Detecting Gold with a Cheap Detector

desertgolddigger

Sr. Member
May 31, 2015
414
638
Twentynine Palms, California
Detector(s) used
Bounty Hunter Time Ranger
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Prospecting
I own an old Bounty Hunter Time Ranger detector. At the time I purchased it, it was considered a very good all around machine.

It came with two coils, a large one for general detecting, and a 4 inch coil for gold detecting. I doubt this gold coil setup can detect small things very far down (4 inches is my guess), but I'm hoping I can beep the pea gravel I'm toting home. I plan on finding a spot on my property that has no metal buried, then lay down a sheet of plywood. I will then cover the plywood with a single layer of the gravel, and beep it.

Does this sound reasonable for such a limited metal detector? If not, can anyone suggest a detector that costs no more than $500. It, preferably would be purpose built to detect gold only, if there is such a thing.
 
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leadnugget

Full Member
Jul 29, 2006
247
631
arizona
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gpx6000
gp extreme
gold monster 1000
nokta simplex
with the smaller coil it shouldn't have any problem finding a nugget in
pea gravel on a sheet of plywood. its interesting you bring this up. using a sheet of plywood.
there is a old guy up north of me i know that shovels all the dirt out of a wash then busts up the bedrock and vacuums it up.
then classifies it, that helps get rid of the black sand iron mineralization. then dumps it on a sheet of plywood and picks out the fish scale pickers with a gb2.
he calls it boarding. seems like a lot of work, but it works for him.
he has been at it since the early 80s. i can tell what washes he has been in do to finding his old plywood up on the sides of the gulches.
he doesn't like drywashing do to the thin fish scale type gold lost with that method.
 
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desertgolddigger

Sr. Member
May 31, 2015
414
638
Twentynine Palms, California
Detector(s) used
Bounty Hunter Time Ranger
Primary Interest:
Prospecting
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leadnugget, thanks for the reply, and your story about the guy who uses plywood. If you're talking about very thin gold flakes being fish scales, then you hit what I'm recovering with my drywasher. A drywasher can recover over 90 percent of the gold as long as you get the riffle tray angle right, and run the material slowly. That allows this flake gold to settle behind the riffles.

Right now I need to dig and sift an area on the very back of my property to remove all the trash previous residents burned and buried back in the 70's and 80's before such practises were banned in the city/county. Then I can start my detecting. Though maybe it would be more efficient to just drag the plywood with me some day, and detect on the claim, on the pea gravel pile I've created. I'm sure someone will eventually flatten it out and detect it.
 

Terry Soloman

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May 28, 2010
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desertgolddigger

Sr. Member
May 31, 2015
414
638
Twentynine Palms, California
Detector(s) used
Bounty Hunter Time Ranger
Primary Interest:
Prospecting
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T.S., Thanks, I have the manual, and have made notes to have when using this machine. I only plan on using it on he pea gravel I classify out of the old tailing piles It's doubtful there will be a nugget that size, but you can never say never.
 

Goldwasher

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May 26, 2009
6,044
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Sailor Flat, Ca.
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SDC2300, Gold Bug 2 Burlap, fish oil, .35 gallons of water per minute.
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I own an old Bounty Hunter Time Ranger detector. At the time I purchased it, it was considered a very good all around machine.

It came with two coils, a large one foe general detecting, and a 4 inch coil for gold detecting. I doubt this gold coil setup can detect small things very far down (4 inches is my guess), but I'm hoping I can beep the pea gravel I'm toting home. I plan on finding a spot on my property that has no metal buried, then lay down a sheet of plywood. I will then cover the plywood with a single layer of the gravel, and beep it.

Does this sound reasonable for such a limited metal detector? If not, can anyone suggest a detector that costs no more than $500. It, preferably would be purpose built to detect gold only, if there is such a thing.
do you know if there is even gold in the gravel?
 
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desertgolddigger

Sr. Member
May 31, 2015
414
638
Twentynine Palms, California
Detector(s) used
Bounty Hunter Time Ranger
Primary Interest:
Prospecting
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Goldwasher, no, not really. But I've been told by others that they have detected old gravel piles on the claim, and found small nuggets. Why take the chance by not checking. And I need this gravel to finish off my landscaping anyway.
 
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southfork

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Jun 15, 2014
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Goldwasher, no, not rally. But I've been told by others that they have detected old gravel piles on the claim, and found small nuggets. Why take the chance by not checking. And I need this gravel to finish off my landscaping anyway.
Why take a chance of missing some dirty gold. I held a 1 ounce nugget said to have come off a commercial dry washing pile by Goler gulch near Ransburg ca.
 

