Entry level gold detector for $500.00 or less.

Tom Emery

Jr. Member
Nov 9, 2021
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35
Hello prospectors,
I just joined the group. I am planning on prospecting for gold in Arizona and California. I have no experience, but consider myself a quick study.
I will be purchasing a gold metal detector. I don't care if it is used. I don't care if it is vlf. What I will be looking for is the most bang for my buck. I have $500 to invest. I know there must be many threads on this topic. Forgive me for bringing it up again.
I don't want to start any arguments, but I would appreciate any input as to what you bought or would buy as your entry level gold detector for $500 or less. It is not necessary to explain your reasoning, but any information will be useful and appreciated.
A big " Yeeee Haaa" and "Thank You" to all.
 

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Terry Soloman

Gold Member
May 28, 2010
18,840
28,286
White Plains, New York
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Detector(s) used
Minelab GPZ 7000// Vanquish 540// Nokta Simplex Plus// Nokta Pulsedive// Minelab Pro Find 35// Dune Kraken Sandscoop// Grave Digger Tools Tombstone shovel & Sidekick digger// Bunk's Hermit Pick
Primary Interest:
Metal Detecting
I think that guy is a MInelab dealer. Calling him a shill is the B.S. that some people think they can get away with. I'm calling it.
Been in the business a long time. The GPX 6000, or the Gold Monster is the machine he would be promoting if he were a Minelab dealer. Sub-gram gold is possible with both machines. The guys even discuss gold flakes too small to sort out by hand - That is a job for a sluice, highbanker, or drywasher. I've been prospecting since I was a small boy. The ORX may be a great gold finder, but the majority of electronic gold prospectors - serious prospectors - I work with have never even seen a Deus.

Want to call THAT out?
 

TheGreenBoy

Sr. Member
Nov 10, 2017
327
358
Countryside
Detector(s) used
DBP2010, eeTH, tx850
Primary Interest:
All Treasure Hunting
Normally, i am after quite different stuff, but from time to time i am takeing my Chineze Tx 850 to the beaches of river banks. Usually i am hunting in discrimination mode, but i was playing with all metal at the bring of treshold setting last thime, and the sensitivity was quite something. I found a piece of alluminium foil smaller than 0,1g about an inch down. Ofcourse, river banks in Alps are mostly carbonate sand whic is rather ideal ground, the question is how would it perform in slightly more difficult terrain.
 
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Tom Emery

Jr. Member
Nov 9, 2021
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Just so you know, nugget hunting is very difficult. You probably want a detector designed specifically for that. The pulse units go deep but they have issues picking up small gold which is most prevalent in the gold fields. You need plenty of practice with a tiny piece of gold. Attach it to something so you don't lose it when you bury it.
Hello Signal line,
I really appreciate the useful information you gave me regarding the Pulse detector. With all the research I very done, it seems the Pulse detector is far superior to a VLF detector. I may try to find a used VLF detector that has been recommended. I already own the Fisher Pulse 6x so I might as well start with that. I get that it is going to take a lot of practice regardless of what I use. I will look for that book you recommend. That is the kind of useful information a newbie needs to know.

I wouldn't get too upset when someone says "get this unit, period". I know a sales pitch when I hear it.
I guess I just need to get that $7,000.00 machine from Minelab....and I will as soon as I have recovered $7,000.00 in gold nuggets. Ha ha. I think one has to have at least three things to make this endeavor enjoyable:
1. Patience
2. Perseverance
3. A well used sense of humor (the more used the better)
It probably doesn't hurt to have a wife who is willing to tramp along with you into streams and deserts and all the weird places life takes you.
Thanks for replying and thanks again for great information.
 
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Tom Emery

Jr. Member
Nov 9, 2021
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Been in the business a long time. The GPX 6000, or the Gold Monster is the machine he would be promoting if he were a Minelab dealer. Sub-gram gold is possible with both machines. The guys even discuss gold flakes too small to sort out by hand - That is a job for a sluice, highbanker, or drywasher. I've been prospecting since I was a small boy. The ORX may be a great gold finder, but the majority of electronic gold prospectors - serious prospectors - I work with have never even seen a Deus.

Want to call THAT out?
Hey Terry,
What do you think about putting a 10" coil on my Pulse 6x and using it as a nugget getter? Orrrr...would you recommend leaving it "as is" and using it for underwater work?

