Six Bedrock Sniping Tips

Bedrock crevicing or "sniping" for placer gold in a drywash or stream can be a rewarding experience for recreational miners. Sniping doesn't require lots of expensive equipment, but what it does require is knowledge, experience, patience, persistence, and perseverance.

You're already ahead of the game if you possess the last three attributes and experience will, of course, come with time. So it's up to me to provide you with some gold sniping tips to speed up the entire process and point you toward success. Here goes:

1. Search for areas of bedrock with minimal amounts of overburden: if you're like me, you have neither the time nor the inclination to shovel off 5 or 6 or 10 or 15 feet of overburden to get to the good stuff on bedrock. Granted, the closer bedrock is to the surface the more likely it has been worked, but just the opposite can be true as well.

2. Choose rough, highly fractured bedrock over smoother, more water-worn bedrock: the smoother and more water-worn a section of bedrock is, the easier it is for placer gold to be swept out of shallow potholes and cracks in high water flow conditions.

3. Focus on fractured bedrock where the cracks, fissures, and crevices run perpendicular to the stream flow: these types of cracks and crevices will trap gold much more effectively than fissures running parallel with the direction of the stream flow. Makes sense, right?

4. Check large boulders or other large obstructions sitting atop bedrock for cracks and fissuring: these types of obstructions can be good gold traps as well if they have cracks or fissures. Clean these crevices out the same way you would if they were part of the bedrock.

5. Clean out even the smallest, shortest, and narrowest cracks and crevices on bedrock: these are the crevices that others will bypass either from laziness or from assuming they carry little gold. Trust me, just the opposite is true in many instances.

6. Remove every bit of material from a crack, crevice or fissure: the best gold will be at the bottom of even the smallest crack or crevice. Your "sniping" work is not complete until that crack or crevice is so clean it shines.

There you have it. 6 simple tips for increasing your gold recovery rate from bedrock.

(c)  Jim Rocha (J.R.)  2008