Entry level gold detector for $500.00 or less.

Tom Emery

Jr. Member
Nov 9, 2021
36
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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signal_line

Silver Member
Nov 14, 2011
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Just checked Fischer's Impulse Gold which is a land gold machine. Says "Coming soon". Also heard they are putting a lot of energy into this one. So I suspect this is going to be a game changer. Sounds like most of the work is being done in Europe. They sure are being quiet about it. I'd rather have that than the hype. hype, hype ML is famous for. Maybe I'll start a new thead.
 

Carl-NC

Bronze Member
Mar 19, 2003
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Oregon & Texas
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Tom, your question wasn't
Should I upgrade my Fisher Pulse 6x with the 8x coil and new headphones, or should I buy a dedicated land detector?
Tom, the Pulse 6x will absolutely suck for nugget hunting, no matter what you do to it. It has no ground balance and the sample delay isn't aggressive enough for small gold. The JW Fishers are designed to detect large objects in deep salt water. They are built like a tank but circuit-wise are poor designs.

If I had only $500 to spend I'd get a used GMT or GoldBug2 (and I own both). The GB2 will win on raw sensitivity to sub-grain gold but the GMT has ground tracking. Both are hard to beat even with new models. Jim is correct, the older Goldmaster 3 & VSAT are great detectors as well and can be found for even less $$. I have a GM-VSAT set up as a super-compact backpacking detector.

If you are going to up your budget then you would probably consider the Gold Monster, GM-24k, ORX, or Gold Kruzer. Never tried a Kruzer or ORX. I've done a little with the Monster, didn't find it to be any better than the GMT and not as sensitive as the GB2. The GM-24k was surprisingly better than the GMT and by a noticeable amount. It's a bit heavy & clunky, but for performance it's one of the best VLF I've seen so far. GB2 still might win on 1/10th grain gold, if you're inclined to chase those.

I would not suggest starting with a PI, and a lot of places in AZ & CA don't require one. If you did, a low-end gold PI would probably put you in a TDI which is good down to 3 grains or so. I'm a little partial to the TDI-SL (I designed it) and with some mods it will match or beat the TDI. None of the TDIs will beat a GPX-series Minelab except on price. If you start with VLF and find you like detecting nuggets then start looking for a used GPX.
 

signal_line

Silver Member
Nov 14, 2011
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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

Excellent, Excellent Excellent. Now all I need is a new back... ha ha.
Maybe you arer older than I thought. I recall seeing soime issues of Low and Slow but my memory is not too sharp. John Heiney still flying last I heard. I think the last glider I flew was a UP Mosquito which was a bowsprit (no crossbar). The double surface were already out before I quit. I flew one called the Comet. Don't even remember the manufacturer. Oh yeah, thousands of feet up it's like you are an antenna for energy just being absobred into your body. I got so I did not even think about flying, just think where i wanted to go and go there. Yeah, had dreams when I was a kid of flying some sort of wing kinda like the Wright Brothers. The hang gliding got to be a hassle and time consuming. Here in Montana I had to drive a ways to do any flying. I mean five hours minimum each time I went out. Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Idaho, Washington, California, Utah, flew quite a few places. Salt Lake area, Point of the Mountain south side and north side, Francis Peak, can't remember the name of another place there. Got a lot of air time around there.

Yeah, Carl has some super info. His tight lippedness (Is that a word?) about the Impulse Gold only leaves me to speculate. But this is going to be the detector to buy when it comes out. It doesn't mean it's not close to being ready. I think when they introduced the Impulse AQ they pulled the trigger a bit too soon and maybe learned a lesson there. So I don't expect to hear one word about it until it's ready.

I still say try before you buy, but looks like you can't wait. Most detectors in the same price range are going to have similar performance so it's gets down to ergonomics and what you need in a detector for the area you are in. So you get the hype. Sort of like a fishing lure is designed to catch the fisherman. Nobody beats the XP detectors around iron.

Oh yeah, I got a paraglider because I wanted to fly. I would hike up a ridge and soar and never see anybody except some deer and coyotes. Beautiful but I really prefer flying prone.
 
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minerjosh

Full Member
Apr 5, 2017
132
390
California
Detector(s) used
GPX4500/Nox800
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All Treasure Hunting
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.
Hello tom, i have read through the some of this thread, not all of it, thought i'd chime in. First of all, nugget hunting is super fun and addictive! In my opinion there are lots of options for you out there. Im not a salesman and im not bias. Ive used a few different gold detectors and found gold with all of them. 500 bucks is a good starting point for your first nugget detector. Like others have mentioned there are several different models and you can over think this one a bit. I didnt see anyone recommend makro gold racer but i havnt read it all yet sorry. You can get a new one for 509 right now if you look in the right place. Its an excellent vlf gold detector at 56khz.
 

signal_line

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Yep, I'm saying think for yourself. It's naive to believe much of anything you see on the internet. Now you got these "influencers" That's a PC term for some for some other initials. . I bought a coffee mug on Amazon. My wife wanted an insulated cup to stay hot for a few hours. All sorts of good reviews "Stays hot for five hours". Big exaggeration. Paid a lot of it, too. Two hours barely warm. I made a complaint and you can guess how far that went.

