Metabo HPT NR83A5 Pneumatic Framing Nailer

PTR Review
  • Pro Review 9.0

Following a fluke the first time around, we gave Hitachi's new flagship nailer a second shot - and it makes the most of it with outstanding performance.

Overall Score 9.0 (out of 10)

There are a lot of solid framing nailers on the job, but Metabo HPT models have been a tradesman’s favorite. Reliable, low-maintenance, and powerful, the NR83 and the NR90 models have built more trusses, windows, sub-floors, roofs, and all other types of framing than anyone can count. Both the company and its customers have been reluctant to change a good formula. So Metabo HPT returned to the popular NR83 platform but upgraded the trigger’s actuation options. The result is the Hitachi A5 series nailers. We tested the Metabo HPT NR83A5 Pneumatic Framing Nailer—which adds a depth of drive adjustment to the NR83A5(S) nailer.

UPDATE: In the following review, you’ll see that we had a couple of issues with inconsistent depth-of-drive (leaving nails proud often) and the nail stick jams in the magazine. Well, I got a call from Metabo HPT’s product manager less than 12 hours after the review originally published. It was the first time Metabo HPT had heard of these issues with their new flagship nail gun and they immediately sent out a replacement. Apparently, our first gun must have been a lemon—it happens to the best manufacturers now and then. The new gun worked flawlessly.

Hitachi NR83A5 Framing Nailer Top Features

Magazine and Fasteners

When I say that Metabo HPT maintained the original design, I mean it. The new NR83A5 shares all of the same internal parts as the original NR83. That means parts are battle-tested, readily available, and familiar to the repairman (if that’s ever necessary). Importantly, however, there are no composite/plastic parts on the new version as we found on the old one.

The Metabo HPT NR83A5 Pneumatic Framing Nailer fires 2- to 3-1/4-inch plastic strip collated nails from 0.113 to 0.131 inches in diameter. Its industrial steel magazine’s angle is 21 degrees – about mid-range as magazine angles go, and certainly sufficient for framing.

Editor’s Note: Check out our best framing nailer article to see our top picks.


Now, for the defining upgrade to the original design: the trigger that can switch between single actuation and bump fire. Metabo HPT’s patented Selective Actuation design allows the trigger, in single actuation mode by default, to change bump fire mode by removing the Lock Pin and sliding the change rod forward.

It’s important to note the Lock Pin comes factory installed to keep the trigger in single actuation mode by default – but the user can throw it out after it’s removed. At first, I worried that I’d have to keep track of this tiny pin in order to return the trigger to single actuation after removing for bump fire, but that’s not the case. Simply moving the change rod toggles the actuation type.

Hitachi NR83A5 Pneumatic Framing Nailer

Cylinder and Steel Tip

The Metabo HPT NR83A5 Pneumatic Framing Nailer – as well as the other A5 series nailers – features a drop-sleeve cylinder valve drive system. It’s designed to fire and “recharge” quickly and generate a lot of force relative to the air pressure. The cylinder valve drive has just three moving parts and is self-cleaning, which accounts for the low maintenance reputation of the original NR83 design.

The claw tip nose is hardened steel – great for durability. It’s especially useful for toenailing accuracy and general safety.

Hitachi NR83A5 Pneumatic Framing Nailer

Other Notable Features

Metabo HPT included a factory-installed 1/4-inch inlet, an ambidextrous rafter hook, and a rubber grip. The tool-less depth of drive – the distinguishing feature between the NR83A5 and the NR83A5(S) models – is easily accessible on top of the gun behind the nose. The whole package weighs in at a very light 8.8 pounds or 9.1 with the rafter hook attached. You’ve heard other reviewers mention that a great deal of a nailer’s ease of use is its weight so that is an auspicious start for Metabo HPT. The gun comes with safety glasses and is backed by Hitachi’s 5-year tool warranty.

Hitachi NR83A5 Framing Nailer Performance

Firing On All Cylinder

We had the Metabo HPT NR83A5 Pneumatic Framing Nailer all over the Central Florida area. We’re always blessed to have work – but there’s an exceptional amount of work to do in the wake of Hurricane Irma. Incidentally, for that reason there’s a shortage of small dumpsters, so I’ve had to bring in 30-cubit yard rolloffs even for small jobs!

