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In the last few weeks, I've had a chance to try out Minelab's new SDC 2300 in the hills of California. I've had excellent luck with it so far - 8 nuggets the first day out, 6 nuggets the second. I did up a blog post with more detail for Minelab's Treasure Talk blog. See: http://www.minelab.c...-s-new-sdc-2300

Minelab has a long history of introducing new, cutting edge PI technology, and the SDC 2300 definitely continues that tradition. Its very sensitive to small targets, waterproof to 10 ft., amazingly resistant to coil falsing on grass and rocks, rugged, compact and easy to use. Between the small gold sensitivity and the waterproof feature, this detector will be accomplishing things no pulse detector could do before. I plan to be using quite a bit the rest of this year. No question that a number of GPX owners will be wanting an SDC, and I am sure many of you will be interested in taking a closer look at this new detector, and I'd be happy to answer any questions.


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Hi Chris… congratulations on those really beautiful nuggets, and thanks for an excellent report about your observations using this unit. I understand that these nuggets were recovered in a nasty hotrock area. Could you also describe generally at what sort of depth range they were detected, and do you feel a GPX equipped with a Sadie coil would have detected them?


A week or so ago Gary Schafer from Minelab was on American Digger's Relic Roundup call-in show discussing the new SDC 2300 at this link http://en.1000mikes.com/app/archiveEntry.xhtml?archiveEntryId=323405


He commented that the SDC 2300 was capable of up to 60% GPX 5000 depth capability. He didn’t quantify that observation with specifics as to nugget size, ground mineralizations, or GPX timings, etc. Are you able to offer any clarification to his statement based on your experience with this unit?


He also mentioned that during testing in Australia, the SDC 2300 detected both a .02 gram (0.3 grain) and .a 05 gram (0.77 grain) gold nugget at four to five inches depth. It is difficult to imagine any detector locating a tiny 0.3 grain nugget at a depth approaching five inches. 


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Jim -

You know that man made objects like coins are pretty uniform, but nuggets are all over the map and not uniform at all. Not all 0,1 gram nuggets are created equal. Detection depths are a complex mix of size, orientation, porosity, surrounding rocks, etc.  I've seen pennyweight "nuggets" that a GPX 5000 would have a tough time with in air at 1 inch, and other pennyweight pieces that would overload a 5000 across a one inch air gap - it depends on the nature of the nugget. So I am uncomfortable with any simple statements that such and such a detector will detect nuggets of a certain size at a certain depth. Reality is way more complex than that.


At any specific area, I feel pretty confident that on nuggets less than a gram, the SDC going to out perform the GPX 5000 and anything else except a high frequency VLF in low mineral ground (and even then its pretty close). On larger, deeper stuff the 5000 will outperform.


The place I got my nuggets is one where the gold is porous and sharp edged. If you look real close a my gold, you will see a couple are actually small specimens - more quartz than gold by volume. This is the type of stuff PI detectors generally have trouble with - and I knew this. Over they years, I've gotten a lot of larger pieces there, but with my GP Extreme, I got very few less than a pennyweight. I remember digging a 0.4 ouncer that was only 6 inches deep. It was a weak signal and I was shocked to pull out such a large nugget at so shallow a depth with such a poor signal, but that's what this place is like. Then with the GPX 5000 and its greater sensitivity, I got a bunch of nuggets in the half gram to pennyweight sized range. Now I am collecting stuff of a gram down to about 0.1 grams at this place with the SDC.


For large stuff deep, I will be using my 5000. For small stuff shallow I will use the SDC. In some places with super mild soils where nearly all the gold is tiny, like less than a grain, I will use a high frequency VLF. The SDC will displace a lot of applications  I formerly used a high frequency VLF for, but not for all.


Having seen a bunch of the silver specimens you post, I think the SDC would out perform a 5000 on most of them because of the finely crystalline nature of the silver.

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Nice blog entry Chris and even nicer nuggets! Welcome to the forum Jim.

I will toss in my two cents. The GPX 5000 with the Commander 8" mono or Nugget Finder Sadie is VERY good on small gold. I do not think everyone with a GPX 5000 need run out and get the SDC 2300. I do not see the SDC as equaling the GPX until maybe the 1/2 gram range and under with an edge on certain small stuff the GPX will miss. I frankly dismiss the less than grain at 4-5 inch depth statement.

I honestly think the GPX 5000 is a vastly superior overall prospecting detector than the SDC 2300. While some GPX owners may very well want one, I see the SDC 2300 as appealing to a separate group. Those who want a good PI but who may not want to spend $5795 on one and also those who are put off by the complexity of the GPX 5000. The new SDC owner can be up and running in minutes and is set up to find the type of gold that is by now the most common type left to be found - tiny bits and pieces. Yet it can and will find chunkier stuff.

In my case personally whether a GPX 5000 or SDC 2300 finds smaller gold totally misses the appeal of the SDC. I like the SDC because it is self-contained, lightweight (compared to the GPX system), compact, easy to use, and waterproof. Right now I am using my GPX in open ground and SDC in thick brushy areas. The GPX and large coils cover open ground FAR better - you feel like you are spitting in the wind with the SDC. Conversely in the brush the GPX system is a bit of a nightmare unless heavily modified.

All I can say is every day I am not considering which one finds small gold better, I am considering which detector I want to use to handle the specific very real environmental conditions. I am quite confident I can find gold with either so other factors come into play. One important one being the SDC 2300 is more fun to run. The GPX 5000 is my workhorse - or maybe I am its workhorse!

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Thanks to both of you for providing a reasonable perspective on the SDC 2300’s capabilities.



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