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Coin and Relic Detector

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I know you covered a lot of the same info in your comparison of VLF gold detectors, but please reiterate for the slow kid in the class.

I haven't done any coin and relic hunting, but might want to give it a try.  The conditions I see are:

Trashy, lots of iron and nails

Moderately mineralized ground, not city parks and such, but old desert settlements

Reasonably priced


Suppose you could only take one detector to such a location.  What would it be?

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Hi Steve,

Funny you should ask. I plan on doing a series of posts Prospectors Guide to Jewelry Detecting, Prospectors Guide to Coin Detecting, and Prospectors Guise to Relic Detecting, etc. The idea being basic info for people who may have done a lot of detecting but only for gold nuggets. I really enjoy my detecting so never quit just because there is no prospecting close at hand. I was out just yesterday looking for gold - in a playground tot lot! No, no gold yesterday. Just like nugget detecting you do not always come home with the goods. But I had a great couple hours detecting close to home, and it does not get much better than that.

Any of the multi-purpose mid-frequency gold detectors work well for what you are talking about. The key is ability to work in lots of iron trash, which these detectors excel at. Small coils are also a very good option in trashy sites.

There are so many detectors that might work it is ridiculous. The MXT, Gold Bug Pro (or G2), and AT Gold are three common inexpensive detectors that get mentioned a lot when talking about hunting trashy sites. Depth is usually not the big factor as targets are usually plentiful, in fact, too plentiful. It is that ability to handle thick trash that matters and the mid-frequency machines excel at that task. I should mention Tesoro makes detectors noted as being particularly good in this regard. More expensive options include the Fisher F75, Teknetics T2, and Minelab E-TRAC or CTX 3030. If money is no object and you want something really different the XP DEUS is a killer trash machine.

The Minelab multifrequency detectors like the E-Trac or CTX do very well at suppressing iron signals. That can be good and bad. Too much suppression can hide or "mask" good items sitting next to the junk. But they are more pleasant to use (less chatter) and easier for novices. They make poor nugget machines however so fewer prospectors are interested in them. But still an option for those looking to step up for a high performance coin and jewelry detector.

So now that I have danced around a bit I will tell you I have two detectors personally that I would possibly grab if heading for an old mining townsite. It would be either my Gold Bug Pro or my CTX 3030. Knowing me I would take both but if you are going to force me to take one it will probably be the Gold Bug Pro. It is a sweet little detector in very trashy sites with the little 5" coil. The CTX with small coil is formidable also though so it would depend on my mood and the exact situation.

There are two ways to go. In disc mode dial in just enough disc to knock out small nails. You can do this by either having small nails and such go low tone, and good stuff higher tone. Or if too noisy for you set small stuff to not beep at all, and good stuff to signal audibly. Good stuff in this case means all non-ferrous targets and large iron, with large iron being the relics. Remember, an old pistol is large iron, etc.

If this is still too noisy you can run even higher levels of discrimination. Use a US nickel as a test item and turn the disc up until it is rejected, then back off until it is just accepted. By doing this you are doing what I mentioned earlier - using more suppression and so more good targets might get suppressed, but it is easier for novices, less noisy.

Tom Dankowski has a forum where the main subject tends to be getting finds out of old cabin sites and such where trash abounds. The basic theory being the more human habitation, the more ferrous junk, so these guys actually go looking for the heavy ferrous sites. It is job one in Europe. Find the trash and in it will be the good stuff. A gentleman name of Keith Southern posts there and reviews lots of detectors for this use. He probably is THE expert on the subject. You can read page after page of posts there on the subject but it will all biol down to what I have posted here. Mid-frequency detector, small coil, minimum discrimination, go slow, be patient. Do not get frustrated as you will dig trash. Many ferrous targets trick all the best machines and if a detector tunes those tricky items out, you lose the good stuff also. Just the way it is. So if you want to wade into vast detail check out the Tom Dankowski Forum It is one of the few forums I follow as it delves into lots of technical detail. Look for anything by Keith Southern in particular.

Like most things detecting though it really is not rocket science. A decent detector and patience is all you need.

Subject for another post but relic hunting can get one afoul of the antiquity laws so a bit of caution is in order. Coins are legal tender so no issues there as long as the area is open to detecting. Digging items over 100 years old or in some cases over 50 years old on public land can land you in hot water so before you go wild and crazy with relics learn about that. As I say, a topic for another post.

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I am sure the XP DEUS can find gold nuggets but it is quite a premium price unit for just that task. I doubt it is any better at prospecting as the $700 detectors. I rarely balk at getting the latest and greatest but I was less than enthused about having coils with sealed rechargeable batteries in them. Must be getting old but it is almost too high tech for me. The control box is tiny, and I mean tiny. Smaller than my iPhone. Owners really rave about it though. It is becoming a bit of a cult machine.

They did recently place a blurb on their website with some Aussie nuggets found http://xpmetaldetectorsamericas.com/blog/category/customer-finds/ The nuggets are sizable but it apparently did good in bad ground and lots of trash.

This is one machine someone else besides me will have to buy and try for prospecting though. Anyone gets any news on it I am all ears!

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I second the GB Pro. A simple ,lightweight machine that excells in iron and has very accurate I.D. Nice price to. The technrtics g2 is same machine but comes stock with the larger coil.

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 I have not used the DEUS myself, but reports I have heard have not been the best. The DEUS seems to really struggle on the smaller sized gold. A customer of mine tried one on his claim in the Humbolt Range and his report was that his Garrett Ace 350 that his son uses performed better. I really like the concept but want to try for myself before counting it out.

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On 1/6/2014 at 2:12 PM, whylee said:

 I have not used the DEUS myself, but reports I have heard have not been the best. The DEUS seems to really struggle on the smaller sized gold. A customer of mine tried one on his claim in the Humbolt Range and his report was that his Garrett Ace 350 that his son uses performed better. I really like the concept but want to try for myself before counting it out.

I really want you to try it before I count it in! I am a bit skeptical of the Deus as a nugget detector. Might be the cat's meow for other things but prospecting is another thing. I do not need another coin machine so too much for me just to buy and try.

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