Treasure_Hunter

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Jul 27, 2006
46,585
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Florida
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The Bounty Hunter Time Ranger detector would see larger nuggets but it is not going to see the average small nuggets or granular gold.
 

leadnugget

Full Member
Jul 29, 2006
247
631
arizona
Detector(s) used
gpx6000
gp extreme
gold monster 1000
nokta simplex
desertgolddigger i just remembered sometime back The_FishingFool posted a video here of him finding a nugget with a Discovery 3300 with the small coil.
fun video, watching his reaction when he released he just dug a nugget.
do a test, get a lead split shot sinker see if the Time Ranger can pick it up.
with the small coil, i think it will. especially if its off the ground on a board, in the ground im not too sure if it would.
 
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desertgolddigger

Sr. Member
May 31, 2015
414
638
Twentynine Palms, California
Detector(s) used
Bounty Hunter Time Ranger
Primary Interest:
Prospecting
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Treasure Hunter, Will a Fisher Labs Gold Bug 2 be any good ay detecting gold smaller than pea gravel? The second most important thing to me is ease of use.

EDIT:
The other possibility is the Fisher Labs Gold Bug Pro. It seems to be easier to learn, but may not be as sensitive as the GB2. Apparently the GB2 has problems with high mineraisation, where the GBPro has better ability at working through that.

Detectors are very confusing. I would just like one thae works well, and is user friendly
 
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Treasure_Hunter

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All Treasure Hunting
Treasure Hunter, Will a Fisher Labs Gold Bug 2 be any good ay detecting gold smaller than pea gravel? The second most important thing to me is ease of use.
The Gold Bug 2 was designed for gold nugget hunting, it would work well on small gold nuggets. GB2 is an older gold detector, there are newer gold detectors. It depends on your budget.
 
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desertgolddigger

Sr. Member
May 31, 2015
414
638
Twentynine Palms, California
Detector(s) used
Bounty Hunter Time Ranger
Primary Interest:
Prospecting
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After doing more reading, it looks like the GBPro is the easiest to use. And, If I spread my pea gravel on plywood, it'll not have any problems wit BB sized gold attached to rock. Apparently it is fairly good in areas like our club's claim with moderate mineralisation. When I can afford it, I will get one. For now my BH Time Ranger will have to do.
 

Goldwasher

Gold Member
May 26, 2009
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Sailor Flat, Ca.
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SDC2300, Gold Bug 2 Burlap, fish oil, .35 gallons of water per minute.
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All Treasure Hunting
After doing more reading, it looks like the GBPro is the easiest to use. And, If I spread my pea gravel on plywood, it'll not have any problems wit BB sized gold attached to rock. Apparently it is fairly good in areas like our club's claim with moderate mineralisation. When I can afford it, I will get one. For now my BH Time Ranger will have to do.
so, heres some reality and its why I asked if gold has been found there.

I've owned and used a Whites GM4B, GMT. owned a GBpro. still own a GB2.

All gold detectors right. you will be lucky to hear a .15-20 gram piece of gold more than about an inch and a half deep. less in hot ground.

So, if you are even gonna bother hunting gold with a detector. You need to first know there is
" detectable" gold that can mean sub gram pieces..but, man depth below a gram and type of ground means a whole hell of a lot. With alluvial gravel and a vlf if there is any sort of local geology that means there can be gravel with large varience in conductivity. You are gonna hear a lot of falsing and have hot rocks.

Most detectable gold in drainages isn't in "the gravel' it's on the bed rock under it.
And more often than that in gold bearing areas its in the bed rock at and above the water line.
 
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desertgolddigger

Sr. Member
May 31, 2015
414
638
Twentynine Palms, California
Detector(s) used
Bounty Hunter Time Ranger
Primary Interest:
Prospecting
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Goldwasher, from what you wrote, I should just keep my money, forget checking the gravel, and just continue my drywashing. Makes sense not to waste my time. Some people have found large gold nuggets on the claim, I just don't know how many of those monster nuggets some guys have shown me that were actually found on this claim. Our claim is I believe 240 acres, and has been mined in I believe a dozen locations by the old time miners. So there probably is more large gold in the washes like you said deep down on bedrock, and high on the sides. But the bedrock farther down is very deep. I know in one wash, someone dug a pit requiring a ladder to get down into it, that was at least 10 feet deep, and wasn't close to bedrock. They gave up.
 

