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Discussion Starter #1
I could have sworn back in the day you needed to be licensed to have or run a gun powder nail driver. For years this DIY-er always thought i would do something really dangerous with them so i've labored with lags and tap cons.

Now right in the middle of Home Depot theyre selling Ram Sets (or whatever you want to call them) for like 20 bucks.

Is it time for me to embrace the gun powder? Is there any surface they WONT drive in to? The last basement job i helped on i took a masonry nail and went to drive it into the concrete floor with a SLEDGE HAMMER and the masonry nail BENT 90 DEGREES and barely nicked the concrete floor. Am i to believe that a Ram Set would have driven the nail down that a sledge hammer couldn't?

I have a nightmare about hitting that ram set and having a nail come flying back up and impaling someone or taking an eye out.

Would someone like to give me a brief pros and cons of using the gun powder? (besides the speed). What scenario would you NOT use the gun?

Muchas Gracias.
 

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Home depot and other box stores have sold powder actuated guns for years. My grandpa got one from menards when I was a kid. I do believe that there is a license for those that use them everyday but don't believe it's required for the diy'ers. Think it's more of a company safety policy. I have one and use it for concrete. It has it's uses and disadvantages also. Depending on the hardness of the concrete it can blow out the concrete, that is when I use the tapcons. I wouldn't get the 20 dollar one that you hit with a hammer, I would spend a little more money and get the one with a trigger and looks like a gun. They are nicer to use and you can lean into them with both hands and body weight and not have to swing a hammer. In that way they are safer than the ones you have to hit with a hammer.
 

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Concrete & Masonry
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I believe you only need a license if you use them commercially, & possibly only if they are the semi-auto ones. I believe this is a rule per OSHA. Powers now makes a CO2, battery operated nail gun, much like a Paslode Impulse gun, but for masonry nails. I believe the big selling point was that they where safer to use & did not require licensing thru OSHA to operate on a jobsite. They are preaty bulky, but they hold about 50 nails & operate quite a bit faster than any powder gun I ever used. The only real downside was the price, I think I paid about $800 for the gun about 3 years ago!:(
 

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DIY Hack
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yea, OSHA requires all users to be licensed for the specific make and model you are using on a commercial job. its really a joke, especially since most of the guns are simply clones of each other anyway, and most of the things you learn in the "class" can be applied to just about every PAT on the market, regardless of make or model. It's even more of a joke now, since most of the manufacturers of the tool offer their training and licensing online, with no way to verify the person taking the test is the same person who will be using the tool. At least the training and licensing is free to the enduser!!

Hilti also makes a gas tool. it's BIG bucks, but soooo much nicer than the Powers gun
 

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Tool Geek
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Hilti also makes a gas tool. it's BIG bucks, but soooo much nicer than the Powers gun
Is it the HILTI GX 100?
Here is one on ebay for @$500:
http://cgi.ebay.com/Hilti-GX100-Gas...E-PERFECT_W0QQitemZ270307849600QQcmdZViewItem



Pneumatic T-Nailers have also been around for quite a while They are not as powerful as Powder guns, but for for shorter fasteners like
1-1/4"they are fine. Grex makes a good T-Nailer for $250. Note read the proviso on longer 2-1/2" Nails.
http://www.nailgundepot.com/shop/catalog/Grex_2564_Concrete_TNailer_5_8_to_21_2-p-26762.html


I have a real cheapie 13 gauge T-Nailer from HF that I found will NOT work very well on a 1/4" air hose. (much better with a short 3/8" air hose)
http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=97512
.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
we've thread drifted a little bit, this is not about pneumatic nailers. This is about driving nails into concrete by using the "hammer on the powder cap" tool method.

Is there some materials it WONT go through? In my example with the sledge hammer if i didnt even scratch the concrete floor with a masonry nail and a sledge hammer what would have happened if i used the home depot powder cap and a hammer? Would it have shot in there or some flying back at me?
 

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Efficiency and safety of a PAT (Powder Activated Tool)

Ramset used to market one with Three different strengths for different materials. One thing is certain. They're not to be driven through "soft" materials. It's a no brainer, really. But it has happened in the past. Also, in Cinder Block it's extremely important to avoid shooting through the hollow part. Then you will surely "Lose" it. :furious::no::drink:Don't Drink and drive!!!
 

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Tool Geek
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Is it time for me to embrace the gun powder?
Every day there are multi thousands of Connectors driven into concrete with Powder,or Gas,or Pneumatic actuated tools. In comparison there are very few hand drives used and these are almost all in the DIY field. The reason being the labor cost.

The real question to me is between Powder > Gas/Pneumatic
Hand drive masonry nails are mainly out of the commercial picture but still good for DIY or specialized commercial applications.

As I see it the main disadvantage of Powder over Gas/Pneumatic is the entire powder inventory needed for varying length + the hardness of the concrete.
http://www.ramset.com/loads_chart.asp

Other disadvantages are that Powder tools are slower than Gas/Pneumatic tools and then there are the commercial licensing requirements.

