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Hunting With The Garrett Apex


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I open this topic for new users of the Garrett Apex and the Pro-Pointer, a.k.a. "Carrott". There might be something experienced operators might want to ask as well. I had originally planned on writing a huge intense review about Apex features and detail the operation of it, but I think it might be less boring and more productive if users asked me specific questions they have. I have owned the Apex now for 4 years and really enjoy using it. I'm not a water hunter, nor gold prospector... I hunt mostly coins, flat buttons, jewelry, and relics in the oldest locations I can find. If that interests you, I will be happy to share what I know about the Apex and land metal detecting in general.

Yesterday (4/16), on a permission I have been hunting (more like beating to death) for 13 years now, the law of diminishing returns is starting to become evident. So I spent the day hunting in random directions over my colonial era crop field... hunting more slowly, hoping to find anything at all actually.  So I relaxed a little and removed some pressure from myself by not competing with myself! I have found everything imaginable here from coins, buttons, and relics lost by the people who plowed these fields long ago... Right on through to items people are still losing today. Towards the end of day, expecting to go home empty-handed yet again, I hunted near a good-sized Hickory tree in the middle of the field which likely presented an obstacle to one of farmers long ago. It was probably left standing anyway because it was at the crest of a hill and possibly for its never ending crop of nuts.

My target signal (only 8 feet inside the shade from the tree) sounded surface loud. The pitch bounced from "foil to pull-tab", back and forth. Walking around the target, I was able to somewhat isolate the "60-ish from the 40-ish" conductive ID, making it more stable and repeatable in the higher direction. A quick glance of the depth scale in the custom search mode I use showed 3 bars or only 6". I ran my iron technique in Pinpoint and proved the target not to be large iron at least. There were plenty of little iron "grunts" around the location though. OK I thought, one more out of context pull-tab or gnarly foil wad and I'll hit the road for home! Folding a plug back, the "Carrott" started to "Bugs Bunny" in the bottom of the hole... A little more dirt and it's out! I checked the hole depth with the embossed scale on the side of the pinpointer... 6" nearly on the mark. But no pull-tab or foil... It was an 1863 cupro-nickel Indian! Normally the "Fatty's" are oxidized into date oblivion, but this ground was kind. This penny still had some light green patina in the recesses. It must have been dropped not too long after circulation. It was in the same era of a rare campaign button I once found in the other end of this field. Not far from my dig, I got another signal that read "51". I was hoping for possibly a "Shield" nickel, only to be disappointed with a 1981 Jefferson at about the same depth as the Indian! 🙂

Hopefully this little (true) story will invite some questions about how I use and adjust the Apex and get us started!

1863 Cupro-Nickel Indian.jpg

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Way better shape IHP than I usually see here.

Apex gets bit of a bad rap. Maybe because the audio is so short and doesn't have the modulation as many machines they are accustomed to like the ML, XP and even AT series. I have an Apex myself though don't use it nearly as much as my Tesoros I have done incredibly well with it. I have the stock Viper, Raider and Ultimate 9" which really works well on that machine. I noticed slower sweep speeds really helps at least around here where the ground is rich in iron.

For what it is worth My buddy and i did target for target comparisons with Apex and 9" ultimate and XP D2 with 9" for coin shooting. Both were pretty equal. XP did a little better on identifying aluminum trash but probably because I had it in 40khz smf and the Apex did bit better identifying iron targets but again that was at 20khz multi. Depth wise I would say the Apex has a slight edge with that coil but not enough to rush out and buy one.

Reaper coil does ok but emi and mineralization smothers it here so depth gain is not really worth the weight. Iron trash in the fields makes it much more likely to mask out. On sanded beaches however it is very deep so people beach combing might like it.

Suppose it won't hurt but do ya think Garrett could offer an update to add a pro audio mode like the AT Pro had? I had asked Garrett a bunch of times but get the silence treatment. They are really missing the boat on that machine. I know some people like that short blip but considering the Hybrid audio has almost no modulation it makes the machine difficult to hunt for fringe targets in old sites without relying on the screen.

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A very good thread topic.

