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SDC2300 Shines in Superhot Ironstone


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After leaving the skunkfest at Sawtooth I decided to detour on my way home and hit some old ground where I knew some small gold existed. Don't get me wrong, Sawtooth was a great outing with a great bunch of people, but except for one really nice nugget, the gold was pretty scarce.

So, I drove to Riverside, CA where an old friend always has a spare room and a jaccuzi. I soaked my aching bones and tried to wash off the skunk, downed a few glasses of Cab. and got a decent nights sleep in a bed, not a camp cot.

Yesterday I drove out to a zone near Palm Springs where Kaiser steel once mined iron ore. I got an early start knowing I had over an hour hike to the spot I wanted to try. The spot consists of a small ridge where the old timers had drywashed 2 small gullies. Bedrock on the ridge face is less than 8 inches. I had found a few nuggets in the past with the GPX, nothing over 1 gram, but the ironstone just plays hell with the GPX, especially when looking for small gold. Whisper targets are out of the question. Some of the golf ball sized ironstones are super dense and make a swinging a coil a hearing buster. The softball sized pieces are like swinging over a horse shoe and the GPX will find them real deep. I hiked in the long way much to my dismay later in the day. The temps were in the mid to high 80's and I miscalculated on my water supply. I had 3 1 ltr bottles, and drank the first one on the way in.

I got to the tailings and within minutes had 3 small flakes of gold, right out of the tailings. I worked the entire hillside trying to find bigger pieces and clusters, but it wasn't to be. The SDC was a dream in that ironstone. It growled and groaned on probably 60 percent of the ironstones, but gold signals came through loud and clear with obvious dig me tones. The biggest piece of gold was just shy of 2 grams and blasted through with the low/high tone. I dug a fair amount of really dense ironstone, but the SDC purred along for the most part. I hunted that spot for about 2 hours and came away with 16 pieces for about 5 grams. I spent too much time searching the barren parts of the hillside instead of concentrating on a 30 meter zone that produced 90 percent of the gold. I ignored most of the faint threshold warbles because of the ironstone and only dug solid signals. I was short of time because of the my water situation and had to call it day after about 2 hours of detecting.

My hike back was brutal. Hottest part of the day and my water reached the critical. I had abut 4 inches of water left in the last bottle and had to take a small sip and hold the water in my mouth to overcome the dry tongue and mouth sensation. I tried to take a shortcut and naturally missed the mark because of a sheer rock face. Thankfully, I had a cooler full of cold water and beer and that's all I could think of as I trudged around the rock face obstacle. Man, was I glad to see that truck in the distance and polished off the last of my water. I should have stayed another day, but my heart just wasn't in it after that hot, dry hike.

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Finding the SDC2300 is great in Australia on ironstone littered ground. Dismissing any ironstone/ironstone mix rocks that signal isn't an option here as everything I've found that has signalled to date has contained gold when broken open. Haven't had any ironstone "hotrocks" to date. The only rocks I have had trouble with are some larger bits of basalt in one area but have heard of others having issues elsewhere also with basalt.

Some ironstone & quartz speccis a mate got last trip. Photo is after being broken open.

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