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.