UPDATE: As mentioned above, the first gun intermittently left nails proud but the replacement gun drives a consistent depth without any issues.

In any event, Metabo HPT has always been known for its nailers’ comfortable ergonomics, and the NR83A5 is no different. It’s super light, maneuverable, and comfortable. You can do a lot of work with it and have some energy left to drive home. We found that the gun intermittently left nails 1/4-inch proud, which is a little disappointing. This gun has the chops to drive every nail, so hammering one in every so often is a pain.

I like the bump fire feature a lot. The jobs for which this nailer requires less finesse than finish work. You can pull the trigger and work efficiently by just bumping the nose against the work. The claw tip bites in nicely for toenailing. And if you wanted to switch back to single actuation, it’s simple to move the trigger’s change rod.

There’s no adjustable exhaust but that’s no big deal at all. For framers, the exhaust is usually pointed away from your face. It’s not like a lot of finish nailers that can blow dust and dirt into your eyes. There’s also no swivel on the air inlet but that’s also OK. As Jeff Crisp recently pointed out with the Senco FinishPro 30XP, a swivel air inlet is another potential point of failure or air leak!

Getting Bunched Up

For as solid as this nailer is, we had chronic issues when loading the magazine. It worked fine with one rack of nails, but the problem appeared with two racks in the magazine. Quite often when we loaded a new strip with several nails left in the first rack, we’d release the ribbon spring and there’d be a nail pileup in the magazine. You can see the issues in the photos. Perhaps the ribbon spring tension is too high? Or there’s too much play in the magazine’s channel? It doesn’t take too long to fix, but it makes the Metabo HPT NR83A5 Pneumatic Framing Nailer less user-friendly. It’s a bit of a bummer because this gun is so easy to work with otherwise.

UPDATE: The jamming issue isn’t present in the new nailer they sent. So far, I haven’t had a single jam on this one.

The Bottom Line

Metabo HPT (formerly Hitachi) built the NR83A5 on the trusty NR83 platform but upgraded the gun to exclude plastic parts and give the trigger an actuation option between single and bump. The old and new platforms even have interchangeable parts – you have to stick with what works, right?

We’ve seen Metabo HPT hit several home runs recently and the replacement NR83A5 feels like another one. The intermittent proud nails and magazine jams we experienced initially seem to be a fluke, and Metabo HPT’s excellent customer service quickly replaced it with a gun that worked without a hiccup. It has excellent ergonomics and is exceptionally lightweight. And, as we found out, a company that quickly addresses any performance issues that pop up. That’s impressive.

Metabo HPT NR83A5 Pneumatic Framing Nailer Features

  • Cylinder valve drive system for rapid response and increased durability
  • Selective actuation on trigger allows for either sequential or contact nailing
  • Rafter hook is included for convenience on the jobsite
  • Tool-less depth of drive adjustment for improved control and flexibility when fastening into various types of wood
  • Equipped with an industrial 2-piece magazine that can withstand jobsite abuse
  • Accepts two strips of nails at a time and locking feeder system makes replenishments quick and easy
  • Open nose design for easy extraction of a jammed nail
  • Ergonomic non-slip rubber grip on handle helps maintain a secure hold and comfort during use
  • Hardened claw tip resists wear on the nose and minimizes slippage when driving at an angle or “toe-nailing”
  • 8.8 lbs (or 9.1 lbs if the rafter hook is installed) lightweight and well balanced for easy maneuverability

Metabo HPT NR83A5 Pneumatic Framing Nailer Specifications

  • Fastener Type: Full Round Head, Plastic Strip Collation
  • Magazine Angle: 21 Degree
  • Fastener Length Capacity: 2- to 3-1/4 inches
  • Fastener Diameter Range: .113 to .131 inches
  • Magazine Capacity: 64
  • Magazine Loading: Top
  • Fitting: 1/4″ Industrial
  • Operating Pressure: 70-120 PSI
  • Jam Clearing: Open Nose
  • Depth Setting: Tool-Less
  • Actuation Selective: (Sequential/Contact)
  • L x W x H: 21-13/16 x 4-1/4  x 13-3/8 inches
  • Weight w/o Hook: 8.8 pounds
  • Weight w/ Hook: 9.1 pounds
  • Price: $289

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