I want to give myself the best odds of actually mastering the techniques needed to be successful at finding gold.
If I need to get a dedicated land detector I am okay with that.
 

signal_line

Silver Member
Nov 14, 2011
3,452
1,688
Detector(s) used
XP Deus
Primary Interest:
All Treasure Hunting
The pulse machines work, just not as good on the small gold pieces. They are great in mineralized ground. Although a detector specifically designed for gold niggets is going to be quite a bit better I definitely would stick with what you have until you get some practice, then decide what you want to do.
 

Terry Soloman

Gold Member
May 28, 2010
18,840
28,286
White Plains, New York
🥇 Banner finds
1
🏆 Honorable Mentions:
1
Detector(s) used
Minelab GPZ 7000// Vanquish 540// Nokta Simplex Plus// Nokta Pulsedive// Minelab Pro Find 35// Dune Kraken Sandscoop// Grave Digger Tools Tombstone shovel & Sidekick digger// Bunk's Hermit Pick
Primary Interest:
Metal Detecting
Hey Terry,
What do you think about putting a 10" coil on my Pulse 6x and using it as a nugget getter? Orrrr...would you recommend leaving it "as is" and using it for underwater work?

I want to give myself the best odds of actually mastering the techniques needed to be successful at finding gold.
If I need to get a dedicated land detector I am okay with that.

I would not use the Fisher. If you use a PI in the gold fields you must be able to ground balance and noise cancel. I experimented with the Tesoro Sand Shark a few years ago, and it would not hit on sub 5-gram nuggets at 4". If you are going to get an "All Around" dirt and detecting machine - Equinox 800 with 6" coil. Dedicated gold nugget machine - Minelab GoldMonster 1000.
 

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Treasure_Hunter

Administrator
Staff member
Jul 27, 2006
44,209
44,216
Florida
Detector(s) used
Minelab_Equinox_ 800 Minelab_CTX-3030 Minelab_Excal_1000 Minelab_Sovereign_GT Minelab_Safari Minelab_ETrac Whites_Beach_Hunter_ID Fisher_1235_X
Primary Interest:
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I would not use the Fisher. If you use a PI in the gold fields you must be able to ground balance and noise cancel. I experimented with the Tesoro Sand Shark a few years ago, and it would not hit on sub 5-gram nuggets at 4". If you are going to get an "All Around" dirt and detecting machine - Equinox 800 with 6" coil. Dedicated gold nugget machine - Minelab GoldMonster 1000.
Ditto. :icon_thumright:
 
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Tom Emery

Jr. Member
Nov 9, 2021
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The pulse machines work, just not as good on the small gold pieces. They are great in mineralized ground. Although a detector specifically designed for gold niggets is going to be quite a bit better I definitely would stick with what you have until you get some practice, then decide what you want to do.
That is good solid advice. I'm putting in an order for a new battery. I'm going to buy some small gold nuggets, some pickers, and some gold flakes and start practicing underwater. I'm all set when it comes to underwater gear. I like to dive with surface supplied air. It is so much freer. I have a swimming pool. I can't wait to start practicing. I have a house for sale and when the check clears I think I will pick up that Gold Monster for land use.
 
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Tom Emery

Jr. Member
Nov 9, 2021
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Thanks Terry.
You helped a lot in this decision making process. I'm going to stick with the Fisher 6x for underwater. I'll get the 10" coil to augment the 7" coil that comes with it. I have a house for sale so when it closes I'll get that Gold Monster 1000. I would love to have that Minelab 7000 but I figure I'm going to need hundreds of hours of swinging a detector(and a few nuggets) before I start planning on that machine.
 

signal_line

Silver Member
Nov 14, 2011
3,452
1,688
Detector(s) used
XP Deus
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Swimming pool got to have steel rebar. Maybe put a table underwater so you can keep the gold away from the sides and bottom of the pool.

I've owned Minelab detector. It was heaviest detector I ever owned (at least it felt like it) and even worse with the bigger coil. I never knew weight was such a big deal, but I get i a lot more hours with the Deus. ORX even lighter. Sure, weight not a big issue underwater but you might find you like land detecting and then the weight becomes a real factor. Many people have switched to XP and were pleased with the difference. Of course these are not waterproof. Come to think about it, some of the ML machines that claim they are are not so water tight. Don't buy a used one for water use!!! The new Deus II might be worth looking into if you find a good spot. It's not even out yet, so you should have time to wait for some reports. New technology is almost always better so keep that in mind.

Whatever you get just remember for the most part this is a niche market--not that many nugget hunters--so don't expect to be able to sell it without taking a loss. At least with a multi-use machine you can resell easier.
And since you have time to wait, there could be other new machines by then. The Impulse AQ they are working on a land gold machine. No doubt it will be a killer. If you have the money, get something good, not some intermediate machine. In the mean time get out there and detect.
 
