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Metal Detector

A Review of the Fisher 1236-X2 Metal Detector

By Frank McKinley



I first started treasure hunting in 1978, with a Gold Mountain detector that I bought used. I then moved up to the Garrett Master Hunter, sold that unit because it was too heavy and got a Garrett Groundhog. I continued with that unit making many finds until about 1985, when finances caused me to have to sell it. I got a better job but I ended up spending the extra money on other hobbies. Looking back I should have stayed in treasure hunting, after all itís the only hobby that pays for itself.

I finally decided in July of 2000 to get back into the hobby of metal detecting and treasure hunting. Being careful with my budget I got a Radio Shack Discovery 2000, which is produced by Bounty Hunter. This unit is roughly equivalent to the Bounty Hunter Q D. 2. It proved to be a good machine for coins and jewelry in parks, playgrounds, and yards. One day I decided to take the unit to the beach in October of 2000, while it did work well in dry sand it did not work in wet salt sand very well, the capacity effect really caused me problems.

That's when I decided to move up to a detector that could handle the beach's wet salt sand, and find coins and relics in regular soil as well. Also I wanted it to competition hunt. I still did not have a lot of money to spend. I started doing research talking to various dealers like Lucky Dan and Al, they gave me recommendations and users to contact over the phone or through the Internet. After about five weeks of research I elected to purchase the Fisher 1236-X2. It has proved to be everything it was advertised to be and a little more.

Since this review is primarily for the beginner looking for a detector, or for someone looking for a medium priced machine. I will not get into much in the way of technical information. Technically speaking the units frequency shift (between 5.5 kHz and 5.9 kHz) comes in very handy, its ability to belt mount makes it a light unit to use for extended period of time. Also its third derivative silence is an excellent addition and the battery test feature is another handy thing to have.

I had a chance to use the unit at the competition hunt in Texas, at the Texas Treasure Show in Abilene. Performance was excellent, there were about 130 competitors using different detectors and I experienced crosstalk only one time. I found over 80 silver coins, one of which was a 1921 silver dollar (my first). In both relic and coin shooting in neutral to medium mineralized ground the 1236-X2 works very well. Finding nickels, dimes, and pennies at six to eight inches. In the relic category my finds were a 50/70 cartridge from 1868 (3 inches) and a 58 caliber round ball (4 inches) probably from the 1840's. I finally had an opportunity to try it out on South Padre Island, in dry and wet salt sand. The capacity effect was very minimal, though no jewelry was found I did find several clad coins. Depth from one inch to almost nine inches in wet and dry sand.

In conclusion I would say this is a very good all around detector for anyone that does not want to spend over $500. The only thing I did not like about the unit was its VCO pinpoint--that's just my personal preference. So if you can only afford one detector in your budget, I would definitely recommend the Fisher 1236-X2. For those of you who can afford an extra unit or already have one of the higher priced units, you may want to add this to your arsenal as a backup detector or to keep on hand for a friend.