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79 of 80 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good tool - worth an extra pair of hands (or two)
I'm currently using this sucker to frame my garage. I bought Hitachi plastic collated nails for it. It took me a bit to sort it out, but I was able to find 21 degree full round head nails at Lowes. I've been sticking with the Hitachi nails even though there are cheaper brands - the quality is good.

I used 0.131" diameter 21 degree plastic collated nails, 3 1/4"...
Published on August 14, 2007 by Reviewer

versus
254 of 260 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I like this nailer after all
I am editing this review a year later (14Apr08) with some revisions

I am a professional builder presently building super high end homes on the lakefront of Lake Tahoe. I have used every framing nailer made. Before I bought this nailer I was a Senco and Hitachi user. I needed another nailer so from the recommendation of another carpenter I went with this...
Published on March 17, 2007 by Michael Callahan


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254 of 260 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I like this nailer after all, March 17, 2007
By 
Michael Callahan "Mike Callahan" (Kings Beach, Ca United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: BOSTITCH F21PL Round Head 1-1/2-Inch to 3-1/2-Inch Framing Nailer with Positive Placement Tip and Magnesium Housing (Tools & Home Improvement)
I am editing this review a year later (14Apr08) with some revisions

I am a professional builder presently building super high end homes on the lakefront of Lake Tahoe. I have used every framing nailer made. Before I bought this nailer I was a Senco and Hitachi user. I needed another nailer so from the recommendation of another carpenter I went with this model. What sold it to me was that I liked the fact that it had another nosepiece that allowed it to be used for nailing hardware.
I have had this nailer for about 5 months now and it has a few problems.
When it was new it would tend to spark a lot when ever a nail was fired. Now that it is broken in it sparks still but much less. Edit.. It no longer sparks.
There was a part missing in the unopened box. I promptly ordered it from Bostich and it came right away. The part was a vinyl rod that adjusts the magazine for varying thickness nails.
The nailer really hammers the nail hard with a loud smack. I worry that it will wear out the hammer driver sooner. The sound with the Hitachi is much quieter and the Hitachi nailer seems to work with much less recoil when sinking a nail.
The trigger on the Bostich is very finicky and will not fire unless you depress the nose "just so" even with the bounce trigger installed. The Hitachi and Senco is an honest trigger that fires every time you depress the nose. Hitachi users say bad words out of frustration when using this nailer because of the finicky trigger.
The rubber pad on the side has a metal part that surrounds it. The metal part is thin and recently it broke. Since a nailer is often left on the side then this weak and flimsy part is in a very vulnerable spot.
The nose has a spring that can easily snag something and fly away. Without this spring the nailer will not work. I spent a lot of time searching in the powder snow once for this spring when it accidentally ejected.
This nailer does have all the modern features that some nailers lack. It has the directional exhaust port and an easily adjustable nosepiece. It will sink a 16d toenail with the depth adjustment all the way down unlike other nailers. It comes with an accessory nosepiece cover that covers the toenail teeth to prevent marring the wood. The nose cover though will not stay on very well and is easy to lose.
If I had my preference I would use cliphead nailers because the magazine holds more nails and the paper collation does not spit eye damaging pieces like the plastic collated strips for round head nailers. Cliphead nails are getting hard to find as misguided architects spec only round head nails. You must use safety glasses when using any round head nailer. The plastic shards are probably not very good for the environment either.
I give it 3 stars still because it works fine most of the time and the hardware nailing feature is nice to have.

