Well Ben, nugget shooting and relic hunting are best done with a PI type detector. They don't have the bells and whistles of the regular type detectors, what they have is depth. If I were you, I would pick up a used PI detector.. for the beach, nugget shooting, relic hunting, I use a Whites Surfmaster PI.
It has found nuggets at various depths depending on size, a boat anchor at 4' on the beach, and a diamond/gold ring at 10" on the beach. It is water proof
and just about turn on and go. It only has 2 knobs and you just turn these to the preset position and detect. You can probably get a used one for around $300. Hay, mine is 14 years old, with no problems. Why blow the extra bucks when this will do it for you? Just my thoughts based on 40+ years detecting.
Frank...-Found this at 10"
Jest reread your post and noticed you are in the Army. They have detectors they use for mine location. They are military versions of the Garrett ATX..
Perhaps you could "requisition" one. Frank...-