2" Backpack Dredge - good idea?
Last Post 09 Feb 2017 06:46 PM by Nicholas Lionberger. 11 Replies.
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Ed BraggUser is Offline
Posts:75



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04 Oct 2016 01:21 PM

    After 3 years into this, I'm ready to get my first dredge. I've got an opportunity to acquire a Keene 2" backpack dredge for $550, lightly used. Is this worthwhile, or should I just be saving up for a 3 or 4"?  Are the nozzles interchangeable?  Besides a wet-suit, what kind of equipment do I need besides standard prospecting gear for highbanking/panning?

     

    Regards,

    Ed

    JIM SHANNONUser is Offline
    Dredger
    Dredger
    Posts:92



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    04 Oct 2016 04:54 PM

     sounds like a good price for that back pack dredge, it would be handy for prospecting in remote areas

    Master Electrician----Brazos Bend Electric---Garrett Dealer
    WILLIAM HALLUser is Offline
    Lost Dutchman
    Lost Dutchman
    Posts:354



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    05 Oct 2016 03:26 PM
    Ed,

    As Jim suggests, if you are packing way back somewhere very remote, it maybe a good deal
    If you goal is dredging for production, hold out for a larger dredge
    A 2" is a good idea for cleanup after you have gone through with a large dredge
    Using a 2", your production is minimal, and you will be moving ALOT of rocks by hand
    You will move a lot of rocks with a larger dredge, but not near as much

    Save your money, time and your back, hold out for something larger
    Just my opinion

    Bill
    So much river....So little time....Get out there
    Ed BraggUser is Offline
    Posts:75



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    05 Oct 2016 08:54 PM

    Thanks for the input!

    I'm primarily recreational, nothing really production for me, but I understand the amount of material is significantly reduced. That was my biggest fear. 

    I'm mostly interested in something inexpensive to see if I'll put a dredge to use at all, and sinking 2500-4000 isn't something I want to do without making sure I'll take advantage of it. Unfortunately, I also tend to be alone and don't have any help most of the time, so I need something I can cart around and move entirely with one person, if needed.  I'm so torn because the price seems right. I figured I can always get a 2" and see if I like it and re-sell it and probably reclaim most of my money spent. At least it's not a 1.5" dredge.

    Ed

    ADAM ANDREWSUser is Offline
    Treasure Hunter
    Treasure Hunter
    Posts:253



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    07 Oct 2016 09:40 PM

       That's cool, living where you can use a dredge. I saw a Gold fever video with Tom Massie and he had to make two trips down to the river. The gas motor looks like it was heavy, a bigger dredge sounds like it's even heavier. You need three guys to carry the dredge, the motor, and the Beer.

    Ed BraggUser is Offline
    Posts:75



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    10 Oct 2016 09:14 AM

    Well, I went and did it. I went to see the dredge in person and couldn't control my impulse to buy. Turns out the owner had modified it with Gold Hog mats (BONUS), and even threw in a bench stand and 3-wheel cart to be able to hike it to the creeks. It is a power jet model, but I'll see what it can do before thinking of upgrading to a suction nozzle setup. 

    I've gotten very mixed information for various people on the capabilities of a 2" dredge, so I'm eager to see for myself. I've heard I'll only be able to process about a bucket of material per hour from some, and others have said just over a yard of material. Once I go out with it, I'll try and post some pics and results of my testing. First order of business is finding a replacement riser that holds the sluice to the pontoons. 2nd order of business is contacting Todd Martin to get a 2" classifier for the nozzle to help keep the rocks from clogging the hose.

    Ed

    JIM SHANNONUser is Offline
    Dredger
    Dredger
    Posts:92



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    10 Oct 2016 09:38 AM
    Bucket an hour ?
    Without a clog up and in loose material you should do a bucket in a few minutes.
    Have fun and enjoy your new prospecting tool !
    Master Electrician----Brazos Bend Electric---Garrett Dealer
    Ed BraggUser is Offline
    Posts:75



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    10 Oct 2016 09:47 AM

    Yeah, I'm pretty sure the person that told me a bucket did mean a 5-gallon bucket, but I would think more of a backhoe size bucket should be doable. If I can do about a yard (3'x3'x3') in an hour or close to it, I think I'll be better off than shoveling. Heck, if I can do more than 10 5-gallon buckets worth of material in a whole day, I'll be better off than my current track record .. I tend to be more social than die-hard .. lol   

     

    Ed

    ARTHUR WAUGHUser is Offline
    Buzzard
    Buzzard
    Posts:602



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    10 Oct 2016 12:44 PM

    My 2 1/2 has a 2 inch opening on the nozzle and on a 1 1/2 hour run I got through about a half yard or a little nmore of fairly loose stuff just long arming it. That was a first time out for running a dredge, and I wasn't going after it hard, and had a few issues to work on and bugs to try and solve in the field....had to wait till I got home for that.



    I would figure generally about a half to 2/3 yard per hour, and probably on the lower end of that, depending on conditions.

     

    Good luck and hunting with your new toy.  Let us know how she does for you.  Good size to get your feet wet and see if bigger is for you.

    OHV/Recreation Representative, John Day/Snake Resource Advisory Council, BLM--- President, Wolfpack 4x4's, Region 5, Pacific Northwest 4 Wheel Drive Association--- Member- Mid Valley Prospectors, Brownsville, OR chapter GPAA, Willamette Valley Miners, Bohemia Mine Owners Association
    ADAM ANDREWSUser is Offline
    Treasure Hunter
    Treasure Hunter
    Posts:253



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    18 Oct 2016 01:10 PM

      Is the issue just that the smaller 2 1/2" hoses get jammed with rocks or is it that the bigger models are just really too big & heavy?

    ARTHUR WAUGHUser is Offline
    Buzzard
    Buzzard
    Posts:602



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    18 Oct 2016 04:11 PM

    The difference is mainly that the bigger units, say a 4 inch, will move way more material than say a 2 or 2 1/2 incher (on the range of 3 times).  But along with that you require generally bigger engines, hoses, pumps, etc.  All adds weight and bulk to get it into where you want to go. 

    As far as rock plugs, there are commercially made cones and tips to keep the bigger stuff out of the nozzle, or you can fab up your own.  That really helps with the plug-ups.

    OHV/Recreation Representative, John Day/Snake Resource Advisory Council, BLM--- President, Wolfpack 4x4's, Region 5, Pacific Northwest 4 Wheel Drive Association--- Member- Mid Valley Prospectors, Brownsville, OR chapter GPAA, Willamette Valley Miners, Bohemia Mine Owners Association
    Nicholas LionbergerUser is Offline
    Greenhorn
    Greenhorn
    Posts:13



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    09 Feb 2017 06:46 PM
    Don't put any kind of restriction on the nozzle! It's all bad! Get a snorkel and mask and look what is going up the nozzle. The nozzle restriction will rob your production, fill with small rocks and reduce the flow over the box, the gravels compact, clear the nozzle, and your boxes scour. Figure out what rocks to throw away and not hog the nozzle and you will do well. The jet log will get better gas mileage than a suction nozzle and provide better suction should you keep it floating on the pontoons. The jet inlet position doesn't matter too much on my dredge as I still use the old crashbox style header. This may be different than yours, I'm not sure if you have a crashbox or a jet flare. The idea is that if you are using a jet flare and should you pop the hose out of the water and lose prime the pressure jet may blast material out of the box, find the angle in which the jet blows over the sluice should somthing bad like that happen. In a good creek power jet, In puddle jumping use the suction nozzle.
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