By Steve Herschbach
Minelab GPX 6000 – The Novel
Testers and Testing
I’ve been metal detecting now for nearly 50 years. I was a large multiline dealer for decades, and got involved with the manufacturers on the testing and development end of things. I’m out of the business now as a retailer, but still dabble in detecting every day, as I’ve done for nearly my entire life now.
I work with Minelab, and sometimes others, trying to improve the technology. That’s why I do it, period. I enjoy using the tech for itself, even if I’m finding nothing. I have had a particular desire to push for better ergonomics for at least the last decade, so I make the case there whenever I can.
I am not required to report on the GPX 6000, and in fact when I signed up for the project, I said don’t count on it. I went way out on a limb with Equinox to bring people maximum info, but it was misread by some as a sales effort. Anyone that thinks I care about them buying a detector or not is completely clueless, and that line of thought tends to shut me down. If I was selling, I’d spam all the forums, not hide here. This is my passion, and I like being neck deep in it, but I’m not here to do anything but sell people on metal detecting. Not any one detector – metal detecting. That’s what I promote.
My goal? For you to have the detector that best suits your needs. If I was to mislead you in an attempt to make you think the GPX 6000 is something it is not – how does that work? I’ve done this for a long time, I have a track record, and frankly I’m quite proud of it. Nothing in any of it is a guy pushing some brand or model. I have signed nothing that takes away my freedom of speech, and I do my best to give in-depth reports that will help people decide to buy or not, and not buying is just as good as buying in my book. Just get the right detector, if you get one, and I’m genuinely trying to help with that. So while I almost did not write this up (I was involved in Vanquish also, kept my trap shut), I’ve decided I owe it to the people who do like my reviews to ignore the ones who cast stones. That’s the last I intend to say or post on the subject of trolls, and I’m just going to get on with life and reviews as if trolls do not exist. Frankly, I’ve been whining about it, and I’m tired of my whining. But I’m free to speak my mind, and with me that’s what you get, always.
One last note about testing. So I, an expert, take a new detector to a patch that I have pounded for years with every great machine possible, and I find gold. That proves something, right? Well no, not in the way people seem to think it does.
I find gold. I’m good at it, and I do not consider it hard to find gold. It is hard to find a lot of gold consistently, in large quantity, but simply finding gold is easier for me than finding silver coins, were it not for the logistics of getting on site. I go out, I find gold. That’s why I’m a good tester. The finding gold part is not in question, so I’ll be able to report. Send me a detector, I will find gold with it. I can grab a twenty year old gold machine, and go find gold with it tomorrow. So what’s the point of these tests?
The point is I am genuinely one of the guys that have been around forever, and my depth and breadth of knowledge about all brands of detectors, with an emphasis on gold machines, is near encyclopedic. I’ve used most of them. Some people like JP have deeper knowledge on specifics, usually very technical. But I know huge amounts about Fisher, Garrett, White’s… the entire industry is what I study. It's crazy how much I’ve put in my mind over the years, and my head works with statistics and figures very well indeed. I might not remember people’s names, but I can reel off detector specs for hours. What a person should do, if they want to get the best review out of me, is pay close attention to my opinions. They are deeply informed, and usually quite on the mark.
But the fact I found gold on pounded ground with any detector? Yeah, I do that every outing. It’s not the tech, but the effort. I work for the gold, and it’s my technique that finds the gold, not the detectors. Number one tip to those who are leaving the gold I find – slow down. I spend an hour hunting an area others might cover in ten minutes or less. The harder I try, the slower I get, and there is almost no limit to my ability to concentrate while detecting. I go back to a place I cleaned out before, and I find gold again by simply trying even harder, going even slower, analyzing every sound. Sometimes better tech does make a difference, but not to the degree people might imagine. In others, like GPZ on wire gold, the tech can make all the difference.
The fact I found gold on pounded ground is not that big a deal. What is important is my background, and ground I’ve hunted for years, with many detectors. I know the ground and what it does to many detectors, the hot rocks, the gold, the trash. It’s not the fact I found gold with a new machine on pounded ground, but my thoughts and observations about it that matter.
