I have quite a few metal detectors now and they all have their purposes, but when it comes to one that is my personal favorite it is the frequently overlooked Fisher 1235X. Hardly anyone uses them except maybe for competition hunts where they excel.
They have a frequency shifter for the competition hunts and when you have to swing in between hundreds of other hunters with all kinds of machines. You better get used to getting clobbered frequently unless you keep your hand on the frequency shifter.
For competition the 1235X has another function that is often overlooked. It can pick up a dime on edge buried in dry soil. Some detectors just give up when you have “freshly buried” targets because they are difficult to pick up. This is one of the main targets in the club competition hunts and your ability to quickly recover these targets will mean that you may place high up in the competition.
Now, forgetting competition for a bit, let me tell you why I love the little 1235X so much. First of all the detector head is very small and light and runs forever on two nine volt batteries. I belt mount it even though it is light and use it hunting for coins at schools and parks. It will never pass over a coin without letting you know about it and it has a speaker that will beep rather loudly that is fun to use when no one is around or it is too hot for headphones.
Lastly I discovered that it even works pretty well at the salt beach. I just reduce the sensitivity a bit and it works even on the wet sand. Now it doesn’t get the depth of the CZ20 but it does pretty good and I expect to use it this summer as the freshly dropped coins will be everywhere on the beaches. Many detectors will simply not see a quarter only a couple of inches down in hot, dry sand. I have noted this before when I hunted the coins. The 1235X will not miss them.
It surprised me when I was digging coins at the schoolyard as to how deep it would find a coin. I dug a quarter with a good beep at 7 1/2 inches last week and this was no feeble signal but good and loud! Down here we have black clay that cracks open in summer where coins can fall a foot or two easy!
I usually set the discrimination at 7 where I can pickup most coins but not the zinc pennies. It will even find nickels near the surface. The 1235X is not silent search. I used to hate the machine for this but I have learned to love even that. For instance I was working the wood chips and moved it across and noticed that quiet scratchy sound that means that I have passed over metal that has been discriminated out. It seemed rather large and I got curious. I pushed the chips around to find one of the prettiest silver heart bracelet that I have ever seen.
The only problem that I have with it is that the discriminate knob will turn easily and get knocked off in competition hunts. When you pay $60 to hunt and it is all over in 15 minutes and you don’t find anything because of the discriminator knob you might tend to get a little bent out of shape, so to say…
Overall the little powerhouse is quite the general beeper and it out performs most other detectors for coinshooting with out tiring you out. The little Tesoro’s are light but don’t seem to have the depth of the 1235X and the good strong beep especially on deep coins.
If I only had to take one detector with me on a long trip then it would be my choice I think, because if there is such thing as a general detector that works well with anything then it is the 1235X.
If you are considering a first machine then the 1235X would not disappoint you and it is priced moderately. One important feature of this kind of machine it that you will learn to hunt by sound and dig more. That will always produce more good finds than the fancy machines with 40 knobs and meters because with one of those you will convince yourself that you just don’t have to dig this one, and this one just might be the best find you could have ever made!
After I get a good sounding beep with it then I push the pinpoint button which is super for pinpointing right on the spot! I take notice if the sound is crisp and loud which means that it is very shallow and near the surface. If the target profile seems a bit too large for a coin then I suspect a squashed tin can and usually skip them unless I am at the beach and they just might be a nifty Rolex watch, or a whole pocketful of coins. There is no telling how many of these that I missed because I used to think that everything that large was always a tin can but when you drop a dozen or more coins in a small area they show up as a large profile but if you listen close as you swing the coil across with pinpoint down you can catch a quavering tone in between the coins. That is the tip-off that it is a glory hole!
Fisher could tighten up the knob and think about making a lighter coil because you swing furiously in competition hunts and it can get a little tiring.