I retired early from a large mining company, having spent many years there as a welder and and almost a decade in the carpentry shop. I still wanted to be productive so I started helping my neighbor flip houses. When he couldn’t work any more due to an injury, I bought his van and I’ve been doing remodeling work ever since. There are light years of difference between the tools I first used and today’s tools. I started with screwdrivers and now I have cordless or pneumatic power tools. This has made things faster, more efficient, and the final builds have more structural integrity. The technology is really great. I had high hopes for the Senco SCN65XP as I needed to fasten Hardie Board to columns and stucco finishes and trim around windows and doors.
It’s no easy task, but the Senco SCN65XP was designed to drive case-hardened fasteners. It has the capacity I needed with a range of 2-inch to 3-1/2-inch nails. For this project, I’d be using fasteners on the smaller side to push through multiple layers of tough material. Like you’d expect, the Senco SCN65XP takes a variety of 15-degree wire collated nails.
There was some initial discussion as to what was going to be the best tool for fastening the materials on this project. Our project lead, Robin Young, had been using this model’s predecessor (Senco’s SCN65) for years with no issues for the same kind of work. After talking it through with the folks at Senco, we gave it the thumbs up and brought it in.
The Senco SCN65XP seems a little bulky but I honestly don’t mind it because it feels very balanced. The bulk is due to heavy, hardened nails that this nailer is designed to drive and the internal components required to ensure its reliability. That makes it a bit of a different animal than, say, your standard coil roofing nailer.
The weight is right in line with the Porter-Cable and Bosch nailers I often use, which is about 8 pounds. And it’s a fine looking nailer. You need a tool like this for speed and efficiency. It anchors the material better than hammering case-hardened nails or using Tapcons which is a slow and labor-intensive process. A nailer like this makes the job many times quicker than the old way.
The Senco SCN65XP drives can hold up to 275 nails. Carpenters typically prefer coil nailers if they have the choice because of this large nail capacity. You can do more work before pausing to reload. Of course, carrying more nails makes the nailer heavier at the beginning, but that’s a trade-off we’re usually willing to make. I found myself certainly willing to make it because the Senco is remarkably powerful and by the end of the project was clearly the best all around the best hardened nailer I’ve ever used. It’s well-balance without any compromises.
I found the Senco SCN65XP to be very reliable. I didn’t have any jams or misfires – and that’s saying something given the Hardie Board and concrete we were nailing into. Everything works every time you pull the trigger. The magazine easily accommodates different nail lengths.
I must admit the depth adjust was a bit of a head-scratcher at first. Behind the nose there’s a depth of drive diagram with a small protruding wheel on the plastic casing, but this is not functional. The adjustment mechanism is actually a metal cylinder a little closer to the nose and off-center. You can spin it easily with your fingers but it also has holes to stick a nail into so you can use the nail as leverage if you needed.
Ergonomically, the nailer is designed very well. At first I was concerned about the thin, bendable plastic shield around the tip of the gun, which didn’t instill a lot of confidence. But its function is to protect the user from concrete debris. For that purpose, it makes sense. There’s a large exhaust deflector on the back of the nailer that can be rotated with a hex key. It worked just fine.
Oil the nailer every day and you won’t have to worry about mechanical failure.
The nailer is easy to use but you always need to operate it safely. Too many guys get careless by trying to go too fast, failing to pay attention, or otherwise being reckless. Nails can ricochet and concrete chips can become missiles. Wear eye protection and be aware of your surroundings even with the shield in place.
The Bottom Line
I have no complaints about the Senco SCN65XP. Perhaps they could make the rotatable exhaust tool-free in the next generation, but there’s no need to hurry on that. It’s the best coil nailer I’ve ever used and is a worthy successor to the SCN65. It powerfully drives a wide range of fasteners into a wide range of materials without a hint of failure so far. At $350, I certainly recommend it to other professionals for any of the tougher tasks this nailer is rated for.
Senco SCN65XP 15-Degree Coil Nailer Key Features
- High Load Capacity
- Full Round Head Fasteners
- E-Z Load Design saves time
- Fast Cycle Time increases productivity
- Light and fast for greater productivity
Senco SCN65XP 15-Degree Coil Nailer Specifications
- Model: Senco SCN65XP
- Capacity: 225 – 275
- Range: 2″ – 3 1/2″
- Power Source: Pneumatic
- Tool Weight: 8 lbs (3.6 kgs)
- Height: 14 1/8″ (359 mm)
- Length: 12 7/8″ (327 mm)
- Width: 5 3/8″ (137 mm)
- Trigger Type: Contact Actuation
- Operating Pressure: 70 – 120 (PSI)
- Operating Pressure: 4.8 – 8.3 (Bar)
- Air Consumption: 9.54 (SCFM)
- Air Inlet NPT: 3/8″
- Warranty: 5 years
- Price: ~$350
Check out all Senco products available at Acme Tools!