Tesorodeoro

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Jan 21, 2018
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Goldwasher, from what you wrote, I should just keep my money, forget checking the gravel, and just continue my drywashing. Makes sense not to waste my time. Some people have found large gold nuggets on the claim, I just don't know how many of those monster nuggets some guys have shown me that were actually found on this claim. Our claim is I believe 240 acres, and has been mined in I believe a dozen locations by the old time miners. So there probably is more large gold in the washes like you said deep down on bedrock, and high on the sides. But the bedrock farther down is very deep. I know in one wash, someone dug a pit requiring a ladder to get down into it, that was at least 10 feet deep, and wasn't close to bedrock. They gave up.
You will not know till you check. Sounds like you have plenty of ground to try a gold detector out on. For reference .15 grams is a tad over 2 grains, which hardly constitutes a nugget much less a picker in my book. A used GB2 would be right up your alley, checking screened pea gravel. Should be able to find one for $500. I believe it’s still the very best at finding shallow small gold as far as that price range goes. Of course it will hit deeper on bigger gold.
 

Goldwasher

Gold Member
May 26, 2009
6,044
13,142
Sailor Flat, Ca.
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Detector(s) used
SDC2300, Gold Bug 2 Burlap, fish oil, .35 gallons of water per minute.
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All Treasure Hunting
Goldwasher, from what you wrote, I should just keep my money, forget checking the gravel, and just continue my drywashing. Makes sense not to waste my time. Some people have found large gold nuggets on the claim, I just don't know how many of those monster nuggets some guys have shown me that were actually found on this claim. Our claim is I believe 240 acres, and has been mined in I believe a dozen locations by the old time miners. So there probably is more large gold in the washes like you said deep down on bedrock, and high on the sides. But the bedrock farther down is very deep. I know in one wash, someone dug a pit requiring a ladder to get down into it, that was at least 10 feet deep, and wasn't close to bedrock. They gave up.
I promise im not trying to discourage you. But, I wouldn't belive anything about gold dug until you see it your self.
Not sure what part of the desert you are in. .

But, if you want to detect gold you should be looking for evidence of shallow work.

Stacked rock, shallow bedrock. lots of obvious minerlization...quartz..pits, ditches.

There are for sure patches, pockets, small placers to be found but, the old timers were pretty thorough in their searches so spots you know they were finding coarse gold are best for detecting...the old timers had issues with production in the desert especially for placer. thats why a detector can be a great tool.

My opinion is the better a scoop and pan prospector you are .

The better nugget hunter using a detector you will be.
 

Lanny in AB

Gold Member
Apr 2, 2003
5,604
6,216
Alberta
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Various Minelabs(5000, 2100, X-Terra 705, Equinox 800, Gold Monster), Falcon MD20, Tesoro Sand Shark, Gold Bug Pro, Makro Gold Racer.
Primary Interest:
Prospecting
Yes, do your research well, and see if anyone has some gold to show you so you can see the size that's recently been recovered.

Not sure how hot your ground is there or how likely to have gold found somewhere off the bedrock (if there's any old dry-wash tailing piles, detect those), but I've found lots of nuggets with my Gold Bug Pro, and it's easy to learn, but as others have said, find out what size gold has been recently/is currently being found and that will be of great help to you on deciding it it's worth it to try a detector.

Moreover, if it's a club, see if you can tag along/buddy up with a member that's detecting the claim--if they're any good, you'll learn a lot of valuable information for that area.

All the best,

Lanny
 
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desertgolddigger

Sr. Member
May 31, 2015
414
638
Twentynine Palms, California
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Bounty Hunter Time Ranger
Primary Interest:
Prospecting
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Lanny, Thanks so much. After all this, I decided not to spend any more money. I will just keep investing money for my drywasher blower motor's fuel, to work the old tailing piles, and material from the wash. But, after working 3 drywash tailing piles so far, I've not found anything larger than 3/16 inch. And the two I found of that size were super thin, and flat. More than likely they were missed by those detecting because they were about a foot deep, and more than likely on edge.
 

Tesorodeoro

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Jan 21, 2018
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Lanny, Thanks so much. After all this, I decided not to spend any more money. I will just keep investing money for my drywasher blower motor's fuel, to work the old tailing piles, and material from the wash. But, after working 3 drywash tailing piles so far, I've not found anything larger than 3/16 inch. And the two I found of that size were super thin, and flat. More than likely they were missed by those detecting because they were about a foot deep, and more than likely on edge.
Well the way the detectors pay off is larger gold spread out over several days or weeks. Have to have the patience and time which many people simply don’t. That’s what it’s possible to get good deals on used detectors.
 

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