Time to come clean. I’m 63 years old now. Up until 59 I was fit as a fiddle, not feeling my age at all. Then about three years ago Condor and I were exploring a narrow gully. I was side-hilling a nearly vertical edge and slipped. I took a giant step down to gully bottom, maximum extension, and something in my lower body twisted. I had a fully herniated disc in my back when I was 21. No insurance, just toughed it out for five years. It did get better to where I forgot about it. No issues, but whatever I did reactivated that old injury. I limped home, but the pain got steadily worse. An MRI and 6 weeks of physical therapy, but that one slip changed my life forever. Three years later, and my lower back and hips are arthritic, and will only get worse. Maybe 10% left in the hips, one is half seized. Bottom line is putting on my socks is a struggle, and if you take away my digging pick I may not get back up off the ground without it!
It’s humbling to go from 30 to 80 overnight, but that’s how I feel. I still have my stamina, I can go and go and go, but now it’s with constant low level pain, and I simply move slower than I used to.
I’m not telling this to complain or seek sympathy. My life is great, and I never expected it to last forever. My contemporaries are all slightly older than me, and I’m getting to be one of the oldsters in nugget detecting now as the rest fade away. My time will come sooner than later, but I still have some good years left, and getting my gear tuned is part of that. I’m no longer trying to make money metal detecting gold, but simply trying to keep metal detecting. That’s why I am telling you this, so you understand it when I say ergonomics matter to me more now than ever.
Old Alaskan in Nevada with Minelab GPX 6000
GPX 6000 Comes Along
I had actually sworn off doing more testing, as I was burned out after Equinox, but could not resist getting drawn in on Vanquish (Equinox 400). Amazing power for the price, genuinely will give an Equinox a run with identical settings. Then a mention was made about the next big thing in nugget detecting, and it seemed like Minelab was answering my plea. I’ve been pounding the table publicly and privately for a decent ergonomic PI machine. I have also been pushing for lower prices, and so I was hoping they would do with this detector like they did with Equinox, and really upset the apple cart. I was seriously hoping the GPX 6000 would come in for less, but I fully understand as a businessman why it is what it is. People have no idea what it costs to do this stuff right, and the reason nobody else has done it is… it costs a lot of money to do! So to get the best machine possible my price lid had to come off. There are less expensive alternatives, but you will genuinely get what you pay for in this instance.
For me the thing about Minelab has always been that they make the most powerful machine possible. If it weighed a lot, so be it. Ergonomics was whatever it ended up looking like. I wanted to go the other way. Can’t somebody just build for the ergonomics first, then stuff it with as much power as the ergonomic package will hold? Then build the platform performance up from there, but get the bloody package right first?
The GPX 6000, like the Equinox, largely fulfills visions I have had of where detectors need to go. Equinox was low cost, and the ergonomics suffered a little for it. A more expensive version will no doubt fix that. With GPX 6000 Minelab is headed into the realm of the carbon fiber aftermarket, and leaving little to improve on. Given my situation, you might imagine why I like this detector a lot. It may add years to my detecting - Thanks Minelab!
GPX 6000, the Review
A brand new production level GPX 6000 showed up on my doorstep recently. As a tester, I have used all the items involved, and have the full production complement now. This review revolved around my first trip with a production unit, and with Minelab encouraging me to let it hang out, warts and all. Anyone that thinks I’m being pressured to stay quiet about anything does not get it. We are in the big boy world of detecting, and engineers want facts and feedback, and sometimes they have to hear things they do not like. My job has never been to sugar coat, but to inform. Anyway, I can’t talk about prototypes per se, but I can let my use of them and what I’ve learned inform my review with the kind of knowledge that takes hundreds of hours to acquire. It’s not my first go with a GPX 6000.
The short story is the GPX 6000 is an ergonomic but powerful PI, designed to get the job done with minimum fuss. I really loved the SDC 2300 for what it is, but what it is also frustrates. The fold up housing is ultra compact and cool, but I wished often for a SDC in a normal box, with normal accessory coils. The hardwired 8” mono is limiting, and aftermarket solutions ok at best. The SDC still has its place, with compactness and price if nothing else, but head to head, and price the same it is a no brainer, 6000 every time. For a couple thousand less however, some folks will stay with or go SDC, but the GPX 6000 addresses almost everything about SDC that annoyed. Like the quiet speaker on SDC, to pick one issue. GPX will deafen if allowed.
