Discussion in 'Prospecting & Detecting' started by Rubbing Elbows, Jun 15, 2011.
I am itching to get into prospecting/detecting, this is really good info.
Spot on. There are also many differences in why people go out detecting and how they go about it.
As auspm has stated, you can have a good time chasing coins, relics and jewellery from parks and beaches for a relatively small outlay, with a chance of finding enough to cover your initial costs. Assuming you are looking in the right places you have a good chance of finding stuff every outing. This is generally not as physically taxing as hunting for gold due to flat terrain and easy to dig sand/soil. Old houses sites can be good places to look (provided you have the landholder's permission). Try and find where the clothesline was...many old coins and things can be found.
Gold detecting can be done in a few different ways, depending on where you are and what equipment you are using. Many operaters use large coils to maximise depth and seek large nuggets. This can pay off because if a nugget is found it may be a multi-ounce piece. This method is generally employed in areas that have open and flat terrain, such as WA.
Where I live using large coils is not very productive as the terrain is mainly hills and gullies and dense undergrowth which makes it hard to swing a large coil. You need to be a bit of a mountain goat to get around here and this is one reason why I use a small coil (Coiltek 6"). Very lightweight and it gets into lots of nooks and crannys the larger coils cant. Small coils are much more sensetive to small gold and a lot of places I go small nuggets are the norm. People in my area also use large coils but I liken it to fishing for whiting with a marlin rig.
I find nuggets on virtually every outing. Small, but I get a buzz out of every piece.
This is from the Victorian DPI and is a great reference for research about where to go prospecting.
Detecting, for me, is a wonderful hobby. The great outdoors and a chance to maybe find something of big value can be very alluring. But there are some pitfalls as well. Everyone should consider these things before deciding what they want to invest in.
How much time do you have available or are you willing to put into it? This includes researching and travelling as well as actual prospecting. Can you go on day trips or do you want to go on camping trips/ holidays for extended periods? Spending more than a few hundred dollars on a detector may not be the best idea if you dont get to use it much. Detecting can be likened to Golf. Most people can hit a golf ball, but to get and maintain a decent handicap requires a lot of practice.
What do you expect to get out of this? There are many stories of people finding big Gold on their first outing. I hope it happens (or already has) to any members here. For me it took 6 months before I found my first nugget. I did find old coins and relics though which kept me interested. One problem I had I wasnt looking in the right places for Gold (lack of knowledge and research). My first piece weighed 0.34 grams. It took me another 6 months to find 10 more pieces including my first weighing over a gram (4.27 grams). Itwasnt until I learned a fair bit that finds became consistent and rewarding.
How many holes are you willing to dig? Many of the nuggets I dig are amongst large amounts of rubbish. This is because many people are not willing to dig holes (which can be hard yakka in quartz, clay and ironstone) only to dig up and old nail, bullet, piece of crap etc. Generally I dig everything. Using a small coil means most targets are shallow and only take a minute or so to locate. Taking the rubbish away works (in the right places) but can be frustrating and time consuming. Minelab PI detectors have a discriminate function but it cant be trusted so nobody uses it.
You need some dedication and patience. This is important especially if you are going to involve your partner or kids who may a much different boredom or frustration threshold.
The prices of merits of various detectors have been covered here already. But there is more cash to be outlaid before, and during, your time in the Goldfields.
You need a pick. Bunnings will do for around $15. A proper one (like a WALCO) are $70 and upwards and worth it if you dig a lot. Coils are worth $200-$500 new (not essential but much lighterthan standard issue IMO). Spare batteries if going out for extended times. Maps, research material, outdoor clothing and footwear, it all adds up. Dont forget your miners right or any other permits. It varies state to state. If you will be camping then there are all the costs like food etc to factor in.
Fuel is a big impost. Im lucky to live within 20km of some goldfields but for many fuel will be a big cost. My biggest expenses at the moment are petrol and insect repellent (Coles brand, identical to aerogard but heaps cheaper).
Which leads to...
THE GREAT OUTDOORS
It can be a wonderful thing to be out in the bush, finding some Gold and "feeling the serenity"....until you realise that youre standing on an ants nest and they are not sharing your feelings of contentment and happiness. The Bush has many insects and animals that can be a problem. In my part of Victoria its Bullants, jumping Jacks, mosquitos, march flies, scorpians, centipedes that are the biggest hassles. Snakes can be a worry but I find that the rustling of my coil gives them notice of my presence and they usually dont attack...different if you stand on one though. Oh, and make sure you dont hit a Roo or a wombat on the road. Early morning and dusk usually the worst times. I couldnt imagine what critters would be around in other states but theyre probably bigger and better than here.
There is also the weather. It can be darn hot in the summer and we get winter snow as well. I am crazy enough to have found Gold when it has been snowing as well as on 40 deg. days. Are you keen or crazy enough to go out hunting in all conditions or just the good days. This can be a reason why people dont get to go out as much as they would like or plan to.
I wish anybody who goes out and has a go the very best of luck. Despite what I have written there is a great amount of enjoyment to be had in this great Country of ours hunting for Gold, so if your keen go for it!
Great thread guys, a lot of useful information. I was wondering if anyone can give some advice. I am really keen to start having a go at this, for various reasons. I plan to mainly go for coins etc... at this stage. I want to be able to bring the family along on a few outings. I am also thinking that the beach, rivers and other areas here in Perth could be productive. How often I would do this I am not sure. The ability to be able to take anywhere though is pretty appealing.
