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Hi Steve, I am very new at metal detecting and have been wanting a gpx 5000 since they came out. Go to buy one and there is a new kid on the block. I'm Planning on detecting old mine sites and tailings in Virginia. Price is not an issue, but I cannot afford two, I really like the folding up to backpack size and waterproof sdc 2300, but still want to buy the best detector for what I am doing. I have read all your articles and thank you for taking the time to share your experience. I have only used a very cheap Tesoro and would value your opinion as to purchasing a sdc 2300 for simplicity or Gpx 5000 and learning all the different settings. I know you said if you only had 1 detector it would be a gpx 5000 and am leaning towards that. Thank you for your time.

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Junkman.... If you purchase a 5000 from a good reputable dealer who also offers training, you will see that the 5000 is not as complex as you think it is.

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Junkman wrote "I'm Planning on detecting old mine sites and tailings in Virginia" 

Junkman, I hope you have a strong back and good knees if it is your plan to detect these types of sites with a PI only. Of course gold fever will get you through digging massive amounts of junk at first but after the romance wanes you may regret your earlier decision.

Think VLF. Good luck in whatever you decide.

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Really tough question because I tend to agree with goldbrick. If you were inviting me and I was getting on a plane tomorrow with one detector it would be a good VLF.

 

It may take a rocket scientist to understand every GPX setting and how they all interact exactly but very few people ever get that far. You boot it up in the stock General setting, bump the gain up, ground balance, and go detecting. If you get into hot rocks that General cannot handle, flip to Fine Gold, adjust the gain and ground balance again, and off you go. In practice the GPX is pretty easy to operate. I ran mine all summer and hardly ever changed settings.

 

For a very serious prospector the GPX 5000 is a good investment in a lot of locations but I am not sure old mine sites in Virginia qualify. Oddly enough I tend to lean towards the SDC for what you are describing because it will not detect as deep! The GPX will have you digging holes to China for nails, SDC not so much. But you still have to dig everything and that might be a real concern.

 

Without knowing more about the exact locations, size of the gold, how much trash, and long term prospecting plans frankly I just do not know. But like I said, if it was me tomorrow and could only grab one I would grab the VLF until I know more.

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I agree Steve and Goldbrick that a VLF is way better for old hard rock mine tailings - most are just way too trashy for a detector with no discrimination (the SDC) or one with poor discrimination on specimen gold such as you are more likely to find in a tailings pile (the GPX). Given the more limited detecting opportunities in the east, I would recommend a good VLF.

 

If you lived in the west and had access to good places out here, I would recommend the SDC for new, inexperienced prospectors over the 5000.

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A little info for Steve and others as to help in their advice to Junkman, I know many gold prospectors in Virginia, the ground is very hot in most if not all of the areas that has gold and in most all of the Civil War relics areas, that being said the guys I know that detect for gold and relics in Virginia were driven crazy using VLF detectors in the hot ground up there, the VLFs just can't handle the ground very well and almost all of them now use Minelab PI machines and doing rather well with them after learning how to operate them, I don't want to sway Junkman's decision one way or the other, but I thought this info would be useful in any advice being giving.

 

 There have been many very nice nuggets from a couple of ounces down to gram size found in Virginia and most all I have seen were found with GPX 4500 or the GPX 5000, I haven't heard of anyone finding any nuggets with VLFs, I haven't heard of anyone using a SDC 2300 yet, but I would venture to say it would do well up there.

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Yep, I have heard there is some very hot ground in VA. However mine dumps tend to be lots of quartz and not nearly as hot as some general ground where relics are found, and no state is uniformly hot or mild. Perhaps the best advice would be to contact some local prospectors directly and ask their thoughts on metal detecting. The state has two GPAA chapters:

(from the ICMJ website)

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Thanks everyone for your input, going to reread vagold forums, I know their was nugget finds with gpx 4500 and 5000, try to see if I missed any info and try to decide.

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