Friday, April 9, 2010

Gold Detector Reviews: Garrett's "Scorpion Gold Stinger"

(Control panel for Garrett's "Scorpion Gold Stinger.")

No Expert Nugget Hunter

As I have stated numerous times in the past, nugget hunting (a.k.a, nugget shooting) is one area of gold prospecting/mining that I am sorely deficient in. In the past, however, I believe I compensated for this deficiency by becoming very adept with my various Garrett detectors as a coin, cache, and beach hunter. So, I am no stranger to metal detectors and metal detecting.

Although I’ve spent many hours out in the field wielding either a Whites “Goldmaster” or a Fisher “Gold Bug II” searching electronically for placer nuggets, I’ve come up empty. Obviously I’m no expert nugget hunter.

Treasure Hunting

However, through judicious research and by speaking with fellow miners and treasure hunters (some of whom I am proud to call friends), I’ve managed to piece together a few reviews on current gold detectors that should prove useful to those of you interested in pursuing this angle on gold mining/prospecting. So here goes:

(DISCLAIMER: I have no vested interest in any of the machines or brands listed in this post nor am I receiving any compensation for recommending them. J.R.)

Lower End or “Beginner” Detectors:

Garrett “Scorpion Gold Stinger”

Based on what I’ve learned Garrett’s “Scorpion Gold Stinger” is a good buy for those of you just starting out with gold detectors. I myself have used Garrett machines for over 30 years now in all sorts of mining and treasure hunting activities and I remain a big fan of the brand.

One major advantage the “Scorpion Gold Stinger” has over other brands of similar price range ($450.00-$575.00 new) and functionality is that it can be operated in three distinct or separate modes: all-metal/non-motion discriminate; motion discriminate; and transmitter/receiver (TR) mode. If you already have gold or coin hunting detector experience you can readily see the advantage of this 3-mode functionality which is handled by the simple flip of a switch.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with these discriminator functions let me try and explain them a bit:

All Metal, Non-Motion: This means the machine is operated to detect any and all metals, including those of a ferrous (iron) nature. Non-motion detecting means that you can hold the coil steady over a target to pinpoint or locate it. Most nugget hunting “pros” will not detect in any other mode than all metal mode, since some small nuggets will either not be detected (“lost”) or “misinterpreted” by either the machine and/or the operator.

Motion Discriminate: In this mode the “Scorpion Gold Stinger” coil must be in constant motion for the machine to be able to discern the difference in signals, particularly those between ferrous (iron) and non-ferrous (gold, silver, etc.) targets. Some nugget hunters will employ this mode in very highly mineralized ("hot") soils or when there is just too much iron junk in the ground they are hunting.

TR Discriminate: TR discriminators really advanced detector technology 30+ years ago because they enabled coin and beach hunters to “tune out” all the junk (bottle caps, pull tabs, etc.) in the ground “back in the day.” What this means to you is that the “Scorpion Gold Stinger” can be pressed into service as a viable coin-hunting detector too, if necessary.

Although this Garrett gold machine does not operate at the highest frequency ranges (good for depth penetration and coping with "hot" ground), its 15kHz operating frequency is still plenty powerful and more than suitable for hunting and identifying nuggets, ore float, and vein material. The “Scorpion Gold Stinger” comes with a standard 5” x 10” elliptical coil and reports from users in the field are pretty consistent in terms of its maneuverability and overall ease of use.

So there you have the first review in this series of posts. If you're a "Scorpion Gold Stinger" user I'd love to hear from you and get your perspective on this machine.

I’ll have more on other machines in subsequent posts. Until then, keep smiling!

© J.R. 2010

Questions? E-mail me at


  1. great review thanks you have been a big ;help

  2. Thanks for the good words...glad that this post was a help to you. J.R.

  3. I got a scorpion it great in parks and school. found lot of rings junk, silver ring, gold ring it a 18k but it is gold plated. I'm planning to take it to an old gold town. oh yeah found lots of coins too.

  4. Thanks for commenting and letting us know how your Garrett gold machine works for you. Very helpful to hear this. Jim