In speaking with carpenters who recently built a pole barn for me, there were preferences for what kind of tool they use to drive nails. Some crews were hammer-only crews. Others were Paslode crews. I’m not going to try and change your mind about whether hammer and nail, cartridge, or full pneumatic is best. I’ll just let you know my experience with the Senco FramePro 325FRHXP framing nailer and how I put it through its paces so you can decide for yourself if it holds up to your idea of the best tool for the job.
Setting Up for First Use
I had an older Senco PC1131 Twin Tank Air Compressor driving this tool. If you never used an oil-based compressor, it’s not all that difficult (though most new products are oil-free). First you typically pop a plastic plug from the cylinder head, screw in or attach your air filter, check the oil, and plug it in (be sure it’s off when you plug it in). Since I was using the Senco PC1131 I had to stick some pump oil (Senco recommends Senco PC0344 which has a list price of $10.30 for a 32 ounce bottle.) The PC1131 has a 12 ounce oil pump—the most notable restriction being that it cannot be inclined more that 10 degrees during operation or the compressor has a “risk of major repair.” It will also make a mess.
The PC1131 requires a 15-amp circuit, and it means it. This is not a big deal for most people, but if you’re remodeling an old house with less-than-modern electric, you’ll throw some breakers or engage the thermal overload protection of the pump if you plug into a circuit with fewer amps. The pump should be usable in most weather conditions, provided it’s not used outdoors when freezing or placed in a hot attic (operating temperature is between 32°F and 104°F).
Senco 325FRHXP Nailer Features and Setting Up
OK, back to the Senco FramePro 325FRHXP nailer. Setting this up from retail is easy enough, though the uninitiated have a couple of things to remember here as well. Like most pneumatic tools, the 325FRHXP doesn’t come with a 1/4″ inlet connector, just a hole tapped for 3/8” NPT. I actually recommend keeping a half dozen on-hand as you never know when you’ll need one (male and female) and nobody seems to include them on pneumatic tools. The Senco 325FRHXP framing nailer also needs to be lubricated with pneumatic oil a couple of times daily during use. No pneumatic oil is included with the tool, but a half-pint of Senco PC0101 pneumatic tool oil will run you between $4 – $9.
Since the PC1131 doesn’t include a pneumatic hose, you’ll want to pick up a nice reinforced polyurethane hose at whatever length you need. I recommend polyurethane simple because it’s lighter in weight, more flexible, and lasts longer than corresponding rubber hoses.
The Senco FramePro 325FRHXP drives 34-degree paper tape fasteners with clipped D heads or offset full round heads within the following range of dimensions.
- Head diameter: 0.240″ to 0.310″
- Shank diameter: 0.113″ to 0.148″
- Nail length: 2″ to 3-1/4″
I used a couple of different fasteners with the Senco FramePro 325FRHXP. For the 2″ applications, I went with Senco’s G521APBXN (0.113″ diameter). For the larger 3-1/4″ work I chose the Senco K528APBXR (0.131 diameter). Pretty much any 34º full round offset nails should work fine.
The Senco FramePro 325FRHXP can drive a fastener that is 3-1/4” long, which is the same length as a 16d sinker and 1/4″ shorter than a 16d common nail. However, both 16d wire nails are thicker: a 16d sinker has a 0.148” diameter and a 16d common has a 0.162” diameter. Although the 325FRHXP is rated for a .148” diameter fastener (which is the thickness of a 16d sinker), the thickest available fastener Senco lists on their web page for the 325FRHXP is .131” diameter. Thus ends the lesson.
Using the Senco FramePro 325FRHXP
For those who only have experience with brad nailers or pin nailers, the Senco FramePro 325FRHXP can appear daunting. Don’t let its appearance put you off. As far as framing nailers go, this tool is about average in both size and weight. Gripping the handle, the body and feeder surround your fist and forearm giving plenty of mobility. The balance is also spot on, and I found it easy to go from vertical nailing to upside-down hits when assembling a wall on the ground. I’ll cut right to the chase—the act of squeezing the trigger and driving a 3-1/4” fastener on this nailer is bliss.
Pros know that using a framing nailer all day requires a well balanced and ergonomically sound tool. When you’re working around on ground level builds like these, a lack of attention to the ergonomics will leave you with sore muscles and joints by lunchtime. The constant reaching up and around vertical builds will do the same. Fortunately, the Senco FramePro 325FRHXP offered great balance and I really liked the comfortable textured grip.