Edit 13Apr08 I give it 4.5 stars now. I like this nailer because it really has a large piston and can completely sink a toenail into hard LVL. I do a lot of framing with LVL and this is the only nailer that will not make you reach for your hammer to finish driving the nail home. I am used to the trigger now and it no longer frustrates me. I did have to take apart the trigger once and clean it. The trigger started to blow air and the nailer would not shoot. A less mechanically inclined person might have sent it to the shop for a repair. No parts were very worn, it just needed a cleaning. The broken part on the side bumper has not been a problem. This nailer has held up well so far. I frame about a third of the time so this nailer has about 6 months of heavy use behind it now.
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79 of 80 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good tool - worth an extra pair of hands (or two), August 14, 2007
By 
Reviewer (Near Columbus, OH United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: BOSTITCH F21PL Round Head 1-1/2-Inch to 3-1/2-Inch Framing Nailer with Positive Placement Tip and Magnesium Housing (Tools & Home Improvement)
I'm currently using this sucker to frame my garage. I bought Hitachi plastic collated nails for it. It took me a bit to sort it out, but I was able to find 21 degree full round head nails at Lowes. I've been sticking with the Hitachi nails even though there are cheaper brands - the quality is good.

I used 0.131" diameter 21 degree plastic collated nails, 3 1/4" in length, for all of my framing. I was able to blast a bunch of 2x6's together in no time.

I then used 0.131" diameter 21 degree plastic collated nails, 2 3/4" in length, for all of my sheathing. The nailer handled both of these with ease. I can set the depth so I don't go splintering my OSB with too deep of a punch.

I am currently using the trigger that only allows one shot per pull. I like this feature as I don't go machine-gunning 3 nails on top of one another if I slip during the shot. Sometimes it is a little finicky, as you have to get the tip compressed just-so before you pull the trigger, or it will give you a disappointing "pphhh" and no nail. It also seems to have about a 50% ratio of actually firing the last nail in the clip. A lot of times it misses the last nail altogether. I did jam it once with the 2 3/4 nails because I inserted a partially used clip. The uneven break in the plastic collation misaligned the nail and the piston jammed the nail in the barell. I fixed it with a small screwdriver.

It's pretty light for its size. Some friendly helpers I had with the initial framing all remarked at the size of this thing. It looks big and beefy. You'll have a bit of trouble fitting it between studs that are 16" apart - it's a little bulky in tight spaces. For toe-nailing and mating studs together, I had to shoot at an angle. That's when the tip is most finicky, so you have to brace it on the back with one hand while you pull the trigger. At 90 psi or so it might not fully sink the nail on an angled shot like that. At 120 psi it sinks everything. It's kind of scary. My gun came with a protective rubber tip that is handy for things that you don't want to blemish, but without the rubber tip, the cleated gun is much easier to use for angled shots because the tip bites into the wood.

These problems are avoidable if you are careful. A nail gun is an amazing piece of machinery, as I am surprised that with the violence of each shot it doesn't go blowing apart after a few shots. Yet this thing will shoot and shoot as long as I pay attention to the clip, keep it oiled, and set it aside so I don't trip over it. I've dropped it off the ladder twice and it hasn't complained. It's also nice that you can direct the exhaust in multiple directions, as each shot will create a fine oily mist that you can feel on your arm, hand, leg, or whatever. That's just how it works with air tools. At least you can shoot it away from your face. Also, the rubber grip on the handle is slipping around slowly as I use it. That's kind of irritating, especially when it's hot, because the rubber will slide up and bunch up underneath the trigger. Eventually it will probably fall off with enough use. Could probably use a redesign.

On a final note, I bought this thing used from another online auction site that you can probably guess. It was well used before I got it and it's still kicking. For what I paid for it, I'm quite satisfied. I'd probably still be happy with it if I bought it new for a higher price.

Edit 9/6/07: I've been using the metal connector attachment. This thing is pretty handy if you are using Simpson Strong Ties or a similar metal connector for your framing. Most of the Simpson products require a 1.5" nail (so that it doesn't penetrate the other side of 2x lumber) and this gun won't go that small. I've used the 2 1/4" nails when I'm shooting into a junction or multiple pieces. It makes the work go much faster, otherwise you are stuck with a hammer. The tip for metal connectors has a triangular aligning piece that allows you to line up the nail with the hole in the connector. It works really well but be warned - the smaller the nail the better the chance that this thing will misfire. I had much more trouble with the 2 1/4" nails than the bigger framing nails. Also, I glanced off the connector more than once and shot a bent nail bouncing around all over the place - not like a bullet but enough to be dangerous. The metal connector work is much more sensitive to alignment so be careful. Also - be careful about lining up your shot, especially if you are using one hand to brace boards before you shoot. That nail doesn't care if your hand is on the other side of the board when you pull the trigger. I managed to nick my thumb pretty good at about nail number 2,327 during a 10 hour day. Not bad odds - but you'll be better off if you are constantly aware.

