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Bostitch Nailer Problems

Jeff's picture

Hi All

I have a Bostitch N88 nail gun.

I was framing an addition today and my Gun jammed.

Now this wasn't unusual as it tends to jam all the time, seems to be a problem.

My partner has the predessor, and his jammed.

I unjammed his (seems the hammer slipped out of it's slot), it worked fine for a while then the hammer wouldn't retract all the way.

Any ideas as to why this happens?

I unjammed my gun ( just remove the nails, get the stuck nail out, and reload), no problem, I do it all the time.

I then loaded my gun with #8's and it always fired 2 nails, not one.

With the other gun not working, I ended up nailing the sheathing on by hand.  What a pain.

What's going on?  Anyone have any suggestions.

I can frame with my gun, but can't sheath.  This is really slowing us down. (besides the pain in the ####.)

Is this N88 a dud, or what?

Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.



(post #121514, reply #1 of 24)

Hi Jeff,

Guess I will start with the most basic question and get it out of the way.

Are you positive you have the right nails?

The N88 RH and the N88 WW use different nails......


N88 RH uses the 21 degree plastic collated and the

N88 WW uses the 28 degree wire collated strips

Are you using genuine Bostitch nails?

I have a N80 coil nailer that doesn't like generic nails much.

And as far as the nails jamming, the things to check for are;

wrong size fasteners

worn driver channel

bent fasteners

chipped driver face

loose screws attaching the magazine

This probably wasn't much help, just some possible problems.


(post #121514, reply #2 of 24)


Actually, this was very helpful.

As for the older unit, I'm sure the drive hammer channel is worn.

As to my new N88, I'm pretty sure it's the RH model.

Funny thing is the nails fit both units and have a wire fastener holding them together, not plastic.

Can the fasteners be had in both wire and plastic?

The nails are true Bostitch from my supplier.

But, I think I need to look closer at them.

Thank you



(post #121514, reply #3 of 24)

Hi Jeff,

I'm answering with knowledge from the Bostitch website.

I use the coil nailer and don't have a stick nailer.

But, I am thinking about getting one.
is the Bostitch nail and nailer page

It looks like the the difference between the plastic and the wire is the angle of the nails. And they shouldn't be interchangeable.

If you will click on one of the pictures of the nails and then pick one from the next page it will show which guns they work in.

Let me know what you find out, K? the N88 RH is the gun I was thinking about getting. It uses the same nails as the Porter Cable that my partner has.

(post #121514, reply #4 of 24)

Hi again

I have the RH Model.

Today I found the instruction book and it says to use the Plastic collated nails.

Sure enough, I'm using the wrong ones.

Works great with the correct nails (framing).

My partner is picking up a box tonight for the sheithing (6-D) and we'll try it tomarrow.

I suspect the plastic makes them fit properly and hope that works.

Will let you know what happens.



(post #121514, reply #5 of 24)

Hi Jeff,

Well, what's the word on the nailer?

Are you happy with it, now that you have the nails all lined out?

(post #121514, reply #6 of 24)


Your not gonna believe this.

I like the nailer, but:

No one stocks the plastic collated nails for it locally.

Everyone stocks the clipped, wire collated nails for the WW model, and no-one stocks the round head, plastic collated.

I have to mail-order the nails (tho, I am gonna run past a place Monday that sells them and will check) to find any sort of stock.

I figure that if this turns into a regular problem, I might either sell the unit and buy a WW version, or change the magazine out for the WW version.

It will fire the wire collated nails for the RH gun without too many jams so I have decided that the gun is overall pretty good.

A little stiff on the contact trigger that I hope loosens up.

Give me a week to get the nails and I'll get back to you on more thoughts.



(post #121514, reply #7 of 24)

I ran into that special order thing with one of my Bostitch staplers, but I have done biz with a local yard for years and just asked(told) them to keep a couple of boxes on hand.

It worked for me.

oh, nails for the following guns will work in the N88

maybe you can find them locally.

