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View Full Version : Which detector is best for me in Arizona?

02-18-2012, 08:45 PM

I currently live in Florida and plan on moving to Arizona within the next month or so. I have never been involved in the detecting hobby before. I buy & sell gold and silver bullion all the time and hold gold & silver positions on the COMEX. While trying to figure out what I would spend my free time doing in Arizona I figured how fun it would be to go out and start finding that stuff.

I'm not really interested in relics, meteorites, or coins (unless they're gold or silver ;)). I want to be looking for nuggets both small & large. Being that i'm very new to this sort of work, I have a few questions that maybe some of you who are more experienced could answer for me.

My first question would be which detector would fit my needs the best? I have done a lot of research on various makes & models but I am still left unsure. I would love to get a ML GPX 5000 sometime soon but feel that it would be best to start out this new hobby with something a little less expensive. Other models that have caught my attention are White's GMT, MXT, Gold Bug 2, and Garrett's Infinium. I understand that each model has it's strengths and weaknesses but would just like some advice on which one would be best for what I'm looking for. I would like to spend in the ballpark of about $1000-$1500. This leads into my second question. Which coils should I use? I don't want to be missing any possible finds due to a sub-par coil. Its worth it to me to buy a good coil(s).

The thing that bothers me is that I want to be finding even the smallest of gold targets but don't want to be missing large nuggets in the meantime. I am not sure what kind of ground noise is typical for Arizona and which detector would be best for that area. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

I am a very fast learner so a detector that is "user friendly" is not something that is a big issue for me when deciding on a detector. Having it be easy to use is a bonus but not so crucial. What really matters to me is performance.

Thanks for any advice you guys have to offer. I am really excited to get started with this new hobby of mine!

02-18-2012, 09:37 PM
Why not wait until you actually get to Arizona and then find out where you will be detecting. After you know where you will be detecting, you can find out what type of ground is there and then the choice of detector will be much simpler.

02-19-2012, 07:13 AM
I can't comment on most of the detectors you mentioned as I have no experience with them. I hear they are all fine machines. I use an Infinium and while I really like it, it is limited on (at least mine is limited) small gold. The smallest I am able to detect is about .38 gram. I can hit that at about 1.5"-2" deep using the 8 inch mono coil. The stock coil is great in heavily mineralized soil, but you definitely won't hit small gold with it. The major selling point for me on the Infinium is the fact that it is water proof. I do a good bit of my detecting in the ocean, but also like that I can go out detecting and not worry about rain putting a quick end to my day.

Hope this helps out.

02-19-2012, 05:43 PM
What ever you buy, go used. I would buy the most expensive used machine you can afford, if your actually looking to find gold nuggets. Just remember you can't change course after buying that expensive machine to find gold nuggets. You will most likely end up with two or three machines, over time. I like Davids answer. Get to your final destination and find a club. Your best bet is to get yourself with like minded people who can put you in the right place with the right equipment. Forums are fine for general information, but it can't compare with a buddy next to you who knows what he's doing. It took me three years to find my first gold nugget. It's not uncommon to run into dry spells a lot of the time. That's why I suggest you buy used. You can get a higher quality machine at a good price and still have some resale play. Get out there and find someting good!!! GaryC/SanBdno.

Vance in AK
02-20-2012, 12:28 AM
I agree with what the others have said, except POSSIBLY the "buy used part".
I love my GB II & it would be a great choice for much of AZ, but a PI detector would be beter in others.
Here's an AZ forum that might help you out a bit.

Reno Chris
02-20-2012, 08:49 AM
Here is a one gram nugget I found out in Arizona while I was visiting about a week ago. A friend took me to a productive spot, and we both worked hard. I was the only one who got a nugget. Last time we went to the same spot a couple years ago, he was the one who got a nugget.

As you have no previous prospecting experience, I seriously suggest you start with a $10 gold pan, and join a prospecting club in the part of Arizona where you plan on moving. Finding gold is more difficult than you expect it to be. If it were laying all over the ground, available for anyone to pick up, it wouldn't be valued at over $1700 per ounce, and there would be tens of thousands of guys out in every western state digging gold for a living. As someone who's been doing it for 30+ years, I suggest learning about finding gold first. Buy a book on gold prospecting and read it (I suggest one called "Fists Full Of Gold" - ;) ). I am not saying dont buy a detector, I am just saying learn about the realities of finding gold for a couple months first. Talk to members of your local prospecting club and see which detectors they use. Go slow and acquire knowledge and experience of your own. Don't start by dropping $1500 on an activity you've never tried before and then seeing what happens. Knowledge and experience are major factors in successfully finding gold.

silver dog doug
02-20-2012, 09:32 AM
Hi Statch, I can't tell you which detector to buy, but I can tell you that I live in Az., and that I go out every week. I recently found a 5.5 dwt. with my mine lab GPX4500. Yesterday I dug a 2 ft.x 2ft. hole and found a rusty old broken pick at 2 and 1/2 ft. deep. I also hunt with my GMT and find really small gold. A few months back, I found 9 nuggets weighting only 1 gram total. It just depends where I am hunting, which detector I use. The ground around Tucson is hot and gives a lot of false signals when using the GMT. The 4500 makes the hot rocks disappear. The GMT is paid for, still working on the 4500. Hope that I have helped. Don't do it if your trying to get rich, I do it because I love to try to find gold, and it keeps me young. Doug