We've been in a bit of a Covid lock-down recently and during that time my Garrett 24k arrived so I wasn't able to use it in the gold fields straight away, it was quite painful to look at it knowing I can't go and use it, fortunately we came out of our lock-down and as took off for a prospect with the 24k as soon as I could.
I ordered a White's 6" concentric coil for it to tie me over until Garrett and with any luck Nel come out with other coils for it, I hope they continue with the 6" Concentric as I'll buy a Garrett 6" Concentric as soon as they release it. It's a remarkably sensitive coil, I expected it to be less sensitive than it is as it's quite big however it surprised me and matches or exceeds smaller coils on other high frequency gold detectors. I've always been happy with Garrett coil quality so upgrading the Whites to a Garrett would be worthwhile I think. In saying that, neither the 10x6" Garrett coil or the Whites 6" coil were at all bump sensitive, not one bump noise the entire day. I'm so used to coil bump sensitivity from the Equinox and Gold Monster it was a rather pleasurable experience being able to scrub the coil on the ground like mad and bump it around not setting off the detector, giving me a distinct advantage over using bump sensitive coils.
I started the day using the 10x6" Coil as I wanted to see how it goes and I was going back to a spot I'd found a fair few grams of gold in the past, about 30 or more nuggets using the scrape and detect method taking off layers of soil at a time and detecting it. The initial nugget which was just under half a gram and a fair few more were found using my GPZ including a 4.2 gram nugget and then I brought in the Equinox with 6" coil to clean up as a majority of the nuggets were very small and the VLF's tend to do better cleaning up these very small nuggets. I'd even gone over this little scrape and detect area with the Gold Bug 2 however it was a bit of a nightmare as the area is absolutely full of hot rocks and the Gold Bug 2 in heavy hot rocks isn't a good detector in my opinion, it's too busy making it's response noise to the hot rocks to worry about the bits of gold next to the hot rocks so you miss nuggets if they're near hot rocks. The problem is this spot is loaded with hot rocks all through the soil of various shapes and sizes mostly a green type of schist that is all crumbly and broken up and detectors love to sound off on it. It's likely there from the old timers, it's basically some old workings where the old timers left their rock pile in a little gully, and right on the lower downhill side of the rock pile was my little scrape and detect patch. Even the GPZ struggled with all of the hot rocks so I was quite pleased how the 24k was coping with them, sure it was sounding off on some of them too but it wasn't too troublesome and seemed to ignore the little broken up bits and very usable.
I ran the 24k with the sensitivity maxed out, Sat on the middle setting and audio on Boost 2. The ground balance was quick and easy then I switched into the Locked balance mode. If the broken up schist bits of hot rock were too severe I left it in tracking which helped to knock them out. I gave the 6" Concentric coil a quick try and it struggled more with the hot rocks and i didn't want to lower my sensitivity down so I reverted back to the DD which appeared to handle them better and is still remarkably sensitive.
So I just started scraping back layers and detecting taking about 2 inches off at a time knowing the gold here is likely going to be very small and it will be stuff I've missed in the past as I've scraped this spot out before and back filled it so I was essentially checking the same soil all over again for anything I missed. I had high hopes I had missed some as all it would take is a small hot rock to be sitting on top of the bit of gold the previous time and I'd likely miss it or just the bit of gold on it's side being a very thin one or any number of reasons, even just at a depth too deep for the size of gold with the detector I was using.
It wasn't long and I had my first piece.
Quite a decent size one too, I was baffled at the time why I'd missed this one in the past. The 24k had now found it's first gold, highly likely the first piece of gold found in New Zealand with the Garrett 24k, a badge I'll wear proudly. 🙂
Next up was a reasonably faint but very repeatable signal with no target ID showing, I delicately used my scoop to scrape soil away knowing this was likely a very small bit of gold and it sure was... my smallest bit of the day too and surprised I managed to find it with the 10x6" coil, I don't recall ever finding a bit this small using the 10x5" type size on other detectors.