DeWalt: D51845

DuoFast: CN350B (.113-.148)

Hitachi: NR83A (2-3-1/4.113-.148), NR90AC (.113-.162)

Makita: AN922 (.113-148), AN8300 (2-3-1/4 .113-.131)

Porter Cable: FR350 (.113-.148), FR3

(post #121514, reply #8 of 24)


Yeah, saw they had crossovers, but had no list with me.

I figured the same with my local supplier, they'll usually keep something on hand for me if I ask.

They were surprised to discover a difference, thought they were the same like me.

WIll let you know what happens.



(post #121514, reply #9 of 24)

I use senco nails in my bostick

(post #121514, reply #10 of 24)

That's good to know.

Thank you


(post #121514, reply #11 of 24)

I have three boxes of nails for the Bostich, two boxes of metal connector nails from Bostich, and one box of 3 inchers from Hatachi. 

The Hatachi nails jam when there are only 2-3 left in the stick, almost every time.  Maybe it's a bad batch, but I have to toss the last couple away from every stick.  And they are forever coming loose from the plastic.  And I baby that gun; I ease the magazine release back and forth when reloading so the plastic won't take a hit, rest it on a cloth and cover it when not in use.  Can't find Bostich nails here, so I'm stuck buying with what works, only turns out it doesn't.

On the plus side, I haven't had a single problem with the metal connector nails from Bostich.


I never met a tool I didn't like!

"I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul."  Invictus, by Henley.

(post #121514, reply #12 of 24)


Good to know, I'll stay away from the Hitachi nails if I find them.

I hope to have more info by tonight, will let you know.




(post #121514, reply #13 of 24)

Hi all

Found nails at one of my suppliers today.

Not Bostitch.

Didn't get to try them today as it decided to rain (again and again.)

I won't be on that job till Wednesday so nothing else to report.




(post #121514, reply #14 of 24)

Hi Jeff,

Glad you found some nails for the gun. I was thinking about it, another thought would be Grip Rite nails.

If you are not familiar, they are a "name Brand" generic nail. They are distributed by Prime Source and should be available nation wide.

I'll be waiting for the report on the nailer. Really leaning towards it as my newest "toy".


(post #121514, reply #15 of 24)

Hi Bee

I got caught up in some family emergencies for a few days, so little to report today.

Hopefully I'll get back to it Friday.

Fortunitly, customer is away and won't notice me missing for a few days.

The nails were Grip Rite I believe.

Over all, so far I like the nailer, tho feels kind of big in my hands (and I'm a big guy at 6' 3"), and haven't got the depth adjustment down pat yet.

I'll get back to you as soon as I shoot some more nails,



(post #121514, reply #16 of 24)

Good luck on the depth control.  I've noticed it (the gun) is sensitive to air pressure.  Countersinks them when the compressor hits its high, but at lower pressure the nails are just flush.  The standard tip can be racheted in or out using the notches, but I'd sure hate to have to buy a newer (read, better) compressor to accomodate the nailer.  Though the nailer is worth two of the air compressors I have to power the gun.


I never met a tool I didn't like!

"I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul."  Invictus, by Henley.

(post #121514, reply #17 of 24)


 I too have a Bostich N88ww 

  I had the devils own time getting the first box fired..   What I found that worked for me was to spray the bejesus out of the nail slide and head with WD40  (yes I know ya ain't supposed to)  and then bought a box of genaric nails. when  I switched back to bostich nails it was so greatfull it never jammed again!

  after that I really haven't had it jam on me.. ever.. knock wood ...ever...

(post #121514, reply #18 of 24)


Had to adjust the air pressure on the old gun for depth, so I'm used to that.

I was still adjusting it for the 88 and will probably do so untill I get the head set right.



I can't find the Bostitch nails locally only generic, so I'll see how that goes.

I may end up having my supplier order the Bostitch nails if the generic nails still give me problems.

I'll give the WD40 a shot also.

Any good advice on where to mail order the nails if necessary?


Will report back on my findings as soon as I know more.

Off to my Parent-in-Laws today to help them (don't ask, but I have a few more gray hairs from them.)



