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Thread: What to consider before getting into detecting?

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  1. #1
    us
    Nov 2017
    El Dorado County, CA
    17
    21 times
    Prospecting

    What to consider before getting into detecting?

    I've been prospecting local creeks and rivers for years with pan, sluice and crevice tools. I find typical flood gold, flecks and the occasional picker. I'm yet to find any nuggets and have been thinking that metal detecting might be the only answer to my craving.

    I feel I'm ready to take my prospecting to the next level, but I want to reach out before I make a very expensive purchase (I've had my eye on the GPX 4500). What considerations should I be aware of before jumping into this expensive hobby? How steep of a learning curve is there for using a PI detector?

    Primarily, I plan on detecting tertiary river channels in the Sierra Nevadas. I have a handful of spots that I have always been curious about, but have had no means of productively finding anything without a detector.

    Any enlightenment or insight before pulling the trigger on detecting would be much appreciated.
    beekbuster and ProspectorBill like this.

  2. #2
    us
    Northern California

    Aug 2007
    Southern California
    XLT, GMT, 6000D Coinmaster
    3,333
    2990 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Good Morning Hickory Joe and a late welcome to Treasurenet!
    You've come to the right place for a variety of answers to your question as it has been answered here before though since the last time there are now newer machines on the market. A popular thread is Lanny's Bedrock and Gold - a huge amount of information in that wonderful long read! Then Steve Herschbach has his own site with more information. Terry Solomon has been prospecting/detecting since there was dirt. Jim Hemingway up in the "North Country" has been at it for a long time hunting for silver in Canada.

    Then the new machines with the PI's going up way over $1,000.00 and lots of VLF detectors have come on the market in the last two years. EVERYONE of the above people and many more here on TNET will tell you that detecting for gold In The Mountains is one of the most difficult forms of detecting to do, that said even I have found it with my GMT VLF detector and I am NOT an expert with my detector! When I started finding gold with it I also started sluicing as panning is literally a pain in the back, the smaller GGT sluice would be perfect for what you expect to be doing. I talk about sluicing as detectors will find some very small gold particles that can be panned but it is a pain in the back to do. However if one sits down in the water (with a closed cell foam pad under them and a comfortable rock at you back) panning can be more pleasant though likely colder.

    There is a steep learning curve for even the simplest detector, the steepness is decreased by using the detector in the city over your own "Test Garden" as well as at local parks. In the mountains the ground mineralization will add a new "thrill" to what your detector tells you so there is an In The Mountain training period for whatever the ground condition is like for any particular canyon.

    The detector you've listed is HEAVY! Of course none of them are feather weights but the Minelabs need lots of electrical power so large heavy batteries are what must be used with many of that brand. Which Detector is best is determined by the user though if where you want to go has a heavy iron layer on top then the VLF's will not make a dent in that - Lanny use's a VLF to begin with and then goes to his Minelab PI for the clean up.

    So welcome to the group of Sick-O's that waste so much of their time out in the hill's looking for the yellow metal! Of course that is not what drives us as we also just enjoy being out there, err at least I do.....................63bkpkr

    Ah yes, accessories for the detectors will also add to their cost but are Necessary, like a Good pair of headphones. I believe it is the Bluetooth headsets that have a lag in the signal and that is only going to ruin a persons experience detecting. Also, not only will you be listening for the detector to beep (or whatever) at a target you will also want to listen for the threshold hum to drop out/go away as that could also be a good target. Wireless headphones are Very Nice as the cord will not be there to grab bushes and rocks. See what fun awaits you! Hence, you need to enjoy being out there as hunting for gold with a detector can be slow going. There is always carrying in a diving mask so you can see in the water while swimming as you can tell how many fish might be there and then again you might just see a nugget laying out in the open that has your name on it, this is called sniping and on hot days it can be a pleasure but cover your bare back as the sun is there to help you see and to give you a sun burn.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by 63bkpkr; Nov 06, 2017 at 03:59 PM.
    Out searching w/GMT & friend under my arm

  3. #3
    Charter Member
    us
    Make America Great Again!

    May 2010
    White Plains, New York
    Tesoro Cult Member & Overlord - Mojave; Vaquero; Lobo Super Traq; Tejon; Sand Shark - Minelab GPZ 7000
    13,182
    14165 times
    Metal Detecting
    Buy excellent, solid equipment, from honest dealers that will be there for you after the sale. Today, you have a tremendous choice of great gold machines - some waterproof, that can break down in your backpack, and use small AA and 9V batteries. Lightweight and powerful is the way to go prospecting way back in the rocks, where water is worth more than big rechargeable batteries.