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nuggetshooter323

Hero Member
Jul 22, 2005
687
335
Colorado Springs
Detector(s) used
Nokta Anfibio, XP ORX, Tesoro Tejon, Whites GMT, Nokta Gold Kruzer, Falcon MD20, Fisher F-Pulse, Nokta Pulse Dive, Vibra Probe.
Primary Interest:
Prospecting
These detector advice questions always get a little crazy, but the best general advice that I can give is, get more than one. All three of my gold detectors have different characteristics, and I use all three of them if I'm working small patches of ground.
 
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Tom Emery

Jr. Member
Nov 9, 2021
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Swimming pool got to have steel rebar. Maybe put a table underwater so you can keep the gold away from the sides and bottom of the pool.

I've owned Minelab detector. It was heaviest detector I ever owned (at least it felt like it) and even worse with the bigger coil. I never knew weight was such a big deal, but I get i a lot more hours with the Deus. ORX even lighter. Sure, weight not a big issue underwater but you might find you like land detecting and then the weight becomes a real factor. Many people have switched to XP and were pleased with the difference. Of course these are not waterproof. Come to think about it, some of the ML machines that claim they are are not so water tight. Don't buy a used one for water use!!! The new Deus II might be worth looking into if you find a good spot. It's not even out yet, so you should have time to wait for some reports. New technology is almost always better so keep that in mind.

Whatever you get just remember for the most part this is a niche market--not that many nugget hunters--so don't expect to be able to sell it without taking a loss. At least with a multi-use machine you can resell easier.
And since you have time to wait, there could be other new machines by then. The Impulse AQ they are working on a land gold machine. No doubt it will be a killer. If you have the money, get something good, not some intermediate machine. In the mean time get out there and detect.
Thanks Signal Line for the thoughtful and insightful reply to my query. When this internet is working, it is one remarkable "mine" of information.
Kind of like metal detecting. It can be hit or miss, or it can be spot on.
Yup, found some nuggets there. Thanks buddy.
 
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Tom Emery

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Nov 9, 2021
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These detector advice questions always get a little crazy, but the best general advice that I can give is, get more than one. All three of my gold detectors have different characteristics, and I use all three of them if I'm working small patches of ground.
Hello Nuggetshooter,
Yeah...everyone has their favorite. What a great time to be alive. I spent 6 years Hang Gliding and had to pinch myself every time I landed after spending hours aloft with nothing but aluminum and dacron keeping me flying.
And now having the ability to "see" underground. Starting to feel better than Superman. Xray vision, flying and breathing underwater...and no kryptonite.
 
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Tom Emery

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Nov 9, 2021
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Hello Nuggetshooter,
Yeah...everyone has their favorite. What a great time to be alive. I spent 6 years Hang Gliding and had to pinch myself every time I landed after spending hours aloft with nothing but aluminum and dacron keeping me flying.
And now having the ability to "see" underground. Starting to feel better than Superman. Xray vision, flying and breathing underwater...and no kryptonite.
I forgot to ask:
What detectors are you using?
I have the Fisher Pulse 6x for underwater.
I am going with the Minelab Gold Monster 1000 for nugget hunting..
I guess that just leaves everything else...ha ha
I
 

signal_line

Silver Member
Nov 14, 2011
3,452
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XP Deus
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You owe it to yourself to try out a few to see what you like and what feels right. Don't take anyone else's opinion ESPECIALLY if they own one. ORX (OR in French means gold, like oro in Spanish) is going to be the very lightest. I had to laugh one guy said he put a counterweight on his Minelab with the big coil. I think it was 28 ounces. LOL The ORX only weighs 30 ounces. That's like hanging an ORX on it for balance. That's crazy. My Deus weighs a bit more but it is still a joy to swing. It's not just total weight, it's balance, too. ML coils are heavy. Don't take my word for it, find out yourself.
 

Treasure_Hunter

Administrator
Staff member
Jul 27, 2006
44,209
44,216
Florida
Detector(s) used
Minelab_Equinox_ 800 Minelab_CTX-3030 Minelab_Excal_1000 Minelab_Sovereign_GT Minelab_Safari Minelab_ETrac Whites_Beach_Hunter_ID Fisher_1235_X
Primary Interest:
All Treasure Hunting
I hunt with large ML coils, I use a detector harness with bungee, which makes swinging easy.
 

