Minelab SDC 2300

Panman

Jr. Member
Sep 8, 2013
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I'm seriously thinking about buying a ML SDC 2300, but I can't find any posts on it. It's about a $1,000 more than a Garrett ATX. The Garrett is almost 2 pounds heavier, but is the SDC worth the extra money? I need some input ? I mostly detect in the desert on club claims that have been detected to death. I felt a PI machine would help me find Gold the others missed because of hot ground of being deeper. Most of the people are out there with GB2 and ML GM's or other other VLF's. What do you think?
 
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leadnugget

Full Member
Jul 29, 2006
248
637
arizona
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gpx6000
gp extreme
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nokta simplex
everyone that i have seen using a sdc out in the gold fields has told me they love the
machine. only reason i dont own one is i have the gm and the 5000. the 5000 has alot of coils avalible,
more versatility.
some that can be as sensitive as the sdc.
its still to be seen what the 6000 will be, some say it will be the best of the gm, sdc and 5000 combined.
im sure the price will reflect that.
i did have a guy with a sdc tell me that the gm could not handle the mineralization in the area we were in,
i didnt tell him i had pulled 1/4 ounce, small bits. out of the
he ground he was standing on with the gm and gb2.
i have not seen a Garrett ATX in use other than a few videos, so cant comment on how good they are.
myself i would stick to minelab for a gold detector.
what state are you in?
 

Goldwasher

Gold Member
May 26, 2009
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I'm seriously thinking about buying a ML SDC 2300, but I can't find any posts on it. It's about a $1,000 more than a Garrett ATX. The Garrett is almost 2 pounds heavier, but is the SDC worth the extra money? I need some input ? I mostly detect in the desert on club claims that have been detected to death. I felt a PI machine would help me find Gold the others missed because of hot ground of being deeper. Most of the people are out there with GB2 and ML GM's or other other VLF's. What do you think?
its what I use. Smokes any of the listed VLF in depth and stability. Including the G monster on Bedrock shallow digs.

scroll down past the thread and there is a list of threads that mention the SDC.
 
OP
Panman

Panman

Jr. Member
Sep 8, 2013
44
27
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California. I go to the Mojave area and occasionally AZ. Like I said I mostly MD on club claims that have be hammered with detectors, mostly VLF's like the GB 2, Whites MXT and Goldmaster and of course the GM 1000. Was hoping I could find the stuff they miss by using a PI machine that handles the ground a letter better and possibly goes deeper than the VLF's
 

Lanny in AB

Gold Member
Apr 2, 2003
5,614
6,241
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
As the SDC is a PI, it will handle the mineralization better, no worry about that. Because of its ability to ignore more mineralization, in extreme ground it will punch deeper. One thing to remember however is that the coil on the SDC is not a large coil, and coil size does make a difference in depth especially in extreme ground, and that's what one of the posts above was referring to, the fact that a machine like the 5000 with its large selection of compatible coils will punch much deeper than the SDC.

So, if you're on hammered ground that has not been worked by PI's, you'll probably have a better shot at recovering gold missed by VLF's.

Good luck with your decision, whichever way you choose to go, and all the best,

Lanny
 

Goldwasher

Gold Member
May 26, 2009
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As the SDC is a PI, it will handle the mineralization better, no worry about that. Because of its ability to ignore more mineralization, in extreme ground it will punch deeper. One thing to remember however is that the coil on the SDC is not a large coil, and coil size does make a difference in depth especially in extreme ground, and that's what one of the posts above was referring to, the fact that a machine like the 5000 with its large selection of compatible coils will punch much deeper than the SDC.

So, if you're on hammered ground that has not been worked by PI's, you'll probably have a better shot at recovering gold missed by VLF's.

Good luck with your decision, whichever way you choose to go, and all the best,

Lanny


good point Lanny.

However I have been amazed at the depth of the sdc on targets in the conductive range of gold.

Pull tabs at like a foot.

i was up in an area where someone had been chasing a quartz contact. usual shallow iron. i had a good signal on a throwout pile..screaming right away.

didn't sound like iron even a foot in so I had to go for it.

big grater and two feet later I pull out an aluminum sardine can.