Edit 7/12/08: My F21PL is still going and my garage is pretty much done except for electrical and painting. I took this thing up in my attic to build a knee wall around the perimeter so that I could install foam backer board to keep insulation from spilling out onto my soffits. My attic is full of old fiberglass blown-in insulation, so it's nasty and dusty up there. I used my nailer for a few days and it stopped working. After messing with it I figured I had gotten dust inside and perhaps ruined a seal. I finished framing my knee wall with the Bostitch palm nailer (see other review on here - great little tool). I was able to download a rebuild kit from the Bostitch website instantaneously. There are also blow-up diagrams of all of their tools. I bought several rebuild kits and downloaded the diagram, and I was able to successfully rebuild the nailer and get it functioning again. I expect that with my rebuild kits I will keep this nailer going for the rest of my life. Great product support.
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45 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars F21PL - Why I bought this framing nailer., August 11, 2009
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: BOSTITCH F21PL Round Head 1-1/2-Inch to 3-1/2-Inch Framing Nailer with Positive Placement Tip and Magnesium Housing (Tools & Home Improvement)
This review is targeted at do it yourselfers of which I am one. I chose the F21PL primarily because it shoots full round head nails. I am a mechanical engineer working for a tier 1 automotive supplier in Michigan. When doing research for a framing nailer the issue of clipped heads not being allowed by building code in different states or cities kept coming up. Unfortunately I will probably have to leave Michigan if I loose my current job, and I don't want to own a clipped head paper weight because the local codes don't allow clipped head nail use. I elected to pay a little more for the Bostitch vs. the Porter Cable because of the 7 year warranty, and because both Home Depot and two other local tool rental places Rented Bostitch even though they sell other brands. All the guns in the rental fleet were really beat up, yet still going strong. HD was able to sell the used ones for $100+. I also saw a program on History Channel where they showed the Bostitch factory. The segment showed either an F21PL or F28WW being dropped 60+ times from 8 feet onto a plywood sheet and then bouncing onto concrete. They also pull a random gun off the line and fire it 1 million times as a quality control check. ( at 5K nails per box that's 200 boxes or maybe 50X my lifetime supply). Another reason for choosing this tool is that it shoots the Bostitch Hurriquake nails. (Overkill perhaps for Michigan, but cool none the less, and they could be required as code if I move.) Finally don't make your buying decision solely on the price of the nailer. The cost of nails is >$50 per box, and you will probably want to get a minimum o 2 boxes ( 3.5" and 2.5") right off the bat. If you plan to build any serious projects, the cumulative cost of nails will exceed the price of the gun.
+ + Features that I like: having two separate triggers for single shot vs. bump firing. As a dad of 2 small but very curious kids I plan to run only with the safer single shot trigger. The Porter Cable had a little knob on the trigger which allowed the user to select either mode. Great feature for convenience, but bad for kid safety. Back to the clipped head argument, the big plus for clipped heads is that the magazine can hold more "ammo" thus saving time due to less frequent reloading. Since I am running in single shot mode, speed and reload frequency really don't matter. ( I suggest you buy a leather tool belt with a pouch to keep a few nail clips in that. A trick is to place a piece of cardboard or aluminum plate into the pouch to keep it flat so your single strip of collated nails don't snap in two.). I like the ease of setting the tip length for depth adjustment especially since toe nailing is all the way in, while flush nailing is 3 to 4 clicks out. Plastic tip is nice but useless when toe nailing. I just keep mine in the box. The rafter hanging hook is a nice feature also. Finally there are different diameters of framing nails. To change from large to small is extremely easy, just pull a plastic rod out of one hole and put it in another.
