Fisher Research produced their first metal detector over 60 years ago, and since that time have been one of the leaders in metal detection technology. In the early 1980s they revolutionized the metal detector industry when they introduced the 1260-X which was the first "turn-it-on-and-go" metal detector that provided above-average performance without requiring any complicated adjustments. The 1260-X evolved into the 1265-X which quickly became Fisher's most popular model and recently the 1266-X and 1266-XB have assumed this position in the Fisher line. Having used the 1265-X extensively both on land and in the water over the last few years, I was looking forward to seeing how this updated model performed in the field.
The 1266-XB is a fully automatic motion discriminator that features two independent discriminate modes and a non-motion all metal pinpoint mode.
The detector utilizes the customary S-shaped handle which was designed by Fisher in the early 1980s. This configuration results in better balance and improved distribution of the detector's weight which allows for extended searching without fatigue. The battery packs are built into the arm rest which also helps improve the detector's balance. The detector weighs just less than 3.9 pounds with the 8 inch search coil and the batteries installed.
Both the 1266-X and the 1266XB utilize the new spider coil which was designed to produce better detection depth while reducing the overall weight of the coil. Since it is a filled coil, it also eliminates the need to use a weight to keep the coil on the bottom when searching in shallow water. The detector can be submerged up to the connector on the control housing and many treasure hunters are using the 1266-XB to search the area just off the beach for coins and jewelry.
All of the controls on the 1266XB are easily accessible and are located either on the faceplate of the control housing or underneath it near the padded hand grip. The two knobs labeled DISC 1 and DISC 2 are used to set the level of discrimination at which the search is to be conducted. Since there are actually two separate discrimination circuits built into the detector, these controls can be used to help in "identifying" targets and thereby avoiding unnecessary digging. As with most detectors, there is a loss of detection depth as the amount of discrimination is increased so the control should be increased only as high as required to reject most of the trash in a given site.
Below the DISC 1 control is the VOLUME control which serves a dual purpose. In addition to controlling the audio level heard thru the internal speaker or optional headphones, it also turns the detector on and off. Just to the right of the VOLUME control is a push button which allows the user to check the battery condition at anytime. If the batteries still have sufficient life remaining in them, a loud signal will be heard when the button is pressed. When the signal becomes weak or none is heard, the batteries should be replaced.
The SENSITIVY control located on the right side of the face plate is unique to Fisher. The knob not only turns in a clockwise direction to increase the sensitivity setting on the detector but can be pulled out which selects a lower sensitivity adjustment range. With the knob pulled out and turned fully counterclockwise, the 1266-XB is at its least sensitive setting.
When the control is turned fully clockwise, the highest sensitivity setting on the LOW range is selected. This setting corresponds to the lowest setting on the HIGH range which is obtained by pressing the knob in and turning it fully counterclockwise. Sensitivity can be further increased by turning the knob in a clockwise direction in the HIGH range. Some falsing and chattering may result if the sensitivity is set too high, so a setting should be selected that provides for maximum depth while producing only a minimal amount of chattering.
The three-position toggle switch located on the bottom of the control housing is used to switch between the DISC 1, DISC 2, and all-metal pinpoint modes. With the toggle in the center position, the DISC 1 discrimination mode is selected. When the toggle is pushed forward and held, the DISC 2 circuit is activated. Pulling the toggle to the rear and holding it will select the all-metal mode which is used to pinpoint a target once it has been located. In either the DISC2 or all-metal modes, when the toggle is released, it will return to the center position and the DISC 1 mode will again become the primary operating mode.
A headphone jack is located on the front face plate and accepts all standard 1/4 inch plugs. As mentioned previously, the batteries are held in two compartments that have been built into the detector stand/ arm rest assembly. The 1266-XB uses two battery packs that each holds 4 AA penlight batteries. Battery life is approximately 40 to 50 hours and ni-cad batteries can be used with no affect on overall performance. The detector comes with the recharge-circuitry built in and a kit containing 8 ni-cad cells and the plug-in charger can be purchased from your local dealer.
The feature that distinguishes the 1266-XB from the 1266-X is that the XB breaks down into three sections which allows it to be packed into a small hard shell carrying case that is included with the detector. This is extremely useful if you want to take it on an airplane or some other trip where space is at a premium or the detector might otherwise be damaged.
After checking the 1266XB's response to the targets in my test garden, I took it to an old house near Atlanta that was scheduled to be torn down for a new shopping center. Unfortunately, as I got out of my truck, I saw a numbe rof holes from treasure hunters that had been there before me. Hoping that the 1266-XB would have the detection depth and sensitivity to find a few targets others had missed, I walked around to the front of the house.
Setting the DISC 1 control to 3, DISC 2 at 7, and the SENSITIVITY control at 12 o'clock on the high range, I started searching near the steps leading up to the porch. The first few sweeps produced a fair amount of falsing caused by the mineralized ground, so I turned down the SENSITIVITY control to the fully counterclockwise position. As I continued along the flagstone path I noticed that the chattering had been virtually eliminated.
