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Well, it is one sweet detector! Check out my first Treasure Talk blog at http://www.minelab.com/emea/treasure-talk/the-minelab-sdc-2300-my-first-impression

Great things come in small packages! When a box showed up from Minelab recently the first thing that struck me was how small the box was. Like a kid at Christmas I tore the box open and lifted out my new toy – a Minelab SDC 2300 detector. There is not a box full of parts to assemble, just this little detector all folded up, and nothing quite prepares a person for just how small the SDC 2300 is the first time you see it.

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It is also lighter than I thought it would be. Minelab has been listing it at 5.3 lbs without batteries but I did not believe that, so I ran down and tossed it on my postal scales. They came up with only 5 lb 1 oz or 2.294 kg without batteries. The pre-production unit I was sent came without batteries, so I inserted four NiMH C-cells of my own and weighed the detector again – only 5 lb 11.6 oz or 2.598 kg with batteries included. Let’s just call it 5.7 lbs with batteries, not exactly light but again, lighter than I expected.

I had watched the video (Click here to view) online and found folding the unit out for use to be very simple. The only thing to really pay attention to is that the handle needs to be firmly pushed forward to lock the shaft in place. When time comes to collapse the unit, a firm palm against front of the handle is the proper method to release the handle.

I was very pleased to find that although I am 5’ 11”, the SDC 2300 had more length than I needed. I advise those who like to run a coil way out front that when running slightly heavier detectors balance is very important, so keep the shaft as short as possible. At full extension the SDC is slightly nose heavy; pulling the lower shaft in about 4” will have the detector hang more naturally on your arm leading to less fatigue.

Finally, the narrow profile of the control housing and the small size of the handle mounted control panel are pleasantly surprising in actual use. The weight of the SDC is close to your side and with the shaft set properly the detector feels lighter than the weight would imply. My first impression of the overall ergonomics of the SDC 2300 was quite positive.

Unfortunately I had only a couple days to evaluate the unit before sending it back to Minelab leaving me with little time to get in much actual field use. I chose therefore to take it to the worst mineralized ground I knew of nearby, a place Chris Ralph (another Treasure Talk blogger) had recently shown me in the high Sierras of California. He had commented how his GP Extreme had struggled in the location so I figured it was a good place to test the SDC. Bench testing with a 1 grain (480 grains per ounce) nugget already told me the SDC 2300 was the hottest Pulse Induction detector on small gold I have used. That being the case, how would it handle bad ground?

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My rechargeable batteries were still going strong at over 6 hours when I hung it up and headed home. Chris and others have pounded this location so I my hopes for finding gold were not all that high. I was pleased to find the SDC 2300 on the recommended setting of Normal Mode sensitivity “2” ran smooth as can be on this hot ground. Going to higher sensitivity levels just seemed to increase ground noise such that I did not feel it advantageous at this location, and when testing settings on the little bits of steel I found higher sensitivity did not really help. I recommend people resist the temptation to run the sensitivity up unless doing so retains a smooth threshold. A smooth threshold is very important to picking out those tiny targets and too much sensitivity resulting in ground noise defeats the purpose.

The SDC ran rock solid although the threshold is more reminiscent of the older GP detectors than the GPX series in that it has a slight wavering sound at some threshold settings.

sdc002A.jpg

The main thing I was happy to experience is that the coil is 100% impervious to being knocked around and with the included scuff cover can be allowed to ride along on the ground. The coil riding on the ground does not affect the threshold one bit, which is very important when chasing the tiniest nuggets (flakes) where even a fraction of an inch can make the difference.

I love running new detectors and so was just enjoying myself when a bonus came along in the form of a little ragged gold/quartz specimen. I’m not going to claim nothing else would have found it but this little 0.67 gram piece is the sort of gold the SDC was made for and it banged out loud and clear at a few inches.

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Here’s the location where the nugget was found in the shadows of a tree.

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The bottom line is Minelab seems to have made the SDC 2300 just for me. I admit I have a personal issue in that my mindset for certain detectors runs a certain way. When I run my GPX 5000 my coils, settings, and mindset are invariably aimed at finding larger nuggets. Jonathan Porter saw this when I visited him in Australia and preferred leaving an 18” mono coil on the GPX. I really, despite good intentions, have been unable to change gears mentally and use my GPX 5000 for looking for small gold. If I want to do that I normally will grab something like a Eureka Gold set up in 60 kHz mode.

The problem with a hot VLF is it also lights up hot rocks and bad ground. Now I can have my cake and eat it too! I will leave my GPX 5000 set up for large gold and continue to use it for that, and when I want to switch modes for hunting smaller prey I will grab the SDC 2300. It also solves an issue where I have seen many people trying to make GPX detectors into something like an SDC by adding external speakers and strap on batteries. This results in a heavy “franken-detector” but gets the job done. The SDC is far better suited for worming around in heavy brush where battery cables and headphone cords constantly hang up.