The GPX 5000 still has a place just due to coils and settings. I still think the GPX 5000 with a full coil complement is one of the most versatile and reliable solutions, for a person facing unknown circumstances. There is a setting and coil for nearly everything, especially the super size coils. On all comparisons coils provide a cheat, allowing machine performance to be modified, and muddying the waters even more. Keep in mind that most comparisons, and star charts, are stock machines with stock coils. That makes comparisons cleaner, but when people get into detectors, coils have to be part of the discussions, and you can’t beat a 5000 for coil selection. Anyone staying there, I get it, but I’ve personally moved on.
Minelab GPX 6000 on typical northern Nevada lower mineral/higher salt soil
Then there is the top dog for many, the GPZ 7000. If it is all about power and sheer performance, GPZ still rules, especially for those dabbling in aftermarket coils. The GPX is touted for small gold versus GPZ, but that is figuring stock coil to stock coil. Aftermarket coils can close that gap. If that’s the way you swing, I get it. Good buddy Jonathan Porter is sticking with his GPZ 7000 as main gun, and people inclined to do the same will find his GPX 6000 commentary more applicable to them, especially as regards Australian detecting.
In my case, while I think of the GPX 6000 as being a physical reincarnation of the SDC 2300, the reality in actual use is the electronics scream “GPZ Lite” to me. The SDC 2300 has its own sound (the warble) and own way of reacting to rocks. It will ignore rocks a GPZ 7000 struggles with. When it comes to audio responses, the GPX 6000 responds to, and sounds more similar to, a GPZ 7000 than anything else I’ve used. In other words, the same hot rocks that bothered me with the GPZ 7000, tend to be the same ones I see with the GPX 6000, but identifying them seems a little easier. Long story short the SDC 2300 and 5000 still have some hot rock killing ability that GPZ and 6000 owners will envy at times. And while GPZ retains top dog honors, the fact is both machines will hit similarly on a majority of the gold, and with stock coils the 6000 has the edge on small gold.
The salt performance is a major improvement, one I focused on. If you are used to salt response on a GPZ 7000, you know it’s possible to work through the moaning and groaning sounds by slowing to a crawl. I find the GPX 6000 with 17” mono to run in salt kind of like the GPZ 7000 with stock coil. In other words, I can slow to a crawl, and make it work. But go to 11” mono, and just the coil size gives you better salt handling than GPZ 7000 with stock coil, or GPX 6000 with 17” mono. The 11” I can run easily in ground that a GPZ 14 will struggle with. The DD coil goes all the way, and just eliminates the salt signal. It was designed to balance all the way to wet salt, and the GPX 6000 with 14” round DD will no doubt end up being seen on a beach or two. Remember, no discrimination, but I’m a PI beach hunter, and my GPX 6000 will be used at Lake Tahoe, and on saltwater beaches next time I get to one. Making no claims there, but I’m looking forward to Tahoe hunts especially. The 6000 coils are hollowed out underneath, and filling the gaps with heavy resin should make them work better in water. I’m going to do it and will let you all know how it goes, but will need spare coils first.
The question has been asked about relative machine performance in salt, and it is a difficult question. The thing about salt signal is it overlaps part of the gold signal. Totally eliminating salt signal will eliminate a part of the gold signal, typically for the weakest targets. Yet running a coil that is saturating with salt signal also reduces sensitivity as the machine is semi-overloading and working against itself. So do you use the mono and deal with the noise, or go DD, eliminate the noise, but now you can run higher gain? I have yet to determine for myself if I am better off doing this or doing that, because the answer is more related to the exact situation on ground, than anything you can measure in a lab. My gut feeling always is to deal with noise with coil control before seeking a tech solution, so I tend to tolerate more noise than other people, and let my brain do the processing. This can be very tiring for some people, and the option to go silent via the 14” coil is a welcome option.
Steve's first nugget with production GPX 6000
It’s also not as clear as people think on the DD versus mono on small targets. An 11” mono has the one big winding. The 14” DD is more like two D shaped 7” elliptical coils working in partial overlap. With the mono, the same winding transmits and receives in alternate fashion. The DD coil, one winding transmits, the other receives. Mono coils tend to be hotter near winding since the same winding puts both transmit and receive in close proximity to the target. A DD coil is more variable. If you are on the transmit side with the nugget, it gets lit up, but is distant from the receive coil. Or vice versa. The only point where you are close to both is down the middle, with hot points at each crossover area. Long story short it is trickier hitting small targets with the DD coil due to the size and complexity of the coil pattern, but people should not discount the coil entirely for small gold, as it can surprise in the right ground. I tend to favor the mono for efficiency sake, as chasing tiny bits with a big DD can get frustrating. If anything, I want a smaller mono. The 11" mono centers targets perfectly, until they get real small, and now it signals twice, once on each edge (shallow nugget signal). A smaller mono would bring even the tiny bits back to center, similar to Gold Bug 2 concentrics.