Had a chance to check out the big coilteck for the sdc didn't like it.

Got the 10x5 it absolutely adds depth and a more sharp target response.

I rarely hunt areas where I have much swing room and a big coil would be problematic.

One of my claim partners runs a 5000 has several coils. hes always after "big" gold. we gather up for lunch and show off finds.

Hes always bummed with the smalls that his coils have to be real close to to hear.

Not yet has he gone into an area I've pulled something from.and got something I missed due to lack of depth.

I'm actually worried that the release of the 6000 is gonna affect availability and support for the SDC and i don't like that thought.

If I was held to the fire and someone said i had to choose between a 5000 with three coils of my choice and my old banged up SDC.

I'd keep the SDC.
 

Hard Prospector

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Aug 29, 2012
971
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I have the SDC and love it, especially since I put the 10x5 coiltec loop on, sensitivity increased for sure. Great for going through drywash tailing piles as it will ignore most hot rocks/volcanics and find the small bits even speci's. I call it the "Gold Bug 2 of PI's"

Also bought the larger coiltec elliptical, pretty much a waste in the gold fields but I've had remarkable success at the beach with it. Hit some gold rings down 2'deep.

Its a good bet that any club claim has been hammered by generations of vlf and PI detectors to date and I wouldn't expect to find anything of heft missed by now. Actually, that applies to most any place these days with easy access.
 

minerjosh

Full Member
Apr 5, 2017
147
405
California
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I have the SDC and love it, especially since I put the 10x5 coiltec loop on, sensitivity increased for sure. Great for going through drywash tailing piles as it will ignore most hot rocks/volcanics and find the small bits even speci's. I call it the "Gold Bug 2 of PI's"

Also bought the larger coiltec elliptical, pretty much a waste in the gold fields but I've had remarkable success at the beach with it. Hit some gold rings down 2'deep.

Its a good bet that any club claim has been hammered by generations of vlf and PI detectors to date and I wouldn't expect to find anything of heft missed by now. Actually, that applies to most any place these days with easy access.
What didn't you like about the larger elliptical coil on the sdc for gold hunting? Was it too noisy? Bump sensitive? I'm just curious
 

Hard Prospector

Hero Member
Aug 29, 2012
971
1,376
SO CAL
Detector(s) used
SDC2300, Gold Monster, Sierra Gold Trac, GB2, the Falcon......and just as many drywashers
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What didn't you like about the larger elliptical coil on the sdc for gold hunting? Was it too noisy? Bump sensitive? I'm just curious

First of all, I'm not a technical person so this opinion is that of a simple pick and shovel miner and is likely wrong but here goes;

When trying to use any coil over the 8" stock, I just don't think it has the power to punch through the dense , hot , mineralized ground so typical of the desert gold fields. Larger coils perhaps "dilute" the transmit / receive signal of the SDC as it struggles to reach depth......remember this detector only runs on a handful c-cell batteries.

My Whites TDI SL had the similar issue. When nugget hunting the detector ran well with small to mid sized coils but just didn't have the "juice" (ran on AA's) to power the larger loops effectively.
 
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oneguy

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Aug 26, 2015
405
1,390
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etrac
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SDC was designed for smaller gold and not necessarily for depth, has to do with coil windings and other voodoo stuff by Minelab.

SDC will find gold vlf's miss
VLF will find gold SDC miss

Best way to hunt beat club ground (if you must hunt club ground) is to SLOW DOWN and crawl thru it.... jmo
 

Goldwasher

Gold Member
May 26, 2009
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SDC was designed for smaller gold and not necessarily for depth, has to do with coil windings and other voodoo stuff by Minelab.

