My very first encounter with the Big Bud PRO metal detector was back at the 20th Annual National Prospectors & Treasure Hunters Convention on October 3 and 4, 1987 at Willow Springs, California. I was walking by the Tek-Limited Booth and spotted Tom Collins (Collins Treasure Products) and Rod Hamilton (TekLimited Marketing Manager) demonstrating the new Teknetics S/T metal detector.
After some small talk, Rod said, ''Greg, have you had the opportunity to Sec the new Bud PRO metal detector yet? Wait till you see the improvement over the Bud NI T!'' Tom then took a Big Bud N/T metal detector and set the sensitivity at about the 2/3 level. Running it over the grcund, the N/T started to false considerably, one of the reasons I didn't care too much for that particular model.
Tom then took a final prototype Big Bud PRO off the table and, turning the sensitivity to maximum, began sweeping over the same identical area of ground and not one false. I played a bit with it and loved the new target tone identification over the various targets. The overall smoothness of the Bud PRO metal detector was truly impressive.
Upon receiving my Bud PRO metal detector for field test purposes, I carefully unpacked it. The actual control box is packed in a second box to ensure that there is no damage during the shipping process. Putting the unit together was very easy taking only a few minutes.
The Bud PRO metal detector like other Bounty Hunter metal detectors does not come with any batteries (9-volt). Off I went and I settled on the new Kodak Lithium ninevolt batteries which Kodak says will last twice as long over the more conventional alkaline batteries. Teknetics/ Bounty Hunter does not recommend regular budget nine-volt batteries.
The Bud PRO metal detector in its pole-mount configuration is quite comfortable. The new blocked visual target ID meter is quite visible and easy to read. The eightinch standard search head is average in size and weight (actually a bit heavier and nowhere nearas thin as the optional 10-inch search head). Converting Bud PRO metal detector over to its hip-mount configuration lightens up the load on yourarm but means that you're going to have to glance to your side to read the visual target ID meter.
I was able to run the Bud PRO metal detector at maximum sensitivity in my front yard without any 60-cycle interference. The Bud PRO metal detector was responsive and repeatable on my eight-inch quarter with very good visual target identification. At the 10-inch mark, the Bud PRO lost its repeatability and the response was only occasional with good visual target identification. The Bud PRO metal detector was likewise responsive on a six-inch nickel.
Response on my buried white gold ring was excellent with a low pitch response. Response on my buried yellow gold ring was likewise excellent with the target ID tone varying slightly between LOW and MEDIUM pitch (Note: Yellow Gold Ring is electrically above the Nickel and below the Lift Tab in conductivity.)
The trash recovery response (fourinch dime next to two-inch nail) was also very good. The Big Bud PRO metal detector knocked out the common bottle cap with ease, probably the best of the visual target ID units l have tested to date. l also noted that when the Big Bud PRO's search head passes over an undesirable junk target that the visual target ID meter doesn't move. For instance, pass a nickel across the search head and the Bud PRO metal detector responds with a LOW pitched, LOUD target alert tone. The visual target ID meter locks on the nickel. Now pass a bottle cap or iron nail across the search head and the visual target ID meter doesn't even respond to the junk target. This will mean a lot less confusion out in the field.
The Bud PRO metal detector, like the earlier Big Bud metal detector series, will ID the target in the allmetal mode. This gives hunters an added edge in terms of deep-fringe targets and limited prospecting for midsize grain nuggets.
December brings us holiday cheers as well as the shortest day in the year. After putting the Bud PRO metal detector through its paces at my residence, I drove off to a nearby park since the sun was going quickly down.
I decided to use the Bud PRO metal detector in its standard pole-mount configuration where I could watch the meter better. I walked about midway into the grassy area and ground balanced the Bud PRO metal detector quite easily. I switched the primary operation control to Discrimination and began sweeping in a slow, relaxing sweep ~
The first target encountered was a low-pitched response on the low side of nickel. I switched to the blanker mode (which was set to reject anything shallower than two inches) and again swept over the target. The Bud PRO metal detector again responded audibly.
Taking my Hole Hog, I plugged down approximately six inches in just seconds. I removed the plug and waved it over the top portion of the search head and the Bud PRO produced that tell-tale low-pitched response indicating that the target was in the plug. I broke the plug in half to reveal a gold-plated stickpin of a bear. This was the first time for me that the very first desirable target recovered with a particular model of metal detector was a piece of jewelry.
The Bud PRO metal detector was exciting me with eager anticipation. My find went into my pouch and within 30 seconds I received a target response that gave me a low tone and read high nickel on the meter. It appeared to be about the same depth as the pin so I plugged out another six-inch section. I broke off a section of the plug to reveal a small sterling silver cross which was down around four inches.
The recovery of jewelry didn't stop as the third consecutive target delivered a mid-pitched tone and sounded different from a pull/lift tab in the all-metal mode. It was a shallow target, so I took my coin probe and between the grass roots, low and behold, I recovered a gold-plated costume earring.
I felt that my luck in finding these first three targets could be attributed to the Bud PRO's general performance. I have seen one too many rings ignored by a competitor's detector while out searching with a buddy, and it was becoming apparent to me that the Bud PRO metal detector wouldn't be the type of detector that would let a ring or other valuable escape its zone of detection.