The 6000 is hot on small gold, very hot, but a continuous wave (VLF) has an inherent advantage over PI on the most invisible of nuggets. You also get discrimination. So a perfect pairing for the GPX 6000 is a Gold Monster or Equinox, with small coils. These can act like powerful pinpointers, or in really trashy areas, take over from the 6000. I prefer the Equinox over Monster mainly for access to the 12”x15” coil for tailing piles, and I like to coin and jewelry hunt. The Monster serves the same purpose for those who do not care about the extra Equinox capabilities.
The whole performance question on this machine will bother people, but it should not. The machine is positioned well as far as what it does, and although it may not be what the marketing folks want, thinking of the GPX 6000 as “GPX Lite” is about as simplistically accurate as I can get. I’ll hunt with GPZ owners any time, and not feel like I could not be the guy with the most gold at end of day. Maybe some of that is me instead of the detector, but the 6000 is a top performer, and anyone who is a good gold hunter can do well with it.
The way I look at it is Jonathan Porter and I are a perfect example. He is younger and paying bills with gold. For him it really is not a choice. JP must use whatever he thinks will get him the most gold, and he votes GPZ 7000. I will not argue with that.
I’m the guy that time caught up with. I was JP, and making money with gold really helped me a long time ago. But I’m pretty well set now, and worry not at all about paying bills with gold. The gold is getting harder to find, at the same time that my body does not want to agree to my old solutions of working harder and longer. And all I can say to people like me is the GPX 6000 is as close as I can get to a GPZ 7000, without having to use a harness, bungee, or even headphones. Total freedom, I love it. As broke down as I am, I can swing a GPX 6000 with 17” mono all day with only mild soreness. The 14” DD is about the same, and 11” mono – to die for. I’ve said repeatedly, if you accept that there is a reasonable level of performance in the detector, then the best way to sell this machine is have somebody swing it. It really is a sweet setup, well balanced, comfortable grip, great audio volume, easy batteries that really do run 8 hours, take two seconds to swap. I swing a GPZ, I swing this, I know which is best for me. I know it is not true, but circumstances are such that I feel like this machine was made for me.
So what don’t I like? First, the little rubber battery door catches my side every time and opens. I think the rubber did not shrink enough when cooling, or it was not made quite tight enough in the first place, but it does not grab the earphone outlet as hard as it could. That and a little tab on the cover… it pops open every time.
People who use detector covers will not care or even know about it. I am going full commando however, not an extra ounce on my GPX 6000! I also am unlikely to plug in headphones, going wireless, or none at all. So my solution is to remove the rubber battery door, and plug the port with Equinox audio port plug, part number 0703-0348, $2. I suppose since I will never likely use the port I could glue or tape the cover shut, but I had some Equinox plugs sitting around, and it works for me.
The other thing is the charging. Gold Monster came with alligator clip cables. So does GPX 6000. So I have found out why. Minelab batteries and charging systems are circuit protected, and it is picky. Apparently the way some vehicles are wired, means a cigarette style outlet may or may not work. I have several batteries, and so far have not found a cigarette charger combo for my car that works reliably. The alligator clamps work every time. So that’s the story I’m seeing, that a 12V cigarette style setup may work for your vehicle, but not the next persons. I’m going to keep experimenting, and others will also, but that is what’s going on in my opinion.
And…….. what else? OK, I’d really like a smaller scrubber coil, or just more coils in general. I would like a threshold adjustment beyond on or off, but in practice it is working fine. Be nice to have disc, but it’s a PI, and in this case I think pure all metal is fine. The tone tricks still work, with most small gold going high tone, and most big gold (meaning cans) going low tone. If you have nothing but sub-gram gold, it is unlikely a low tone signal is gold. But by and large this machine is designed to have you dig everything, and sad to say, that’s the secret to success in many trashy places. Dive in and dig away, because discrimination and masking is hiding gold.
