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Rob Allison

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Offline Last Active Today, 10:34 AM

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Long Hike with the Minelab SDC 2300 = Gold Nuggets!!

Today, 10:11 AM

Hello All,


   Yesterday a partner and I had a plan to quad in many miles and then hike to some old gulches that produced some nice gold many years back.  Not sure what the weather was going to be like, we decided to start out the quad ride early in the AM and get to the hiking spot right when it turned light.  We suited up our detectors (Minelab SDC 2300 & Minelab GPX 5000), backpacks and plenty of fluids/foods for the long hike.  It took us a good hour or so to get to the first gulch that was placered probably in the early turn of the century.  We both had high hopes the Summer Monsoons ripped and tore the gulch down to bedrock, but that wasn't the case.  For some odd reason, the drainages in this area didn't get as much rain action, so this meant we would really have to hunt hard.  There were a few new bedrock spots here and there, but for the most part we couldn't seem to pull any easy gold nuggets from the newly exposed zones.  


Communicating back and forth throughout the early hunt, I finally was able to find one of my smallest nuggets of the day within about an hour.  This first little nugget was tucked under a small bush overhanding the gulch.  It was a nice, strong signal for the Minelab SDC 2300.  The nugget was probably a few grains in size and was down about an inch in the bedrock crack. 


For some reason the EMI was really bad in this area, making it difficult to really hear faint targets.  We both talked about the EMI and what the other was doing to battle it.  The "Interference Tune" feature on both detectors didn't seem to eliminate much of the EMI, so we just had to listen carefully and re-investigate any signal that was unclear.  


Within about another hour I had a good handful or rubbish and lead bullets along with two more small nuggets in the range of a few grains.  By this time it was getting really warm down in the gulches, so I called my partner to discuss what we could do next.  He wasn't having any luck, so I told him about a small patch on this hillside we found that wasn't too far away.  As stupid as it sounded, we both really wanted to find some more gold, so we braved the heat and hiked another 1/2 mile further to an old nugget patch on the ridge.  After walking around the ridge for about 15 minutes I was able to locate where some nuggets were found before.  


Since my partner didn't have any gold yet, I figured I would let him loose on the patch in hopes he could snag an easy one quickly, while I dropped into a small gully below.  I wasn't more than about 100 yards when my partner mentioned he snagged a small 4-5 grain nugget right on the exposed bedrock.  We decided to stick this area out for a bit, while I worked down the small gully and my partner continued on the patch.  After about an hour, the temps seemed like 150 degrees in the gully, but I continued to work in hopes of a nugget somewhere left behind.  As I got down towards the bottom of the gully, I noticed my partner under a tree resting.  He said the heat was getting too him, which I had to agree.  Pretty much right below him I got a small, faint signal in the bedrock.  It was so damn hot by this time, I didn't even want to mess with it, but rather crawl under that tree and rest for a bit.  My partner ended up helping me did the bedrock up and low and behold it was a small, one grain nugget.  Man, this damn SDC 2300 is amazing on small gold!!


We decided to take a short break in the shade and talk about what was the plan.  By this time we both were running low on water, but we still had a good mile or so hike back to the quads.  As much as we both wanted to hunt more, we thought the smart thing would be to haul butt back to the quads, replenish our fluids and talk about leaving or hunting more. 


About any hour later we both arrived back at the quads (Thank God) and were able to eat a bit and drink some very cold drinks we both had in our small coolers.  Our bodies were telling us to get the hell out of here, but our minds were saying stay and hunt.  We both still wanted to finds a few more pieces of gold and had higher hopes the last spots were going to produce more.  There was one spot on the way back out where an old river channel crossed over some hillsides and there was a small ravine where I found some nice, water worn slugs many years ago.  The last time I was in this ravine was at least 5 years ago, but only found a small dink or so at that time.  


I wasn't sure of the potential, but it was one last shot at the both of us scoring possibly another nugget.  On arrive at the last location, I noticed the water done more action in this area then the prior spots, so this could be good if it moved material in the right locations.  I ended up working the top part of the ravine, while my partner worked the bottom end.  I found a few spots that seems to have some material moved around, so I concentrated on those spots.  Not long into the hunt I scored a nice 1/2 Dwt piece, then a few feet away another piece.  I called my partner and told him I was onto a few pieces, he mentioned he just picked up a small one.  Within about 10 foot of the prior two nuggets I got a very, faint signal on the SDC 2300.  I moved a few inches away and the signal got much stronger.  Digging down another 4-5 inches I finally seen some bedrock popping up, so figured if the signal was still there it was a good sign.  I re-scanned the hole and signal was still there.  By this time the signal was very strong, but I didn't want to get my hopes up as I have dug hundreds of lead slugs from spots just like this.  


