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Ridgid #R250AFA, 15GA, Angled Finish Nailer
Capability, features and performance
Text & Photos by Tom Hintz
New from Ridgid, the R250AFA angled finish nailer has all the features we expect in a quality nailer. It looks well made with quality manufacturing of the individual parts augmented by close, clean fit and finish. In terms of physical size, the R250AFA easily fits in the normal category within the 15 GA nailer world.
Consistent Air Motor
To drive the entire range of 1" to 2 ½"-long nails consistently, the R250AFA uses an internal piston catch that insures correct positioning at the beginning of each stroke to deliver the maximum stroke and power on every shot. Consistently locating the piston between shots also makes controlling depth more precise.
The R250AFA uses an oil-type motor that delivers crisp, consistent shots through a larger air pressure range, including those low-pressure spans just before the compressor kicks in to replenish the tank. A few drops of the included oil before starting the days work is all that is needed to keep the R250AFA motor operating smoothly, consistently as well as preventing excess wear.
A positionable exhaust on top of the solid magnesium motor housing lets the operator direct that puff of air away from themselves and the work piece regardless of the nailers position.
The R250AFA air motor uses a trim 0.07 cfm of air per shot and operates on 70 to 120 PSI of line pressure. That makes it compatible with a huge range of compressors likely to be found in the shop.
The air inlet accepts the common ¼" female quick coupler. Not so common is the gun-side air inlet that swivels to various angles. This limits the pull of the hose on the back of the gun and helps reduce twisted hoses.
To protect the air motor and insure consistent operation, a self-cleaning air filter is housed inside the rear of the handle.
Getting a Grip
The entire grip area has a rubber overmold that makes using the R250AFA more comfortable while increasing grip. The grip area is sized nicely for the average hand and the trigger positioned within easy reach. Trigger pull is easy but has plenty of travel to prevent inadvertent nail shots.
A swivel belt hook at the rear of the handle comes in handy when both hands are needed to get ready for the next nail task.
Single & Sequential-Shot Trigger
Caution: If you are unfamiliar with sequential (contact-actuated) triggers, carefully check to be sure the R250AFA is in the single shot mode and then leave it that way! Sequential firing can be dangerous for you or anyone who picks the gun up and may not realize it is set in the sequential mode.
The R250AFA features a convertible trigger that can be switched from shooting a single nail each time the trigger is pulled to sequential mode where the trigger is pulled and a nail fires each time the safety nosepiece is "bumped" on the wood.
Changing modes does not require tools but is designed to insure it cannot happen accidentally. A sliding a barrel must be depressed with one finger and then turned to the new position with the other hand before being retracted back into the trigger. While easy to do, changing firing modes requires a conscious effort for safety.
The changing consistency of wood makes it necessary to control how hard the R250AFA drives nails. A dial operated depth control below the trigger is easy to operate and makes predictable changes to how deeply each nail is driven. The varying consistency of wood means test shots are necessary to dial the depth setting in for the wood being used.
Safety and Jam-Clearing
The nose of the R250AFA has a no-mar covered tip that must be compressed to arm the trigger in the single-shot mode. An extra tip cover is attached to the magazine.
Jammed nails are an infrequent occurrence these days but to make clearing them easier the R250AFA features a lever-operated, swing-open door exposes the primary nail path.
With a maximum capacity of 100 nails, (2 full strips) the R250AFAs' magazine lets you keep working longer between reloads. Changing between 1" to 2 ½" nails requires no alterations of the magazine.
Nail strips load easily through the rear of the magazine, held in place for driving by a spring-loaded follower. The open-sided magazine clearly shows how many nails are left so you stop to reload only when necessary.
A 11"-long ruler is molded into the bottom edge of the magazine for quick, on-the-fly measurements on the job site.
In the Shop
In addition to the carry case, bottle of air tool oil and 1,000 2"-long finish nails, Ridgid includes a pair of safety glasses that should encourage users to be as safe as they should be on their own. Two Allen wrenches for tool maintenance are also supplied in the case.
The R250AFA feels very comfortable in the hand and at 3.9 lbs, using it for extended periods is not an endurance test. With the magazine full of mails and an air hose attached, the R250AFA feels nicely balanced in virtually any position. That balance, combined with the handle design makes shooting nails exactly where you want them easy.
The angled magazine not only works flawlessly, it makes getting the gun into tight quarters easy. Driving nails where you want, at the angle wanted couldn't be done any other way. When using the R250AFA on a level or open surface, the angled magazine is not a hindrance.
The oil-type motor is strong and produces consistent nail shots throughout the normal line pressure variations compressors cycle through. The almost dietary air usage means you get a surprising number of nail shots between compressor runs.
Despite my best attempts to induce a nail jam, the R250AFA refused to do so. Rapid single shots and bumping the nose as fast as I could in the sequential mode produced no jams throughout testing. The jam-clearing door does open easily and exposes plenty of the nail path should a jam actually occur.
The nail depth control is responsive to adjustment and requires only a few test shots to set for the hardness of the wood being worked with. Once set, nail depth remains constant, showing virtually no change in response to normal line pressure variations.
After adding five drops of air tool oil at the start of a full test, I aimed the exhaust straight forward to see if there would be any contamination of the wood by oil exiting the gun. Though left in this configuration for nearly all testing, no oil could be found on the wood.
Whether you are a use-it-everyday contractor or a weekend woodworker, the Ridgid R250AFA, with a street price of $199.00 (9-27-2005) represents a very good value. The full load of features and tough, durable construction, promise the R250AFA will keep working perfectly for a very long time to come. Feed it a little oil before use and keep on working.
Ridgid air nailers are available at your local Home Depot or online at www.homedepot.com.
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