During the latter part of 1986, Bounty Hunter, a division of Teknetics introduced the Bud Lite, designed for those who wanted the high performance of the more expensive detectors but at a more affordable price, hence the name "Lite."
Although "lite" on price the Bounty Hunter is not light on performance offering comparable sensitivity to the Big Bud-NT. The difference? The But Lite lacks the Target ID Meter of the Big Bud-N/T and coin blanker switch, but it offers several significant features not found on the Big Bud-N/T: a unique quick depth check meter, a variable narrow knotch discrimination, and more.
For 1988, the Bud Lite enjoys an improved circuit design also found in soon-to-be-introduced, top-of-the-line 1988 Big Bud PRO - a smoothing circuit which means extended stability in mineralized ground at higher sensitivity settings.
The Bud Lite was very stable even at maximum sensitivity in spite of near 60 cycle interferences when tested in my front yard. It was repeated with a loud target response on my -eight-inch quarter. The Bud Lite also responded to my four-inch dime next to an iron target in both directions.
When placed in the notch mode, the Bud Lite's lower discrimination mode is automatically set to reject most foil and iron while still responding solidly to my I OK white gold ring. With the notch set to ignore the contemporary pull tabs, the Bud Lite responded with its loud alert response to the 14K men's gold wedding band and nickels.
As a rule, I'm not wild about using notch discrimination, particularly the Auto Notch Mode of the Big Bud N/T as it covers too wide a range and one risks losing lots of gold rings. In the case of the Bud Lite, however, its notch window of rejection is narrow and variable.
I feel the optimum setting is just about at 12 o'clock where the smaller and larger pull tabs are knocked out without risking most of the gold rings which can be found below, within and just above the nickel range.
The first time I activated the Bud Lite in the field was in response to a call for help from Tom McMillan, owner of Bay Cities Private Patrol Service of Foster City, California. His girlfriend had lost a 14K yellow gold friendship ring in his front lawn. They had spent nearly four hours searching for the gold ring in vain. Tom was about ready to rip up his new sod lawn and turn it upside down when he decided to check the yellow pages under metal detectors and located my company. Since he lived close by, I agreed to attempt to find the ring with the only consideration being that I could use it in this field test. Tom eagerly agreed to my condition.
I spent almost an hour searching his front lawn. I was using just a coin probe initially to attempt to locate the ring. The first pass over the lawn I had actually located the missing ring, however, I failed to recover it because it read approximately three inches in depth and gave a softer response than I had expected. When I went to locate it with the coin probe, I was hitting nothing but small red lava stone from his previous rock garden. I dismissed the ring initially as a deeper non-ferrous target and went on to dig a small handful of coins.
Tom was amazed at all the coins I was finding and was intrigued by the detector asking me the typical questions such as, "do you find a lot of things metal detecting"?
On my second pass, I decided to plug out the questionable targets. When I finally came back to where the ring was recovered, I centered up on the target and plugged out three inches of sod. Right in the base of the roots, I spotted the gleam of gold. Tom exclaimed "That's it, I can't believe it, you found it!"
I examined the ring and was surprised how small it was - it was 14K yellow gold with a small synthetic diamond and was about the size of a pinky ring. Tom was so overjoyed about the recovery he tried to insist on paying me for my time but I gratefully declined.
To field test in a park situation, I decided to return to my old junior high school which sports a nice large ball field, is well watered and has yielded some deep coins.
Upon arriving at the field, I converted the Bud Lite from the pole mount to the hip mount. I decided to hunt in the notch mode with the pull tabs eliminated. The only other adjustments I had to make were pressing the toggle switch to the left which puts the Bud Lite into the ultra-slow motion discrimination mode and adjusting the sensitivity for maximum stability which in turn maximizes performance. In the case of this particular environment, I turned the sensitivity knob all the way clockwise past the normal setting to the red line. The Bud Lite remained silent with not even the hint of chatter.
I proceeded to sweep at approximately one foot a second. Within 30 seconds the Bud Lite signaled me with a maximum audio target signal concurrent with a full meter response to the extreme right. With most detectors I've used in the past, I would have suspected a surface coin, but the Bud Lite is not like most detectors due to its full volume alert circuitry. This became evident upon flipping the toggle to the right, putting the Bud Lite into the all-metal pinpoint mode; the Bud Lite's quick check coin depth meter pointer barely moved within the deep, over-six inches.
The audible response in the all-metal mode was smooth. One quick plug using my Hole Hog, I removed a seven-inch plug and broke off the end revealing a 1958 wheat back penny. I paused for a second to admire this find and inspect it a bit closer. I popped the coin into my pouch and carefully replaced the plug so there was virtually no evidence that the ground had been disturbed.
The next response I got turned out to be a dime that was almost five inches down.
The deepest coin of the day was a 1954 wheat back which was beyond the range of my Hole Hog. I ended up having to reach down to the bottom of my plug and scoop up the soil until I finally felt the coin which was over eight inches in depth. The audio response was again solid and repeatable like the 1958 wheat back with a very soft/deep but definite response in the all-metal mode.
Some of the surface targets I ran across were easily retrieved. The Bud Lite did a good job in pinpointing due to a quick retune toggle which can shrink the target down to a narrow blip in seconds. The built-in Slow Auto, Tune works quite well centering up the deepest targets.
The Bud Lite was so stable and quiet you'd think it was turned off. A couple of times the Bud Lite responded with a partial meter/audio response. These turned out to be small bits of aluminum/ tin foil usually at three to four inches in depth. They are easily identified by listening to their target width which is about half the size of a desirable target such as a clad or silver coin.
At the beach, the Bud Lite was extremely stable with a minimum of falsing. I would have to say its one of the most stable detectors I have used at higher sensitivity. On this particular beach, I recovered my deepest non-ferrous target, an older pull tab lying on the clay just under nine inches of coarse sand.
At the water's edge, the larger wave action against the coil would cause the Bud Lite to sound off. Minimizing the sensitivity under this adverse condition reduced the falsing response considerably and I was able to locate several targets in the surf, shallow to six inches.
The Bud Lite is light in weight and on the pocket book. It is not light on performance which I feel is superior to the Big Bud and Big Bud-N/T due mainly to the new smoothing circuitry. Although Big Bud and N/T provided a Visual Target ID Meter (difficult to read) and a Coin Surface Blanker (for deeper coin response/selectible two or four), I felt the Bud Lite countered with an effective, Vario-Notch system and Coin Depth, two features lacking on. the more expensive Big Bud and N/T. For these reasons the Bud Lite is my current choice in the Bounty Hunter line and represents excellent performance for the dollar.
The newly announced Big Bud PRO (not available at the time of this field test) is also worth mentioning as it is employing most of the sophisticated circuitry and Tone Identification of the Teknetics ST. Both the Bug Bud PRO and Teknetics ST employ the smoothing circuit found in the Bud Lite.
Priced at $399, the, 1987 Bud Lite offers high performance in an affordable mid-price range. Bud Lite's Silent Search Discrimination coupled with its new smoothing circuitry almost totally eliminates false target responses as well as confusing trash elimination signals under most hunting conditions.
A beginner to the hobby should have no problem with the Bud Lite due to its ease of use, and the more experienced will appreciate its stability and efficiency for locating targets.
Note: The author, Greg Moscini, is the owner of Trans-Bay Metal Detectors, a multi-line professional detector dealer. Any questions or comments you have about the Bud Lite, please feel free to drop Greg a line at 321 Sea Horse Ct., Foster City, CA 94404.