Many detectorists consider Bounty Hunter more of a budget brand detector than a serious metal detector. However, they share the same parent company, First Texas Products, with Fisher.
Bounty Hunter and Garrett have both been making metal detectors for decades and both have some fantastic models to choose from. The Bounty Hunter Land Ranger Pro is tailored to beginning to intermediate detectorists but is simple to use. The Garrett Ace 400 is also tailored to beginning and intermediate metal detectorists and is also user friendly.
In this article, we will discuss one model from each manufacturer, discuss them in depth, and compare the two. We will ultimately try and see if we can decide who wins: Bounty Hunter Land Ranger Pro vs Garrett Ace 400.
|Garrett AT Max||$$$||Waterproof to 10 feet|
|Fisher F22||$$||9″ Triangulated Concentric Coil|
|Garrett Ace 400||$$$||8.5 x 11" DD coil|
|Minelab Vanquish 540||$||Search Modes: Coin, Relic, Jewelry, Custom, All Metal|
Bounty Hunter is one of the best brands for beginning metal detectorists. They offer simple to use metal detectors with enough features to get your feet wet in the field of detecting. The Land Ranger Pro has been labeled as one of the best metal detectors for new detectorists because of its ease of use and lack of confusing settings. Most intermediate or advanced detectorists will find this metal detector too basic, but for a new detectorist, it will be a good fit.
The Bounty Hunter Land Ranger Pro is a single frequency VLF (Very Low Frequency) metal detector that operates at 7.69 kHz. This is a good operating frequency for most general metal detecting. Be advised, however, that this metal detector will struggle to find gold and fine gold jewelry. This detector is best suited to finding relics, coins, and jewelry. It features 10 sensitivity adjustments which can help eliminate interference from electromagnetic sources and some soil mineralization.
The Bounty Hunter Land Ranger Pro comes standard with an 11” Double-D waterproof search coil. The control box is not waterproof, however, so care should be taken near water. The detector features a large LCD screen with 2-digit numerical target identification. This LCD screen and target identification system on this model is shared by Fisher’s models because they are both from the same parent company.
Aside from the numerical target ID, the Land Ranger Pro has a conductivity scale, ranging from 1 to 99. Highly conductive metals will ring in the higher numbers while lower conductivity metals will ring in the lower numbers.
The Bounty Hunter Land Ranger Pro has 4 detection modes: coins, artifacts, jewelry, and all metal mode. It also features 3 tone audio response with VCO (Voltage Controlled Oscillator). Pitch and volume change with targets ringing in louder for strong signals and lower for weak signals. This model has automatic and manual ground balancing.
This is extremely helpful in areas with high soil mineralization and trashy areas. It has Enhanced V-Break, which is an audio response. You can change the audio response of certain metals with this feature while leaving all other signals the same.
This model features a pinpoint button, to help zero in on targets better. This detector will not work well in wet, saltwater areas or in areas with extremely high soil mineralization. Ground balancing helps in these areas, but the detector will still give off extra noise, false signals, and may even overload.
The Land Ranger Pro has no option for using headphones, so the external speaker is the only choice. It is lightweight, at just 2.5 pounds. It uses one 9-voly battery, so the operating costs are low. Bounty Hunter offers a 5-year warranty on the Land Ranger Pro.
So far, the Land Ranger Pro is shaping up to be a great contender in our search for the winner of Bounty Hunter Land Ranger Pro vs Garrett Ace 400.
Garrett’s Ace 400 is the top model in their Ace lineup of detectors, apart from the newest model, the Ace Apex. This is a single frequency VLF metal detector that operates at 10 kHz. This is a great frequency for general treasure hunting and is a good balance between sensitivity and depths. While this is a single frequency metal detector, the frequency can be adjusted slightly up or down to compensate for electromagnetic interference or high soil mineralization.
The Ace 400 features an LCD screen with numerical target identification and conductivity scale. It features 8 levels of adjustable sensitivity, 8 levels of adjustable depth reading, and adjustable notch discrimination. This is the only Ace model that has Iron Audio. This is a helpful feature for anyone who wants to hear iron targets at various volumes so they can decide if they want to dig the target or not. It features 3 tone audio identification and a pinpoint mode.