- - What I did not like. : The Porter Cable came with a plastic case and oil. The F21PL had no case or oil, or pneumatic fitting. I looked on line for a case but all I could find was a generic Pelican 1600 with foam for $130. I guess either the pros don't use cases or the gun is just built so well it doesn't need one. It would however be nice for us weekend warriors who like to store our tools nice and neat if Bostitch were to sell a case for those of us who want to buy one. ( Better yet sell a model with case, oil, glasses, Pneumatic fitting and some sample nails so that tool could be used out of the box). Rafter hanging hook is nice but it would be nicer if the preset detents would allow it to be folded closer too the tool.
Use So far : Main project to date has been repairs to my garage attic rafters, building a fence, & decking repair. The Tool despite its' large size is light weight and well balanced. There is quite a kick when firing a 3.5" nail into 40 year old timbers but it is less than the hammer shock to drive the same nail manually. The depth setting is nice because sink depth changes depening on what your are driving into. Once set correctly every nail seated perfectly. Let me say this in bold print. DO NOT OPERATE WITHOUT EYE PROTECTION!. THE PLASTIC COLLATION BITS FLY EVERYWHERE. If your kids want to watch you work get them glasses also! ( The free way is to go to a Lowes or Home Depot Saturday kids build project.) In reading other reviews before buying I saw complaints about the tool sparking and debris from the collated nails. Working in the low light attic I definitely saw the sparks, and felt several pieces of plastic shrapnel hit my face especially when toe nailing. When I was finished shooting 5 or 6 clips of nails there was little pieces of plastic collation debris all over the floor. If you can't live with a little clean up, this tool isn't for you. Go for a clipped head paper, or wire collated framer. If sparks scare you, then a framing nailer is just too powerful for you. I also own brad and finish nailers and their kick is nothing compared to this framer. Finally be careful when disconnecting the air line at the tool. The whole handle acts as a reservoir so there is a large back rush of 100 psi air when you disconnect the hose.
Overall rating is great. - Nailer does the intended job of driving 3.5" spikes in a single blow flawlessly. It is well balanced, easy to load, and the depth setting is easy to adjust. It is a pleasure to use. The quality is pure Bostitch. Solid and reliable. I love it.
-- Update after 2 years. Gun is still going strong with a few battle scars to the paint. I have probably cycled 4 boxes of nails through it on a series of projects and have had no issues. I am now running with a 150psi pancake compressorFactory-Reconditioned Porter-Cable C2002R Oil-Free UMC Pancake Compressor which can keep up when running flat out decking a roof every 8" compared to its' 120psi predecessor.
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46 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Works great, December 28, 2005
By 
M. Wagner (Bellevue, WA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: BOSTITCH F21PL Round Head 1-1/2-Inch to 3-1/2-Inch Framing Nailer with Positive Placement Tip and Magnesium Housing (Tools & Home Improvement)
This gun is fairly light and replaces 3 other guns. We used one heavy gun for shooting 16d 3-1/2" common nails for structural framing, one for Simpson hangers, and one for shooting regular 0.131 framing nails. This does all of that with an adjustable (no tools) depth gauge! I usually weld a receiver and run a 1/4" bolt in it, that I double nut for a depth gauge.

