Usefulness of Gold Probes?
(Gold probes are essentially variations of coin probes like this Vibra Probe 580.)
Even though I'm pretty much old school when it comes to all things gold mining, I've always tried my best to remain open to new mining gear, equipment, and ideas. Along these lines, I've been pondering the potential usefulness in the field of gold "probes" for some time now.
What's a gold probe? Essentially, it's a mini-metal detector specifically designed to detect extremely small gold, both placer and lode. Gold probes are pretty much a variation of the probes commonly used by coin hunters to pinpoint their finds...I'm familiar with the latter and even own one. But I've never used a probe specifically designed for gold prospecting.
Unless memory fails me, back in the early 1980s Garrett Metal Detectors produced a probe-type attachment for their detectors called the "Hot Stick" or the "Gold Stick" (I'm not really sure of the name...it's been too many years). For all I know, Garrett still produces a similar probe device.
Anyhoo, the entire premise of these probes is detecting and pinpointing coins or gold. One brand name that keeps cropping up in my research is the Falcon Gold Tracker MD20.
I recently posted a video in the right sidebar of "Bedrock Dreams" from California miner Rick Shelby ("HurtHawk"). Toward the end of that video, you'll see a Falcon Gold Tracker in action detecting gold in pieces of ore. I've also viewed a a couple of vids where an Aussie miner ("fossicker") is using the MD20 to detect placer gold in a small stream.
Yesterday I tracked down 8 or 9 user reviews on the MD20 probe and they were all positive. Here's a few reviews for you to ponder:
"I had a Falcon for several years and used it for sampling areas for placer. I have never heard of anyone using one for nugget shooting. It's very sensitive and will hit on gold smaller than the head of a pin. TRUE! That's why it was so great for sampling, especially in dry areas where there's no water for panning. I would simply dig a sample off of bedrock, screen it into a plastic gold gold pan, and then slowly "stir" the dirt with the probe. If I got no hits, I'd move on to sample elsewhere. If I got a hit, I'd sample uphill and nearby. If I got multiple hits I had pay dirt."
"Great Sniping Detector"
"I bought a Falcon last year...tried it in the goldfields...found nuggets, flakes, and flour gold with it. It is not, as others have stated, a primary gold detector. It is however a great little sniping detector, and a prospecting detector when you want to see if there's even a tiny amount of gold in a small sample."
"I purchased a Falcon MD20 this past week. I am really impressed with this small detector. Auto ground balance and easy to use. It has different settings that can be adjusted for coin, relic, and gold hunting. It also has a sensitivity control. It will detect all metal. However, you can quickly and easily differentiate between gold and black sand/iron. The larger the target the deeper it scans. It detects a small gold ring at about 3 to 4 inches. It detects a minute speck of gold at about a 1/2 inch. So far, I am really impressed with the Falcon's performance. Although I am concerned with the durability of the cable and probe."
OK, for you suspicious minds out there (thank you Elvis wherever you are...) I have no association or vested interest in Falcon detectors or the Gold Tracker MD20. However, this little unit has definitely piqued my interest and I'm considering buying one to add to my gold mining arsenal.
(The Falcon Gold Tracker MD20.)
I am particularly interested in hearing your viewpoint on this matter, especially if you own or use (or have used) a MD20. So please feel free to e-mail me or use the comments section at the bottom of this post to respond and give me the low down
In the meantime, keep a low profile out there.
If you liked this post, you may want to read: "Crevicing Still Remains One of Your Best Gold Recovery Methods (Part 1)"
(c) Jim Rocha (J.R.) 2013
Questions? E-mail me at email@example.com