The Ace 400 comes with 5 search modes:
- Jewelry – Filters most iron trash while targeting common jewelry metals
- Coins – This mode eliminates foil, pull tabs, and other common trash items
- Relics – Eliminates small iron items while detecting lower conductivity targets like brass, bronze, and lead.
- Zero Disc – Similar to an all-metal mode, it detects all metal types with no discrimination
- Custom – This mode lets you customize your notch discrimination pattern. You can accept or reject any segments you do not want to detect. The settings will save after the detector is powered off so you can use those multiple times.
The Ace 400 features ground balancing, but it is factory preset and not adjustable. This can cause problems in areas with high soil mineralization, hot rocks, black sands, and saltwater. This model is lightweight at just 2.9 pounds. It uses 4 AA batteries and comes with an 8.5” by 11” Double-D PROformance search coil.
The coil is waterproof, but the control box is not, so care should be taken near water. This model can be used with wired headphones. Garrett offers a 2-year warranty on the Ace 400.
Bounty Hunter Land Ranger Pro vs Garrett Ace 400
Garrett’s Ace 400 operates at a slightly higher frequency of 10 kHz, while the Bounty Hunter Land Ranger Pro operates at 7.9 kHz. It also has one more search mode, Custom. I like this mode because you can program the detector any way you want. This is helpful in areas with different soil conditions, various levels of trash, and areas with differing electromagnetic interference.
The Land Ranger Pro has manual and automatic ground balancing, while the Ace 400 has only factory preset ground balancing. Not having ground balance adjustments can make difficult soil conditions more difficult to search.
Neither the Land Ranger Pro nor the Ace 400 will be particularly good at finding gold. Gold is best found at frequencies above 18 kHz. They both could find larger gold, but will struggle to find small gold nuggets, flakes, or fine gold jewelry. Both come with an 11” search coil that is waterproof so they will be good at covering large areas quickly.
Both also have LCD screens with numerical target identification and conductivity graph. The Ace 400 has the added iron audio feature, which many detectorists appreciate.
The Bounty Hunter Land Ranger Pro can find a coin sized object up to 10” deep in good soil conditions. Some say they have found coin sized targets even deeper than this. The general rule is whatever diameter your search coil is the maximum depth your detector will search.
The Garrett Ace 400 has been known to find targets at least 8” deep with the standard settings. Adjusting the metal detector can increase the search depth to approximately 10”. Both have a similar depth return in good soil conditions.
Both metal detectors are catered to beginning detectorists and will not have enough features to keep advanced or professional detectorists happy. However, they are both user friendly and will be great metal detectors for first time detectorists. Bounty Hunter offers a longer warranty on their detector, at 5 years. Garrett offers a 2-year warranty.
So, which metal detector is best? The short answer is, well, that both are fantastic. Neither one really outperforms the other. There are always those who find Bounty Hunter metal detectors to be less than other makes because they are tailored to beginners and typically cost less. But the Land Ranger Pro and the Ace 400 cost the same amount, both have excellent features to get you up and detecting and are simple to use. Garrett’s Ace line is also tailored to beginning detectorists. Both are simple to use, easy to learn, and can be used right out of the box with little adjustment due to pre-programmed settings.
If you live in an area with extremely high soil mineralization, I will recommend the Bounty Hunter Land Ranger Pro. This model has both manual and automatic ground balancing. This is huge when you are trying to combat the effects of soil mineralization. My first metal detector did not have adjustable ground balancing and I live in an area with extreme soil mineralization.
The detector was constantly giving signals, which I would dig, only to find that the signal now read a few inches one way or another of the hole. False readings were constant, ground noise was near constant, and the machine consistently overloaded and had to be shut off. Having adjustable ground balancing will not eliminate the problems this type of soil causes, but it does mitigate some of the issues.
If you are in an area with good soil conditions, and are looking to find general treasure or relics, I will recommend the Garrett Ace 400. This model has proven itself repeatedly. This model operates at a slightly higher and adjustable frequency than the Land Ranger Pro. This can be helpful when searching for certain types of metal.
