Best way to practice panning without using gold

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Hey my names Jesse,
I’m heading out to pan for the first time and want to see if anyone has tips for practicing panning with the kids without using real gold. Or if there’s a way to buy a small amount of a mixture of pickers or flour gold to practice with.

Any tips or anything would be super appreciated.
P.s.I’d even pay to borrow gold to practice with but I don’t think people would be into that.
Prosperous prospecting everyone
 

grubstake

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Hey my names Jesse,
I’m heading out to pan for the first time and want to see if anyone has tips for practicing panning with the kids without using real gold. Or if there’s a way to buy a small amount of a mixture of pickers or flour gold to practice with.

Any tips or anything would be super appreciated.
P.s.I’d even pay to borrow gold to practice with but I don’t think people would be into that.
Prosperous prospecting everyone
If you can get hold of some shotgun pellets, mix a dozen with sand and gravel, then pan off the mixture into a bucket. When you can consistently end up with all 12 pellets in the pan, you're getting the hang of it.

Bags of alluvial "paydirt" are available on eBay and if from a well-proven seller, should contain some tiny gold in most bags.
 

Hawkear

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Panning has an element of skill in shaking and sloshing the material around and not quite as simple as it looks.
Sounds like both you and your kids will be rank amateurs so a word of advice is don’t practice on the kids, it could be embarrassing for a dad.
Look up some you tube videos on panning and go and practice on your own to raise up your skill level before “teaching” the kids.
Lead shot or small split sinkers would be ideal test objects. Count them before you put them in you pan and make sure you reach a level of expertise that you can recover all of them every time.
 
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I made my own practice gold.
Most homes will have an old pre-loved 9ct gold neckless or chain bracelet languishing in a box or a drawer somewhere in the house that can be imaginatively re-purposed - but be sure to check with the management, you have been warned 🤬
Now chop it up with wire cutters, make some small bits and larger bits too, and hammer a few to make flat ones etc.
Next throw it all into a pan with coarse sand / small gravel and you're set up for some real time practice. You'll never forget your first show of yella 😃
 

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Hawkear

Geoff Mostyn
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I made my own practice gold.
Most homes will have an old pre-loved 9ct gold neckless or chain bracelet languishing in a box or a drawer somewhere in the house that can be imaginatively re-purposed - but be sure to check with the management, you have been warned 🤬
Now chop it up with wire cutters, make some small bits and larger bits too, and hammer a few to make flat ones etc.
Next throw it all into a pan with coarse sand / small gravel and you're set up for some real time practice. You'll never forget your first show of yella 😃
That’s a neat trick. The only issue that would be for me, and I don’t know about others, is that seeing that in a pan would not be your first actual gold discovery.
I can still remember the day about 60 years ago, never ever having seen what real natural gold looked like, I panned my first original, exciting and unmistakeable colour in the Yarra river. Some small value of wealth that I had just brought into existence.
Even now when I know I am digging a nice target that just has to be gold, I slow myself down so that I can fully savour the moment of discovery.
Maybe I’m a bit strange that way.
 
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That’s a neat trick. The only issue that would be for me, and I don’t know about others, is that seeing that in a pan would not be your first actual gold discovery.
I can still remember the day about 60 years ago, never ever having seen what real natural gold looked like, I panned my first original, exciting and unmistakeable colour in the Yarra river. Some small value of wealth that I had just brought into existence.
Even now when I know I am digging a nice target that just has to be gold, I slow myself down so that I can fully savour the moment of discovery.
Maybe I’m a bit strange that way.
Sure, it'll not be their first actual gold discovery, but maybe they'll better recognize the real stuff when they see it for the first time if only because no matter the light or the viewing angle, gold is always golden and unmistakeable - practicing with lead won't give you that. I too, remember my first native gold and how I felt - there's nothing like gold fever......
 
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If you can get hold of some shotgun pellets, mix a dozen with sand and gravel, then pan off the mixture into a bucket. When you can consistently end up with all 12 pellets in the pan, you're getting the hang of it.

Bags of alluvial "paydirt" are available on eBay and if from a well-proven seller, should contain some tiny gold in most bags.
Awesome thank you mate! I really appreciate the help 😊
If you can get hold of some shotgun pellets, mix a dozen with sand and gravel, then pan off the mixture into a bucket. When you can consistently end up with all 12 pellets in the pan, you're getting the hang of it.

Bags of alluvial "paydirt" are available on eBay and if from a well-proven seller, should contain some tiny gold in most bags.
thank you so much mate!
 
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I made my own practice gold.
Most homes will have an old pre-loved 9ct gold neckless or chain bracelet languishing in a box or a drawer somewhere in the house that can be imaginatively re-purposed - but be sure to check with the management, you have been warned 🤬
Now chop it up with wire cutters, make some small bits and larger bits too, and hammer a few to make flat ones etc.
Next throw it all into a pan with coarse sand / small gravel and you're set up for some real time practice. You'll never forget your first show of yella 😃
Heck yes I didn’t even think of that, and thanks for the heads up with management haha! Cheers for the help bro
 
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Panning has an element of skill in shaking and sloshing the material around and not quite as simple as it looks.
Sounds like both you and your kids will be rank amateurs so a word of advice is don’t practice on the kids, it could be embarrassing for a dad.
Look up some you tube videos on panning and go and practice on your own to raise up your skill level before “teaching” the kids.
Lead shot or small split sinkers would be ideal test objects. Count them before you put them in you pan and make sure you reach a level of expertise that you can recover all of them every time.
Love this. Thank you so much, all of these responses are so helpful. Genuinely love this community.
 
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try the local tackle shop rookie
you want (split pea sinkers) you should be able to buy them ,they used to come in a container with different sizes
where they are split you can cut them in half with a chisel or old knife to make even smaller bits
Brilliant! Yeah I’m gonna check out the local bait shop and do that. Thanks for the help mate
 
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If you can get hold of some shotgun pellets, mix a dozen with sand and gravel, then pan off the mixture into a bucket. When you can consistently end up with all 12 pellets in the pan, you're getting the hang of it.

Bags of alluvial "paydirt" are available on eBay and if from a well-proven seller, should contain some tiny gold in most bags.
Awesome! Thank you grubstake! Super helpful
 
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