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Dakota

AT Pro For Gold Detecting???

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Looking real serious on the AT PRO for an all around detector that will not break the bank. How is this detector as far as prospecting like some small gold nuggets maybe with some luck. Feedback greatly appreciated   Thanks

Bill

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Had one didn't like it me and it just never clicked all I can really say about it.I feel it is one of the most over rated detectors on the market but there are a lot of people that love it I am just not one of them for the money you can purchase a new X Terra 705 rite now I think that would be a way better machine for you for what you are looking to do I have been using a 705 since 08 or 09 and and have never felt the need to up grade a new in box X TERRA 705 can be had rite now for just under $500 the only advantage the AT PRO has over the X TERRA 705 is it can be submerged under water up to 10 feet the X TERRA 705 can not

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With the choices around at the moment and the due release of the Equinox series I think you would be doing yourself a disservice if you don't wait and see what's just around the corner regards multi purpose detectors , it's not that the AT isn't a good multi purpose machine it's just that Running at 15 kHz it's not going to be overly sensitive when used for prospecting . As Dsmith suggests the the xterra has come down in price and has a dedicated prospecting mode and runs at a slightly higher frequency and is well regarded as a coin machine as well , the ground tracking is also the best in the business. The only advantage the AT has is its ability to work underwater.  

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Had one, didn't care for it. Better choices out there .Jmo. 

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Others have recommending switching your brand prefernce, and I'm not going to weigh in on that.  But if you're sticking with a Garrett you'll be better off with the AT-Gold for finding nuggets.  It also will find coins, jewelry, and relics.  (KG and Ringy from the US TV show Diggers, who are supplied/sponsored by Garrett, chose the AT-Gold over the AT-Pro for their relic hunting.)  Biggest downside vs. Pro is that it won't work in salt water (but it will perform in fresh water).  Here is a comparison chart, including the new AT-Max, which Steve posted recently:

Also you'd be wise to carefully read through Steve's reviews.  He mostly covers gold detectors there so you won't find the AT-Pro, but the AT-Gold is reviewed and receives good marks:

http://www.detectorprospector.com/gold-prospecting-equipment/metal-detectors-metal-detecting-accessories.htm

Since your budget is limited you should consider buying a used detector, for example on Ebay.

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garrett-at-pro-waterproof-metal-detector.jpg

When the AT Pro came out in 2010 it turned the industry on its ear. A lightweight, inexpensive metal detector waterproof to ten feet, that did not skimp on features including a LCD readout, speaker, and interchangeable coils. Up to then underwater detectors were more akin to the Tesoro Tiger Shark - heavy, feature limited, expensive, and usually with hardwired coils and headphones.

The Garrett AT Pro basically created a new category of detectors - the All Terrain (AT) detector, as much at home in the water as on land. Many manufacturers are still trying to catch up to this seven years later.

tesoro-tiger-shark-waterproof-metal-detector.jpg

The AT Pro as a detector however is a 15 kHz discriminating type VLF with no true prospecting mode. That is not to say you cannot find gold nuggets with it. You can. If your intend on maybe going nugget detecting but might not ever get around to it, it might serve. However, if you really intend and want to put in more than a couple days a year nugget detecting there are better options like the 18 kHz Garrett AT Gold. Just about everyone makes a 18 - 20 kHz do it all prospecting detector as listed at Nugget Detector Guide. People have favorites for various reasons but I can grab most any 18 - 20 khz VLF detector and do about as well personally running any of them so I will defer to others as far as the picking of favorites.