signal_line

Silver Member
Nov 14, 2011
3,452
1,688
Detector(s) used
XP Deus
Primary Interest:
All Treasure Hunting
Hello Nuggetshooter,
Yeah...everyone has their favorite. What a great time to be alive. I spent 6 years Hang Gliding and had to pinch myself every time I landed after spending hours aloft with nothing but aluminum and dacron keeping me flying.
And now having the ability to "see" underground. Starting to feel better than Superman. Xray vision, flying and breathing underwater...and no kryptonite.
Probably shouldn't age myself but I quit hang gliding 40 years ago. Flew paragliders for several more years. Then I got married in there somewhere and got my wife pregnant. Lots of beautiful mountain flights and some wonderful ridge and thermal soaring. I just lived and breathed it. Everybody I knew that was a flier had to pull their reserve parachute at one time or another. One friend died from his injuries and I knew others who died. Many broke bones (Not me but I got a few bruises and a pretty good sprained ankle over the years). I still think about flying but I doubt I ever will again.

As you might know. headphones can be important especially in hot weather. Get something cool and that you can hear snakes.

I know this might sound like a Ford-Chevy thing--it's not. You do what you want. Just not a wise idea to buy without trying. People are very biased about their own detector. Nobody wants to hear someone say another detector is better than theirs.

Oh yeah, for testing, I think your yard will work for starters. You really need mineralized ground to get any real test. The underwater thing on the table is not going to give an accurate test because you need the ground minerals to to be there and work around. And of course, do not believe any "air tests".
 
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Tom Emery

Jr. Member
Nov 9, 2021
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I hunt with large ML coils, I use a detector harness with bungee, which makes swinging easy.
Thanks for the bungee tip. There is more to learn than just listening for the pings. I'm pretty sure the Pulse 6x came with a harness. I just have to find it...
 

Treasure_Hunter

Administrator
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Jul 27, 2006
44,209
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Minelab_Equinox_ 800 Minelab_CTX-3030 Minelab_Excal_1000 Minelab_Sovereign_GT Minelab_Safari Minelab_ETrac Whites_Beach_Hunter_ID Fisher_1235_X
Primary Interest:
All Treasure Hunting
Thanks for the bungee tip. There is more to learn than just listening for the pings. I'm pretty sure the Pulse 6x came with a harness. I just have to find it...
I run a bungee from a chest strap to the shaft and adjust the bungee so when I let hold it out it hangs about an inch above the ground so all I am doing is guiding the shaft with coil, not supporting the detector.
 
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Tom Emery

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Nov 9, 2021
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Probably shouldn't age myself but I quit hang gliding 40 years ago. Flew paragliders for several more years. Then I got married in there somewhere and got my wife pregnant. Lots of beautiful mountain flights and some wonderful ridge and thermal soaring. I just lived and breathed it. Everybody I knew that was a flier had to pull their reserve parachute at one time or another. One friend died from his injuries and I knew others who died. Many broke bones (Not me but I got a few bruises and a pretty good sprained ankle over the years). I still think about flying but I doubt I ever will again.

As you might know. headphones can be important especially in hot weather. Get something cool and that you can hear snakes.

I know this might sound like a Ford-Chevy thing--it's not. You do what you want. Just not a wise idea to buy without trying. People are very biased about their own detector. Nobody wants to hear someone say another detector is better than theirs.

Oh yeah, for testing, I think your yard will work for starters. You really need mineralized ground to get any real test. The underwater thing on the table is not going to give an accurate test because you need the ground minerals to to be there and work around. And of course, do not believe any "air tests".
Hey Signal line,
It amazes me that there aren't millions of people Hanggliding. I wanted to do it since I was 15 and had my subscription to "Low and Slow" magazine. Finally got into it in my 50's. John Heiney, Crestline, Predator 142, sound familiar? It's hard to describe to non fliers. I've done it all: ski, surf, dive, sail, skateboard, race cars but hang Gliding is the pinnacle of all. Yeah...that age thing is a big equalizer. It was time to bow out a couple of years ago.
So....
Yeah I get that finding the right gear is essential. The Fisher Pulse 6x was a gift from my wife so that one stays. The Gold Monster 1000 gets a lot of positive reviews so that's going to be the above water machine. Since I am going gold prospecting I will wait a while before investing in a relic hunter, if at all.
So, as soon as the house sells and we climb into the rv we start on what will probably be the last chapter.
So I guess I need to narrow my questions to underwater gold prospecting and anything pertaining to the GM 1000.
Any tips?
Best to you
I run a bungee from a chest strap to the shaft and adjust the bungee so when I let hold it out it hangs about an inch above the ground so all I am doing is guiding the shaft with coil, not supporting the detector.
Excellent, Excellent Excellent. Now all I need is a new back... ha ha.
 

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