(post #121514, reply #19 of 24)

I buy the genaric nails from when they offer free frieght,  I buy the Bostich nails from Homedepot..

  nails from a N79ww fit as do N100s, N86s & N80sb

  the homedepot SKU is S8D   for 8 penny smooth shank 2 1/2 inch with a .120 shank

   regarding setting the nail depth..

  it's too simple

  about 2 1/2 inch up from the tip of the gun (the part that shoots out the nail)   on the left side (the side you can see the nails from)  there is a square button that you push in  and then slde the depth setting up and down.  takes about ten seconds once you know wjhere it is..

(post #121514, reply #21 of 24)


Believe it or not, the selection at the Home Depot (1hr away) was poor.

Almost no selection at all.

Amazon didn't list the Mfg of the nails when I looked.




Funny, around here, wire collated is more common then plastic.

And I know the feeling when running around for stuff.




(post #121514, reply #20 of 24)

Bostich nails are hard to find.

Went today to White Cap (local supplier) to get 4 items.

Box of nails for Bostich N64C, wire collated nails for sheathing. No got. Got no wire collated nails. Go away please.

Box of inch & a half staples for DuoFast 1748 stapler. No got, got squat for staples at all in fact.

Wandered around the store looking at stuff I didn't need and resisted buying any of it. They do have a lot of stuff, but not what I needed.

Left there, went to Orco Supply. No wire collated nails at all. Go away please.

Did get some staples, Senco P15BAB inch & quarter, no inch & half. Sorry.

Got some 10' lengths of 1/2" allthread, but no, we don't have any 1/2" coupling nuts, sorry.

What else you need?

Whaddya got?

Got the "Get rid of it" pile right here sitting on this little scaffolding at the end of the counter.

Bunch of cement tools, don't need those. Bosch Bulldog, got one, don't need another.

Well, how bout the scaffolding itself, only $60ºº.

Nice aluminum scaffolding, about 4' tall by 4' long made by Werner. Nice looking little thing, and only $60. Why not, can't buy anything I want, might as well get something while I'm here even if I don't really need it. One of these things,

Werner 3954 Project Buddy Mobile Work Platform

List Price:


You Save:
$22.73 ( 9%)


Go home, check staples to see if they really fit, Gun uses 15/16" crown staples, Senco calls these 1". But, they do fit. OK, this is good anyway. Still got no nails, but at least I'm covered with staples. Brain fart, go look at code book, need inch and a half staples for sheathing. Damn, that's what I went to get, why did I buy these.

Call Orco, order the right staples, couple days probably.

Shudda stayed home instead of using up my new expensive gasoline. Filled the truck on the way up there.

 Damn, $2ºº a gallon for regular.

Joe H 

Edited 8/22/2003 1:22:18 AM ET by JoeH

(post #121514, reply #22 of 24)

Some Sears hardware stores are dumping much of their store stock, in order to make floor space for incoming home appliances.  Last week I saw many boxes on these nails at great prices.  And to boot, if its an open or damaged box the store manager will knock off some more.

Make him an offer

(post #121514, reply #23 of 24)

I special order the bostich plastic-collated nails from Home Depot.  It only takes about 5 days to get them in - plenty of time for me.  Just get the bostich part numbers from the their website for the nails you want and take them to the special order counter.




(post #121514, reply #24 of 24)

Hi all

Sorry to not get back to you on the outcome.

Between emergencies and rain, really haven't had a chance to run the N88 thru its paces for a few full days.

Seems that the generic nails work fine and so far I no longer have nailer problems.

If the weather would stay dry long enough, I can give a real good assessment of how the Bostitch N88 works and feels.

My local yard will be happy to order the nails from Bostitch if the generic ones give any problem, they say 2 weeks time.  (Home Depot said 10 days to 2 weeks on special order, but then won't stock for me.)

I had originally planned to use the same nails as my partners unit, and we were all surprised to find that they were different (was just trying to keep only one style of nail in stock for both of us.)  Oh well, so much for best laid plans.

If I really like the gun, I might try to swap for the WW model so we do use the same nails.  Just depends on how often it becomes a problem.

Anyway, will give a full report on how the gun works as soon as I can.

Thanks all