Fact is, this machine is great, and the quibbles minor. People are going to have a hard time hating anything but the price on this one… and the battery door!
Another nugget with 11" coil
More tidbits. Yes, the coils are hollowed out on the undersides, quite a surprise when you first pop off a scuff cover. The covers are fine, but my 11” is going to be first to wear out, due to a lot of scrubbing action on my part. When I got my machine, very first thing I put a screen protector on the LCD display. You do not need one, as the display is tough, and rarely looked at after awhile. But that’s it for me, this machine will be used as is, no covers, and be just fine.
The audio is killer. I like the new headphones, but they are basically sitting here new. The GPX 6000 may be the loudest Minelab ever made. I’d bet on it. The speaker is aimed more at your ear, and it blasts! Even in the wind, I just angle a little, and hear it fine. I’ve been a person who has said you must always use headphones, but new casual Steve is saying no. No harness, no bungee, no headphones, I like it. But the wireless headphones are one of the better supplied with detectors, and if you want zero lag, plug them in. Though funny how nugget hunters do not seem to have latency issues as much as coin hunters.
I’m 5’ 11” and the rod is just long enough for me, but I tend to run long, so probably good for most people up to six feet. I’m sure longer rods will happen soon, from aftermarket if not Minelab. I’ve got steveg on it for fast results. Spare lower rods are nice as I keep them mounted on my spare coils for quick swaps. And this Minelab rod is as good as anything aftermarket, so it’s only a longer lower rod people will care about. I hope Minelab starts standardizing some stuff, as a great rod like this needs to be used in more designs. It has cams that do not twist the rod when you twist the cam, making positioning easier than I would have anticipated. I do not miss alignment holes at all, and sometimes a weird angle is nice, like on a side hill. The lower rod has a loose ball incorporated into the yoke, which seems to allow for a little play to prevent breakage? The coils use the new Vanquish style bolts without a nut, which seemed odd to me at first, but again, has worked well so far. The new design uses a new rubber washer, the teardrop is gone, so we will be looking for a part number there.
Yes, the machine can be updated over the internet. That is standard for Minelab now. One screw to remove speaker grill, and a little rubber plug hides the micro USB port. I’m not sure we will ever see an update, but if a bug crops up, the ability is there. But I’d not anticipate it getting used, as the machine is well dialed. Still, 1000 users can find what handfuls of testers miss, so you have insurance by way of the update process.
I warned you this would be long!
Let's Go Detecting
I was up at 3am, drive two hours, top off gas, two more hours to gold patch. I started detecting at 8am, cool but nice. Typical low mineral soil for the area, but high in salt content, dried salt crusting some areas. Gully bottoms are really hot with it. There are a couple types of hot rocks that bother GPZ, and 6000 also, though not quite as bad. Deep damp clay can create nice soft nugget signals. And this location has a scattering of trash, which is why I can always find gold. I never give up until nothing goes beep, and there are lots of beeps left here. I approach a patch as a multi year project, and slowly eat away at the trash, until even that gets sparse. Discrimination in nice, but trash will hide a nugget easily, and so in the long run you really do need to dig it all. The 6000 advocates for that by design.
I started with the 11” mono. Machine on, super fast EMI reject. I encourage people to review the short manual very carefully. Minelab has a well thought out process that leads you to correct settings and coils, but for me all detector tuning boils down to my seeking a balance where I can get a little ground feedback, and in general I prefer a threshold. This ground allows for a low mineral setting. Engaging Difficult is subtle in this ground, and hard to tell the difference. Difficult helps a little with the hot rocks, but they are few enough that I prefer to dig or kick rather than tune out. In general I do nothing to reduce signals unless I can’t stand it anymore. Even then, the solution is to slow down or take a break. So low mineral setting, and max manual sensitivity, with threshold. No headphones, so volume set as a comfortable threshold tone.
The volume is kind of your threshold control also, and I'm setting it more for the threshold then the max target volume. If using headphones, I do prefer headphones with a volume control. The GPX 6000 volume/threshold control only has five steps, so using a secondary headphone volume control gives you more granular control over the volume. The GPX 6000 headphones do include a volume control. I go aftermarket and dual volume controls, not because I do not like the Minelab phones, but because I have hearing loss in one ear, and an unbalanced sound bugs me.
