Metal Detector Field Test & Review - Bounty Hunter Land Ranger Pro
By Anday Sabisch
From Page 56
August, 2015 issue of Lost Treasure

The Bounty Hunter name dates back more than 40 years when Pacific Northwest Instruments unveiled the Bounty Hunter line of metal detectors and developed a loyal following of successful treasure hunters. decisions led to the eventual transfer of the Bounty Hunter name to First Texas Products, the largest producer of metal detection equipment in the world, producing detectors under several brand names including Bounty Hunter, Teknetics, Fisher Research Labs, Discovery, and Pioneer, as well as private label brands. The Bounty Hunter line consists of several sub-lines divided into their intended user; i.e., Starter, Intermediate, Advanced, Serious and Professional. While the focus of the Bounty Hunter line had been on the entry-level models, they have recently added three new models to the Professional line that incorporated features found on some of the higher-priced detectors in other First Texas lines. The Land Ranger Pro is one of these three new models and is the focus of this field test report. Features First Texas takes weight and ergonomics into consideration during the design of new metal detectors and, as one unpacks the Land Ranger Pro, it is evident that this approach carried through in the development of the new addition to the Bounty Hunter Professional series. Weighing in the neighborhood of 2 pounds completely assembled, it allows anyone to spend hours in the field without tiring or having to switch hands throughout the day. Operating at 7.69 kHz, the Land Ranger Pro is well suited to search for a wide variety of targets ranging from iron artifacts to gold jewelry, relics and coins. The Land Ranger Pro is controlled through the eight touchpads located on face of the control unit and, while eight controls may seem intimidating at first, their functions are straight-forward and intuitive. They are POWER, <+> / <->, / , PINPOINT, GROUND GRAB and MODE. The MODE touchpad allows you to scroll through a list and select a search mode from the seven that are programmed into the detector. These modes were designed to allow a user to start hunting with the detector as soon as they have it unpacked and then, as their experience level grows, move onto some of the other modes that offer more adjustability and, hence, increased performance under a wide range of conditions. The first three modes are designated as DISC C (coins), J (jewelry) and A (artifacts). Each has been configured to accept / reject the typical targets coin, beach and relic hunters come across while allowing the sensitivity and volume levels to be adjusted on one’s preferences and site conditions. The Land Ranger Pro provides audio tone ID, which means that targets that fall in a certain range will produce one of four specific tones; i.e., low, medium, high or VCO. It should be noted that these “starter” modes have their ground balance value fixed, which means that in highly mineralized ground or wet saltwater beaches you will have to use one of the other four modes so that the ground conditions can be compensated for. The next three modes – DISC 2, 3 and 4 – allow users to adjust the discrimination level, notch width and placement, as well as ground balance settings in addition to Volume and Sensitivity. The final mode – ALL METAL – allows users to search for and locate any metal objects that may be in the area. Since all of the search modes listed above require the coil to be in motion in order to detect targets, the engineers at First Texas added a non-motion Pinpoint circuit. This allows for targets to be pinpointed with a high degree of accuracy resulting in less damage to the ground and reducing the possibility of damaging the target during the recovery process. The Ground Grab function deserves mention. Accurate adjustment of the ground balance control is paramount in determining just how well any detector performs, especially as the ground mineralization becomes more severe. While some of the top-of-the-line units have circuits that track and adjust for changes in mineralization automatically, most detectors either use a preset ground balance or require users to adjust for the ground manually. The manual option is intimidating to some and, if not done properly, results in a loss of detection depth. The Land Ranger Pro makes the process quite simple and error-proof. In all but the first three search modes, ground balancing can be quickly done by pressing and holding the Ground Grab touchpad and pumping the coil up-&-down until the numbers on the screen stop changing. Release the touchpad and you are ready to start searching. There is a manual Ground Balance option available through the menu when the All Metal mode has been selected that provides another option to adjust for the ground and possibly use a positive / negative offset value to gain a little detection depth, depending on the actual ground composition. The LCD is large, easy to read even in bright sunlight, and provides users with a wealth of information. In the center of the screen, target ID values are displayed in a 2-number format. When the Pinpoint mode is activated the numbers provide target depth in inches. The menu options available for the selected search mode are shown on the left side of the screen. To the right of the target ID value is a depth indicator, battery strength indicator, and the name of the active search mode. Along the top of the