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Steve Herschbach

Gold Bug Pro Vs AT Gold Vs X-terra 705 Gold Vs Lobo Supertraq Vs MXT

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Thanks Steve, When i use the MXT i lock the ground and about ever 15 mins. i flip back to track and then back to lock. I though the MX5 was like that. I will read the manual. Thanks for the info.  Dean

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Great forum, Steve, and this thread is a great Christmas present for me!  I have been prospecting for three years or so and am only now getting interested in metal detecting.  I have been trying to read all I can find about detectors so I can make the best decision as spring nears.  I've seen a few posts of yours about the Garrett atx and it's of interest to me.  I want to buy only once and have the best all around detector for my area, north Idaho, ne and nc Washington.  So far only very small gold in my vial.  I'm planning on joining a tresure hunting club in Spokane in addition to the prospecting clubs.  

Much of the hype I've read about the atx makes me think it may be in the running for an all around detector but it's much more expensive than the ones mentioned in this thread.  Could it be worth the difference? The compactness of it in the case makes me think I'd have it with me more often.  I know you like them, but how do you think they fit in this thread discussion.  Do you put in the pi class or maybe a class of their own?

Thanks for a wonderful forum and have a happy golden new year!

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Hi roustabout, If you want a all around detector to hunt gold and coins, I don,t think you could beat the MXT or MXT PRO, I took steve,s advice and got the MXT when they first came out, and am very happy with it. I only get to hunt gold now and then, and it will do very good on small gold. When i am home, away from any gold, i can take it to the parks and do just as well as the guys that payed over $1000.00,s for there detector.  Good luck with what ever you choose, there is alot of good detectors, and some not so good.  Flintstone

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Much of the hype I've read about the atx makes me think it may be in the running for an all around detector but it's much more expensive than the ones mentioned in this thread. Could it be worth the difference? The compactness of it in the case makes me think I'd have it with me more often. I know you like them, but how do you think they fit in this thread discussion. Do you put in the pi class or maybe a class of their own?

The Garrett ATX is a pulse induction detector, make no mistake about it. Experienced detectorists can certainly use the ATX for just about any type of metal detecting, but I always caution people new to PI detectors to think of them first and foremost as "dig it all" type detectors. Any thought that you are getting VLF type discrimination is likely to lead to disappointment. You are going to dig junk, and lots of it, with a PI. They are usually used as niche machines, not all around detectors. I am in a very, very small group of people that use PI detectors for more than just one use.

Can I look you in the eye as new to metal detecting and tell you spending three times the money on the ATX as a first detector is a wise idea? Honestly, no. First off, you have no idea if you even like metal detecting at this point! Believe me, many people get detectors and after digging junk for a few days decide the whole concept is a huge waste of time. You say you only have a bit of small gold in your vial. That makes it real hard to recommend you go out and spend over $2000 on a detector that will not even find the gold in that vial.

I suggest you hold off and make those club meetings. Learn more about finding gold with a gold pan and a sluice box. If you cannot find a decent nugget with a gold pan then you have to question whether you can with a metal detector either. It really is all about finding good locations and having good gold finding skills. The particular recovery tool involved is not as important as those skills.

Go to those meeting, talk to everyone possible, and be honest about the areas you have access to and the likelihood that a detector is a good tool for those areas. At some point you have to decide if you really want to get a detector or not, but do it with all the appropriate information at hand.

I still believe a good VLF is a smart place to start for most people in the United States, as they offer a low entry price point and you can find gold with them if you know what you are doing. I can go out this very day, and I have almost 100% certainty that I can use a $700 VLF and be home tonight with gold in my pocket. That is including an hour or two drive each direction to get to a gold location. If I can do that, anyone that is good with a detector can also, if they have access to decent ground.

The reason you get a PI is simple. In low mineral ground a good VLF in all metal mode does much better than people think. Where they fall short is when the ground minerals get intense and especially where hot rocks are producing lots of false signals. If the ground you are likely to detect in is very mineralized and has many hot rocks going right to a PI can be a smart move as a VLF will drive you crazy in places like that unless you really know your detecting. Remember gold was found everywhere with VLFs before modern PI detectors came on the scene. But a PI is a huge advantage in many of the worst mineralized locations.

There is a school of thought of course in many areas, like the southwest US or in Australia, that would say you should just jump right in and spring for a top dollar PI. The idea is nugget detecting is hard enough, and if you do not give yourself your best shot out of the starting gate you will be hurting your chances of having any success at all, and therefore be more likely to just fail at metal detecting. There is some validity to that idea, but I have to look at myself and what I can do personally, and I have no problem finding gold with VLF detectors. In fact, I have no problem finding gold with VLF detectors where PI detectors fall on their faces and fail. The reality is small gold is far more common than big gold. The best operators can pound areas with PI detectors until they would all agree there is no gold left. Than I can wander in with a White's GMT or Fisher Gold Bug 2 and find hundreds or even thousands of small nuggets they missed. The truth is big nuggets are depleting fast, and even the PI detector people are chasing smaller and smaller nuggets. We are coming full circle and going back to VLF in many places to clean up the common small gold that PI detectors miss. There are very many locations where a new detector owner has a far better chance finding gold with a hot VLF than a PI.