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that's incredible, even in our milder soils here the cupro nickel coins are terrible condition even when from the 80's and 90's, yet yours is in great condition, might have the right combination of soils to not react to it or something.

Hopefully the Apex is a taste of things to come with the pending storm forecast.

 

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7 hours ago, Bob Sickler said:

I ran my iron technique in Pinpoint and proved the target not to be large iron at least.

Hi Bob,
Thanks for offering to share your knowledge.
Fellow Apex user and happy to see the machine getting some love.
What is the iron technique in pinpoint you perform to check for big iron?
Checking the target size…or more to it?
Cheers,
Mike

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11 hours ago, kac said:

Way better shape IHP than I usually see here.

Apex gets bit of a bad rap. Maybe because the audio is so short and doesn't have the modulation as many machines they are accustomed to like the ML, XP and even AT series. I have an Apex myself though don't use it nearly as much as my Tesoros I have done incredibly well with it. I have the stock Viper, Raider and Ultimate 9" which really works well on that machine. I noticed slower sweep speeds really helps at least around here where the ground is rich in iron.

For what it is worth My buddy and i did target for target comparisons with Apex and 9" ultimate and XP D2 with 9" for coin shooting. Both were pretty equal. XP did a little better on identifying aluminum trash but probably because I had it in 40khz smf and the Apex did bit better identifying iron targets but again that was at 20khz multi. Depth wise I would say the Apex has a slight edge with that coil but not enough to rush out and buy one.

Reaper coil does ok but emi and mineralization smothers it here so depth gain is not really worth the weight. Iron trash in the fields makes it much more likely to mask out. On sanded beaches however it is very deep so people beach combing might like it.

Suppose it won't hurt but do ya think Garrett could offer an update to add a pro audio mode like the AT Pro had? I had asked Garrett a bunch of times but get the silence treatment. They are really missing the boat on that machine. I know some people like that short blip but considering the Hybrid audio has almost no modulation it makes the machine difficult to hunt for fringe targets in old sites without relying on the screen.

Hey Kac... Bad rap or not, I haven't been happier in years using a detector like I have been with the Apex. Works extremely well in my environments. I have always prided myself in being able to find good targets with just about any metal detector, but none have been so comfortable to use like the Apex has been. What is really needed to make great finds is finding a great place to use it on and having your searchcoil over the  target, not how much you can spend on a detector.

My own early air test sensitivity observations between the D2-11 General and the Apex-11x6 Custom... The Apex won hands down.  I was getting great response to my 14K wedding ring at beyond 11" at full sensitivity. In my soil, I didn't find the D2 any deeper than the Apex, both with 11" round and elliptical respectively. The D2 was more hungry for small rusted iron. The only difference I saw was in target separation tests, the D2 won there only because you have the ability to adjust the speed of the reactivity, the Apex you do not. But these are tests and not real live situations. However, increasing target separation by increasing reactivity has the unfortunate trade-off of reducing depth penetration. Garrett seems to have dialed in a sweet spot for the Apex's reactivity. You wouldn't believe what I found in one hour on an old trash embankment with the Apex. It does a good enough job for me at 1/3 the price.

The Viper and Ripper so far has earned my "best coil I have ever used on any detector" award. Great weight, great depth, great construction, and great maneuverability. Slower sweep speeds in iron on most of today's motion discriminators is a good choice, it helps you maintain coil angularity and tighter overlap as well. It has taken me many years to not be so competitive with myself!

Will Garrett address the modulated audio vs. the hybrid audio as an option? I honestly have no clue, but there are times having a punchy audio was just what I needed in the face of strong ambient noise. I was a big fan of the AT-Pro audio as it was softer and had less edge on the ears, but I have gotten used to watching my depth gauge in the search mode and not the pinpoint mode anyway. It is quite accurate on items it has been primarily calibrated for. You can actually hear a difference between deep and surface targets with hybrid, but it is quite subtle... Deep targets have less "blip" to the edge as you say. I always listen to my modulated all-metal pinpoint audio strength when gauging depths.

I have never used the Apex on a conductive salt beach, but I hear it is quite good. I guess I'll have to learn to take a vacation now and then! 🙂 

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8 hours ago, phrunt said:

that's incredible, even in our milder soils here the cupro nickel coins are terrible condition even when from the 80's and 90's, yet yours is in great condition, might have the right combination of soils to not react to it or something.

