First Texas Mfg. Sharpshooter Ii

By Andy Sabisch
From page 14 of the October, 1999 issue of Lost Treasure
Copyright © 1999 Lost Treasure, Inc. all rights reserved


The Bounty Hunter name has long had the reputation of producing quality metal detectors with the latest features at affordable prices. Although having changed owners and manufacturing locations a few times over the last 30 plus years, this philosophy has remained consistent and the current owners have demonstrated this in their commitment to constantly updating and improving the Bounty Hunter line. As a matter of fact, my wifes first metal detector was a Bounty Hunter and many of my friends use the latest models from Bounty Hunter with great success around the country in different applications. When I heard that the factory had released some new models, I was anxious to try them out and see how they performed in the field.
Features
The Sharpshooter II features the typical S-handle configuration, open 8-inch search coil and light-weight but durable control housing found on other Bounty Hunter models. It has a true All-Metal search mode with Ground Trac circuitry as well as three selectable silent-search discriminate modes: conventional discriminate, notch and auto notch. The Notch and Auto Notch modes are worth discussing as they offer performance not normally found on detectors anywhere near the Sharpshooter IIs price range. With a conventional discriminator, if you wanted to reject targets such as screw caps, everything below that setting would also be rejected including nickels and most gold jewelry. With the notch circuit found on the Sharpshooter II, you can set the discrimination level low to eliminate iron and foil and then move a block to reject other targets further up the scale. So, using the previous example, you could reject just the pesky screw caps while still picking up goodies that fall between the discrimination setting and the block over the trash. The auto notch circuit is preset to reject most of the trash you might encounter while coin hunting and only respond to targets likely to be worth recovering. The notch/auto notch circuits will greatly enhance your ability to hunt sites others have given up on due to the concentration of trash that often masks valuable targets.
There are two knobs and five touchpads that control the unit making its operation and adjustment quite simple. The left knob serves a dual role, it turns the power on and adjusts the detectors sensitivity. The right knob is used to adjust the discrimination level when hunting in either the DISCRIMINATE or NOTCH mode. The touchpads are used to select the desired search mode and activate the GROUND TRAC circuitry. You may sensitize or de-sensitize the All METAL search mode using the Ground Trac control depending on whether you want to use it for pinpointing or gain better depth for relic hunting or cache hunting. It also allows you to have some control over the auto ground balance feature without being at the mercy of a factory pre-set level. Additionally, when ground matrix changes, the Ground Trac circuitry ensures optimal performance is maintained.
The LCD meter is easy-to-read and provides target identification on the upper screen and the operating mode selected on the lower screen. The visual display combined with the three tones: low, medium and high that correspond to specific regions on the meter make identifying detected targets a snap even in low light conditions where the meter may not be visible.
The Sharpshooter II is powered by two 9-volt batteries which provide between 20 and 25 hours of operation. If you have Nicads available, they can be used with no adverse effects on the units performance. A low-battery LCD indicator warns you when they need to be replaced. The headphone jack located on the face of the control housing accepts any standard plug. The use of headphones will extend the battery life and ensure you do not miss any faint signals that could indicate small or deeply buried targets.
Field Test
After receiving the Sharpshooter II, my 9-year old son Paul and I took it to a nearby park to see how it performed in a location that had a high trash content. Switching to AUTO NOTCH and setting the sensitivity to 12 oclock, I had Paul start hunting near some of the playground equipment. Pull tabs, screwcaps and tinfoil littered the ground; however, the Sharpshooter II produced only an occasional pop or chirp as the coil passed over or touched them. After a few minutes, Paul received a solid, repeatable signal that read 25 on the LCD meter. Using his probe, he worked a quarter up from its resting place about 3 inches down. Paul continued hunting the area near the benches and playground for the next 45 minutes and other than part of a soda can that had been hit by a lawnmower and an unidentifiable piece of twisted metal, he recovered no targets other than a small handful of coins including four nickels, a key and an Avon ring. Needless to say, the AUTO NOTCH feature is ideally suited for searching extremely trashy sites allowing one to find valuables that others would have given up on. Another plus is that even after hunting for nearly an hour, the unit had not become uncomfortable to Paul due to its weight or configuration.
The next site I took the unit to was a small Civil War campsite that had been occupied during the final campaign before the city of Atlanta was put under siege. While some nice finds had come out of the area over the years, it had two strikes against it. First it was well-known and as a result has been heavily hunter and secondly, it was near the river and the amount of trash that had been left over the years was truly amazing. I took John Davis, a friend of mine that shared my interest in the Civil War, along for his first exposure to metal detecting and gave him a chance to try out the Sharpshooter II.
Parking the truck we got out and walked the area before we started to hunt. Some trenchworks were still visible in one area so we opted to start hunting there. Selecting the DISCRIMINATE mode, setting the DISC level to the 8 oclock position and the SENSITIVITY to the 2 oclock position, John started searching near the base of the trench. The first few signals produced modern trash; however, we did not want to inadvertently miss a good target by increasing the discrimination level. Finally, near one end of the trench John received a repeatable signal that registered in the SCREW CAP segment but sounded softer than the trash we had been finding. Removing the layer of dead leaves and several inches of red clay revealed a .58 caliber Minnie ball that had been carved by a Union solider some 135 years ago. Needless to say John was extremely impressed and it was a first find that would truly remain memorable for quite a while! Over the next few hours we hunted most of the small remaining area where the camp had been and while we did dig a lot of trash, we did recover several more bullets, two knapsack hooks, a sword scabbard, a Union Eagle button and best of all an 1862 Indian Head cent! All of these targets had produced clear, repeatable signals and had come from depths ranging from 4 to almost 9 inches down. As we called it a day and headed back to the truck we noticed that there were high-tension power lines nearby yet we had not experienced any interference from them even with the sensitivity set at the 75 percent 80 percent level.
Over the next few weeks I tried the Sharpshooter II out in various locations throughout Georgia and Alabama. Most of the sites were frequented by other treasure hunters; however, I was able to find valuables in every site I visited including nearly $25 in clad coins, several silver dimes and quarters, a number of wheat cents, a silver bracelet, a 10 KT gold pinkie ring and relics dating back as far as the mid-1800s. At the end of my testing, the original set of batteries were still going strong showing that the Sharpshooter II is quite economical to operate. I found the detector worked well even in high-trash areas and was able to detect targets at depths typically associated with detectors costing $100s more. Accurate pinpointing was possible with the ALL METAL mode and the GROUND TRAC feature allowed me to hunt some areas where ground mineralization might have otherwise forced me to give up and find another location.
Summary
The Sharpshooter II offers a number of features and a level of performance not found on other detectors in this price range. The target ID circuitry is extremely accurate and overall operation of the detector is extremely simple. Even a novice can be successful with this unit with just a minimum amount of practice. The weight of the unit is another plus making it ideally suited for people that need a light detector or for packing it into remote locations where weight is a premium.
The Sharpshooter II comes with the standard 5-year Bounty Hunter warranty and sells for $349.95. Optional Bounty Hunter accessories designed to enhance the Sharpshooter IIs capabilities include both a 4-inch and 10-inch searchcoil, padded carrying case and stereo headphones.
If you are looking for a quality detector with some high-end features at a price that wont stretch the family budget you need to take a close look at the Sharpshooter II. Contact the factory at First Texas Mfg./Bounty Hunter Corporation, 11900 Montana Avenue, El Paso, TX 79936 or (915) 855-4206 or visit their website at http://www. detecting.com to check out their full product line and be sure to mention that you read about the Sharpshooter II in Lost Treasure.