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Deadly nailer

Fixthispleas's picture

I bought a porter cable FR 350 round head framing nailer a few years ago for some home construction and siding jobs.  It has an annoying habit of double nailing. 

A few months ago, a man was on the TV news with horrifying X-rays of a 3" spike in his head.  The newscaster said that he was using a framing nailer that double fired.  The second nail hit the head of the first and sprang back into his check and into his brain.  They showed the nailer:  clearly an FR 350!

The guy got away with a bad headache, some stitches, and a serious shiner.  Then, last week the new had an article about a small kid whose heart was repaired with stem cells extracted from his blood.  He was injured by (guess what) a framing nailer that put a nail into his chest and damaged his heart.

The double firing doesn't look so benign anymore and I'm a little reluctant to use the nailer again.  Does anyone know of a trigger modification or  some technique to surpress the double firing?

If I can't fix the porter cable nailer, I'm going to sell it and spend more this time to get a nailer with a safe trigger like the one on my bostitch roofing nailer (the extra kit that came with the nailer).

(post #121193, reply #1 of 24)

It dangerous. You say deadly.

You don't want to use it anymore because of that.

But you have no problem with selling it to someone else, who might get killed using it ???


It's a small world. Until you have to walk home...

(post #121193, reply #9 of 24)

You would bring that up!  I was schooled mostly by the nuns, and not that you've bought up that consideration, It's fix it or toss it.

Fortunatly, some folks have stated that PC has a single fire kit for the nailer.  Clearly, they recognized that there's a bit of risk there.  I work by myself (with others around) on "this old house" (and farm) so I'm going to get the most conservative single fire trigger that PC offers.

I have other nailers and staplers and I've never had a double fire.  I've Senco brad and finish nailers, a bostitch roofing nailer, and a couple of staplers.  A tool with this kind of force available is clearly a bit dangerous.  However, a bit below the chain saws and even more below the mountaineering skis.

Thanks folks for the advice; I knew this was a good place to start.

(post #121193, reply #11 of 24)

AAll: First nail out of my Paslode double fired. One of them caught my son-in-law in the heel of his Nikes. Missed him, though. After mucking around w/ it for two plus yrs, found out about the single shot trigger fix. Guy at Kenntec Megatool did it free - took about 10 min. Plus, Paslode threw in the new trigger. Much safer system now. Surprised that the bump fire is the default on a framing nailer.


The GlassMasterworks - If it scratches, I etch it!

The GlassMasterworks - If it scratches, I etch it!

(post #121193, reply #13 of 24)

Been framing for 20 plus years.....been using framing nailers almost as long. Just a freindly reminder that those guns are dangerous, rapid or single fire.

I put an 8 penny nail through my thumb this week while in the single fire mode.....too long a story to get careful my brother!

J. D. Reynolds

Home Improvements





(post #121193, reply #14 of 24)

I put an 8 penny nail through my thumb this week while in the single fire mode.....too long a story to get careful my brother

OUCH!,  well it least it wasn't a 16 right?

Too long or to embarrasing :)?

Hope it heals well. 

Worst I've ever done in temrs of shooing m self was a small staple into my palm, dont ask, as you say to long to tell, and that hurt like a mother. can't imagine a nail

KU JayhawkGo Jayhawks

(post #121193, reply #15 of 24)

I've heard someone derfine "insanity" as doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result...maybe that's why I've shot myself 4 times in less than a decade of framing, a 12 every truth it's just dumb, dumb,dumb. In truth, every time was a direct result of lack of sleep thus a lack of focus, I guess proper rest would be the first step in "safety first" 

(post #121193, reply #16 of 24)

   I can live with the danger, and I do not want the manufacturers to offer sequential trip triggers as the only way.  Some guys should just have nothing more dangerous than a tape measure in their hands, leave the speed of bump fire to those of us who can handle it.

  If it's a problem with the PC, then go find the little Taiwanese guy who did it, and flog him.

  They're cheaper for a reason.

(post #121193, reply #17 of 24)

Porter Cable, on their current issue model of the FR350 framing gun, include a "selectable triggering option". A small dial on the trigger that changes the gun between single fire and bump fire modes. This dial is designed so that once a triggering option is selected it is highly unlikely, without the deliberate action of pushing the tiny and recessed knob out and rotating it, that the mode will be accidentally changed.

I like this set up. It would seem to be the best of all possible worlds. Single fire for work off a scaffold or added safety and without need of a tool or changing parts bump fire for the adventurous, or well insured, wanting speed. Easy to change and yet secure in which ever setting you choose.

