Iron discrimination

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Recently we purchased a Minelab 2100 at a local dealership here in Montana.

The owner helped convince us to buy the 2100 vs. the 2200v2 on the basis the iron discrimination was useless, sometimes misses gold and that it is just a gimmick to get more people to buy the higher end Minelab products. The owner uses a Minelab 4000 (which we could not afford). After months of fruitless searches in well researched nugget areas and finding thousands of square nails and tons of other iron pieces we are back at the same question; does the 2200v2 (and others) iron discrimination feature potentially filter out gold and just a gimmick or does it really work?

Yours truly,

Nathan Johnson

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Hello NathanJ,

I don't think the Minelab dealer gave you bad advice. I've personally sold more SD2100 and SD2100v2's over the SD2200 series. The SD2200d or SD2200v2 does have a few more features, such as Discrimination, Auto Tracking and more control switches.

Any iron discrimination can blank out gold, but mostly gold in host rock. I've noticed specimens with quartz or ironstone, or a combination of both can blank out on the PI discriminators.

As far as solid gold nuggets, the discriminator is pretty good.

In real trashy areas I would suggest discrimination features, but in less trashy areas the SD2100 does just as good.

With the $500 you saved, I would suggest a Coiltek Li-Ion System to benefit the SD2100. I've sold hundreds of these units and you will notice a performance gain with them besides the super lightness of them.

Hope this helps a bit,

Rob Allison

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Just dig all signals, you will get gold sooner or later, and you will be a good steward of the land by packing out all the metal trash you dig up. Once you dig it up you won't have to dig that nail or can or lead bullet up again, and no one else will have to either. I have dug a few hundered pounds up and put it in the trash. Soon the only targets will be good ones, gold or coins.Some people go as long as a year with out finding gold, and some find it there first time out. First you need to be in a good location, a place where gold nuggets are known to be found in the past, hunt the fringe areas in that location, no one gets it all. The old timers missed alot. Good luck, and if you can get some instruction in the field on the detector. It will help alot. Grubstake

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If you what to try something run your machine on disrimanate and dig all the targets anyway.This has helped me learn the differnt sounds.And in doing so I can get close to gessing what is buried.

Also at the end of the day when I'm getting tired I will only dig non-blanking targets.

This keeps me in the gold feilds a little longer and I might just dig another nugget.

Grubby allways asks me why is your detector on discrinate well now he knows B)

Take Care,Matt

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You are so right; two of the big rules when using detectors for hunting gold;

Do NOT use descriminate

Do Dig Everything

I know for sure I would have missed most of my nuggets

if I was using descriminate.


Agreed. A full day of detecting is usually quite fatiguing.

The concentration factor is so little talked about here and yet

it seems to be one of the biggest if not the biggest factor in being successful.

The subtle sounds, which usually include the gold, take alot of attention to hear them.

As I'm sure you know, sometimes taking a short break a few times during the day

really helps.

All the best,


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Weekend before last I was skipping lo-hi targets figuring they were iron or hot rocks. Well last weekend I hit a lo-hi in a crack and wasn't going to pass this one up. Well it turned out to be a large slug of lead, not a hot rock nor a nugget but I learned something important, DIG EVERYTHING!!! ;)

Also the discriminator does not work on mono coils and at depth with the dd coils. I originally bought the 4000 because of the discrimination and now because of the new timings I am running mostly mono coils and don't care about the discrimination any more...

The discrimination will not reject various small iron targets, at least mine does... :unsure:

I figure if there is gold where I am hunting, removing trash will only make it easier to find in the long run. From turf and demo hunting I have found that removing trash equals finding keepers.

I am becoming quite proud of my lead and nail collection! :lol:

Jim W

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I never have thought of it like that. Clean up the area = help the environment, you and other nugget hunters out. Maybe I will hit one area, stick with it until its completely clean, map it, then go over to another area.

Couple more questions...

1. We are thinking of getting a VLF for assistance with the 2100v2. Is there any VLF with decent to excellent iron discrimination? I see the the Minelab Eureka Gold and the Fisher Gold Bug 2 have iron discrim features.

2. Just out of curiosity, are there any detectors out there with excellent to phenomenal iron discrimination (the mother of all questions)?

3. Give me an examples of quality 'High-end' nugget hunting VLF's for highly mineralized conditions?

Thanks a bundle,


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Whites MXT, Tesorro Lobo ST, Gold Bug 2, Minelab Eureka, All have Iron Disc. All work pretty fair.I have tried the MXT, and Lobo, and the minelab, Have not tried the Gold Bug 2, But its supposed to be goood. Grubstake All are in the $800.00 to $1000.00 price range, but can be had cheaper if you shop around.

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Many targets are left behind because the overload signal is confused with the descriminate blanking signal...the thing is you have to decide is if the risk of leaving gold is worth the convenience of not digging some trash...I have used the iron-reject on my minelabs, but only in high trash areas such as the flats near Rich Hill...I am only good for about an hour of that crap before I head off to sane-er the way you will still dig lots of iron targets with a vlf...there are improvements coming but nothing I would count on for nugget-hunting at the moment. Now I know many people use the iron-id mode on their minelabs but they are usually very experienced and know the risks of using the reject button...

Your idea to select an area and clean it out is very good and sometimes will really pay, other times you will just be collecting trash..if you do this, go over the area with different coils and from at least two direction to do the best job possible.

risk verses reward...dig or don't dig..that is your decision...


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