    Once you find the patch, then you can clean it up with the heavy stuff. Do your due diligence studying the region you want to explore, and the machine that can help you realize your goals. I have a list of 10 top machines I'll be sharing on my Youtube Channel in a few days - Good Luck!

  4. #4
    us
    Nov 2017
    El Dorado County, CA
    17
    21 times
    Prospecting
    Quote Originally Posted by 63bkpkr View Post
    Good Morning Hickory Joe and a late welcome to Treasurenet!
    You've come to the right place for a variety of answers to your question as it has been answered here before though since the last time there are now newer machines on the market. A popular thread is Lanny's Bedrock and Gold - a huge amount of information in that wonderful long read! Then Steve Herschbach has his own site with more information. Terry Solomon has been prospecting/detecting since there was dirt. Jim Hemingway up in the "North Country" has been at it for a long time hunting for silver in Canada.

    Then the new machines with the PI's going up way over $1,000.00 and lots of VLF detectors have come on the market in the last two years. EVERYONE of the above people and many more here on TNET will tell you that detecting for gold In The Mountains is one of the most difficult forms of detecting to do, that said even I have found it with my GMT VLF detector and I am NOT an expert with my detector! When I started finding gold with it I also started sluicing as panning is literally a pain in the back, the smaller GGT sluice would be perfect for what you expect to be doing. I talk about sluicing as detectors will find some very small gold particles that can be panned but it is a pain in the back to do. However if one sits down in the water (with a closed cell foam pad under them and a comfortable rock at you back) panning can be more pleasant though likely colder.

    There is a steep learning curve for even the simplest detector, the steepness is decreased by using the detector in the city over your own "Test Garden" as well as at local parks. In the mountains the ground mineralization will add a new "thrill" to what your detector tells you so there is an In The Mountain training period for whatever the ground condition is like for any particular canyon.

    The detector you've listed is HEAVY! Of course none of them are feather weights but the Minelabs need lots of electrical power so large heavy batteries are what must be used with many of that brand. Which Detector is best is determined by the user though if where you want to go has a heavy iron layer on top then the VLF's will not make a dent in that - Lanny use's a VLF to begin with and then goes to his Minelab PI for the clean up.

    So welcome to the group of Sick-O's that waste so much of their time out in the hill's looking for the yellow metal! Of course that is not what drives us as we also just enjoy being out there, err at least I do.....................63bkpkr

    Ah yes, accessories for the detectors will also add to their cost but are Necessary, like a Good pair of headphones. I believe it is the Bluetooth headsets that have a lag in the signal and that is only going to ruin a persons experience detecting. Also, not only will you be listening for the detector to beep (or whatever) at a target you will also want to listen for the threshold hum to drop out/go away as that could also be a good target. Wireless headphones are Very Nice as the cord will not be there to grab bushes and rocks. See what fun awaits you! Hence, you need to enjoy being out there as hunting for gold with a detector can be slow going. There is always carrying in a diving mask so you can see in the water while swimming as you can tell how many fish might be there and then again you might just see a nugget laying out in the open that has your name on it, this is called sniping and on hot days it can be a pleasure but cover your bare back as the sun is there to help you see and to give you a sun burn.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	181_8162.JPG 
Views:	43 
Size:	172.8 KB 
ID:	1513058 Click image for larger version. 

Name:	182_8294.JPG 
Views:	38 
Size:	71.1 KB 
ID:	1513059
    Thanks for the warm welcome bkpkr and your great input, much appreciated! Looks like I'll be reading Lanny's threads tonight Only been on here for two days and I can already feel the close community of TNet.

    I'm well accustomed to the the backpack style of prospecting, it's all I have done for years, not to mention many years of backpacking all along the Sierras. Absolutely beautiful country here, I can never get enough of it. One thing I do know about the mountains around here is that they're not forgiving, always think ahead and plan accordingly. I've done plenty of sampling trips where I've hiked in miles down steep, wicked canyons only to find nothing, always have a great time though. I take it there is no easy form of prospecting in the backcountry, which makes it all the more rewarding when you find a good spot.

    Nice chunky gold there by the way!
    -Joe
    Last edited by Hickory Joe; Nov 06, 2017 at 11:38 PM.