Sorry to say ML users are the very worst. No doubt someone is going to take offense to what I said. That is not my intention. I'm just saying try before you buy. Don't take anybody's word for it.
 
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minerjosh

Full Member
Apr 5, 2017
132
390
California
Detector(s) used
GPX4500/Nox800
Primary Interest:
All Treasure Hunting
Yep, I'm saying think for yourself. It's naive to believe much of anything you see on the internet. Now you got these "influencers". I bought a coffee mug on Amazon. My wife wanted an insulated cup to stay hot for a few hours. All sorts of good reviews "Stays hot for five hours". Big exaggeration. Paid a lot of it, too. Two hours barely warm. I made a complaint and you can guess how far that went.

Sorry to say ML users are the very worst. No doubt someone is going to take offense to what I said. That is not my intention. I'm just saying try before you buy. Don't take anybody's word for it.
Im a minelab user
 

signal_line

Silver Member
Nov 14, 2011
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I owned one. I dont care what people use. Somehow I sense a hailstorm coming my way. LOL
 

eyemustdigtreasure

Silver Member
Mar 2, 2013
3,070
4,620
California
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Fisher Gold Bug Pro
Tesoro Cibola
Nokta Pointer; Phillips SHS5200 phones
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My vote is for the Fisher Gold Bug Pro. Since I use one, my experience is that this machine will find small gold.
And other real small objects. Simple to use, big numbers. Get a used one for under $500
 

nuggetshooter323

Hero Member
Jul 22, 2005
687
335
Colorado Springs
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Nokta Anfibio, XP ORX, Tesoro Tejon, Whites GMT, Nokta Gold Kruzer, Falcon MD20, Fisher F-Pulse, Nokta Pulse Dive, Vibra Probe.
Primary Interest:
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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
Using that Fisher Pulse for nuggets is going to lose you gold. I've got three pulse pinpointers and they won't read small nuggets at all. You need ground balance and a circuit that can tell the difference between iron, minerals, and gold. Iron screams, minerals "boing", and gold is mellow. Your 6x is going to scream on all three. For underwater pulse detecting the Minelab SDC 2300 and the Garrett ATX are waterproof to 10' and they find small gold. For a fraction of the price, the Nokta/Makro Gold Kruzer is waterproof to 16'.
 
OP
T

Tom Emery

Jr. Member
Nov 9, 2021
36
35
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #50
Using that Fisher Pulse for nuggets is going to lose you gold. I've got three pulse pinpointers and they won't read small nuggets at all. You need ground balance and a circuit that can tell the difference between iron, minerals, and gold. Iron screams, minerals "boing", and gold is mellow. Your 6x is going to scream on all three. For underwater pulse detecting the Minelab SDC 2300 and the Garrett ATX are waterproof to 10' and they find small gold. For a fraction of the price, the Nokta/Makro Gold Kruzer is waterproof to 16'.
Hello Nuggetshooter,
I have been getting a lot of negative feedback on the Fisher Pulse 6x. I am starting to research the little hand held underwater m.d's. These might actually be better for what I have in mind. I plan on diving creeks and rivers to depths of no more than 60-80ft., but probably most of the time in sub 20 foot range.. Since the heads are smaller they will be better suited for cracks.
Thanks for the information. It helps in the process of the final decision.
 
OP
T

Tom Emery

Jr. Member
Nov 9, 2021
36
35
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #51
My vote is for the Fisher Gold Bug Pro. Since I use one, my experience is that this machine will find small gold.
And other real small objects. Simple to use, big numbers. Get a used one for under $500
Thanks eyemust...
I have gotten positive feedback on that Fisher Gold Bug Pro. Things are starting to make more sense now. The more research, the better the understanding.
Sorry about the delay in posting. My wife passed last Saturday and it has left me dumbfounded.
 

Jim in Idaho

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Jul 21, 2012
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Blackfoot, Idaho
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'Way Too Cool' dual 18 Watt UV light
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I have a buddy with a GB pro. It was no match, on small gold, for the GMT.
Jim
 

signal_line

Silver Member
Nov 14, 2011
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Common sense says almost certainly new technology is going to be better, Maybe thirty years ago not that big of a deal before everything was picked over. Nugget hunting is the most difficult metal detecting. You have to be lucky to pay for your equipment unless you have some exclusive place to detect. Even the famous nugget hunters you never hear about them any more.
 

eyemustdigtreasure

Silver Member
Mar 2, 2013
3,070
4,620
California
Detector(s) used
Fisher Gold Bug Pro
Tesoro Cibola
Nokta Pointer; Phillips SHS5200 phones
Nokta Macro SIMPLEX
Primary Interest:
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Thanks eyemust...
I have gotten positive feedback on that Fisher Gold Bug Pro. Things are starting to make more sense now. The more research, the better the understanding.
Sorry about the delay in posting. My wife passed last Saturday and it has left me dumbfounded.
Gee, sorry for her passing.
The FisherGB Prob works well as a coin shooter too (my primary use)
 

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