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Land Ranger Field Test
BOUNTY HUNTER LAND RANGER
by Dan Breitenstein
"At First Glance"
Just like most other Bounty Hunter users, my curiosity was piqued when they announced recently that three new models were coming out soon. The model that caught my attention was the Land Ranger, which now falls in between the Land Star and the Time Ranger in their lineup. I've been an avid user of both the Land Star and the Time Ranger and I was excited at the premise of something in-between my two favorite models.
The new Land Ranger arrived two days ago and I had it put together and powered up within a few short minutes. I noticed immediately that it had the feel of the Land Star, but the face was totally new. The new LCD display and touch pad arrangement was sleek and easy to read. I've always felt that the information a detector gives you should be easy to be absorbed quickly and this one definitely has it down. The old style target ID band is still across the top of the read out, but a digital number system has been added that makes target ID a snap. I can't say enough good things about the number system, because I've been using it for several months now on my Time Ranger and it is a dramatic improvement.
The new model still has three tone target ID in the discrimination modes, but it's a softer, more appealing sound. That high tone on the other models is always a joy to hear, but it can be a bit irritating after awhile. I can listen to the high tones on this model till the cows come home.
The Ground Trac system is similar to the Time Ranger with a new twist. The touch pad has two new buttons that raise and lower the threshold. This is a very nice feature that makes the All Metals mode much easier to relate to and adjust to your liking
The headphone jack has been moved to the underside of the control box like the Time Ranger which is also a nice feature. The plug and cord are no longer a problem to be dealt with while making adjustments. Other features have also been taken from the Time Ranger such as the Battery LCD readout, the depth LCD, and the touch pad sensitivity control.
I took the unit out to an older home I've hunted a couple of times, never having ventured into the back yard. Back yards on many older homes are not usually productive, but I thought I'd give it a shot. I started out by performing the ground balance ritual like the manual states and it was easier than anything I've ever balanced. The threshold adjustments make balancing a snap. I went ahead and put the machine in the discrimination mode and hit the touch pad preset button twice. The first touch notched out iron and foil, the second touch notched out pull tabs. This seemed like a good program to run with as it has always been good to me on my Time Ranger. I should mention that this is just one of the simple setups and the machine is capable of much more intricate programming.
My first hit was a Matchbox car at 4". The target ID gave a solid zinc reading and the number system read 120-130. My next hit was a 1944 Wheatie at 6". The target ID and depth were right on the money and the number system pegged it at 115. I found several Memorial pennies and then hit a Quarter reading at 6". This one turned out to be a clad quarter with two Memorials stacked on top of it. The number system pegged this hit at 145-150. I went on to find a 1942, 1958, and unknown vintage Wheaties at various depths all with the Land Ranger hitting them right on for depth and ID.
Just as an experiment, I dug a signal that I've learned over time would be a bad one. It was a high toned signal that the number system called out at 299. Just as I suspected, a rusty nail. That's the real beauty of the number system. As a Time Ranger user, I know that a reading as high as 299 is usually always heavily rusted iron. It was the only iron I dug in two hours and I knew what I had before I got there.
All in all, I'd have to say that Bounty Hunter has a real winner with the new Land Ranger. It's a beautiful blend of their technology that has been brought together to bring out the best of their two finest models. It's not as powerful as the Time Ranger, but the features they've taken from the Time Ranger and improved upon have made this a really sweet machine that's a pleasure to use.
The Land Star will still be the work horse of the Bounty Hunter line and the Time Ranger will still reign as king, but the Land Ranger is a perfect blend of two fantastic detectors.
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