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6 Reasons you Should be Using Small Detector Coils for Nugget Hunting

Gold Nuggets with Small Search coils

Small metal detector coils are perfect for finding little gold nuggets like these that the larger coils might miss.

Gold prospectors are often focused on getting the most depth from their metal detector. Aside from the various settings on the detector, perhaps the best way to detect the deepest targets is to use a large search coil.

In many cases it is the smaller search coil that will end up actually finding more gold though. Target depth isn’t the only consideration when you are hunting for gold nuggets.

Below are 6 reasons why you may want to go smaller, rather than larger, when choosing a coil for your metal detector.


1. Smaller coils get into those tight spots


Big coils are great when you are hunting places that are wide open, but most goldfields I have hunted have a lot of rocks and brush. In these places you will find that a smaller search coil will perform much better.

A smaller coil will allow more mobility around the rocks and brush. You can get the coil down into those tight spots where gold nuggets like to hide.

Small Search Coil for Gold Nuggets

A dandy nugget found with a Fisher Gold Bug Pro and small 5″ coil.


2. Sensitivity to small piece of gold


We’d all love to find a big chunky gold nugget, but there are a whole lot more small nuggets out there than big ones. Smaller coils are more sensitive to the smaller bits of gold.

When paired with a high-frequency metal detector like the Gold Bug 2, you have a deadly combination that will find even the tiniest bits of gold.


3. Less fatigue


Anyone who has spent an entire day out detecting knows that it can be tiring to swing that detector coil all day. And it is even more evident when you have a large coil on the end of your detector.

Using a nice lightweight gold detector and a small 5″ or 6 coil give you much less fatigue throughout the day. Not only does this make for a more pleasant hunt, but it can also result in more gold finds because you are more focused.


4. They run smoother


Since detector coils “see” all of the ground underneath them, larger coils can be very noisy sometimes, particularly if you are using a sensitive VLF detector in highly mineralized ground.

In many situations you will find that that a small coil will produce a much smoother threshold which will allow you to hear those faint targets.

small coil gold

This dandy little nugget was found in a heavily hunted area in northern California. I found it with a small coil on my Minelab GPX 4500.

Detecting Gold Nuggets


5. Better Target Separation


Another nice thing about small coils is how much easier they are to operate in trashy areas. Places that have a lot of iron rubbish can be very difficult to hunt because you will have more than one target under the search coil at the same time.

A small coil helps you to hear different targets separately. If you are in a very trashy location you find a small coil is much better, particularly if you are trying to be selective about which targets you dig.

Also Read: One Crumb at a Time: Gold Detecting with a Fisher Gold Bug 2

And: 15 Metal Detectors That Will Find Gold Nuggets


6. Quicker to Pinpoint Targets


Since most targets you find when you are using a small search coil are relatively shallow, recovering the target from the hole is much quicker.

Although many nugget hunters like to use a separate handheld pinpointer to aid in target recover, if you are using a small search coil you probably don’t need one. You can recover the target in just a few seconds and move onward in search for more gold nuggets.

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