(post #121193, reply #18 of 24)

Saw a note in the current issue of FHB or JLC (can't remember which) that said that the nailer industry is going to ship the tools with sequential trriggers installed starting this summer.  They expect that a bump trigger will either be shipped in the box or made available.  A few exceptions (going from memory) :  coil nailers, some brad nailers, and heavy staplers.


Do it right, or do it twice.

I'm sorry, I thought you wanted it done the right way.

(post #121193, reply #19 of 24)

This was definetly lack of focus. Had been fighting off a need to visit the "facilities" for about an hour....just one more, just one a rush on "the last nail"....bam! This was one of the more dangerous jobsite accidents Ive been involved in...all of the previous were equally due to lack of focus. Lucky for me, I`m usually very focussed.

J. D. Reynolds

Home Improvements





(post #121193, reply #22 of 24)

Speaking of nailers!

I've got about 12 boxes of Hilti coil nails, 12's and 8's, that fit an RC314B Hilti coil nailer.  It has a blown gasket.  Does anybody have a gasket kit they don't need or a need for the nails?

Be Careful Out There!

Nails (post #121193, reply #23 of 24)

I have a rc314b coil nailer. What do you want for your nails? 

2004 (post #121193, reply #24 of 24)

I don't think he has had them hanging around for 14 years.

(post #121193, reply #12 of 24)

Thats exactly what ran through my mind.

Reason #27 not to purchase used tools.

J. D. Reynolds

Home Improvements





(post #121193, reply #2 of 24)

Call PC, I believe someone on here recently said they have a kit they are willing to send out free to fix the problem.

KU JayhawkGo Jayhawks

(post #121193, reply #3 of 24)

Just got a PC FR350 framer. I haven't had a chance to use it yet so I'm going on what the manual says and what I could find out about the gun on the web.

It, the PC FR350, ships with a new trigger that is easily set to single fire, depress safety tip by placing nailer and pulling trigger, or repeat fire, hold the trigger and the gun fires every time you depress the safety in the nose by seating the gun. I was concerned about this but after reading comments from quite a few users the double fire seems to be caused by people not allowing the gun to recoil. They resist the recoil in repeat fire mode and as soon as the safety is depressed the gun goes of again. A common phrase was that most of the people with these problems are inexperienced users.

Most people said that if you just let the gun recoil instead of fighting it double fires are easy to avoid. Then again, if you wish to be doubly sure, there is a small dial on the trigger, as the unit now ships,that allows an easy change to a single fire mode. If that is not enough safety PC even offers, free of charge, a single fire only trigger that is easy to fit in place of the selective fire one.

(post #121193, reply #6 of 24)

I have to agree with 4LORN1 that double firing is caused by not letting the gun recoil. By attempting to keep the gun against the work, you can't get your finger off the trigger quick enough. The gun does recoil but just enough to reset the bump fire on the safety, before you know it boom boom.

Bump fire or rapid-fire guns should be for sheeting, single fire for framing.

Scott R.

Scott R.

(post #121193, reply #7 of 24)

I have used Hitachi, Paslode, and DeWalt framing nailers, all with bump-fire triggers, and all occasionally double-fire. It basically boils down to knowing your nailer's characteristics and having enough room for the gun to recoil. BTW, the DeWalt nailers come from the factory with a single-fire trigger and instructions on how to retrofit it in the field. I have just gotten myself into a habit of pulling the trigger for each shot unless I'm going at warp speed b/c my crew leader is yelling at me.


-The master of wrap and strap

Jason Pharez Construction

Mobile, Alabama

General Carpentry, Home Repairs, and Remodeling

When quality is your only consideration

(post #121193, reply #4 of 24)

I don't have a PC 350, and I never fired one. I have fired several hundred thousand clipped-head nails from a Bostich N80,  and from  Senco,  Hilti, and currently am using a Devilbiss framing nailer.

In each circumstance (except for the Hilti coil framing nailer), if you seated the nose and then pulled the trigger for a single-fire shot, most times the gun would want to double-fire. The Hilti was the lone exception, due to the fact that near the trigger was a toggle switch that could be positioned "up" or "down," and depending upon the switch location, the gun would single fire or rapid fire. When the toggle selection was on "single-fire" it did just NEVER double-fired.