The adjustable frequency can also help balance out minor ground chatter and certain trashy targets. The Ace 400 has been on the market since 2016 and has consistently been a top seller for Garrett. The metal detector’s reputation speaks for itself.
I would not recommend either metal detector for gold prospecting as neither has the proper frequency for finding gold. You will still find gold jewelry and may even find large gold nuggets, if you are incredibly lucky. But the Land Ranger Pro and the Ace 400 will struggle to find fine or small nuggets, or thin gold jewelry. I would also not recommend either detector for use in saltwater areas. Saltwater is very conductive and will make both metal detectors give false signals and increased ground noise.
I have seen both metal detectors used in person and in various videos floating around the internet. I have seen great successes with both the Bounty Hunter model and the Garrett model. One of my favorite metal detectorists to watch uses the Garrett Ace 400 almost exclusively, and he finds some astonishing treasures!
The bottom line is, in the battle of the Bounty Hunter Land Ranger Pro vs Garrett Ace 400, both metal detectors really come out on top.
A: My answer to this question is always this: RESEARCH! Although you may be excited to break out that Bounty Hunter Land Ranger Pro or Garrett Ace 400 and get detecting, take the time to do some research. Each city, county, and state will have its own regulations for metal detecting, and there are multiple federal level laws that apply to all detecting activities. As a good rule of thumb, national parks and state parks are almost always off limits to detectorists.
City parks may or may not allow metal detecting, and the decision is up to that city or county. Some areas require permits to metal detect. Still others allow metal detecting but no digging. There is a slew of information about where you can and cannot metal detect. Do your research and save yourself a potential fine!
Q: Why do some detectorists think Bounty Hunter is a lesser brand?
A: Many of their models are inexpensive and have fewer features than other manufacturer’s models. But this does not mean they do not make some amazing metal detectors. They are owned by the same company as Fisher, and Fisher is a well-respected brand. The company has been operating for decades and has consistently produced some top-of-the-line models. Many like the Bounty Hunter metal detectors for their simplicity.
They have some models with advanced features, and others that are simple to use: you basically turn them on and go. My father-in-law has a Bounty Hunter metal detector, and he prefers that detector to his more expensive detector. He swears he picks up clearer, cleaner signals with the Bounty Hunter and uses that one almost exclusively. People will always have their likes and dislikes, but do not let other people’s assumptions about this company prevent you from checking out their amazing line of metal detectors!
Q: I want to metal detect on the beach. Will the Land Ranger Pro or Ace 400 work the best?
A: Truthfully, both will work on dry beach areas, both fresh and saltwater. But if you are planning to hunt on a saltwater beach, neither one will work well in wet, salty sand or shallow salt water. Salt water is inherently conductive, and it really wreaks havoc on most VLF metal detectors.
If you are metal detecting near a freshwater lake, river, or stream, both detectors should perform spectacularly. Freshwater does not have the effects that saltwater does on metal detectors. There are very few VLF detectors specifically designed for use in saltwater areas. Most detectors that work extremely well on saltwater areas are pulse induction.
Q: I am not sure I understand what ground balancing is and why it is important. Can you explain?
A: Ground balancing is a setting that increases the detection depth in mineralized soil conditions. Whether the soil contains salt, iron, or black sands, they can all make a detector misbehave. The minerals tend to react much like a target would, signaling the detector that something has been found. Small targets can often be missed due to the excessive false signals given off.
Ground balance comes in 3 main types: manual, automatic, and tracking. Manual, you set yourself. Automatic is done by the machine exclusively. Tracking continuously monitors the ground for changing conditions and adjusts as needed.
Q: Is the warranty on a metal detector important?
A: Yes! The warranty on any machine you buy is important. If anything at all goes wrong with the metal detector, the company will fix it. Now, this does not mean you can beat the metal detector to death and then ask for a refund. The warranty will cover issues caused by manufacturer defect, not normal wear, and tear.
You should always be cautious and careful with your metal detector to keep them functioning well. You may also consider buying a search coil cover when searching in rocky areas. Rocks can scratch and damage the search coil and coil covers can help keep your search coil like new!
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