Questions About 23 Gauge Pin Nailer Features

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Forum topic by DavidNJ posted 01-17-2013 11:15 AM 2703 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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389 posts in 2229 days

01-17-2013 11:15 AM

In an earlier thread everyone who answered thought the 23 gauge nailers were great:

However, deciding on one is proving difficult. Questions:

1) Some nailers don’t have no-mar tips. In some reviews I’ve seen the Porter Cable chastised because its tip blocked the view for precise placement. The Bostitch doesn’t have a tip. Do you use the no-mar tip on your 23 gauge pin nailer?

2) There are lots of different ranges, and some don’t work over their full range. Not counting the GREX, Cadex, etc. models with over 1 3/8” max, the ranges have usually been 1/2”-1” and 5/8” to 1 3/8”. One model is 3/8”-1 3/16”. What is the range of nail used?

3) How is depth normally adjusted? The Porter Cable and $30 NuMax manuals say adjust air pressure. The Bostitch has a lever so small I don’t see how adjustment is accurately made. The Hitachi and Ridgid specify unscrewing and raising or lowering the tip. What works best?

4) In the sub-$120 price range it appears only the Porter Cable has a dry-fire lockout. How important is that?

5) Again in the sub-$120 price range, it appears only the Porter Cable is oil-less. Is that important? I would have thought it would be more important in a tool dedicated to fine detail work than in other tools.



9 replies so far

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 3883 days

#1 posted 01-17-2013 11:24 AM

1) no
2) I use 1” and shorter
3) air pressure
4) dunno
5) no. I don’t think so. I believe oil-less nailers
to be a marketing ploy to match them with oil-less

That said, I have a specialty stapler and it does
not take oil and I assume this is for a specific
engineering reason as it is not a cheap or
mass market item.

View NoLongerHere's profile


893 posts in 2912 days

#2 posted 01-17-2013 01:34 PM

I have a oil-less Senco and only need to use 1” pins.
There is a slide under the magazine holder to adjust the size.
I never need to adjust the pressure.
It doesn’t have a no mar tip but doesn’t need it and it’s very easy to see where you are nailing.

Most of my big guns are oil-less Senco. 16, 18 ga. and crown staplers are porter cable.
I also have a 18 ga. Dewalt which I like alot too. Don’t know if they make a 23 ga.

View DIYaholic's profile (online now)


19739 posts in 2911 days

#3 posted 01-17-2013 01:37 PM

I have the cheapo, HF pin nailer. It has worked well for me. I plan on buying another so I can have multiple length pins ready to go (very affordable at the HF price). Some day I WILL have a higher end model, but not anytime soon.
1) No mar tip seems unnecessary.
2) Depends on (the size of) your projects. ( I would love to get one that max’s out the length, but not yet!)
3) Air Pressure/regulator
4) Seems like a nice feature, but IF you never run out, it isn’t needed. (Toolless jam removal, would be Higher on my list of features.)
5) Ditto Loren! (You don’t want to “over oil” as they say it could effect finishing)

Don’t forget to ALWAYS wear eye protection!!!

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

View slopjock78's profile


70 posts in 2619 days

#4 posted 01-17-2013 02:54 PM

Like DIY, i also have the HF pin nailer. I am not a HF fan, but they have some nice tools for the money. This is one of them.
1) HF does not have no-mar tip and this has never been a problem for me
2) This is the one draw back in my eyes with the HF model. it only shoots 1” and i wish i could go a bit bigger, but it does the job
3) i’ve never found the need to adjust the depth of set
4) no dry fire lock and not really an issue to me. i keep an eye on the pins and know when its time to reload
5) dont have a problem with oiling my guns. the HF needs oiled, so i put oil in it

i plan on getting a nicer grex or similar at some point in the future. but with the very inexpensive HF working very well for me, the grex is not all that high on my list right now…..

View crashn's profile


528 posts in 2701 days

#5 posted 01-17-2013 03:43 PM

I have the Hitachi, it has a no mar tip ( and a spare). Pins are always driven sub-flush (countersunk). No real need to adjust depth.

-- Crashn - the only thing I make more of than sawdust is mistakes

View DavidNJ's profile


389 posts in 2229 days

#6 posted 01-17-2013 06:11 PM

On the no mar tips…the original Grex P630 and Cadex CP23.30 didn’t have a tip. All latter models did. Their video says its for softwoods.

The Bostitch HP118K seems to be a knock-off of the Grex P630: looks similar, both take higher pressures, same range (3/8”-1 3/16”). Both don’t have a no-mar tip.

Does the lack of a no-mar tip cause any problems in pine and other softwoods?

For reference, the Grex P630 is $164, the Grex P635 is $198, and the Cadex CP23.30 doesn’t appear to be available.

View DavidNJ's profile


389 posts in 2229 days

#7 posted 01-17-2013 09:43 PM

Does anyone use pins shorter than 5/8” or 1/2”? Some guns go to 3/8”, I’m wondering if that is necessary. I can imagine some cases where I’d want the depth limited; trim on a chair back for example. However, everyone seems to be lamenting the need for more length, not less.

Grex, arguably the leader in 23ga, has gone to longer pins and given up some of their short pin capability. The P630 was 3/8-1 3/16, the P635 was 3/8-1 3/8. But then the P645 (which added dry lockout) was 1/2-1 3/4 and the P650 was 1/2-2. For comparison, the other guns that go to 1 3/8 typically start at 5/8 and only a few of the 1 3/16” and 1” guns go to 3/8”.

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2137 posts in 3344 days

#8 posted 01-17-2013 09:59 PM

For 23 gauge, I purchased a HF oiled nailer for around 10 bucks. I haven’t had any problems with it and I think it is one of the hidden gems in the cheap tool market.

In answer to your questions -

1. I bought a container of liquid latex, dipped the tip, let it dry, and repeated the process two more times. I shot a pin into a scrap piece of wood and ended up with a non-marring tip I created on my own.

2. Range is up to one inch. Haven’t felt limited by that.

3. I use air pressure to control the depth.

4. it doesn’t have a safety tip to prevent firing until the tip is pressed against something and no dry fire protection. haven’t had an issue with either. I don’t hook the gun up unless I am using it and I make sure it is loaded before I fire.

5. It is oiled, only requires a couple drops, the rest of my nailers are oilless, experienced no issues with either.

I never used pins less than half an inch but haven’t run into applications where I needed really short pins or longer ones.

-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

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389 posts in 2229 days

#9 posted 01-18-2013 03:14 AM

David, the trouble with the oil is not when you do it correctly but when you do it incorrectly and too much gets in. Once it’s in it has to come out somewhere; and that somewhere is no place good.

It sounds like you made some useful enhancements to your HF 23gauge nailer. Did you write a blog about it?

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