I normally try to work on the "Buy once, buy well" motto, I think if you are going to do something try to do the best you can. Thinking so far I am only really left with the Garret AT Pro, I have watched a few youtube vids and it seems to be a pretty good detector. I can get locally for about $780
or do I get a Minelab X-Terra 705 ? This is a bot dearer and doesn't have the full waterproof capabilities of the AT Pro but does come with a waterproofs coils ?
Do I just get a cheaper starter unit like either the - Minelab Xtera 305 $395, Garrett Ace 350 $434, or even one of the little Treasure Snoops for $279. My only dilemma with going this cheaper route, is if I decide to go further and do some exploration trips, which my mate and I are already mapping out. Then I feel the entry level are a bit of a waste of time as they will not be good enough if someone has gone over the ground before.
When we do our trip I am looking at getting a S/H Minelab GPX something... I am hopeful that all of the treasure found will help reduce some of the cost. I reckon it would be handy to have a waterproof detector and one that is good enough as a backup as well, or even a loan for a friend or kid etc...
I don't mind spending the money, but I don't want to just spend for the sake of spending either. At this point I thing the AT Pro is my choice, comments thoughts, please let me know.
So I suppose if anyone has one in Perth they want to do a metal trade ? let me know
Aren't you guys worried about these things irradiating your 'nuggets' ?
Agh Crap WTF now LOL
Do you use a mobile? I'd be more worried about that than irradiating my nuggets with a detector haha
Awww me plumbs.... now i'm worried about the phone!
You are doing the right thing Austacker.....research!
There are two types of detecting - Coin/relic hunting and Gold detecting.
The x-terra's, Garret Ace, Treasure snoops all work for finding coins and relics but IMO are unsuitable for gold prospecting. Most have fairly good discrimination features that are effective and can reduce the amount of junk you dig. Waterproof coils should be all you need for beach detecting unless you are aquaman and hunting for shipwrecks in which case the waterproof machine would be the go. If detecting in wet weather all I do is wrap a plastic shopping bag around the control box to keep the water out. Simple, cheap and effective.
Gold detecting (particularly these days) requires a high end and more expensive machine. The early Minelab pulse induction (PI) models such as the SD 2000, 2100 and 2200 were responsible for some amazing gold finds. These can still be purchased for around $1000 - $2000 depending on condition and accessories provided.
The Minelab GPX series is another step up. You can literally go over previously detected ground and find gold that older models have missed. They are much easier to operate than earlier models because they run a lot smoother and have superior ground balance capabilities.
The minelab PI machines hold their value. This is because the only PI that Minelab currently manufactures and sells is the GPX 5000 which retails for over $6000. The GPX 4000 and 4500 are both great gold hunters and can be bought secondhand privately for between $3000 - $4500. I would recommend one of these (I use a GPX 4500) if you are serious about finding gold. If you are only going to hunt gold for a short period of time you should maybe consider hiring instead of buying.
BTW the Minelab PI machines do not have a target ID feature which means you dig a lot more junk. They have a discriminate feature but it is not reliable.
I dig almost everything because my best finds have been sitting next to pieces of junk. Usually thats why it wasnt dug up previously.
Thanks E.M I am happy with the Minelabs for when I get really serious, but until then I am a little unsure. I don't want to spend over a $1k at this stage which may seem a little counter productive, as I am already half way to s/h Minelab 2200. But like you said get the latest technology, so I think for general fossicking something new and smaller.
So what I am thinking is back to these two models - Garrett AT Pro ($780) or Minelab X-Terra 505 ($650)
I have seen some great vids of the AT Pro just left floating in the water while people have been searching river creeks etc... even on a really flat surf day you could go into the water to search and not worry about it ? I also want something pretty light and one all the family could use on camping trips etc...
My only hesitation is, are the Garrett'ss as good as the Minelab in this range, will they both find similar Gold if I took them as backups for a more serious trip.
Thanks again, hope this is also helping others who are thinking about getting involved.
Cheap machines wont produce gold in high mineralised ground, but you will get sore ears. Having said that its taken me 6 months to learn my 4500. Buy the cheaper machine and try it around Perth. Its not everyones cuppa tea.
I use an Excalibur Minelab . Perth central has been raped of it booty IMHO n there is far more glorious bounties to be had abroad.
Shameless plug. Selling my GPX 4500.
Thanks for posting your sales link here. I definitely think it is very appropriate. I though can't afford that, nor am in your area.
Am looking to buy a water proof relic type one... along the lines of Minelab Excalibur / Garrett AT Pro
Any other suggestions on what and where to get a new/used one? TIA
Have you looked at Bris shops? Should be at least a couple around that sell 'em. Trading Post often has secondhand machines. Usually lists phone nums so you can ring and chat. If theres a local detecting club try them. A lot of these type people can usually get you onto some good secondhand machines.
Do your homework if you look at ebay. You might be able to get a better price OS (esp for a Garret) than in Aus. Email or ask to phone and see if you can get a working demo if in your area if you get a secondhand unit.
Both are top brands so go with whichever one you reckon.
Out of all the brands. Get the best Minelab you can afford. SD 2200 up, if you can afford it. For cupro, Gold, bronze or even Silver, Even the cheapest kids ebay detector will find a patch on the beach surface. Finding small gold at depth takes a sophisticated machine and the minelab does that better than anyone else and has done for 20 years. with awesome battery life and discrimination and that golden sound. Remember when the wave of gold finds hit in the 80's? Better Depth, is the reason. The only downside is then you have to dig it out further down.
I got mine from the Brisbane Gold shop... i did struggle to find any other specialty shops in Brisbane.
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