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    • By Steve Herschbach
      Despite all the noise about pulse induction (PI) metal detectors these days I firmly believe that in the United States most beginning and many professional nugget hunters are often better served with a good mid-frequency VLF. For beginners I think it is more important to master the real skills involved in prospecting before investing a ton of money in a metal detector. If you can't find gold with a $700 detector there is little point in investing thousands of dollars in a detector that still probably will not find the person any gold.
      Perhaps a PI is required in most of Australia but I have seen very few places in the United States where a good VLF will not work very well or at least well enough. Certainly in Alaska that is the case, where low mineral ground and smallish gold is the norm. Even locations where large gold lurks are so loaded with iron junk a PI detector has a hard go of it. It is nearly impossible to convince die-hard PI users to accept this until they experience it for themselves.
      One of the best detectorists I know has found hundreds of ounces of gold including two nuggets each weighing over a pound, all with a White's MXT. He also has a Minelab GPX 5000 and is very good with it. This last summer we hunted a lot together in junk infested tailing piles. I tended to use my GPX 5000 and he tended to use his MXT. We ran neck and neck for finds, and he detected less and dug way less junk than I. When all the shallow stuff is gone a PI shows its value with extra depth. But in target rich environments, especially ones filled with junk, a good VLF is a worthy choice.
      Let's set the VLF versus PI thing aside though and accept for the purposes of this article that VLF detectors are still a good choice for many people in the United States. I know for a fact I could own nothing but a VLF and do very well indeed. So what VLF to own?
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      The contenders from the "Big Five" brands? The Fisher Gold Bug Pro (also sold as Teknetics G2), Garrett AT Gold, Minelab X-Terra 705 Gold, Tesoro Lobo SuperTRAQ, and White's MXT. All available for around $700 more or less. This is the choice I personally faced, and the decision took several years of use to settle. What follows is purely personal but I will explain why I ended up where I did.

      Fisher Gold Bug Pro, Garrett AT Gold, Minelab X-Terra 705 Gold, Tesoro Lobo, White's MXT
      First up, the White's MXT. Simply a superb detector, and one that has found me pounds of gold. Yet I am just going to go ahead and blow White's off at this point! Why? The weight. I am sorry White's, but at 4.3 pounds the MXT is the heaviest detector in this slug-fest. I love what the detector does, but I am no longer willing to forgive detectors with poor ergonomic factors, weight being the most obvious. In the 21st century, the day and age of the iPhone, poor ergonomics is not acceptable. The MXT needs to lose a pound, plain and simple. So I sold my MXT after one particularly arm wearing day.
      Now the Tesoro Lobo SuperTRAQ is a great beginners detector in that it is very easy to operate, but it also gets put aside. The detector is locked in ground tracking at all times while in all metal nugget mode. This is great for beginners but I personally find it unacceptable. I almost never use ground tracking systems as they mess with the signals from weak targets. If there was a locked or fixed mode it would be fine. Worse yet, the alternative discriminate mode has a factory pre-set ground balance. Sorry, fail. Just my opinion, but the Lobo is way overdue for an update after 16 years on the market.
      Garrett is to be commended for finally producing a waterproof detector that does not penalize the owner by weighing a ton and removing all the features. The AT Gold is a miracle in being waterproof and yet fully featured, with even the speaker being waterproof. And only three pounds with batteries! This detector is so wonderful I really do feel bad about taking a pass on it here also. Why? Sadly, the waterproof design also means special o-ring connectors for the coils and headphones. If you do not need the detector to be waterproof they are delicate connectors that collect dirt and require quite a bit of care to not mess up. The coil connection in particular is in a maddening location making it almost impossible to connect coils with bare fingers alone. A special adapter must be purchased if you want to have a choice in headphones. If you want waterproof the AT Gold is an obvious choice but I do not need waterproof for most of my nugget detecting.
      So down to two models, the Fisher Gold Bug Pro and Minelab X-Terra 705 Gold. Both under the magic 3 pound mark! Both with extremely powerful all metal modes. So powerful that in all metal mode these detectors give the PI units a run for depth in most ground on most gold in the US. This was tough for me as the X-Terra has a far richer feature set than the Gold Bug Pro and for many all around users would be the better choice. But I looked at both from strictly a nugget hunting perspective where those extra features are extraneous to the task at hand. It came down to this. In all metal mode the Gold Bug Pro is simultaneously and separately running in discriminate mode. The audio response is pure all metal, but you also get the probable target id, when possible, displayed on the screen. Very deep targets will have no target id, which is why we are using all metal prospect mode in the first place.
      The X-Terra 705 you can run in Prospect Mode or Discriminate Mode, but not both at once. This one thing leads to more efficient detecting with all the information you need on screen at once. The Gold Bug Pro gives you the target id, ground phase, and magnetic susceptibility reading all on screen at once while in all metal mode.
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