I gave myself lots of wiggle room in that long answer. The sad fact is there is no hard and fast answer, no right or wrong in this. If you want to get into detecting for gold, you have to bite the bullet and start somewhere. The quickest way to success is to seek out locals, and clubs are a great place to start. See what they are doing and what they are using. If they all use PI detectors because the ground is bad, and I know the northwest does have very bad ground, then maybe a PI is a good way to go for you. But I suspect you will find successful people in your area using one of the detectors discussed in this thread, in fact I would bet on it.

I would be very interested in hearing what you finally decide to do and how it works out for you. I do promise the key to your success will be researching and accessing good locations. No detector made will do well if you can't get it into a good location, so make that a real focus no matter what you do. Good luck!

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Rouseabout, all that Steve says is wise and true...let me add to his wisdom if I can.


Many long years ago I wanted a detector for nugget hunting...I fully expected to be rich in short order...well, I still ain't rich in gold...so,

I borrowed money from my Dad and got a garret deepseeker rather than the groundhog (I did not listen to others or the heed the available information)...my first mistake was the detector, all the others followed which I won't enumerate...


My point is attend some meetings, try a few detectors if you can, determine your main and secondary detecting interests and take a babysteps rather than using the Fred Method-that would be;jump in deep and swim like H#$@...



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Steve's post above is sound advice from someone who knows.

In case someone is now going to obsess about which VLF detector to get - well, since I am retired now and having a bit of time on my hands and a background in purchasing, I decided to amass a battery of used VLF gold machines and decide which one suited me best.

I will spare everyone the ongoing details of comparing:


GM 4b chest mount

MXT with 4x6' 6x10, and 10" DD coils (also a Bigfoot)

Lobo Super Trac with 6x10 and 3x7 DD coils

Gold Bug Pro with 5", 6x10 and 11" coils

Gold Bug 2 with 3x6 and 6x10 coils

Preliminary results of chasing all kinds of test targets indicate that it probably doesn't make a whole lot of difference which one you use. If you get the detector over gold detectable by a VLF machine, you will probably get it with any of the above. Of course there are differences between all the machine and coil combinations, but the main thing is pick one you like and learn it, then go to where there is detectable gold and get busy!

Meanwhile I will keep playing with my harem of detectors. I may even bore all of you with my "findings". There is not a bad tool in the bunch! I will share one surprising result however. The MXT with a Bigfoot coil has amazing depth in my moderately mineralized AZ dirt. It rivals the 6x10 both in all metal and relic modes.

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Happy New Year to all...I have not tried the Gold Bug Pro but I do have a Garret AT Gold, a Minelab X-Terra 705, GB2 and a ML PI machine.  When I tested the Garrett AT Gold before the purchase ( Gerrys Detectors ) it would hit on a test nugget that I use for my GB2.  Mt X-terra 705 would not hit on it, no waver in the threshold at all,  705 with the Gold Pack DD coil and the Garrett with the standard DD coil.  I needed a waterproof detector for floating the Salmon River here in Idaho and  the AT Gold sure filled the bill.  That said I love my GB2 and X-terra 705, however if I could only have one of the detectors that I now have it would most likely be the Garret AT- I agree that changing coils and headphones can be challenging.  I would love to try The Gold Bug Pro but no point as I am already detector poor..................Thanks.........Idaho Al

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Hi Al,

Welcome to the forum!

"I needed a waterproof detector for floating the Salmon River here in Idaho and the AT Gold sure filled the bill."

It is the extra features that matter the most when comparing these models. You need waterproof, then you need the AT Gold. The AT Gold has a great 5" x 8" coil that no doubt made the difference in your small nugget. I did at one point take a Gold Bug Pro with the 5" round coil, AT Gold with the 4.5" round coil, and X-Terra 705 with 18.75 kHz round 5.75" coil, and test on a small nugget. The result was so close on an in ground test it really made no difference which unit I used. The mid-frequency machines (12-20 kHz) are all so close in all metal prospect mode that I now have a phrase for the new ones when they come out "Just Another Mid-Frequency Detector".

The Gold Bug 2 and GMT though are in another class.

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Hello to all...

Newbie to the MD arena, but have been doing research on VLF detectors for about a month. I've done a little panning with my wife, but got a bit tired of working things dry, so have decided to try detecting. After seeing some of Steve's and some other info on the GB Pro, I pulled the trigger and ordered one on Saturday with dual coils (5" &10") and should get it in about a week. I'm in Las Cruces NM and so will be working primarily here in NM but have kids in CSprings CO and Henderson NV and so will also be working CO, AZ and NV during visits there. I'm primarily interested in nugget hunting vice relics and am starting this as a hobby with my wife, who is as excited as I am about doing this. Looking forward to learning to employ the GB Pro and also learning from those on this forum.

Best regards,

Mike aka Roswell49

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Hi Mike,

Welcome to the forum! You made a great choice. All you need now if a lot of patience and location, location, location. My best tip is pay attention to bullets. Do not get discouraged by them. The smaller they are, and the deeper you dig them, the better your detecting skills. Lead and gold read the same and so if you are digging small lead you are doing everything right. You just need to get over a nugget.

In fact we really should call it bullet detecting. The nuggets just happen along the way. I dig so many bullets and shell casings I save them and toss them in a couple buckets. The pounds add up and are eventually worth something themselves.

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