Hopefully the Apex is a taste of things to come with the pending storm forecast.

 

Here's my theory... When copper and nickel alloyed coins are dropped closer to the time they were minted, the die strike work-hardens the metal surface which makes them more resistant to oxidation. Hunting ground with lower acidity always helps too, but coins that have been in circulation a long time have that "protective skin" worn away and are very vulnerable to oxidation. I have found Large Cents that look like the day they were minted (found in nasty ground) because they were not circulation worn. Large Cents from the same time period that were heavily circulated are nearly worthless to look at!

Yes phrunt, if Garrett can advance the ergonomics, simplicity, and comfort factor of the Apex and make it more all-terrain, they are building on an already winning design in my eyes. I have already easily dug older coins at 10" with the Apex, not sure I need or want to dig any deeper! Many of my best coins over the years have been in the 6-8" depth range with old and new detectors.

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Hey Bob.

It's so nice to have another Apex fan here on the forum.  Back in June last year I posted this:

As I think I've said before, detecting is what I do for fun.  I don't test, I don't analyze, I just hunt.  For me, the Apex is just fun to hunt with.  That's all I need.

Thanks for this great post.

Bill

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9 hours ago, Mike305 said:

Hi Bob,
Thanks for offering to share your knowledge.
Fellow Apex user and happy to see the machine getting some love.
What is the iron technique in pinpoint you perform to check for big iron?
Checking the target size…or more to it?
Cheers,
Mike

Hi Mike, you are welcome... My iron technique has developed over the years from reading Charles Garrett's books in my early days. A simple fact is iron distorts the "electromagnetic field" generated by your searchcoil. In other words, when you approach a medium to large rusted iron target, your "field" reacts to the iron sooner than a non-ferrous target. If I get a single loud target, sometimes high pitched, that could sound like it is on the surface, I switch to a non-motion pinpoint mode (very slow or no auto-tuned) and pull the searchcoil away from the target area (no sound). Then I move slowly back towards the target without detuning the signal like you might if you were pinpointing it. As I start to hear the target audio, I keep my eye on the ground where this happened and notice how far the opposite side (trailing side) of the searchcoil passes beyond this ground spot. More simply put, if the target response is wider than my searchcoil's width, I can usually count on the target being iron based. If the target is non-ferrous, such as a coin, the signal will be less than or equal to the searchcoil's width. If the signal width is very wide, it can also indicate quite a large target of iron.

Very important to not ignore overly loud signals. I have an 1850's NYS Militia Plate on my dresser to remind me of that! Yes, we have all found those deeply (intentionally) buried aluminum soda and beer cans too! Obviously multiple big iron targets near a smaller non-ferrous target is a little more difficult to use this iron technique on. If a little non-ferrous high pitch repeatable blip goes faint or disappears amongst iron as you raise up your searchcoil passes, I'd use my other technique... "When in doubt, dig first, complain later!" 🙂

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9 minutes ago, Bill (S. CA) said:

Hey Bob.

It's so nice to have another Apex fan here on the forum.  Back in June last year I posted this:

As I think I've said before, detecting is what I do for fun.  I don't test, I don't analyze, I just hunt.  For me, the Apex is just fun to hunt with.  That's all I need.

Thanks for this great post.

Bill

Yes Bill, yours is a great revisit, much shorter, and more to the point than mine thank goodness! I'm not brave enough to post mine or even edit it, it is so long! 🙂 I wrote it in the beginning when I first got the Apex and was quite excited about it. I too am a "grunt" audio fan. I turn my (menu) Iron Audio down to "2" and use no discrimination. Don't think I've missed anything yet and it really helps prevent masking in the worst "trash". Amen brother on the "No Test" fun way of life. I'm back to hunting more, writing less myself. Wait a minute, why am I on this forum? 🙂 I do hope Garrett pays attention to those of us who think the Apex is great. Hey everyone, just go to the Garrett "Find of the Month" pages to see all the great things other people are finding with the Apex and other models, if you don't believe Bill and myself! 🙂

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