The time of day can matter, especially with transient EMI, and noise just arises sometimes out of nowhere. The EMI tune is very fast, so I use it often, as well as a quick ground balance. It’s just too easy, so do it whenever things seem squirrely.
I first hit an spot where I’ve pulled small gold and trash before in fairly loose, sandy soil. I had the GPX cranked up as described, and used the coil as a bulldozer to plow through and flatten everything. There is no knock sensitivity, but tiny hot rocks will create some noise, and so scrubbing may not work, but for tiny gold it is one of my main methods. If I can only hit a speck at one centimeter, it stands to reason that removing a centimeter of soil exposes a whole new layer to the windings. In loose soil, I use the coil to push stuff around and work the coil into the sand. On sidehills I pull soils downhill with the coil, scraping away. If I can’t get the detector to go deep enough, then I will make the gold more shallow. I work slowly and methodically, and I nearly always succeed in finding gold I missed the time before. I just keep at it, getting more down and dirty on each run, and always, trash is going away.
1 hour 45 minutes to first nugget, 0.191 gram on my new super accurate scale I bought just for weighing tiny bits. By noon I had three more bits, the smallest 0.052 gram.
My big tip for small gold and trash? Have the right tools. I put together a long handle pick, and a small shovel, both with magnets attached. I get that tiny signal, I get it to move by scraping with foot or digging. As soon as it moves, 11” coil is on edge, get an idea where the target is, then stab it with the magnet. I keep the magnet on the pick head, and half the time the signal is gone, and on magnet, just from digging. I’m not getting down looking for the target unless the magnet fails. Since the majority of targets are ferrous, this saves a lot of looking for targets, and getting up and down. The shovel is for deeper holes, with magnet on end of handle. Do this, and you can work trash without killing yourself. And when the magnet fails (it's a nugget or bullet), you better have a scoop, and have learned to master scoop recovery. This all only works if you get efficient, and do not waste time with bits of invisible wire.
Short break at noon, swap to 17” mono. I hate to talk about this coil, as you all can’t get one quite yet. Sorry, no idea when either. But it is a sweetie, and may end up my most used coil. It’s light as a feather, and has some kind of flat winding that makes it nearly as hot as the 11” on small stuff. I’m serious. The coil does not punch as deep as the GPZ 14, or so I’m told, and I’d not doubt that, as it is designed more as a patch hunting coil. It covers ground like crazy, but will hit the tiny bits that can lead to a patch. Could be a killer meteorite coil, though I’m not sure how Geosense handle meteorites. I suspect it will be fine. Anyway, most of my prior testing was doing just that, covering ground, and it is sweet for that. This time I went for deeper gold in the salty ground, and as noted before, it’s not unlike running a GPZ14 in salty ground.
I’ve hit this ground a long time, and big nuggets are first to go, but it's early spring, so I went after places where the grass was too deep on previous visits. Again, it’s this acquired knowledge that brings success, not so much magical new machines. This area was low, with lots of salt, so you get a long dragging high tone one way, and a long dragging low tone the other way. The slower you move, the less moan and groan. Better yet, by angling directly into and away from the salt source (usually the gully bottom), you can even out these opposing forces, to get a smoother audio flow. It’s all about very slow, very careful coil control, and a tuned ear. Most people need a beep to stop them, but I hear every bit of the audio flow. My brain finds the pattern, and then notices breaks in the pattern. In a nutshell, there are the “normal noises” that make up the background flow, but every once in awhile something different happens. A little extra edge, a warble, maybe a pause in the threshold. Why? The longer I’ve hunted the ground, the more accurately I can answer the “why” through countless similar targets having been dug. I slowly tune to the ground and target mix, and if it is questionable, just dig it. Even if not, I’m often digging just to make it go away, even if I know it is trash. Every trip I bring a garbage bag, and clean up stuff. It’s all about a long range project to uncover more gold.
Well, that deep grass area paid off. The 17” got a nice nugget at depth. No, I did not measure the depth. I dig well past nuggets half the time so it's just a guess, and I don’t like guessing. Just trust me when I say I thought this was impressive for a big mono coil in salty ground. The nugget weighs 1.099 grams – nice! The same spot gave up two flat pieces, one 0.512 gram, the other 0.792 gram. I was very pleased with this result, as all had some depth to them.
