Porter Cable roofing nailer review

First, these days I am not much on Porter Cable tools. At this point their quality is questionable not only in design but in build as well. I wanted to set that issue aside lest the post be diverted to reminiscing about the good old days of PC.
I bought the PC RN175 nailer as a recon from CPO. The price is too much to resist for me as I use this particular gun as a light duty or back up gun. This gun turned out to be $69 plus delivery of $7.
This will be the second one of these I have had, and honestly can't tell ho w many nails the other unit had through it before it gave up. I am guessin g about 75K, but that may be light. (For a roofing nailer, that is NOTHING. )
I use this nailer for plenty of other things beside roofing. It does well putting up foil backed board like Thermoply, nailing up metal flashings, an d has nailed down a fair amount of 3/8" decking using the 1 3/4" nails. Wh en I make site built trusses, it was used frequently to secure the gussets with about 15 nails a side on the gussets, again with the 1 3/4" nails. It has probably shot more nails than I think.
The gun still works, but the magazine if loose and worn, and it is almost w orn through where it has been drug around by the hose. The ways are worn a s is the feeding mechanism and it now has the irritating habit of catching a nail once and a while and crushing the head, requiring the drive head to be removed and the nail pulled out. So it is going to the "bin of last res ort" to be used if my other guns are in the shop.
There are reviews out there that say this gun will jam frequently. A new on e may or may not. We shoot as many as many as 25K per roofing gun a week ( granted they aren't PC nailers) when we are in full gear, which is about no rmal. I have found the best way to keep a coil nailer like this one from ja mming is to 1) buy quality nails, even if they are a couple of bucks more a box 2) keep the feed ways clean of debris 3) make sure the feed mechanism is clean and oiled with a light oil and 4) put some oil on the nose of the gun while holding it upside down so it will run into the driver guides. Th e biggest problem is that homeowners use compressors that are out of adjust ment and let the pressure run down too low (this is especially true of big compressors) before they kick back on. Low pressure doesn't allow the gun to cycle with authority, and any bits of metal on the nails or the wire con nectors that would be shredded off are bent, not broken. When we take the n ose off any of our guns for a jamb, it is almost always because a nail was caught wrong and slammed to the side and the head broken off, or there is a piece of the wire connector stuck in the driver ways.
We run all of our nailers around 100psi. It is enough to ensure all my gun s work properly, but lower pressure also means longer seal life.
Of course, YMMV with one of these. If you get any nailer, you should run a few clips/couple of coils through it to make sure it is working properly so it can be returned if needed.
If you get one of these, keep in mind there is one use that NO ONE uses it for, and that no one seems to know about. I use this nailer to install Har die Plank! I found out by accident that a 1 3/4" roofing nail is approved by the Hardie folks. When I started installing Hardie about 25 years ago, the dedicated nailers were around $400 to $500. The job was a gable end, a nd certainly didn't merit buying a new gun. People were drilling holes wit h 1/8" bits and using chromed nails, some stalwarts were even using deck sc rews after drilling a pilot hole. I was already doing some roofing and had a clean gun to use to try it out. Works like a champ. Unlike my siding n ailer, this gun can only shoot the nail flush, can't sink it, so NO spallin g. The heads of the nails are thin enough that they disappear from piece t o piece. Best of all, if my guys are out on a job without me, they can sho ot up the siding and I don't have to worry about spall, in which case the s iding will be loose or actually fall off. With this gun, no worries!
I have no doubt that if this gun wasn't used on a job site that it would st ill be in good shape. It is certainly a medium duty tool, but think of it as a utility gun, not just for roofing and I don't think you could help but get your money's worth out of it.
CPO has it on sale, ending today.
https://goo.gl/NYgRFS
Robert
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I've got 4 nailers I think.
An old Devilbiss that shoots trim on ok with short pins. It sometimes struggles with real hardwoods. I've had it for about 23-24 years.
A Hitachi that shoots 2 inch trim pins through just about anything. I have to keep it adjusted for every job because sometimes it will shoot a pin all the way through... a hard dry 1x2 and a 3/4 piece of plywood. LOL. AS a trim nailer goes its pretty darn good. I've had it for about 18-19 years.
I've got a Rigid framing nailer that has built two small utility buildings and set a set stairs. I've had it for 8-9 years. Its ok. If I try to toe nail with it sometimes the nail goes flying. It works fine, but I see sparks every once in a while, and it doesn't feed the last couple nails of a strip very well. It still works just fine. I also use it for ring nail strips for plywood sheeting and things like that. Its really handy for building stick frame and plywood utility shelves except its kind of a pain to swap back and forth between sheeting nails and framing nails so....
I bought a Porter Cable framing nailer that shoots the same round head strips as the Rigid. It doesn’t spark. Toe nails go where they are pointed. Its just as awkward to swap from framing to sheeting and back to framing nails, but that’s the reason I bought it. Put framing nails in one and put sheeting nails in the other. A set of crude stick frame and plywood shelves goes up fast with two guns. Real fast. I've had it for about a year. Is it bullet proof. I have no idea. I probably won't ever use it professionally. I expect it would easily last through a couple decent size house builds though. Its not a Senco, but it doesn't cost like one either. In fact I think it was quite a bit cheaper than the Rigid even. It doesn't feel like a 20 year professional tool, but I bet it will be just fine as a 20 year + occasional use tool.
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On Friday, March 31, 2017 at 7:19:22 PM UTC-5, Bob La Londe wrote:

a

That was what I was trying to get across with the PC roofer.
I didn't beat the daylights out of my old one and it still works, so hopefu lly I will get the same performance out of the new one.
I have a couple of nailers that are about 20+ years old that have had the c rap worked out of them, and several brad guns that are the same vintage wit h less wear. Like most tools, they were designed to be rebuilt or repaired as needed in those days. Sadly, the tool companies retaliated by stopping the manufacture of the correct size seals (O rings), triggers, etc. so tha t we would buy new. Sounds like you are, but I would warn you to make sur e you take extra good care of your older guns if you still use them.
Robert
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