Here are the Ramset Powder tools:
http://www.ramset.com/ramset__pwdr_intro.asp

And the Ramset GAS tools:
http://www.ramset.com/ramset_gas_intro.asp
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Builder and Remodeler
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The longer concrete sets, the harder it gets. If there is any age to it I doubt the 20 dollar hits it with the hammer one would drive it all the way. They only hold a medium blank where the more expensive guns hold stronger blanks.

If it is less than say 20 nails, then just get some plain old fashion cut nails or tapcons.
 

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WindowGuy...YES embrace them...I have the one of the strike with hammer models by remmington...on my second one.

As others have mentioned...they may or may not work depending on the material hardness. The only way to know is to buy the loads and nails and give it a whirl. There's several combinations of load color to nail length that will help narrow down your options. Generally I lean toward the highest load for the length of nail I'm using. I have not used it to nail into steel plate...something to try down the road tho...

I've used it to nail the sole plate in basement walls...by the time you get your bit chucked and drill your first hole for the tapcon, I'll be done an moving on to another task. There was another time that the old concrete was so hard that it just blew it out and left an ugly divot.

Get one and try it...use safety glasses and ear protection...and as long as you treat the gun with respect, keep it perpendicular to the concrete, you'll get along fine.

(In addition you get the bonus of smelling fresh gun powder! DM knows what I'm talking about...)
 

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General Contractor
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To answer your question yes they will drive nails into the slab. Read the directions and use the appropriate charge and nail for the job. I would spend a little more and invest in one of the trigger style ramsets. Tap-cons have their uses but are expensive and time consuming. I like cut nails for installing bucks as they tend to pull them tighter. I don't generally have a problem driving cut nails by hand into a slab or anything else but I have a lot of experience swinging a hammer. Generally, I use a 28 oz framing hammer to drive them.

I have had ramsets, cut nails, and tap cons all blow out concrete on occasion. Residential pours are not the same as commercial pours and do on occasion have weak spots. I feel the ramset is a real time saver on big jobs and if you can't drive cut nails it is more cost effective than tap cons.

Yes if you are working proffesionaly you do have to have an operators license to use the gun. It is rarely enforced unless OSHA is known to be in the area. I won't allow guys on my sites to use them if the dont have the card but that is because as a GC I am liable in the eyes of OSHA not the guy operating the gun. I don't want or need any violations unwillfull or otherwise.

I wouldn't use the gun if you are uncomfortable using it. I never use them on block walls. I prefer not to use them on solid pour walls as well. Make sure you wear hearing and eye protection at the very least. Hardhat is up to you. It never hurts to protect yourself as much as possible. I've seen guys get shot by pnuematic guns from accross a house when a nail hit a week spot in the wood. Obviously there is some risk with a ramset blowing through a block wall.
 

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To answer your question yes they will drive nails into the slab. Read the directions and use the appropriate charge and nail for the job. I would spend a little more and invest in one of the trigger style ramsets. Tap-cons have their uses but are expensive and time consuming. I like cut nails for installing bucks as they tend to pull them tighter. I don't generally have a problem driving cut nails by hand into a slab or anything else but I have a lot of experience swinging a hammer. Generally, I use a 28 oz framing hammer to drive them.

I have had ramsets, cut nails, and tap cons all blow out concrete on occasion. Residential pours are not the same as commercial pours and do on occasion have weak spots. I feel the ramset is a real time saver on big jobs and if you can't drive cut nails it is more cost effective than tap cons.

Yes if you are working proffesionaly you do have to have an operators license to use the gun. It is rarely enforced unless OSHA is known to be in the area. I won't allow guys on my sites to use them if the dont have the card but that is because as a GC I am liable in the eyes of OSHA not the guy operating the gun. I don't want or need any violations unwillfull or otherwise.

I wouldn't use the gun if you are uncomfortable using it. I never use them on block walls. I prefer not to use them on solid pour walls as well. Make sure you wear hearing and eye protection at the very least. Hardhat is up to you. It never hurts to protect yourself as much as possible. I've seen guys get shot by pnuematic guns from accross a house when a nail hit a week spot in the wood. [Obviously there is some risk with a ramset blowing through a block wall.]
The risk (when using a Ramset on a [cinder] Block wall can be significantly reduced by a) using the RIGHT charge; b) NOT shooting through the HOLLOW space inside the block. :yes::no::drink:Don't Drink and Drive!!!
 

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The risk (when using a Ramset on a [cinder] Block wall can be significantly reduced by a) using the RIGHT charge; b) NOT shooting through the HOLLOW space inside the block. :yes::no::drink:Don't Drink and Drive!!!
You are correct it can be reduced, however it can not be eliminated. I'm sure you've noticed there are always charges that are stronger or weaker than they are supposed to be. Whether you are using a ramset, tapcon, or cutnail you should always nail into the grout line.
 

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I used the Ramset trigger style to secure my soleplates to the concrete floor in my basement. It worked like a dream. On occasion I would hit a spot where the nail wouldn't get totally driven. i just put another shot in it and hit it again and it went down.

Personally, I feel like unless you do something really stupid like put it on your foot and squeeze it is a relatively safe tool. You have to apply pressure to get it to shoot. Definitely use glasses and hearing protection. Otherwise hold it straight up, apply pressure and enjoy the smell. I agree that i would not use it on block walls
 
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