation but I would suggest reading his posts and watching his YouTube videos.  Here is his member profile page:

https://www.detectorprospector.com/profile/2703-pg-prospecting/

He might see your post and respond, but if not you could contact him.  But I recommend doing your homework (i.e. reading and watching) first.

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Mr. G,H.

 You have just received some very good time and money saving advise. The only thing I might add is I have nothing to add except I wish you the best of luck. Please keep us posted about you up coming adventures.

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My advice would be to get a more versatile and affordable detector.  Namely, an Equinox 800 and possibly the 6inch coil for max micro target sensitivity. If there is small gold near the surface, you will find it and that would clue you into whether it makes sense to drop serious coin on a PI.  If you don’t find any natural gold, at least you have an excellent coin, relic, and beach machine too.  That 10 acre site might not give up nuggets but it could give up relics or coins, perhaps even of the gold variety.

GL

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Golden,

I know there has been a considerable amount of gold found back east and if you are 'connected' you are privy to the private stories and collections that I heard about as a kid.  Here is a link to some of the images most of us in the west have no idea about:

https://www.google.com/search?q=dahlonega+georgia+gold+nuggets&rlz=1CAHJUL_enUS810&sxsrf=ALeKk039V5tZhxQR6dGeHy2QpwY3WMARYg:1609958775494&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiD8ann-4fuAhVfJjQIHbHjAuYQ_AUoAXoECA8QAw&biw=1366&bih=617 

The advice (not advise) you are mostly getting here is about the 10 acres you have access to and if you will be finding nuggets there. (Be assured just like ginseng there are people going into the forests and getting some nuggets.  That happens everywhere gold can be found.)

Detectorists go to lots of places with a detector that have little chance of nuggets being found because they have already been taken or the number was small in the first place.  If you have a passion (and a budget) for finding a few nuggets on this 10 acre property or some other 'permissions' the 2300 would be hard to beat for small gold.

You could have some good bragging rights if you find a few.

Mitchel

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13 hours ago, mn90403 said:

Will the owner of the property let you pan samples?

Yep, I pretty much have free rein there. I've panned a couple of times with a cheap off brand plastic pan and a cone shaped stainless steel batea. I haven't found anything, but I'm pretty inexperienced with panning. I've spent lots of time researching, but don't have much experience. My lower back also starts acting up after leaning over a few slow/unskilled panning attempts. The creek is also fairly skinny, maybe 2-3ft across and runs straight without any inner bends to target. There's a few spots I tried to remove gravels to get to bedrock, but I only hit the top of buried boulders.

 

7 hours ago, vanursepaul said:

North GA area??? --

I would seriously save up some gas money and spend it driving to AZ and spend a week or two detecting there---

I cant imagine detecting for nuggets the east--- its difficult enough in the western state...!

Western NC. I live near Hendersonville but the 10ac property is in Burnsville. I'm definitely flirting with the idea of heading out west eventually. I actually have family in Arizona. Why can't you imagine nugget detecting out east? Is it the combination of hot ground, thick organic layers, and lower quantity of nuggets available?

 

7 hours ago, GB_Amateur said:

There is a prospector & detectorist in Virginia (site name is pg-prospecting) who has had success there.

But I recommend doing your homework (i.e. reading and watching) first.

Thanks for the lead. I'm definitely a proponent of doing homework. I've been researching prospecting for years to decide a method of attack to invest in. Detectors seem more versatile than dredges. More portable and can be used many places dredges can't. I'm also looking into scuba gear for underwater sniping. I can do that in the national forests, just can't sluice or dredge.

 

6 hours ago, Chase Goldman said:

My advice would be to get a more versatile and affordable detector.  Namely, an Equinox 800 and possibly the 6inch coil for max micro target sensitivity. If there is small gold near the surface, you will find it and that would clue you into whether it makes sense to drop serious coin on a PI.  If you don’t find any natural gold, at least you have an excellent coin, relic, and beach machine too.  That 10 acre site might not give up nuggets but it could give up relics or coins, perhaps even of the gold variety.

I thought because of the high mineralization, hot rocks, and deep layer of humus and uneven terrain I would need the depth of a PI. I was also worried that the equinox might be a little complicated for an amateur like me, but maybe it would be worth it to spend more time learning on such a machine. The 10 acre site probably has some coins/relics, but I'm not expecting much. It is on top of a mountain at the end of a cul de sac next to logging land. I doubt there was much traffic up there in the old days except maybe the alleged gold mine further down the mountain. But to be fair, I shouldn't expect many nuggets either if I haven't found any yet.

 

3 hours ago, mn90403 said:

The advice (not advise) you are mostly getting here is about the 10 acres you have access to and if you will be finding nuggets there.

I'm not expecting to find much on this property. But it's the only place relatively close that I have full access to for now, so I was thinking it would be a good spot to cut my teeth. There's actually a small public area at Ray Mine that allows detecting. But I assume it has been picked clean since there are no public alternatives in the area that I know of. There have been some pretty large (12+ pound) nuggets found a couple hours away, so you never know. I might stumble onto a nice vein. I assume a highly skilled user with a low end detector would be more successful than an unskilled user with a high end detector, so I want to get plenty of practice before going on long road trips to camp out at better locations. I have some leads on other private properties nearby which I might be able to use. Just want to learn how to use the detector first before bugging the owners for permission.

 

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@GoldenHillbilly Burnsville is a little westward of where most gold is found in N.C., gong eastward, southeastward and even into S.C. but mainly N.C. from there increases your chances of finding gold, Uwharrie National Forest is about as far eastward that you're likely to find gold.

That all being said most of the gold found in mid to south central N.C. is fine gold, nuggets are not unheard of, in modern history(say the last thirty years)there have been only few 3/4 to maybe up to 2 ounce nuggets have been found but are few and very far between and a 1/4 ounce nugget now-a-days would be a BIG nugget IMHO and would start another gold rush, nuggets from 1 gram to 4 grams would also be rare and stellar day IMHO to find one not to mention more.

When I get chance to go to N.C. to prospect for gold I use a sluice, high banker or my dredge because I know I will do better with fine gold from streams and maybe come home with a few grams if I'm lucky than nugget hunting, I do however bring my metal detectors in case I find a picker/s in a stream, then I will try to pinpoint where they're originating from by detecting moss and crevices/cracks in the bedrock.  

It is correct that in N. C. most gold possibilities are on private property, since most public access areas available to look for gold have been and still are being hit hard, so your best chances is getting permissions on private land. 

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Thanks for the info Gold Seeker. I've looked at the publicly available gold maps and the majority of it is definitely associated with the Carolina Slate Belt. But there were some gold mines in the mountain region too. I think the Boylston Mine at Mills River worked a quartz vein, and it's not far from me. I don't expect to get much if anything, but thought if there was a mine on the neighbours property then I might find a few tiny bits while learning how to use a detector. 

When I was researching dredges/sluices, I decided that various Gold Hog mats would be the first thing I try. But recently I noticed these Dream Mats are getting popular. Pretty cool design.

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