A few months back Hitachi sent me one of their new hardware nailers, the NR38AK. Our crew had no trouble putting the gun to work; we’re in earthquake country and with the amount of hardware we have to install there is no way we’d nail it by hand.
The NR38AK is very light; according to the manufacturer it weighs less than 5 pounds. It is also quite small so it will fit anywhere it needs to go. We’ve learned to shoot as much hardware as possible before we lose access to it. With this gun and a palm nailer there’s no hardware that can’t be fastened.
The gun holds one strip of 1 1/2-inch fasteners—which how Hitachi was able to make it so small, but it also means reloading more often than would be necessary with a longer magazine. The adjustable exhaust cap is very handy. With other guns—that don’t have this feature—seem to always blow dust in my face. Today I aimed it down at my hand so I could shoot Simpson MASAP mudsill anchors without kicking up dust.
When the magazine is empty the gun won’t shoot, a useful feature that prevents you from deforming the hardware by dry-firing against it. The grip is covered with thick rubber and seems more durable than those on some other brands of gun.
The NR38AK reminds me of the Senco JositPro 150 we reviewed in 2012. In fact, the guns are nearly identical. What changes there were improved the new gun. The magazine on the Hitachi feels very stout and is of a higher quality than the one on the Senco. Both tools have a sliding nosepiece that must be retracted to expose the tip of the nail so it can be inserted in the hardware. Senco’s slides back and forth on its own and if we point the gun down the nosepiece covers enough of nail that it’s hard to locate the hole in the hardware. Hitachi’s nosepiece has a spring that holds it back from the tip of the nail, making it easier to see what you’re doing.
The Hitachi gun does not include a belt hook. This would have bothered me in the past but now I have a Pneuhook so it’s easy to put a good hook on any gun I’m using. I highly recommend this gun to anyone who has to nail a lot of framing hardware with 1 1/2-inch nails. It won’t shoot longer nails, but really, 2 1/2-inch hardware nails are not that common. With an NR38AK you’ll be able to fasten most of the hardware on the decks and homes you frame.
Fastener type: Strap-Tite; paper collated
Fastener length: 1 1/2 inches only
Fastener diameter: .131 and .148 inches
Magazine capacity: 29 nails
Dimensions: 12 3/8 inches long; 10 3/8 inches tall
Weight: 4.6 pounds
Country of origin: Taiwan