I am impressed. Somebody thought this one out.
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The gun I love to hate, December 19, 2009
This review is from: BOSTITCH F21PL Round Head 1-1/2-Inch to 3-1/2-Inch Framing Nailer with Positive Placement Tip and Magnesium Housing (Tools & Home Improvement)
I'm a general contractor, I use a framing nailer for approx 8000 nails a month (2 cases of plastic coallated on average).
I love this gun. I hate this gun. I love this gun, I hate it, ....
I own two of these guns. Bought one before the metal connector tip was available. While the first one was in the repair shop for a worn-out anvil (from use, not defect), I bought the second one.
They both have great power. They both are durable (miles of abuse on the job and in the toolbox).
The push-button depth adjustment is a technology that every gun should have.
The rafter hook is useful, but it's plastic and WILL break off - so be ready to buy an aftermarket hook. I personally had a machinist make me a new hook out of heavy aluminum and it's working great. However, I broke one of those too, so I'd suggest going with a softer steel design, like the Paslode's hook.
All the horror stories of plastic in the eyes? Well, I guess it happens. My eyes are fine though, after 18 years of plastic coallated nail use with (GASP!) no goggle use. I'd suggest getting some milk and cookies and crying that whine to your mommies. Let the rest of us build. I only use plastic coallated nails out of habit now - there was a day when the only other option was wire coallated (which WILL injure you) and paper strip clipped heads. Now, paper strip are commonly available in full round head, and make better production because each gun holds exactly twice as many nails as the plastic coallated nailers. Like I said, I'm only a creature of habit.
Why three stars? Misfires. This gun is picky about the nails it's fed. The thicker, the better. Unfortunately, as a contractor in a rural area, I'm kinda stuck with what I can get. In most cases it's the "Coallated" brand carried by Lowes. They do alright, but don't slam the magazine carrier against the nails too hard. It'll crunch the nail strip and cause misfires. Never, and I repeat NEVER, run the Hitachi-brand nails through it (can you say nightmare?). I know this sounds stupid, but I've never tried the Bostitch-brand nails. Too much of a cheap bastard I guess.
No matter what the nail you use, only run one strip at a time through it. Two strips at a time is a crap-shoot. The second string tends to ride below the first string and cause a misfire. There's a temporary fix I've found you can do, but I won't suggest it here as it involves modifying a magazine component.
Because of the nail feeding issues I've had, I will say you will not get production out of this gun, compared to others. I keep using mine because the problem is relatively balanced against the good features of this gun (durability, weight, smart trigger, depth adjustment, etc....). That said, a few times a year (as I am now) I find myself shopping for a different brand of gun. I never buy another because they lack the features of this gun.
Stick to runnin heavy galvanized nails one strip (not two!) at a time and you'll love this gun as I do. Then you'll hate it. Then you'll love it. Then you'll hate it....
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good solid nailer, January 9, 2007
By 
Douglas Terry "Doug Terry" (Angleton, Texas United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: BOSTITCH F21PL Round Head 1-1/2-Inch to 3-1/2-Inch Framing Nailer with Positive Placement Tip and Magnesium Housing (Tools & Home Improvement)
This is the first framing nailer I've owned. I owned and used brad nailers previous to this. I've been entirely happy with this nailer. I haven't used it for a big project yet. I'll likely start one in another month. I've used it several times over the 3 or 4 months that I've had it for small project such as adding shelving in a storage building, building a base for a large miter saw and installing a mantle in my daughter's house. It's well made (US made)and has been completely reliable. I pull the trigger and it fully drives the nail. I have not yet used the special nose that allows driving the special, hardened rafter hanger nails but I will use that feature in a project next month. It comes with a bump type trigger but I elected to leave the sequential trigger in place as I feel it's safer to do so. It's easy to use, does what I bought it for very well and I got it at a very reasonable price from Amazon.com.