I started to use my fingers to sweep the dirt off the bedrock and seen a nice, smear of gold in a crack (pictured below).  I then knew it was GOLD, but not sure how big.  I knew from the depth and signal strength it was going to be at least a few Dwt's.  I finally was able to pluck the nugget from the crack and guessed it was going to be a good 2-3 Dwt's in weight.  Not a bad score for the SDC 2300 at 8-10 inches.  


We both ended up working this ravine almost until dark, but was unable to score anymore nuggets.  It ended up being a full day hunt, sunup to sundown with a few nuggets to boot.  


I ended up with 6 nuggets totaling nearly a 1/4 ounce, my partner had 2 smaller nuggets for about 3/4's of a Dwt.  


P.S.  I'm by far no author, but hope you enjoyed the short story. 



Hey Steve H. - My Thoughts on Searchcoils

30 August 2014 - 09:19 PM

Hey Steve H.,


   I seen on another forum you posed a question about what small coil was best, NF 8x6, Minelab Commander 8-inch Round or the Coiltek Joey 10x5 Elliptical Mono.  


This question lead me to what I'm doing now, using Minelab Commander coils.  Ya, I know it sounds silly, but several years ago a good friend told me he was having great success with Minelab coils, but mentioned the larger ones were heavy.  He said he thought there was something to using Minelab coils on Minelab detectors.  For years I have always been a huge aftermarket searchcoil fan and had a lot of success with them.  Some of my favorite all time coils were/are the Coiltek 14-inch solid Mono Round, Coiltek 17-inch Elliptical Mono and DD Pro (Alaska favorites) and the newest Coiltek 14x9 Blitz.  That being said, I was also a big fan of the NF 14x9 Solid, which is one of their newer coils and some of their larger, lightweight round Mono's.  


Last year during field instructions with some customers, I bundled a bunch of 15x12 inch Elliptical Commander coils with the GPX 5000's.  During some of the instructions I was running the customers GPX with the 15x12 using the Slimline external speaker and noticed the detector was very stable, much more than mine with the Coiltek 14x9 Blitz.  Now in all fairness, Coiltek claims to optimize the Blitz with the GPX series, which could lead to a bit more noise and extra sensitivity.  


After last years instructions with hundreds of customers, I seemed to observe the Minelab coils being much more stable.  This lead me back to the conversation with the good friend about Commander coils.  


I've always liked to experiment and change coils and manufactures from time to time, so I figured I would give Minelab Commander coils another run.  Within the last couple of months I have dropped the Coiltek 14x9 Blitz and moved back to the standard, stock Commander 11-inch Round Mono and love it!  I'm not sure what it is, but it's so smooth and Im finding stuff very small and getting good depth.  


The last 3 trips out, I have outscored my partner using the GPX 5000 & Blitz 12 to 1 on nuggets.  I know it's hard to say I really beat him, but we have been working the same ground and he has mentioned several times his detector and coil were very unstable while my machine was just purring along!  ;)


Just thought I would share my findings.  I'm not saying I'm not going to use any aftermarket searchcoil (Nugget Finder, Coiltek or other brands), but right now I'm very pleased with the results on the ground I'm working.  



Featured in Minelab's new SDC 2300 Video

28 August 2014 - 04:26 PM

Hello All,


    Minelab used a few of my Youtube clips in their new Minelab SDC 2300 Metal Detector video.  Thanks Minelab.  


Minelab - We Change People's Fortunes!



For more information on the new Minelab SDC 2300 metal detector, contact us and we will gladly help you out.  

Featured in Minelab's new SDC 2300 Video

28 August 2014 - 04:25 PM

Hello All,


    Minelab used a few of my Youtube clips in their new Minelab SDC 2300 Metal Detector video.  Thanks Minelab.  


Minelab - We Change People's Fortunes!



For more information on the new Minelab SDC 2300 metal detector, contact us and we will gladly help you out.  

1/2 day hunt with the Minelab GPX 5000

24 August 2014 - 08:20 PM

Minelab GPX 5000 scores some specimens!!
This last weekend I managed to escape into the goldfields and give the GPX another workout.  After a few hours of metal detecting, I was able to score 3 decent Dwt+ pieces in a small ravine.  You can view the pictures below, including the one specimen (gold and Quartz) piece hiding in the bedrock.  
The second part of the day I played around with the Minelab SDC 2300 and scored 4 small ones.  Ended the day with 7 nuggets for a total weight of around 1/4 ounce.  
P.S.  Notice the amount of lead and casings I dug during the day :(
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