As for the other previous brands that I each case those nailers came packaged with 2 sets of triggers. One trigger, if installed, allowed single fire only; while the other allowed for rapid-fire. The triggers were different colors so as not to be confusing...rapid fire was (if I remember correctly) a black trigger, and the single-fire was painted grey or silver. our production shop, single fire was too slow...all our guns were equipped with the rapid-fire triggers. Sometimes guys wouldget "brain-fog", or a newbie get confused and they would try to shoot the gun as a single-shooter...that's when trouble would start and the gun would rapid fire 2 to 3 shots and scare the beejesus out of them.

I would suggest that anyone having trouble with a lot of unwanted double-firing should check to see if the right trigger is installed...secondly, they should try the "BUMP-FIRE" method...whereby one depresses the trigger BEFORE seating the tip of the gun into the wood. Again , while holding down the trigger, push the gun downward into the spot you want the nail to be driven. As soon as the nose of the gun bumps into the wood, it fires off a shot. Because you are only bumping the nose and not continually holding the nose down into the wood, only one shot is fired. It takes some getting used to. Hold the nailer approx 1 inch from the surface, line up your shot, now bump it...and BANG...its nailed.

There have been horror stories about guys climbing up a ladder and another workman above holding a nail gun..the ladder climber accidently raises his head into the workman's "gun hand," and because the gun was in bump fire mode, the climber gets shot (because the workman had his finger on the trigger at the time).

I don't know what to tell you except that all tools are dangerous...even when bump firing, we didn't keep our finger on the trigger unless we were in the act of nailing...sorta of like keeping your finger off the trigger of a real gun, and the safety "on" until you are ready to shoot. We never had any accidental shootings due to this type of carelessness.

I would say try  firing your nail gun in a"bump- fire" mode and see if your "double-firing" problem stops. If it still persists and/or if you are uncomfortable using this firing technique, then take it to a reputable dearler/repair shop and have them check it out. If something is truly wrong, I'm sure they can correct it.

One last thing...I agree with Luka....if you have a tool that you feel is too dangerous for your health, then you would be doing someone else a disservice by passing it off on them.



(post #121193, reply #5 of 24)

You are probably aware that one cause of double fire is low pressure is your cut in on .the compressor set to cut in too low. I've had a problem with a 1/2 " crown stapler and by changing the cut in setting solved it

(post #121193, reply #8 of 24)

I've been using a 350 for about 2 years. 

Probably 6 six times over that period, the gun actually put 2 nails down on one stroke.  It usually bends the second nail shank out and jambs the head between the piston and housing. 

Have you had that problem? Or is it usually just the double bump?

(post #121193, reply #10 of 24)

I've had my PC 15 guage nailer do that too, (Fire two nails at the same time)  I'm not sure if it is just slop in the guide area or what but it reall does suck, I've fired thousands of nails from that gun and it has only done it twice.  But one time It split the end of the crown moulding I was putting up, it must have cracked a good 9" with a big ball of crushed nail in the middle of it.  Mankind has never seen such verbal wrath visited upon a lowly tool as that day.

 Oh well, I had to replace the front end of my 12guage nailer when the nail hit something and drove the firing rod down through the guide rail, it took about 100 lbs of force to yank the nailer off the wall and then I looked at it and couldn't see anything wrong with it, (it had actually split the guide rail, and when it retracted the split closed up tight. ) I didn't figure out what had happened until I tore the front end apart. But hey, the part only cost $20.00 . Even a blind hog finds an acorn now and then.


Justus Koshiol

Running Pug Construction

Justus Koshiol

Running Pug Construction

(post #121193, reply #20 of 24)

Had a similar experience with a FR359 about a year and a half ago.  Was holing a stud to a plate for nailing, the nailer recoiled and double fired. Put a 16d trough the plate and into the last joint of the middle finger.  Foryunately my hand was just far enough away from the plate that it entered the finger, hit the bone, and caused a severe sprain as it only dislocated the joint rather than doing more damage.


I took it to the local Porter Cable service center where they put on the single fire trigger for no cost. Aside from the trigger allowing repeat fires, my compressor would not cut in until it got to 80 psi.  The gun would exhibit these problems a lot when the pressure ran to the low side. Since going to a new compressor that kicks back in at 110 psi, the gun never "sees" anything less than 100 psi (or wherever I set it) and the firing is much more consistant.

I like the description from 4Lorn1  about the new FR350 with the ability to select bump or single fire with just a simple adjustment. Makes nailing sheathing better.


(post #121193, reply #21 of 24)

I bought a MxSn890Rh it comes with a anti-double shot mech.. It works quite well  and the gun has many other nice features as well. I can recall it shooting two nails one time. I've had it for a year, for what its worth. Bobby