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View Full Version : Pinpointing/Digging Targets=> Coaching for a More Timely Process

10-19-2012, 06:11 AM
I'm looking for some advice with regard to digging targets. I find myself spending way too much time digging targets once they have been identified.

I swing a GB2 and if I get a quality target I want to dig I will usually get over the top of it from at least 2 sides in an attempt to narrow down my dig area. I will then start digging and testing the dirt I am digging by swinging it in front of the coil in a plastic cup. I do this until I have located the target. The good news is I usually find what I am looking for, the bad news is that it can take 10 minutes or longer for me to acquire it. After spending way too long digging a #9 birdshot last weekend, I told myself to bring the topic to this forum for some advice.

Do folks have any suggestions for narrowing down the dig area? I was thinking of investing in a hand-held pointer as it may be an essential piece of equipment I may be missing?


Steve Herschbach
10-19-2012, 06:52 AM
Use a pick. Aggressively dig a pile of dirt. The goal is to get the target to move as quickly as possible from the hole to the pile. I see people just scratching away at targets and taking forever. This part should take almost no time unless the target is very deep, and that usually is not going to happen with a Gold Bug 2. With a Minelab you might actually spend many minutes digging a target. My Gold Bug 2 dig times are usually measured in seconds.

At Ganes Creek chasing large nuggets holes more than a foot deep in tailings are common, and these can take a lot of time, especially in cobbles where the hole keeps caving.

Once you get it in the pile, locate where in the pile and if you did this right, you should get it in your scoop first try. I get annoyed when I miss, again more often with a Minelab as the pile may be very large. It is also harder to pinpoint with a Minelab. A Gold Bug 2 you should be right on it.

Once in scoop it is divide and conquer.

Pinpointers are good for chasing large gold, especially in tailing piles. But they will not help much on very small gold.

The main thing is dig aggressively and get the target to move from hole to pile. Forget the scoop until after the target moves, unless you are sure the target is on the surface.

Usually I would say it does not matter all that much, but at places like Ganes it was obvious that some people spent way too much time trying to find the target, and that time can be better spent finding a gold nugget.

Reno Chris
10-19-2012, 07:30 AM
Unless the target is real deep, wedged in a tight crack in solid rock, you have multiple targets in a small area or some other complication like that, you should only take a minute or two to recover the target. Part of the whole point of detecting in most places is that the more targets you can recover in a short time, the more likely one or more of them is going to be gold. When I was in Australia and a couple times I had minor issues and took 3 to 4 minutes to recover a target because it was falling down into rock cracks, Jonathan was about to pull his hair out because I was taking so long. You don't need a pin pointer. You need to practice more with your machine.

There is a spot in the middle of your coil just in front of the rod attachment point that is the spot where your coil responds the strongest. By using that sweet spot and your technique of swinging over the target from two directions, you should be able to draw a 2 inch circle and have the target be in that circle 95% of the time for small near surface targets. Practice putting a piece of cardboard over a small flattened shot or piece of lead and pinpointing where the target is under the cardboard (use blank ground with no other targets or hot rocks).

Also, once you get the target out of the hole as Steve noted, you can use your foot to spread around the pile a little, then use your coil to pinpoint where the target is in the pile and scoop it up.

10-19-2012, 08:25 AM
good advice unless the target happens to be a silver or gold coin! I've had that happen to me more than once looking for nuggets...

10-19-2012, 09:12 AM
Steve and Chris are right though...It should probably take less than a minute to dig the average target. Even digging coins, it only takes a minute or so to dig.

Comes with pratice.

Steve Herschbach
10-19-2012, 11:25 AM
I don't like nicking a nugget or a coin. I dig well away from the target (the side opposite me) and pull it out of the hole. Can't say I have never hit a target but it is only a rare event out of very many recovered.

Only silver dollar I ever dug I dug nugget detecting!

10-19-2012, 11:45 AM
Good advice guys. Steve to your point about the pick, I have an Apex with magnets that I run through the target area but I do not usually tear up a lot of dirt but rather scratch the surface. I will try your approach and pile-up the dirt.

Chris, excellent suggestion on the practice technique. I'll give that a try this weekend.

10-24-2012, 08:32 PM
Chris, I took some clear strapping tape and taped some different size shot to cardboard and practiced while out in the field last weekend. It really helped me to visualize where the signal was the strongest on the coil. My wife did the same with her AT Gold and also commented on how the exercise helped her.

Although I was more efficient in digging targets last weekend, I was on tailing piles so there was still some variability given the larger stones but overall much improved.