  5. #5
    us
    Nov 2017
    El Dorado County, CA
    17
    21 times
    Prospecting
    Quote Originally Posted by Terry Soloman View Post
    Buy excellent, solid equipment, from honest dealers that will be there for you after the sale. Today, you have a tremendous choice of great gold machines - some waterproof, that can break down in your backpack, and use small AA and 9V batteries. Lightweight and powerful is the way to go prospecting way back in the rocks, where water is worth more than big rechargeable batteries.

    Once you find the patch, then you can clean it up with the heavy stuff. Do your due diligence studying the region you want to explore, and the machine that can help you realize your goals. I have a list of 10 top machines I'll be sharing on my Youtube Channel in a few days - Good Luck!

    Choices, choices! Sometimes I don't like having so many choices, but I hear you, solid equipment from the start is the way to go. Do know of any reputable dealers in the Sacramento area?

    I'm a firm believer in research and exploration, I can confidently say I know my back yard pretty well. The past couple years I have really dug into historical and current records of mining operations in my county. That coupled with Google Earth and growing up in these hills has begun to reveal spots that I never used to consider. While I have firm knowledge of my region, I lack experience with a detector, so I'm just going to warn you now that you'll be getting a lot of questions from me in the coming years. I hear nugget shooting isn't for the novice or the faint of heart, but I'm the type that thrives off of a good challenge.

    Thanks for your direction, Terry. I look forward to your video in the coming days!
    -Joe
    ProspectorBill likes this.

  6. #6
    us
    Northern California

    Aug 2007
    Southern California
    XLT, GMT, 6000D Coinmaster
    3,333
    2990 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    You are Welcome Joe,
    I've been hiking the North Fork of the American River since I was 19 (for some 50 years now) so I understand about the Steep Wicked Side Canyons, unforgiving events, being prepared as well as thinking about what you have with you so you use everything you have to keep yourself alive. I've hiked out on a broken leg (the real insult was having the ankle of the same leg severely sprained), used pine boughs to support my tent in deep snow (cross country Skiing/backpacking) and figured out how to get a fire going when the forest was soaking wet.

    I've used the metal detector as a work saver by detecting a bucket of rough sample for signs of gold, no beep beep = no need to test the pile. Saves a lot of work when panning or sluicing!

    I carry an insurance policy with me on every trip, I carry it in my left armpit and it is usually loud enough to scare any bear off and they've not returned. I also carry one of those rolled up tiny pseudo plastic tents that reflect most of a persons body heat back into them just incase I need to spend Another night out in the open without my real tent & sleeping bag.

    This is a knowledgeable helpful community, we love pictures of trips, equipment, end results and the like. I'm looking forward to checking out Terry's web site for the list of 10 detectors. As I mentioned I have a GMT and along the NFAR it finds gold. I have all four coils for it but prefer the stock coil and the miniature coil, I've not had a chance to test out the small circular coil yet. Learning it took me quite some time as I really only used it along the river in the summer, silly of me to do that! Once learned and using some of Lanny's comments I began to find gold, some of which was simply amazing that it was there like the machine said it was. Lot's to learn, lot's of folks here willing to do that! Have fun.................63bkpkr
    Out searching w/GMT & friend under my arm

  7. #7
    us
    Nov 2017
    El Dorado County, CA
    17
    21 times
    Prospecting
    There are countless great spots along the NFAR. I've been wanting to do a weekend trip in the summer down the Steven's Creek Trail; free time has been a bit scarce for me the past couple years. I do most my prospecting along the SF American and NF Cosumnes, since I live between the two.

  8. #8
    us
    May 2014
    AZ
    Whippet Dry Washer, Lobo ST, numerous pans, rocker box, and home made fluid bed and stream sluices.
    1,432
    1949 times
    Prospecting
    If it can't be grown, it must be mined!

  9. #9
    bug
    bug is offline

    Jun 2008
    Nor Cal
    125
    123 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    The 4500 is a good detector. I used to swing one myself. If you get one and hunt creeks, purchase a 6x8 elliptical coil from nuggetfinder and you will start pinging out the nuggs. I will add, if you are primarily going to hunt bedrock in creeks, the sdc2300 is a fun detector. Most the guys I know that hunt creeks here in the Motheroad country are running 2300s now. You will dig more lead shot than the 4500 or 5000, but also more gold!

