PROS / With few settings to micromanage, it's a true turn-on-and-go detector.
CONS / It can't handle highly mineralized soil, can't detect much deeper than 4 inches and can't compete with the feature lists of other detectors.
VERDICT / While this is designed as a beginner metal detector, the Bounty Hunter Quick Silver lacks many of the most basic features beginning hobbyists need.
Editor's Note: Top Ten Reviews is no longer maintaining this review, as the product does not meet our criteria as one of the top 10 beginner metal detectors available.
It goes by a variety of names, from the Pioneer EX to the 1st Texas Pilot, but it's most commonly known as the Bounty Hunter Quick Silver: a simple and straightforward all-purpose metal detector that was designed for ease of use. With its light weight and simple controls, the Quick Silver could have been the ultimate starter detector. Unfortunately, its poor treasure-finding performance, particularly when compared with the best metal detectors, has earned it a black mark among enthusiasts.
In terms of comfort, the Quick Silver excels. At just 2.8 pounds, it's light enough to carry for several hours at a time. Granted, if you've never detected before you'll probably get a little tired the first time you go hunting, but there are few detectors lighter than a Bounty Hunter. The padding on its grip and armrest are soft, strong and ready to withstand a lot of wear and tear, while the adjustable shaft locks securely into place and can be waved back and forth with barely a wobble.
With only a few buttons on it, the detector's control box is far from complex. Its on and off buttons are inexplicably separated, but they work fine. A notching button on the lower-left of the control pad lets you progressively silence three of the detector's four target ID categories. Finally, a depth select button in the lower-right corner serves as a sort of basic sensitivity toggle, telling the detector whether to look for coins and small items close to the surface, or large buried objects several feet down.
Unsurprisingly, the Quick Silver's functionality is as simple as its controls. It sports a three-tone audio ID and a graphic target ID that classifies metal into four categories: iron, aluminum and zinc, aluminum and 5-cent pieces, and coins. An on-screen depth readout identifies targets as shallow, medium or deep, but in practice, translating the readout to usable information is tough, and finding coins that are deeper than 4 inches from the surface is a rarity. This is due, in large part, to the detector's lack of ground balancing or sensitivity settings; ghost signals are far more common than with other metal and gold detectors, and the device can randomly chirp and twitter.
This detector does have a number of basic features, including a low battery indicator, a quarter-inch headphone jack and a solid five-year parts and labor warranty. Its search coil is interchangeable, so if you want to be able to drill deeper into the earth, you can switch out the default 8-inch concentric coil for one you've bought separately. However, without a pinpoint mode, sensitivity settings or ground balance, and with so few target ID options, the Bounty Hunter Quick Silver is far better suited to kids' play than serious hobbyist detecting.