The Ridgid R350RHE framing nailer is a round head framing nailer made for serious framers who don’t want a lot of bells and whistles—just the features that make framing a little easier and more convenient.
I liken this 7 pound nail gun to a great economy car, complete with power steering and door locks, but without heated seats. Those stupid seat warmers usually end up breaking down eventually, and it costs a fortune to get them fixed. Besides, real men don’t need seat warmers, right?
Ridgid R350RHE Advanced Basics
My dad had a great philosophy when it came to “extras” in just about any product, from cars to power tools: “The more extras you get, the more there is to break down”. That outlook makes a lot of sense, especially if your goal is simply to get more work done—more efficiently—during the course of your day. Ridgid has done an excellent job of adding features that provide real benefits to the end-user without going overboard.
While the Ridgid R350HE nailer takes full advantage of modern tech to create a lighter-weight, more efficient tool, it doesn’t overdo anything. They call their feature set “Fasten Edge Technology.”
Ridgid R350RHE First Impressions
When you open the box, you are greeted by a studly piece of machinery. The design looks aggressive and sleek at the same time. When you pull it out of the box, the first thing you notice different about the Ridgid R350RHE is how much lighter it feels compared to other framers in its class. The benefit is from the magic of Mg. For those of us who skipped science class on a regular basis, that’s the sign for Magnesium—the eighth most abundant element in the earth’s crust; the fourth most common element in the Earth as a whole; and the most common element in the body of this tool. Because it has only 2/3 the density of aluminum, the tool weighs in at around 7 pounds. That’s a full pound lighter than similar nailers This really makes a difference when you’re using it all day.
Obviously, the first challenge when it comes to a nail gun is simply loading it. The bypass-slider magazine loader on this Fuego-branded nailer is efficient and simple, and yet, it allows you to be more productive by accepting a wider variety of fasteners than its competitors. While I think the majority of us who do any framing have a tendency to stick with one size nail throughout a build, it’s nice to have the option to swap them out if necessary.
Another understated touch is the swivel-mount air hose connector. It’s one of those features that becomes almost so subtle, it’s barely noticed. And isn’t that the real beauty behind anything done really well? A vehicle with power steering becomes so easy to maneuver; you almost forget what it was like to drive one without that perk. The same goes for pneumatic nailers—not fighting an air hose is one of those things you may barely notice, but it aids in becoming more efficient with the task at hand. On top of that, how many framing and finishing nailers have you bought lately that don’t even include an inlet adapter? I’d say most don’t include any at all.
I also like the dry fire lockout. There nothing worse than when you’re rocking along and the workpiece you’re admiring has a component fall off. Don’t deny it – we’ve all done it at least once. At least with this feature, we’ll never make that mistake again.
The Ridgid Hex-Grip is one of those “Fasten Edge Technology” extras that some might look at with a skeptical eye at first. The theory behind this gem is that the raised ‘micro-hex’ dots (in basic terms, it’s a textured surface) allow for better grip and control while using the tool. Think of this feature as a great set of tires that sheds rain through its complex spiderweb of grooves and channels. Sweaty hands are no problem, since that sweat is carried off through that micro-hex texture, where it doesn’t cause your palm and fingers to hydroplane across the grip surface. At least, that’s the theory.
Does it work? It seems to. It’s certainly easy to get a grip on the handle of the Ridgid R350RHE—even bare, sweaty-handed. Again, I wasn’t even thinking about that micro-textured surface while using the tool. I just knew it wasn’t sliding out my grip.
Ridgid R350RHE Framing Nailer Specifications
- Model: Ridgid R350RHE
- Power Source: Compressed air
- Fastener Diameter: 0.113″ – 0.162″
- Fastener Length: 2″ – 3-1/2″
- Magazine Capacity: 60 – 70 nails
- Collation: 20 – 22 degrees
- Height: 13.75″
- Length: 19″
- Price: $229.00
- Warranty: Lifetime Service Agreement
Jam-clearing and Adjustments
Speaking of nailing, in my mind there are always two big hurdles to jump when it comes to nailer performance. First, how easy is it to set the fastener depth, and second—what about clearing a jam? Those two features can make or break a nailer in my mind. I’ve owned nailers that I’d rather throw out a window than attempt to find an Allen wrench or similar tool to adjust the depth-of-drive (DOD) or clear a jammed fastener. And of course, the jam usually happened just as I was getting into a groove on the job, which totally buzz-killed any hope of finishing on time.
Adjusting the DOD on the R350RHE is as simple as turning a knob (cue angel chorus here!). There are no Allen wrenches to get lost, or anything else for that matter. You just fire a test nail, turn the knob, and repeat until you’re at the correct depth. It’s much the same feeling when microwave ovens appeared on the scene—the prep time was cut by 75%. This brings with it the same effect—it’ll take about 5 seconds to get the right depth setting dialed in (more angels).
Although I would rather have not dealt with jams, another pro of the framer is the ease of clearing one. I had the chance to clear several. Once the hose is disconnected, you remove the fastener strip and depress a small lever near the base of the motor housing. Like magic, a little door swings open and you can go to town clearing the jam from the chamber.
I’ve used other nailers that force you to spend what seemed like hours undoing the jam, but this feature made it quick and easy.
We picked up a pair of the Ridgid R350RHE Framing Nailers for our remodeling work where we end up doing a lot of finish work with our smaller Ridgid nailers, but get to break out the big guns from time to time. There was a lot of fencing to complete along with some more traditional interior framing.
We rolled along with 3-1/2 inch nails for our framing work. Depth of drive was indeed simple to dial in and the dry fire lockout kept us from potential damage. The performance was flawless.
Trouble started when we moved on to the fencing with 2-inch nails. I noticed that about every 20 nails, the tool would jam. Then I realized it wasn’t about every 20 nails – it was exactly every 20 nails.
When the first nail of a new strip would come into the chamber the striker would shoot two nails out at a time, causing it to jam. Strangely, it would only happen when loading two strips at a time. If I replaced the strip with only one when the magazine was empty, the first nail would fire fine.
This was a very annoying and time consuming fault of the Ridgid R350RHE. It left me with the realization that I’d have to use these otherwise excellent nailers only at the top of the nail length range or limit the capacity of the magazine and sacrifice a few nails with each strip.
I really want to show nothing but love for the Ridgid R350RHE Framing Nailer. Its features, build, and performance with 3-1/2 inch nails put it in an elite class. However, the jamming issues with smaller nails aren’t something you can easily overlook. If you’re a professional looking for a dedicated 3-1/2 inch framing nailer, you won’t be disappointed. If you need the versatility of a large range of nails, you’ll want to look at a different model.