Framing a Wall
The Senco 325FRHXP is perfect for the applications I used it on—like framing up a wall. It can fit within a standard stud cavity to box out a window and through-nail adjacent elements like a jack stud and king stud. It can fit into spaces to permit toenailing elements like cripples as well as operate close to the deck/floor to permit nailing operations such as through nailing top plates and sill plates to studs.
When driving 3-1/4″ fasteners, “Sequential Firing” mode is used: squeeze the trigger once and one nail is completely driven. The Senco FramePro 325FRHXP also has the ability to drive fasteners in “Contact Actuation” mode, which permits you to hold the trigger and drive a nail by contacting the tool with the workpiece. I put this feature to the test when driving 2” fasteners to attach sheathing to a wall.
To test whether the compressor could supply ample amounts of air to support Contact Actuation mode, we drove a full magazine of eighty-two 2-inch nails as fast as we could. The Senco 325FRHXP and PC1131 combination didn’t miss a beat.
While sheathing a building, the user is going to have to stop nailing to move along. This gives the compressor time to re-charge. In this test, we drove fasteners as quickly as possible. We had no doubt that a single user would have difficulty outpacing this compressor. You’re not likely going to work this fast on the jobsite, but it’s great to know that the combo will keep up.
The 325FRHXP framing nailer also has the ability and guts to fire 3-1/4” fasteners in Contact Actuation mode. Just because you can do something, doesn’t necessarily mean you should. As always, I recommend safe practices with quality results over sheer speed. However, the seasoned pro knows how to work efficiently, even with larger fasteners. The Senco PC1131 compressor should have no problem keeping up.
Senco FramePro 325FRHXP Conclusions
The Senco FramePro 325FRHXP Framing Nailer drives fasteners from 2” to 3-1/4” long precisely where you want them with the pull of its trigger. This excellent pneumatic tool fits nimbly into stud cavities, allowing you to endnail or toenail the requisite number of fasteners into 2x elements like window sill plates and cripples. Weighing in at about nine pounds with a full load of nails, the grip’s close proximity to the tool’s mass helps the nailer ride easily in the hand. Coupled with Senco’s PC1131 Twin Tank Air Compressor, this tool can drive a feeder full of 82 fasteners without interruption.
The Senco PC1131 is one of Senco’s compressors that has been around for a while. It’s a solid performer, without a doubt. Senco also offers a newer, oil-free design with the PC0968N air compressor in the same class of volume and horsepower, but with greater pressure at 200 PSI.
I liked using this tool. Of course, the usual woes about pneumatic hoses apply. When a 3-1/4” long fastener hits a knot and thrusts unexpectedly (and instantly) through the side of a stud, one is reminded to adhere strictly to all safety procedures. If you have the need or desire to insert fasteners with point-and-click ease, the Senco FramePro 325FRHXP and the Senco PC1131 Compressor will get you there with very little fuss.
Senco FramePro 325FRHXP Nailer Specifications
- Manufacturer Item #: 4Z0101N
- Tool Weight: 7.9 lbs (3.58 kgs)
- Height: 11 7/8″ (302 mm)
- Length: 17 5/16″ (440 mm)
- Width: 4 1/2″ (114 mm)
- Warranty: 5 year
- Technology: Pneumatic
- Trigger Type: Selectable Actuation
- Operating Pressure: 70 – 120 (PSI)
- Operating Pressure: 4.8 – 8.3 (Bar)
- Air Consumption: 5.2 (SCFM)
- Air Inlet NPT: 3/8″
- Capacity: 83
- Power Type: Pneumatic
- Range: 2″ – 3 1/4″
- Price: $231
Senco PC1131 Compressor Specifications
- Manufacturer Item #: PC1131
- Tool Weight: 60 lbs (27.22 kg)
- Height: 14 1/2″ (368 mm)
- Length: 20 1/2″ (521 mm)
- Width: 16 1/2″ (419 mm)
- Warranty: 1 year
- Power Source: Electric
- Current Draw /Max AMPs: 14 amps @115V
- Horsepower: 2 hp
- Pump: Oil-Splash
- SCFM at 90 psi: 4.4
- Max Pressure: 125 psi
- Pump-up Time: 67 Seconds (0 – 125 psi)
- Recovery Time: 16 Seconds (90 – 125 psi)
- Tank Storage: 4.3 gal
- Power Type: Corded
- Price: $225.99