SDC will find gold vlf's miss
VLF will find gold SDC miss

Best way to hunt beat club ground (if you must hunt club ground) is to SLOW DOWN and crawl thru it.... jmo
my gold bug 2 has yet to turn up a piece I missed with my SDC in any patch i've found

just the occasional little red hot rock.
 

bcfromfl

Full Member
Feb 18, 2016
249
302
Youngstown, FL
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GPX 4500,
Fisher Gold Bug Pro,
Gold Hog stream sluice
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Thank you to the OP for this thread, as I also am considering a PI detector in the near future. There hasn't been much discussion in this thread thus far about the ATX, and I think the Garrett has gotten a bit of an undeserved "bum rap" as a nugget detector. Yeah, it's a bit heavy, and not as ergonomic as others, but for the price, it does an admirable job. I think if you put the 8" monoloop on it, it will pick up the same crumbs as the SDC. The standard ATX coil won't get the crumbs, but it will reach deeper on larger gold targets than the standard SDC coil. As with all detectors, they all have their compromises. If you want to add a Coiltek to the SDC, you've just increased the price point by another several hundred dollars. Worth it against the ATX? (The same could be said for purchasing the 8" monoloop for the ATX. Are crumbs worth the investment?)

One very significant advantage the ATX has over Minelabs, is either the proprietary battery Minelab puts in the GPX and GPZ series, or the rechargeables in the SDC. This advantage is becoming less of an issue these days with the advent of portable battery power-supplies, but if you plan to be in the bush for several days, and don't want to take the risk of running down your car battery to recharge detector batteries, the ATX also can use alkalines. If you spring for the GPX or GPZ, and are going to pound an area for several days, you really need more than one of these expensive battery units...another several hundred dollars.

I think the best way to measure one versus the other is budget. The two detectors do not perform equally, out of the box. If you have the budget for the SDC, and bedrock is fairly shallow in the places you plan to detect, then I would lean towards the SDC. If the SDC is a bit of a reach financially, and the areas you wish to search might have some nuggets beyond the 12" (or so) reasonable limit of the SDC (yes, I know it can pick up a tin can at two feet), then I would go with the ATX.

I have heard that there might be an issue with Chinese counterfeits of Minelabs floating around. If you purchase an SDC from a genuine Minelab dealer, you'll pay an additional $500 for a machine. (That puts it $1,700 more than a standard ATX.) Peace of mind? Lots of eBay sellers pricing their SDC machines at $3,299, but what about warranty, etc.? No worries about the ATX, as Garrett is an American company.

An issue with each machine that others have experienced. The SDC apparently has a "known" issue with the batteries making poor contact with the electrodes, occasionally causing erratic behavior when bumped. There is a fix for this, but I can't remember it at the moment. (Was it putting some sort of shim in the battery compartment?) The ATX can false when the coil is bumped against terrain, and apparently this is caused by the cable bouncing inside the stem/arm.

One other consideration, that both detectors can claim, is their ease of use. The SDC is perhaps a little easier, perhaps, but they are both good candidates for folks who don't have a lot of time to invest understanding tunings, different settings, etc.

I attempted to use a very good VLF machine in northern California, in the Klamath region, and discovered that the mineralization present made using it in all-metal impossible. The only way I could get consistent performance was to use the discriminate mode. I wonder now what kind of luck I might have had with a PI.

Just my two cents...
 

oneguy

Sr. Member
Aug 26, 2015
405
1,390
Montana
Detector(s) used
Goldmonster, SDC 2300, GPX 6000
etrac
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Metal Detecting
There hasn't been much discussion in this thread thus far about the ATX, and I think the Garrett has gotten a bit of an undeserved "bum rap" as a nugget detector.

Think there might be a reason nobody mentions the ATX? I hang on a few nugget shooting forums and rarely is the ATX mentioned and when it is it's not in praise? Just saying.....jmo
 

bcfromfl

Full Member
Feb 18, 2016
249
302
Youngstown, FL
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GPX 4500,
Fisher Gold Bug Pro,
Gold Hog stream sluice
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Think there might be a reason nobody mentions the ATX? I hang on a few nugget shooting forums and rarely is the ATX mentioned and when it is it's not in praise? Just saying.....jmo

I've tried searching this kind of thing out, and haven't found what you mention. Would you mind sharing a bit of the negative stuff? Much appreciated!
 

oneguy

Sr. Member
Aug 26, 2015
405
1,390
Montana
Detector(s) used
Goldmonster, SDC 2300, GPX 6000
etrac
Primary Interest:
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I've tried searching this kind of thing out, and haven't found what you mention. Would you mind sharing a bit of the negative stuff? Much appreciated!

