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Tools of the Trade – Compact Framing Nailer Review

Tested: Paslode F325R Compact Framing Nailer
June 13, 2015
By Doug Mahoney

Framing guns are big and heavy tools…or so I thought. For the past several weeks I’ve been testing out Paslode’s new F325R Compact Framing Nailer and it’s nothing at all like my old framing guns. In fact, it’s actually smaller than some of my finish guns. I’ve found it to be a great tool to have on hand, especially for remodeling tasks

As framing guns go, the F325R is small—really small. And at just under 6 pounds, it’s a good 2 pounds lighter than the average stick framer (my old Bostitch gun is over 8 pounds). According to Paslode, much of this weight reduction is because they made the body out of magnesium instead of the usual aluminum. The reduced weight is nice, but what I really like about this gun is the size. At less than 13 inches long, it fits in a stud bay with room to spare and the short nail magazine makes it more maneuverable in corners and closets where clearances are tight. When I’m working, the smaller magazine doesn’t get hooked on the air hose like the larger ones.

I was happy to learn that the size reduction doesn’t cause any loss of power. I knew I’d have no problems nailing regular 2x stock, but the gun performed just as well when I worked with LVLs and pressure treated lumber. As a test, I even unloaded about 20 nails in fast sequence into a PT 6×6 and every nail went in below the surface of the wood.

The only real sacrifice for this compact size is nail capacity. Regular paper tape guns traditionally hold three racks of nails, but the Paslode holds only one, amounting to about 40 nails at a time. On a framing crew this isn’t going to last long, but if you spend your time boxing out for medicine cabinets and reframing door openings, the reloading isn’t as constant and I never thought of it as a nuisance. I’ll still keep the larger gun for production work, but for most daily tasks, I’ll stick with the new Paslode.

The F325R has a couple other features that I liked. The large rafter hook works great and can be switched to the other side of the tool with just a hex key; it’s big and deep enough to be hung off of a 2-by rafter without any problem. The nose of the gun is similar to other Paslode nailers I’ve used with a very aggressive claw and a large “glove-friendly” depth of drive adjustment. I also like how the rubber overmold on the handle extends up and forms a ring around the body of the tool. This serves as protection when the gun is placed on a finished surface.

I have only a couple of complaints about the tool, and they are incredibly minor.

First, like all Paslode guns, the F325R does not come with an attached ¼-inch male air hose coupler. I understand there are a lot of people who use ?-inch connections, but it seems like every other manufacturer supplies a ¼-inch male coupling with the tool. It’s a small point, but whenever I get a Paslode gun, I end up having to pillage the connector off another air tool until I can get back to the hardware store to get a new one.

The other negative is the toggle between sequential and bump fire modes. The process involves slightly relocating the angle of the trigger, but in order to do that you first have to remove a nearly microscopic O-ring that holds the trigger in place. The only way I’ve found to do it is with the point of a utility knife, which puts the O-ring in considerable danger. And once this O-ring is released from the tool, it can be easily lost on a construction site. Basically, if you drop it, you’ve lost it. I tend to keep my framing guns on sequential fire for safety reasons, but it would be nice to be able to quickly toggle back and forth if I needed it. I’ve used plenty of other guns that can make the switch with a little button or a toggle and it’s a mystery why Paslode hasn’t done something similar.

But like I said, these are minor problems at best. If Paslode’s mission was to create a light, manageable, easy-to-use framing gun, they’ve succeeded. Since I’m not a framer, I’ll happily take the smaller nail capacity in exchange for a lighter tool that’s easier to use and less of a work-out on my arm.

Paslode F325R Compact Framing Nailer
Dimensions (HxWxL): 12.9” x 4.3” x 12.3”
Weight (w/o air fitting): 5 pounds, 15 ounces
Fasteners: 30-degree; paper collated
Fastener diameter: .113 to.131 inches
Fastener length: 2 to 3 1/4 inches
Magazine: holds one strip (up to 44 nails)
Features: simple reversible rafter hook; dry fire lockout; adjustable depth-of-drive
Operating pressure: 90-120 psi
Country of origin: Assembled in the USA with foreign and domestic components
Suggested pricing: $269

Link to article: http://www.toolsofthetrade.net/nail-guns/tested-paslode-f325r-compact-framing-nailer_o.aspx