Using a Bazooka Gold Dredge - Plumas County, CA

I’ve been wanting to try a Bazooka Dredge for a long time and I finally saved up and got one. I think the concept is cool! - I jacked myself up lugging down and up hills and cliffs my old 4” Inch Dredge so many times- It was one of the older ones, with the 4 big and heavy pontoons, bigger 6.5 hp motor, large bracket, heavy hoses, nozzle, etc. There is not much information on using a Bazooka type dredge on the Internet that I can find except for Reggie Gould who makes and sells them (gouldeng.com) I almost bought one from him but I couldn’t afford the $900 bucks to get it at the time, but I do like his model and I would have bought it, if I could - Fortunately I had a rare opportunity to purchase a home made, well built one (that had “Bear Paw Mining” stamped on it but it looked like a ‘KEENE’ design) for $350 buck off of Ebay and so I jumped at the chance. I still needed to buy hoses, the motor and other stuff however. I decided to call Pat Keene about getting the motor and accessories from him. I explained to him that the other 4” Bazooka dredges were using a 5 or 5 ½ HP Honda motor, (my Bazooka dredge is a 4” unit) and he suggested to me to purchase a 4 HP Honda Motor from him instead. He gave me some complicated reasons why - something to the effect of it being too strong and possibly blowing out some gold. So I bought a 4 HP Honda engine and accessories from him, which I don’t regret! It sucked up material just fine and didn’t seem too strong AND I got gold!

The dredge came with a heavy thick 4”, five foot long hose, but I felt it was to short and too bulky (the piece that connects from the suction nozzle to the dredge)  - I decided to experiment and try a 12 foot long piece of thinner and lighter see-through plastic ribbed hose I got from a hardware store a long time ago (It was actually a 24 foot piece of hose before I cut it) when I was kicking around the concept of a “Gravity Dredge” but never got around to doing it and then I became a little discouraged after learning how difficult it can be to get one to work! Anyhow, this light weight piece of hose worked fine - you just have to be carefully not to damage it - I could see easily if it got a plug in it and the hose was more flexible when you needed to knock out a jammed rock. The other reason I wanted to use it, was because a longer hose meant that I didn’t have to keep pulling the Bazooka Dredge around as much and I didn’t want to tilt it too much and disrupt any trapped gold particles (it needs to stay level). I don’t recommend that type of thin hose for serious dredging but it worked perfect for this situation!

 

Next time I go to my claim (and when we can dredge again), I’ll encase the motor with a sound proof box and use a small muffler from the auto parts store to quiet it up more (I hate too much noise when I’m trying to enjoy a peaceful day!)

 

The claim in the video was beautiful (my second trip there) but I got into a small disagreement with my buddy as to where the claim boundary was with my neighbor’s claim - he said they were on my claim a ways, but later as I studied the GPS it looked as though we were on their claim a little ways (we were at the boundary of my neighbors claims and sometimes using a GPS can be tricky). I’ll do more research the next time we head out there - other than that, we had a great time and I LOVED using the Bazooka dredge!!! This was some time ago, hopefully we can dredge again soon - I miss it!  :(

The last video below shows the final clean up and the gold we got after about an hour of sample testing using the Bazooka type gold dredge. I was actually surprised as this was my second time out to this claim and the first time I sluiced and found only a little fine gold. I wasn't expecting to see this kind of gold from such a small sample hole! It was about a half of a gram. (Incidentally I had the motor on ‘high’ and sucking up gravel like crazy because of limited time and still got good gold!)

Plumas County was well known for millions of dollars of gold taken out by the old timers during the California Gold rush in the 1800’s!

Arriving at claim

Click short video clips below on the Bazooka gold type dredge:

Having some problems

Got the Bazooka dredge working fine!

The first gold sample after 30 minutes!

Inside of the Bazooka dredge

The gold! Half of a gram after 1 hour!

Note: These things would probably not be too difficult to build for the mechanically inclined, saving “mucho dinero!”

* In this particular creek, it was not very deep (it was also late in the summer and the water was lower) and we didn’t have time to dredge deep because I just wanted to test the Bazooka type dredge to see how well it performed and we did get gold, both Luis and myself was impressed! The nozzle was under water and the dredge was sitting on top of the rocks in the creek (maybe a couple of inches under the water). But this dredge is fully submersible - everything can go under the water (except the motor of course). In deeper rivers and creeks this can work out fine and also has advantages other dredges don’t have and visa versa. I really enjoyed using this unit and it was less hassle bringing stuff down and up the hill when it was time to pack up and go!

Beautiful area!

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