screen is what the factory calls a “Conductivity Arc” comprised of individual segments that span categories ranging from iron to large silver coins. This guide can be used to identify detected targets in conjunction with the 2-digit display or to help set the discrimination / notch levels based on targets present at the hunt site. If a segment is illuminated (dark), the corresponding target will be accepted and an audio response produced. Through the use of the NOTCH WIDTH control, you can selectively reject from 1 to 20 individual segments to ignore specific targets you come across if you are searching in either DISC 2, 3 or 4. The stock coil is an 11-inch Double-D that provides good coverage and detection depth. For high trash areas, a smaller concentric coil is available and will help you find valuables that might be missed with the larger coil. The Land Ranger Pro operates on a single 9V alkaline battery that provides 20 – 25 hours of operation. It should be noted that the factory warns against using non-alkaline batteries. Rechargeable batteries can be used if desired and will provide approximately 8 hours of operation. Based on the cost of alkaline 9V batteries today, it’s hard to justify the cost of a rechargeable battery and charger unless you already have one available. Field Test After the usual air test to see how different targets responded, and the type of audio signal each produced in the various search modes, my wife, Charlene, and I got ready to see how the Land Ranger Pro performed in the field. We had a private yard nearby that we felt would be a good location to start the field test at so, grabbing the detector, a digger and a pin pointer, we headed down the street. We opted to start with the DISC C mode, which was programmed to reject iron, tin foil and most aluminum targets. Three different audio signals were produced in this mode, with nickels giving off a medium tone, zinc pennies a low tone, and all other coins a high tone - different than most detectors, but it works so different is just that…different. When used in conjunction with the actual target ID values on the screen, it allowed for us to determine what a target was with a high degree of accuracy in short order. Even though the ground balance was fixed, the Land Ranger Pro ran with only the occasional chirp from the clay in the yard even, with the Sensitivity set at “8.” We recovered several coins and other targets getting used to the target ID numbers at depths down to 6” or so. My wife used it for a while and the “neatest” find she recovered was a Good Luck coin-sized pendant from Mammoth Caves in Kentucky. I may be jaded from digging coins for 50 years, but both my wife and I tend to like the unusual or one-of-a-kind finds more so than coins, and this find wound up in one of the printer boxes containing finds hanging throughout the house. Unfortunately, with the way it looked after cleaning, the details would not come out in a photo, which is why I did not include a picture of it here. Hunting near another First Texas model, the Land Ranger Pro started to chatter a good deal requiring me to stay at least 25 feet away in order to be able to detect with little or no noise. An interesting point was that the other detector was not having that issue…odd. We hit several other sites in the area and, even with the ground being bone-dry from a lack of rain, we were satisfied with our success. The Ground Grab function worked well in settling the unit down when we found ourselves in some of the mineralized sites in the area. A few quick pumps and the ground balance was easily set to the correct value. The V-Break and Notch discrimination controls took a little getting used to, but between the instruction manual, the LCD display and testing different targets, custom discrimination “programs” were developed and proved themselves in the field by the number of good targets versus trash targets that were recovered. A nice feature that was designed into the Land Ranger Pro is that the settings one makes are retained when you turn the detector off (except for the Ground Balance setting in the DISC 2, 3, 4 and ALL METAL modes). You can reset the detector to factory preset values by holding the MODE touchpad, pressing the ON/OFF touchpad, and then releasing the MODE touchpad. Summary The Land Ranger Pro carries a list price of $449 and comes with a 5-year warranty. With a wide range of accessories available from Bounty Hunter, including two optional search coils, diggers, pin pointers and carrying cases, the Land Ranger Pro can fit the needs of both novice and experienced hobbyists. Incorporating features found on more expensive models in the First Texas family of detectors, the Land Ranger Pro offers performance that will ensure you are not looking to upgrade shortly after buying it. The build-quality is fairly robust and the locking collars on the shaft make the detector feel solid - the only real negative, if you can call it that, is that the coil cable plug is a simple slide-in design rather than a screw connector found on most detectors today. For more details on the Land Ranger Pro, or the entire Bounty Hunter line, promotions and tips on getting the most from your time in the field, contact the factory at 1465-H Henry Brennan, El Paso, TX, 79936, call them at (915) 633- 8354 or 800-413-4131, or visit their website at Be sure to mention that you read about the Land Ranger Pro in Lost Treasure Magazine.
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