After almost two hours of hunting, I stared to detect toward my vehicle. I switched my primary mode to all metal and found the Bud PRO to be very smooth in its operation. I heard what sounded like bits and pieces of trash and the meter identified them mostly in the FOIL region. I then passed over what sounded like a deep desirable signal as the VTI meter jumped up to the penny/ quarter region.
I plugged down six inches and nothing was in the plug. I then removed my coin popper which sports a 12-inch curbed shaft and inserted itat the base of the plug. I levered up on the tool which popped a clump of the bottom free. In this clump, I found a clad dime down about seven inches plus in depth. I did dig up five bottle caps due, in part, to my inexperience with the Bud PRO metal detector.
TIP: Like many other ultra-slow sweep capable metal detectors, a bottle cap down several inches will fool the detector's circuitry. On the Bud PRO metal detector, the bottle cap will jump up to thepenny/ dime region. All one has to do once the target's approximate center position is located, is to sweep across it at a faster speed. The bottle cap will audibly be rejected while a desirable target will still be accepted. Bottle caps will, by nature, be stronger and wider - nearly twice that of a penny, dime or quarter.
My second timeout brought me and one of my regular coinshooting buddies, Greg Baldwin, out to the beach. Unfortunately, the tide was high and there was nottoo much of the beach to search save the flat dry part which was riddled with trash. I switched the Bud PRO metal detector to the Auto Notch after my limited detecting just below the tide line.
The Bud PRO's search head was sweeping over numerous visible tabs and junk and not making a peep. I ended up with nearly 25 desirable targets (twice that of Baldwin's total). The deepest target recovered was a lift tab in the wet sand at approximately eight inches.
Right after receiving my first stock of Big Bud PROs, Ralph Hadley, a former dealer and a true professional/expert in coinshooting, came to me very interested in the Big Bud PRO metal detector. For the last five to six years, Ralph's number one detector was the Teknetics 8500B. As much as he loved this particular metal detector, he knowledged that hewas growing weary of the fast-sweep speed required to get the deeper signals.
Believe me, Ralph has always been a hard person to convince when iteame to a new model of metal detector on the market, however, when I gave Ralph a demonstration of the Big Bud PRO metal detector and its capabilities in my front yard, Ralph decided it was time trade in his 8500B. After four weeks of detecting with the Big Bud PRO metal detector, Ralph gave me the following account: in 60 hours of actual detecting time, most of it in parks, he found over 56 silver coins, most of which were dimes that gave a good repeatable response at the seven-inch level with very good target ID. Those dimes and targets on the fringe of detection would give repeatable but different tones, usually a low tone in one direction and a high tone in the other.
''The big advantage of the Big Bud PRO metal detector over my old 8500B is in the slow speed capability which enables me to locate deep coins under and about trash that were obviously hidden (masked) from my faster sweep 8500B,'' Ralph explained. I also like the way it pinpoints - just a light press of the toggle to the right, and the target is reduced down to a small pinpoint response as opposed to the 8500B which took several, attempts and then you had to hold, the button in which could be a little awkward at times.
With the Big Bud PRO metal detector, Ralph found a far greater ratio of Barber dimes. For instance, he found two more Barber dimes so the frequency of silver dimes found in a given period is way up over what he found with the 8500B while working favorite hunting spots.
Ralph went on to applaud the battery life. On the first and second sets of batteries, he averaged about 28 hours each.
The only complaint Ralph has with the Big Bud metal detector. PRO is the length of the lower rod which is too short for his stature. Ralph stands about 6' 4'' and I have a tall man, lower rod waiting for him next time he pays me a visit.
I found the Big Bud PRO metal detector to be a definite improvement over its predecessor, the Big Bud N/T metal detector in terms of stability, target accuracy and depth. The Big Bud PRO metal detector exhibited excellent rejection characteristics over trashy areas and rejected iron targets better than most slow motion detectors in its class. The Big Bud PRO metal detector loves to be swept slow and, like Ralph Hadley, you hobbyists that have owned any of the Teknetic's metal detectors previous to the new Condor and Eagle PRO series will enjoy this particular model as achange of pace and alternative metal detector.
At the conclusion of my test, the Kodak lithium batteries were still reading strong at nine. Bounty Hunter does make available an optional battery pack that will make the Bud Pro metal detector look like the S/T in the back. This would extend the battery life but l feel the convenience of the twin-nine and long battery life reduces the need for that option.
Well, I personally found the eightinch coil to be a bit on the heavy side compared to the competition. The optional 10-inch coil actually is a bit lighter and because of the added increase in sensitivity, this coil has been a good seller in spite of its $119 price tag.
Although the Bud PRO lacks a coin depth meter, one can set the blanker for instance at three inches. Once the target is located, depress the blanker toggle to the right and if the target goes silent, then you know it's three inches to surface. If it still responds, it's over three inches and you better reach for your favorite target removal tool.
Greg Moscini is the owner of Trans Bay Metal Detectors, amulti-line metal detector dealer located at 321 Sea Horse Court, Foster City, CA94404, (415) 574-2012. Feel free to ask Greg about any questions concerning the Bud PRO orany ofthe other fine models in Bounty Hunter/Teknetics line.