  10. #10
    us
    Nov 2017
    El Dorado County, CA
    17
    21 times
    Prospecting
    Quote Originally Posted by bug View Post
    The 4500 is a good detector. I used to swing one myself. If you get one and hunt creeks, purchase a 6x8 elliptical coil from nuggetfinder and you will start pinging out the nuggs. I will add, if you are primarily going to hunt bedrock in creeks, the sdc2300 is a fun detector. Most the guys I know that hunt creeks here in the Motheroad country are running 2300s now. You will dig more lead shot than the 4500 or 5000, but also more gold!
    Would the 14x9 nuggetfinder fend well on high bench and mountain top deposits? What would you use for finding those high and dry nuggets where there could be a fair amount of large cobbles and boulders between you and bedrock and perhaps a significant amount of sediment on top of the gravels?

  11. #11
    us
    Northern California

    Aug 2007
    Southern California
    XLT, GMT, 6000D Coinmaster
    3,333
    2990 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Hi Hickory,
    I own the largest coil for the GMT and it works however it needs some clear ground to use it properly, that is, no bushes or clumps of rocks. Or, the large coils need special conditions to use them properly, IMHO...............63bkpkr

    The Steven's Creek Trail is a new one to me, it goes down to the NFAR? It must be below Pickering Bar?
    Last edited by 63bkpkr; Nov 07, 2017 at 11:13 PM.
    ProspectorBill likes this.
    Out searching w/GMT & friend under my arm

  12. #12
    if it flies, it dies

    Jan 2015
    shasta county
    sdc 2300 nokta fors gold+
    344
    634 times
    ducks, bucks and gold
    if you know that you are willing to put in the time then i would say go for the best. if you want to test the waters without going 2700 dollars deep. gold bug pro. you are definatley in the right area to find some big nuggets. i would highly reccomend the sdc2300 to any beginner detectorist. its a steep price, but imho, its worth it. ive had mine since late april and its 1/3 paid off. detecting 2-3 times a month. 4500 will be more versatile, but also a learning curve. sdc has an exceptionally short curve.
    got the fever? dont scratch the itch.

  13. #13
    us
    Nov 2017
    El Dorado County, CA
    17
    21 times
    Prospecting
    Quote Originally Posted by beekbuster View Post
    if you know that you are willing to put in the time then i would say go for the best. if you want to test the waters without going 2700 dollars deep. gold bug pro. you are definatley in the right area to find some big nuggets. i would highly reccomend the sdc2300 to any beginner detectorist. its a steep price, but imho, its worth it. ive had mine since late april and its 1/3 paid off. detecting 2-3 times a month. 4500 will be more versatile, but also a learning curve. sdc has an exceptionally short curve.
    There definitely is some big gold to be found in my neck of the woods. You bring up a good point about the 4500 being more versatile, which is what I want. I could get a small elliptical coil for hunting bedrock around exposed creek beds and a larger coil for nugget shooting ancient river beds. I saved 3k so the price for that machine is within my budget. Iím sure the learning curve will be a bit frustrating from the start, but with practice and patients Iíll figure it out. Can you use different coils on the 2300? Thanks for your input btw.
    beekbuster and ProspectorBill like this.

  14. #14

    Sep 2004
    48
    62 times
    SDC2300 has two new coils coming out from Nugget Finder soon. 5"x10", 12" The SDC is a special machine since it has a very fast timing, not extremely deep but seems to do pretty good overall. It can see into the ground a bit different with that very fast timing so will find gold other machines cannot hear. I have been considering buying a sdc lately. The new coils will have center mount connector, versus the oe edge mount which I do not care for.
    GPX4500 Coiltek Elite 14" mono, 15X12 Commander mono, 14X9 NF Evo, Commander 11" dd, 8" round Commander mono, MXT Pro 8x6 SEF, Detech 6"DD Excellerator, Detech 4.5"DD Excellerator, Gold Bug 2 6x3

  15. #15
    if it flies, it dies

    Jan 2015
    shasta county
    sdc 2300 nokta fors gold+
    344
    634 times
    ducks, bucks and gold
    Quote Originally Posted by MXT SNIPER View Post
    SDC2300 has two new coils coming out from Nugget Finder soon. 5"x10", 12" The SDC is a special machine since it has a very fast timing, not extremely deep but seems to do pretty good overall. It can see into the ground a bit different with that very fast timing so will find gold other machines cannot hear. I have been considering buying a sdc lately. The new coils will have center mount connector, versus the oe edge mount which I do not care for.
    that is awsome
    got the fever? dont scratch the itch.

 

 
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