The very few comments were not nessecarily negative but definately not positive, I remember a few saying the machine just doesn't quite cut it in the gold fields. Steve H. thought the machine was OK if I remember right(?). Go to Steve H. website Detector Prospector and do some digging and you'll likely come up with some opinions on the ATX..... General opinions seem to be that there are much better machines for nugget shooting...... Here's one thread I found on DP on the ATX

https://www.detectorprospector.com/...nyone-use-a-garrett-atx-for-gold-prospecting/
 
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bcfromfl

Full Member
Feb 18, 2016
249
302
Youngstown, FL
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GPX 4500,
Fisher Gold Bug Pro,
Gold Hog stream sluice
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Thank you for the link. Actually, it was Steve H.'s review that convinced me that the ATX is probably the best choice for me. I've also watched all the reviews/comparisons on YouTube, and they all essentially mirror Steve's comments. In his review, Steve says, "...the Garrett ATX has a ridiculously good circuit," and, "The impression I was left with was definitely not how the GPX 5000 blows the ATX away but instead by how well the Garrett ATX does." He even pointed out that out of the box, with similar coils, the ATX would find nuggets the GPX 5000 would miss, as well as a belief that the ATX could probably handle more varied ground. I think the difference in depth capabilities between these two machines, on large nuggets, would be negligible if the ATX was equipped with the deepseeker coil.

Now, the comparison in this thread is between the ATX and the SDC, so, the parameters of comparison are a bit different. Steve's main complaint about the ATX is the ergonomics and weight of the design, but Garrett seems unwilling to cave to criticism and produce a dedicated gold PI detector. Based upon the reviews I've seen, I think the choice between the ATX and the SDC boils down to budget, and depth of bedrock.

Higher budget, shallow bedrock, lots of crumbs = SDC
Lower budget, possibility of deeper targets, sacrifice the crumbs (unless using the 8" monoloop) = ATX
 

Goldwasher

Gold Member
May 26, 2009
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Sailor Flat, Ca.
🥇 Banner finds
1
Detector(s) used
SDC2300, Gold Bug 2 Burlap, fish oil, .35 gallons of water per minute.
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I've tried searching this kind of thing out, and haven't found what you mention. Would you mind sharing a bit of the negative stuff? Much appreciated!
I've ran TDI with a few different coils and an ATX with both coils. I figured I would be able to own one of those before a Minelab.

I tried an SDC and there was no comparison. The ATX with the small coil does not have the depth on the daily sort of gold that is the bread and butter of serios gold detecting especially in Ca. gold fields.

I swear by the SDC now I dread the day they are no longer made supported by Minelab.

Im not crossing my fingers for the 6k.

I like the GPZ so, it going down in price will be cool. But I do wish there were more coil options. The 19" is essentially pointless. I wish their was smaller than the stock.

The coiltec 10x5 is bad ass. I have found decent nuggets up to 10" with stock and the coiltec.

The reson no one really talks about the ATX is that it hasn't created anything to talk about.
 

bcfromfl

Full Member
Feb 18, 2016
249
302
Youngstown, FL
Detector(s) used
GPX 4500,
Fisher Gold Bug Pro,
Gold Hog stream sluice
Primary Interest:
All Treasure Hunting
Thanks for adding your thoughts, and great that you've actually had in-the-field experience with both machines.

Have you seen Bearkat's videos comparing the two, using the 8" monoloop on the ATX? In one, he used 60 small flakes and pieces on hot bedrock, and found that the ATX had an approximate 70% detection of the various shapes and sizes, and the SDC had 85%. In another, the ATX actually had a better signal on a 1.1 gram nugget at 6" than the SDC.

Another thing that isn't usually pointed out in comparisons, is that the stock DD coil on the ATX actually gives a wide range of coverage, because the smaller loop provides signals on smaller targets while the larger coil is punching deeper. Perhaps saves some of the need to cover ground with two different coils using other machines, unless circumstances indicate otherwise.

The SDC is a great little machine, but I think the ATX...all things being equal...can perform admirably, especially when deeper targets might be present.
 

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