Deeper digs with 17" mono
That little spot played out but I kept at it until I got a low battery signal at 4pm. Nice thing about the 6000, you get time after the first warning, so I detected another 20 minutes before taking a break. Battery swap, back at it, and one more nugget at 6:40pm. That’s a long day – done!
Next morning I switched back to the 11” mono, but my small gold spot was not lucky, and by noon all I had was trash. Finally picked up another nugget after lunch, 0.538 gram. Now, I’m out of shape on top of everything else, and lack of gold is making me want to quit. So I played the “just one more nugget" card, and went back to 17” mono. That little trick got me to 4:30 and one last nugget, 0.296 gram.
So a quick overnighter, nine nuggets, five larger with 17” mono, and four smaller with 11” mono, at 4.293 grams total.
I’m sure I have not covered everything is this long ramble. Feel free to ask anything you want, and I’ll answer the best I can. Just do not think because I like the detector I’m trying to sell you on it. I honestly am not concerned about what detectors other people buy and use. I just use what works for me, and this is working really well for me. No claims to any magic, just a really nice swinging machine, which will get you GPX 5000/GPZ 7000 type ballpark performance, one way or the other, but ballpark, and that’s good enough for me. It’s one of several of the most powerful gold detectors on the market, and all of them have fan clubs. Even this one, says fan number one. If you prefer to use something else, good for you! If anything I said resonated with you, then maybe take a look at the GPX 6000. I hope this helps.
Please do not repost without permission. Thanks, Steve Herschbach 2021
Nuggets found April 20-21 in northern Nevada with GPX 6000
Here is about a 1/2 ounce of California (left) and Nevada (right) gold I found while testing GPX 6000 prototypes:
If you haven't read Steve's 'Novel' then do yourself a favour - thanks Steve for taking the time 😉
Spent the day with the 6000. Coil on the ground from about 9.30 until 5 p.m. with a half hour break.
Over 2 small areas at different locations that we have totally flogged with GPZ's, a QED, a 5000, an Equinox 800 and a Gold Monster. Areas are probably 5 metres X 15 metres each. Quite a few targets today that just shouldn't be there!! 11 of them lead shot too 🤔
At some stage this morning I had a fleeting thought of disappointment that what I had spent 8K on was not big and heavy and gave the impression that I've really 'got something' for my money. And then I quickly realised that the light and nimble (yet well built and sturdy) 6000 was precisely why I forked out the cash on this new model instead of saving 3K and going for a heavy, harnessed, battery attached, need to work out something to make the audio wireless, GPX 5000. Or even a 4500. Seriously considered both. I'm glad now, and my body will thank me long term, that the 6000 was the final choice.
With the 11" attached the balance point of the shaft is about 6 inches closer to the control box than what the Equinox 800 is with its 11" DD and extended to the exact same length. Hence, the 6000 is not quite as nose heavy and just feels really balanced. All day today with no harness, no guide stick, no soreness at all. Nice!
The manual says the 14" DD loses some depth but is essentially still as sensitive on shallower pieces. The manual is correct! The 2 smaller pieces in the photo were found with the 14" DD coil - ridiculous!! 😲 They add up to .07 gram together and to be honest I'm not sure how accurate that is - they may be lighter.
I read where people said to throw away the DD and buy the 17" - based on the experiences of what a traditional DD offered I guess? I'm not so sure about that. Not a bad patch hunter I would have thought. For a person that has never used a DD though - it is a bitch to pinpoint with 🤣
More time is needed get a feel for it but Steve pretty much confirmed what I was thinking from today re: performance. It doesn't quite have the extreme mineralisation handling characteristics I've found the SDC to have. I did find about 4 hot rocks and did dig some ground noise. Those are rare events with an SDC in the areas I went today. Huge improvement on the hot rocks compared to the QED though.
Small gold sensitivity? Well, I think it pretty much equals the SDC in that regard. But, if I already had an SDC and a Coiltek 14X9 I don't know that I would be racing out to buy a 6000 if my main local gold was small and shallow.
Big, deep gold? I don't know unfortunately, but hope to find out sooner rather than later 😜 It did find a few deep targets and it obviously 'lights up' targets differently to a GPZ and an SDC as some of these targets were right where they should not be.
Today I was fossicking but purely to get some confidence on ground I know well. There are a few other local spots that the 6000 will get a run to, as Reg Wilson would say, pick the last crumbs off the carcass. However, I now feel I've got that light weight yet high performing prospecting machine that I can take out in the field with confidence.