After nearly a year of using this nailer I am still very pleased with it. I did use it for building a wood patio cover for which I used the hardened rafter hanger nails. It worked very well for this - to the point if I didn't line up the nose in the bracket hole, no problem. The nailer slammed the hardened nail through the metal bracket and into the wood. That's not the safest thing to do and it wasn't intentional. Actually it's very easy to line up the nailer with the holes using the included nose piece for this purpose. This weekend I completed another project using 2 X 12's and nailing some angles that would have been very difficult with a hammer. It worked like a champ. 1/3/08 DLT
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Works great if you can find the nails, November 20, 2009
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This review is from: BOSTITCH F21PL Round Head 1-1/2-Inch to 3-1/2-Inch Framing Nailer with Positive Placement Tip and Magnesium Housing (Tools & Home Improvement)
So far this nailer has worked great. I got a refurbished one several months ago, and I've used it both with the standard tip and the tip for nailing into joist hangers and brackets. Both seem to work great. After nailing thousands of nails, I had one misfire where it fired 2 nails instead of 1. It does seem a little touchy and sometimes will not fire unless you hold it at a different angle. This could possibly be the safety mechanism. I also noticed that it seems to depend on the user. It almost always fired for me, but my neighbor had more of a hard time with it.

The only difficult part about this nailer is finding the nails. The longest galvanized nails you'll probably find at a big box store for this nailer are 3 inch for the normal tip. I couldn't find the metal connector nails for the other tip at any retail store so I had to order them online. I even checked at a specialty fastener store. So if you're planning a project, make sure you order your nails far in advance. I found the cheapest option was to order online through my local hardware store and have them delivered to the store so I avoided the high shipping cost of the nails.

If I was going to add a feature to this nailer it would be to add markings for the depth adjustment on the tip. The depth is adjusted by setting the tip in one of several unmarked notches. So if you have the depth adjustment exactly where you want it, and you remove the tip to change to the metal connector nails, it's difficult to get it back where it was when you reattach the tip. This is more of a nit and doesn't really affect the performance of the nailer.

Overall, I'm satisfied with this nailer.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars nice nailer, July 7, 2008
By 
Roadking (San Antonio, Texas USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: BOSTITCH F21PL Round Head 1-1/2-Inch to 3-1/2-Inch Framing Nailer with Positive Placement Tip and Magnesium Housing (Tools & Home Improvement)
I decided to get one of the refurbished models, and I have been happy with it so far. The price was around $100 cheaper than a new one. The nailer arrived in like-new condition with the metal connector tip and sequencial trigger included. I bought this for jobs around the house, so I cant really compare this to professional nailers, but I have used a Porter Cable frame nailer and I would say that the Bostich performed as well as the PC and is probably 5 pounds lighter. Also, the PC did not have a metal connector option. So far, I have used this nailer to replace about 50 feet of privacy fence. I used 2 3/8 galvanized RH nails using 100 psi, and the gun performed perfectly. The depth adjustment is easy to use and works well. Loading new strips of nails is very easy. My only complaint is that the gun does not come with any kind of case, so I will need to find a tool bag large enough to store this. Overall it seems like a great nailer.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lightweight but has nail issues, January 4, 2007
By 
Amy M. Peterson (Lakeview, Oregon) - See all my reviews
This review is from: BOSTITCH F21PL Round Head 1-1/2-Inch to 3-1/2-Inch Framing Nailer with Positive Placement Tip and Magnesium Housing (Tools & Home Improvement)
We bought this for a home construction project. While we really like how lightweight it is, we had problems with the nails. They have been a bane to our existance since the gun frequently jams up and you have to stop in the middle of your project and unplug it to continue. While that wouldn't be a big deal if you are working on a small project, it is a bummer when you are trying to work at a steady pace on a large construction job.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The do-it-all big dog of common framing nailers won't disappoint, November 23, 2011
This review is from: BOSTITCH F21PL Round Head 1-1/2-Inch to 3-1/2-Inch Framing Nailer with Positive Placement Tip and Magnesium Housing (Tools & Home Improvement)
The decision to purchase the F21PL over all the other choices out there was really quite simple for me. Living in an HVHZ (High Velocity Hurricane Zone) requires a different nailing schedule per the Florida Building Code. You will need to shoot 16D commons for nearly every connection, that means your gun needs to handle 3 1/2"x.162". You will also need a variety of metal connectors and straps. The F21PL does it all, it shoots .162s and up to 2 1/2" metal connector nails. No other gun on the market even attempts to do this. The nailer works great, I've shot a variety of nails for fencing and deck framing as well metal connectors for hanging joists. You will still need to hand nail the 10d common (3"x.148") shear nails in the joist hanger, but being able to shoot 1 1/2" nails into the header saves a huge amount of time and only slightly reduces the load for the hanger. Hurricane straps are a breeze, 10 or 12 nails per strap takes less than a minute and no busted thumbs. Swapping the metal connector tip and regular tip takes just a couple seconds. I use earplugs especially if I'm nailing up against a wall or in a confined area. This is a big powerfull tool and it will make your head ring. Overall this is a great nailer capable of more than any of its competitors.
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