Finally, when I get my hands on my very own SDC 2300 I envision it folded up in a rucksack with a light sleeping bag and rations for some serious backpacking into areas that have never seen a detector before. Places only a person in good condition on foot can reach – the kind of places where undiscovered patches still lurk.

Good job Minelab, and thanks for the opportunity in running the SDC 2300 so early in the process. I can’t wait to get one of my own!

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G'day Steve,

 
Great report! I was most interested to read your statement that "the coil is 100% impervious to being knocked around and with the included scuff cover can be allowed to ride along on the ground". As the coil is so impervious to knocks then I guess that the coil can also be brushed through wet vegetation without any masking noise. 
 
I didn't think I would ever consider buying a Minelab MD but this new entry to the market might just suit a spot I have in mind to detect where I intended to use my Whites GMT (all fine specimen gold in quartz). I carried my GMT into the area recently ... but, to get it in without damaging it I had to wrap it with cloth to put in my backpack. And I won't be able to use the GMT anytime when its raining, which is most of the time at this time of year. I hate arriving at my remote camp where I've left a detector and knowing that water may well have got into the electronics after a downpour. During a West Coast (NZ) downpour the rain can be so heavy that moisture is floating in the air and its that moisture which can get into a detector even if its covered from the rain. My first preference of a detector to use in this spot was one of my GQSS's, but when I got them out recently both were unusable (probably because of moisture damage). 
 
Looks like you have a fun summer coming up in Alaska. I'll be following your posts about your summer in Alaska while I sit indoors with rain falling so hard on my roof that its deafening.
 
Regards,
Rob (RKC)
 
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Hey Rob, how you doing? Good to hear from you.

New Zealand and Alaska have some similarities in geology and unfortunately also in weather. Do stay tuned as the SDC is going to be my go to unit the next couple months when the rain pours. If all goes well I should be posting pictures of gold found (I hope) with the SDC shortly after June 15th.

This fall I actually intend to use it with mask and snorkel sniping California rivers.

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I should do well in the rivers - just a lot of trash there. On the other hand, concentrations of lead bullets and fishing weights will be the same places where gold will tend to concentrate.

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Well said Steve, as always I appreciate your honest reviews where every detector gets a fair shake or comparrison regardless of who manufactored them.  And JP I also appreciate your posting of results you had using the ATX and the comparrisons. http://www.detectorprospector.com/forum/topic/247-garrett-atx-vs-minelab-sdc-2300/

 

Living in Texas I dont get to hunt Gold but once a year when I find my way to Az.  But I do get to relic and Beach hunt. 

After these reviews I am considering the sale of my Tesoro Sand Shark which I use on the beach and under water and My Eureka Gold (back up)which doesnt get used unless someone else needs a detector when I go to Az. ( I got from it Alaska Mining thanks Steve).

 

 I believe the SDC should take their place easily giving me a detector which I can balance on the beach and double as a back up for my GPX.

 

 Bill

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Hi Bill,

Yeah, salt water beaches! Except for a few hints I was going to leave that subject pretty well alone. The fact is I plan on getting over to the west coast a lot this winter hitting the beaches. In water use is a whole different question and I think I can count on a salt water expert or two letting us know more about how the SDC does in that regard by fall. My immediate interest in on the beach itself with the SDC chasing micro jewelry. Like nugget detecting not for the faint of heart as piles of small trash await the adventurer in that arena. But the SDC looks to have what it takes to succeed hunting the ever elusive diamond stud ear rings and gold chains.

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OK, word has it an early production SDC will be waiting for me when I get to Anchorage. Thanks for the help Minelab and Bill Stirling! Anyway, I do love new toys and I do want to put at least a little gold in my vial ASAP so I will use it first off to hit a large very pounded bedrock location I know of. Everything from a Gold Bug 2 to a GPX 5000 has been over this patch multiple times by multiple people for the last ten years. So when I say pounded I mean it. However, it is fairly mineralized and like all patches still hiding some gold so my first order of business is to pound it some more with the SDC 2300. So should be seeing some gold around June 16 or 17th if all goes well.

post-1-0-84232600-1402324715.jpg

 

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Steve, I was waiting to hear something about beaches and water from you especially when you have a detector that can be ground balanced. Seems to me you and discussed that very subject on another forumn somewhere and all I could speak of was the Fisher 1280x and Tesoro Sand Shark. I'll be waiting to see your post along with others.  

 

Nice of ML or Mr. Stirling to think of you especially when you are embarking on another journey north.

 

Bill

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