The first signal was quite loud and also produced a solid response when I checked it in the DISC 2 setting. Cutting a small plug and removing some dirt from the bottom of the hole I found an old brass garden hose nozzle that looked as if it would still work once I cleaned it up. The next few signals produced good signals in both DISC modes and turned out to be copper plumbing fittings of various sizes. Near the end of the path I received a signal that did not repeat in DISC 2 which meant that it might be a nickel or gold ring. A minute or so later I was holding a well-worn Buffalo nickel in my hand that had been buried about 4 inches deep.
Covering the hole, I began searching again and almost immediately obtained a clear, but fainter signal. Receiving a signal in DISC 2, I switched to the pinpoint mode and centered the coil over the target. After removing some large rocks that were just under the surface, I rechecked the hole and the detector indicated that the signal was still there. I continued digging and at a depth a seven inches, I saw a silver coin exposed in the bottom of the hole. Carefully brushing some of the loose dirt from the coin revealed a 1942 Walking Liberty Half in fair condition.
I spent another 2 hours at this site and in addition to the coins I already had in my pouch, recovered 6 wheat pennies, a 1941 Mercury dime, a car key, and several recently lost clad coins and memorial pennies at depths ranging from just under the surface to seven inches. The 1266-XB's two discriminate modes had enabled me to ignore a number of trash targets that littered the yard and it's sensitivity had allowed me to find targets that the previous hunters had overlooked.
A number of fellow treasure hunters in the area I live search exclusively for Civil War relics and many of them belong to one of the three large clubs in the Atlanta area. I talked with several of them and asked them to poll their club members to see what the "detector of choice" was among relic hunters. Based on their feedback, I learned that about 70% of them used the Fisher 1265-X, 1266-X,or 1266-XB in their searches on a regular basis. One of these relic hunters mentioned to me that a site along the Chattahoochee River was being cleared and some good finds had come out of there in the last few weeks. This area, known as the River Line, had been the last Confederate stronghold before they pulled back into the city of Atlanta in July of 1864.
Arriving at the construction area early one morning, I saw two other relic hunters searching the cleared area near the tree line. I walked over to them and they showed me a handful of bullets and a Confederate infantry button with the letter "I" on it that they had recovered in the last 45 minutes.
As with most areas around Atlanta, the site consisted of mineralized red clay which adversely affected the performance of most detectors. With the DISC 1 set at 2 to avoid missing any iron artifacts such as shell fragments or small tools and the SENSITIVITY at the 9 o'clock position on the high range, I began searching near the bulldozer had just cleared an small area.
The first few signals produced shotgun shells at fairly shallow depths, as well as some recently discarded trash from the construction workers. As I started working my way towards the crest of the hill I received a clear signal that was somewhat fainter than the other signals. Pulling the toggle switch towards me, I pinpointed the target and using a small mattock, began to recover it.
At just over 6 inches, I saw a small target laying in the loose dirt which I carefully picked up. Brushing it off on the side of my leg, I saw it was a cuff button from a Confederate officers uniform after showing it to the other relic hunters, I continued searching the area with renewed enthusiasm.
Unfortunately I did not find any more buttons, but over the next 2 1/ 2hours I was able to recover 6 Minnie balls, a fired musket ball, and a piece of unidentifiable rusted metal which may have been part of an exploded artillery shell. The 1266-XB had handled the mineralized ground quite well and had located targets at impressive depths.
As an interesting side, while the 1266-XB was not designed as a prospecting detector, a number of treasure hunters have used it for that purpose with a fair amount of success. Last summer my wife and I spent a few weeks prospecting in Alaska and at one site, the claim owner told us an interesting story.
Two treasure hunters from New York had come up earlier in the summer and one of them had been using a 1266-XB. In 3 weeks, he managed to recover a large number of nuggets with a combined weight of almost 170 pennyweight (8.5 ounces). Included was a single nugget weighing 32 pennyweight. Needless to say, he was well pleased with the 1266-XB's performance as a "gold detector".
The 1266-XB is a professional uality metal detector that is well suited. for novice and experienced treasure hunters alike. The ease of operation combined with it's overall performance produce a detector that works well in a wide variety of treasure hunting activities including coinshooting, relic hunting, beach combing, and even electronic prospecting.
Some falsing did occur at high sensitivity settings when searching areas with a high mineralization content; however, by decreasing the SENSITIVITY control, much of this can be eliminated with only a minimal loss in detection depth. The 1266-XB also had some difficulty in rejecting lumps of tin foil and deeply buried rusted bottle caps; however, this did not pose a significant problem inmost of the sites that l searched.
A field test report on the 1266-X was published in the July 1991 issue of Lost Treasure and it contains additional information and tips on how to obtain the optimum performance from these two detectors. If you are unable to obtain a copy of this back issue, Fisher Research, along with many of their local dealers, have reprints available.
The 1266-XB sells for $649.95 and comes with the standard 5 year Fisher limited warranty. An instructional video tape is also available which provides details onhow to get the most out of your Fisher detector and is well worth the modest cost. For the name of your nearest factory authorized dealer and a copy of the new 1992 full-color catalog that profiles each of the detectors in the Fisher line, write to Fisher Research at 2OO W. Willmott Road, LosBanos, CA 93635 or call (209) 826-3292 and mention that you read about the 1266-XB in Lost Treasure.