Can you spot it? 🙂
There it is!
0.007 of a gram, not bad for the 10x6" coil, especially in this hot rock infested ground.
I always check targets in case they're odd little bits of metal with my pick magnet, and you'll see it was quick to build up black sand, this soil has plenty of it in it.
I kept scraping down layers and found another.
Quite small too... but a bit more meat on it than the previous one 🙂
I'd had enough of the scrape and detect spot by now and wanted to go explore a bit to see how the 24k performed for general detecting so I walked for about 10 minutes to another spot I'd found some gold in the past and detected for about an hour digging plenty of shotgun pellets, completely normal in this area as there is a rabbit plague that causes countless thousands of shotgun pellets to be distributed all over the place for me to clean up 🙂 I didn't have high hopes as myself and a friend (JW) have absolutely thrashed this area but it's always possible to miss gold when there is so many pellets. We generally scrape a few times and if the signal persists dig it, if it moves after the first scrapes ignore it thinking it's very likely a pellet.
A few pictures of the sort of terrain I was detecting.
My batteries went down to 2 bars quite quickly, within an hour. I assume as they're rechargeable and run at 1.2 volts instead of 1.5 volts for standard AA's but it stayed at the two bars for the entire day so still plenty of life left in them yet by the looks of it.
Pretty wild rocky terrain and only really suitable for smaller coils.
The GPZ with it's stock coil is terrible here, the smaller the coil the better in general.
I did manage to find a piece though, after a lot of pellet digs 🙂
Not a bad size bit for the area too
I now decided I'd put the Whites 6" Concentric coil on and give it another go as this area doesn't have near as many hot rocks as my scrape and detect spot.
I found a bit of raised bedrock and had a signal that persisted down into the schist. At this point it almost had to be gold so I started filming.
And it was gold 🙂
I had to break up the schist to get it out.
A nice little piece too, a roundish flat one.
This area has plenty of black sand too, this was my pick after checking that bedrock in case it was a steel shotgun pellet.
It was getting near time to go get some dinner and I was pretty satisfied to even get one nugget in this area but I kept going a little while longer and it paid off. I like the bulls eye sight on the 6" coil, it really is the hot spot too, great for pinpointing.
I had a signal that persisted down into the gravels on the bedrock.
And got this one!
It's hard to tell the depth in the photo but it was a reasonable depth. A few inches anyway.
And that was it for the day, I was starving!
So, do I like the 24K? You're damn right I do, it certainly exceeded my expectations and will now be my primary VLF gold detector replacing my Equinox which replaced my Gold Monster, and the Gold Bug 2 was just not for me, I didn't gel with it at all especially with the masking from hot rocks. I look forward to getting more coils for the 24k, especially smaller ones, and judging by how well it handled the hot rocks I wouldn't mind a larger size coil for ground coverage too.
The total for the day. Very happy with the results.
By ☠ Cipher
Garrett often takes a bit of criticism for having the GTI-2500 in its lineup after so many years, particularly at the top, but I have a short list of detectors I still want to own before I consider myself satisfied that I’ve got all my bases covered. This is one of them and I’ll tell you why. It’s not so much because of what it is as a standalone hobby detector, though there may be some uses there as well. I’m looking at it because it appears to be the best option as an affordable two-box detector for larger, deeper objects and voids for which I have no unit so far. There are many people who don’t realize it’s convertible. Not only that, it seems to be the only affordable two-box detector with a disc circuit. The competition in its class doesn’t have that. My questions are, does anyone own one? Does the disc carry over to the two box setup? Even if the disc is not especially useful for that application it still seems the best option for the money. I realize most people who buy two boxes for treasure hunting don’t usually end up using them or using them long, but for my area, I’m looking for a keeper with many key spots in mind.
Here is the July version of Garrett Searcher, some pretty good finds, good to see the old Ace series still popping up good finds regularly around the world, although this version seems dominated by the AT series finds.
The last page has the advertisement for the Garrett 24K, I want one!