Our last head-to-head review of stick nailers was for what we were calling lightweight models, ones that weighed less than 8.0 pounds. The lightest tool in that test weighed 7.34 pounds. According to Paslode, their F325R weighs 5.9 pounds, making it almost a pound-and-a-half lighter than the next lightest standard-pressure model currently available. That’s an incredible difference.
When I first heard what the tool weighed I assumed it was a high-pressure model (like the 500 psi tools from Max) because high pressure allows small light guns to do the work of bigger heavier models. But that’s not the case; this gun operates at 90-120 psi.
The short magazine holds one strip of nails instead of the usual two. This is not a bug; it’s a feature. The compact framer was designed with remodelers in mind, and for them, the inconvenience of having to load more frequently should be offset by the gun’s ability to fit places standard models won’t go.
I asked a Paslode product manager how they managed to cut so much weight off a tool that drives the same fasteners as their full-size guns. He said shortening the magazine saved weight as did making the body, cap, and end cap out of magnesium—which is 34% lighter than the aluminum used in most gun bodies. They shaved some weight in other places, but most of it came from the magazine and housing.
Like many newer model framing guns, it’s short enough top-to-bottom to be used sideways between 16 inch O.C. framing. And it’s taller than it is long. The only other short-magazine stick gun I know of is a 5.8-pound high-pressure model from Max. It's probably a great tool, but it costs upwards of $500 and requires the use of a $1,600 compressor so not many contractors can afford it. Paslode’s new framer uses a regular compressor and is priced in line with standard framing guns.
My take on this tool? If it performs as well as other Paslode guns, then its light weight and compact size should make it very appealing to remodelers. Production framers will be put off by the length of its magazine and need to reload twice as often. Though some of them may find use for it as a niche tool—the gun to use when the regular one won’t fit and they don’t feel like using a palm nailer.
When I look at this tool it’s hard not to wonder why someone didn’t think of it before. Carpenters have always owned different size hammers and different size drills—why wouldn’t they also own different size framing guns?
Paslode F325R Specs
Dimensions (HxWxL): 12.9” x 4.3” x 12.3”
Weight (w/o air fitting): 5.9 pounds
Fasteners: 30-degree; paper collated
Fastener diameter: .113 to.131 inches
Fastener length: 2 to 3 1/4 inches
Magazine: holds one strip (up to 44 nails)
Features: simple reversible rafter hook; dry fire lockout; adjustable depth-of-drive
Operating pressure: 90-120 psi
Country of origin: Assembled in the USA with foreign and domestic components
Suggested pricing: $269
Available: May 2015