Almost forgot. Played with the Threshold On and Off. On for me. Off was just weird. Off is great on the Equinox when coin hunting but I can't see it getting a run on the 6K.
By Jonathan Porter
I’ve been detecting for gold for a VERY long time and have seen a lot of crazy things happen over the years but this recent experience takes the cake. On the same day but prior to when I filmed my son Joshua digging some gold with the GPX 6000 I heard Josh calling out to me to come take a look at what he was holding. I was perplexed to say the least because it looked like a big dead stick, so I just assumed he had some sort of interesting critter sitting on the stick and wanted to show me. When he got closer I couldn’t see anything that might have attracted his attention but he was looking at the stick very closely, so I just assumed it must be a tiny critter.
Then he started mumbling something about getting a signal and how he had kicked the stick away and the signal had disappeared so he went and waved over the stick again and pow a signal coming off the stick!! At this stage I’m thinking a 22 Bullet or a slug gun pellet wedged in the wood.
Then I saw what it was that had got him so excited!! 😝
Yep thats a small nugget wedged into the wood, how the dickens it got in there is anyone’s guess. I’m thinking it was in the gravelly wash around the trees root bowl and the tree had been blown over during a rain event (it’s obviously very old) and maybe a nugget had come up with the root bowl and then been washed across the trunk with the nugget then wedging itself into the crack!!
Anyway it seems the GPX6000 can find gold in all sorts of strange places. 😂
I picked up my 6000 on Monday and have had 3 days of trying out the new toy.
First day - i took it to a local prospecting area well known for EMI and tried the 11" mono - the closer i came to the EMI area the less stable it became till it was unusable so i switched to no threshold and lowered the sensitivity - which seemed to work as it was a lot quieter but was capable of sounding off on buckshot. The second day - in same area i tried the 14" DD which totally tamed the EMI so i could run it on manual 10 sensitivity with a threshold. So i am wondering which is better - 11" mono with no threshold and low sensitivity or 14" DD with high sensitivity and a threshold?
Also on the second day a friend had his GPZ7000 and we tested a sub gram nugget and a 3 gram nugget. Both machines achieved very similar results - for example on the 3 gram nugget both detectors gave a iffy signal at 24cm but very clear signals at 23cms. Not a real scientific test i know but left us thinking both machines were very similar performance wise.
Today i went to the beach to see how the DD coil performed in wet and dry sand - while there was occasional background warbles (i used no threshold) there was no problem in hearing targets loud and clear. Not sure i would use it for my beach work because of the lack of discrimination but for people who like digging everything, are hunting chains or need a bit more depth - it worked. Note - this was not a black sand beach.
With the 11" coil its a breeze to swing - a bit heavier with the 14" but still good.
No Sore Shoulder - & with no cords easier to be ambidextrous
Set up time and tuning time is minimal.
No cords , no battery back pack, no bungy cords - i did not get caught up in thick scrub.
Headphones are comfy.
Headphones paired easily (better than the Equinox).
Confidence in performance tuning.
Option of having threshold or no threshold. (switched to no threshold when pin pointing - made it easier sometimes with the 14" coil).
Did i mention how light it is?
None so far.
Could do better (no deal breakers)-
A case for the headphones would have been nice (like Equinox).
Also a car cigarette lighter charger is not included.
Wires on Headphones look pretty flimsy - time will tell if they are up to the job.
A few times the rubber headphone socket protector unintentionally opened - its not a real firm fit.
In summary - I have a smile on the dial - just need to get to some decent gold fields - maybe will be able to do that this weekend.
Are JP et al trading in their Z7000s in favor of the 6000? Is this the "Go To" machine for everyday prospectors? From initial reports it would appear the 6000 excels at sub half gram nuggets in OZ soils, but isn't expected to compete with the 7000 on bigger/deeper gold. Here in the US, will I have to sell a kidney for the luxury of having both detectors? It may be some time before us CONUS prospectors even see the availability of such a machine, do I sell the 7000 before the market is flooded? Does anybody know what the recovery time is for a kidney donor?
By Steve Herschbach
Apr 19, 2021 The Gold Rush Guy - "Great to finally get the new Minelab GPX 6000 and take it out for a run. Very impressed with its sensitivity, especially the depth of even small pieces of gold. Apologies with the video quality. Will rectify in future hunts."