I am a little confused about nails or more specifically the availability of certain size nails. I am framing an attached garage and according to the IRC 2003 code, for example, when face nailing a stud to the base plate 2 16d common nails are required or 3 12d common nails. A 16d common nail is 3 1/2" x .162 diameter. A 12d common nail is 3 1/4" x .131 dia. I assume the difference is for shear strength. I was looking at framing nailers and some only shoot a 3 1/4" nail and those that shoot a 3 1/2" nail, the 3 1/2" nail is only . 131 in diameter. I could not find any 3 1/2" nails at the big box stores and didn't find any at a lumber yard. My framing gun is an old Senco SN325 which shoots a max. 3 1/4" clip head nail. I plan on replacing it but I am at a loss as to which gun to buy. I don't want to use a clip headed nail on sheathing.
1) Any recommendation on framing guns? Should I insist on a gun that shoots a 16d common nail? 2) If code requires a 3 1/2" x .162 nail for the minimun number of nails, why are they not more readily available? 3) Where do framers who frame to code find their nails? 4) Do inspectors really look at nail size and number of nails?
I have read several discussions on this topic but I am still confused. Most discussions have concluded buy a gun that shoots 3 1/2 " .162 nails, but I can't find the nails much less the gun.