Hitting The Nail On The Head – Ridgid R350RHF 3-1/2” Framing Nailer

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Ridgid R350RHF

What's This?This post is sponsored by The Home Depot. If you’re a veteran construction framer with the forearms of Popeye and the shoulders of a pit bull on steroids, feel free to keep swinging that 28 oz. hammer every day if you really insist. But the mere mortals among us will appreciate the tireless driving power of the Ridgid R350RHF pneumatic framing nailer. This nail biting monster can sink up to eight 2” to 3-1/2” nails per second, showing your crew’s biggest pythons there’s a new hotshot in town! He dresses in safety orange and gray and never takes a break. You hiring?

I’ve Been Framed – And I’m OK With That

Ridgid R350RHF
I’ve crunched the numbers and found that it’s physically impossible to wield this tool and not feel like a total badass.

I’m no construction worker, but I’ve built my fair share of woodworking and electronics workbenches, utility shelves, walls, seesaws, porches, ramps and other projects requiring lots of nails and hammer swinging. And let me tell you, after pounding a few dozen, I feel like I’m the one who’s been hammered.

Hammer time? Nope!
It’s hammer time. Or maybe not.

My arms more closely resemble Olive Oyl’s than those of Popeye. I have several nail-intensive projects coming up, so when The Home Depot sent the R350RHF our way, I was anxious to find out how much easier my life would become.

Ridgid R350RHF – Rapid Fire

Overmolded for great grip.
The overmolded grip and trigger feel great in either hand and keep the tool properly aligned, even when you’re dripping sweat.

Before we dive in, here’s the lowdown on the hoedown that is the Ridgid R350RHF 3-1/2” round head framing nailer:

* “Lightweight” magnesium housing (almost 7-1/2 pounds).

* Uses 2” to 3-1/2” (16d common) 21° framing nails.

* Ambidextrous grip works just as well for right or left-handed users.

* 2 trigger modes. Fires up to 8 nails/second!

* Super quick, 2-step loading.

* Operating pressure: 70 – 120 psi

* Swivel air connector.

* Dry-fire lockout.

* Belt/rafter hook.

* Muffled exhaust directs air away from the user.

* In-handle, self-cleaning air filter.

* No-mar pad and aggressive toe-nailing claw.

* Easy tool-free jam clearance.

* Internal piston catch.

* Free lifetime service agreement w/ free O-rings, piston stops and driver blades for life.

Locked And Loaded – Loading The Ridgid R350RHF

Loaded and ready to go.
The magazine can hold 60 – 70 nails.

Loading is incredibly simple: slip a strip of nails into the magazine then slide the pusher out to the end. For safety’s sake, before loading, make sure to connect your pressurized air supply.

Loading the R350RHF
Just slide a strip of nails into the end of the magazine.
Spring-loaded pusher.
Pull the spring-loaded pusher to the end and you’re ready to go.

The pusher and magazine have releases so you can remove the remaining nails when you’re done.

Fast, But Definitely Not Loose – 2 Firing Modes

Trigger mode selector.
The trigger selector switch changes between the two firing modes.

The Ridgid R350RHF Framing Nailer has two different firing modes: Sequential trigger and bump trigger. In sequential mode, the business end of the tool must be pressed against your workpiece before you squeeze the trigger.

All business.
The business end of a tool that means business.

In bump mode (also called “contact actuation mode”), you can hold the trigger then tap the gun’s barrel against your workpiece for rapid fire action. Many framing nailers can shoot around 3 nails a second, but this one has a “best-in-class” 8 nails per second firing rate! Think Rambo, but without all the carnage and funny accents. Frankly, I think you’d be hard-pressed to fire nails that rapidly with any degree of accuracy.

No-Mar Pad Or Claws To The Wall? – The Choice Is Yours

Nailing a small frame
The R350RHF framing nailer sinks 3-1/4” nails with absolutely no problem into this 2×4 frame. Note that it’s clamped to my workbench to resist the strike.

Depending on your application, you can use the nailer with or without the no-mar tip. I left it on most of the time. I did find it tricky to put back on, but it got easier with practice.

No-mar pad.
A plastic pad sheathes the pointy spikes to prevent gouging and snagging your material (or anything else).

When you need to nail at an angle – for example, toe nailing studs to the top and bottom plates – removing the pad to expose the pointy claws makes a huge difference. The points prevent the tool from slipping and possibly causing a glancing blow or dangerous ricochet.

Toe nail claw.
The claws have come out: cat fight!
Ridgid R350RHF has claws!
The points of the claw hold the tool in place when toe nailing.
No-mar pad storage.
Store the no-mar pad on the tool’s magazine when not in use.

A Variety Of Nails To Suit Your Application

These are the nails I tested with.

The Ridgid R350RHF framing nailer works with 21° plastic collated, full round headed nails ranging from 2” to 3-1/2” in length, with shank diameters from 0.113” to 0.148”. Shank configurations include smooth – for basic framing applications – and ring and screw (twisted), for better and “even better-er” holding power, respectively.

Look at that stud!
The builders got the spacing of this wall off by half a stud. Here, I’m doubling up the stud to give me something to fasten my sheathing to. Yes, I’m finally finishing off the last section of the last wall in my shop; the one I couldn’t get to for so long.

During my evaluation, I used the following nails:

* 3-1/4” x 0.131” smooth, bright coated shank by Grip Rite (joining untreated construction grade southern yellow pine, 3/4” plywood to 2×4 studs and 7/16” OSB to 2×4 studs).

– and –

* 3” x 0.120” hot dip galvanized ring shank by Hitachi (on pressure treated lumber).

All nails on deck.
The 3” x 0.120” Hitachi ring shanks shot into this PT lumber like butter on the scorching hot summer day that it was.

Both nails worked perfectly every time. So far, I’ve fired a couple hundred of each with no misfires, jams or bent nails.

Depth Of Drive Adjustment – Ridgid R350RHF Round Head Framing Nailer

Depth control.
Fastener depth control.

To dial in how deep the nails were driven, I started with my compressor’s output at about 105 – 110 psi and tweaked the tool’s depth-of-drive adjustment. Of course, larger nails will require more of a wallop (and shorter nails, less). So you may need to bump the compressor up a bit if you’re using nails over 3”. The Ridgid R350RHF is rated for 70 psi to a maximum of 120 psi.

The R350RHF blasted through this OSB – sinking the heads flush – with the depth set to maximum and my compressor at about 110 PSI. Though the plastic bits were noticeable after painting, so I wouldn’t necessarily recommend using the nailer for this application.

Clear Out The Jam. Clear It Out. While Your Feet Are Stompin’ And The Jam Is Pumpin’.

Jam release mechanism.
To clear a jam, press the release button and slide back the jam-clearing mechanism.

I had no jam issues. But it’s inevitable that one will occur at some point in time. And when it does, I’m prepared to throw a hissy fit as I search for the lost tool that opens… oh wait, the R350RHF has a tool-less jam clearing mechanism. Never mind!

Just be sure to disconnect the air supply – and any other Australian soft rock duos you may have hooked up – before fooling around near the barrel. This can be a dangerous tool if you’re careless. Check out more safety tips (and cautionary tales) via OSHA’s manual on nailgun safety.

Slide the jam clearing mech out of the way and allow the nail to drop out. If needed, you can grab a stuck nail with needle nosed pliers or – in more severe cases – push the driver blade back with a #2 Phillips screwdriver and a light tap of a hammer.

Ridgid R350RHF Dry Fire Lockout

Dry-fire prevention.
The first time I got down to 5 nails, I thought the gun had jammed. But it was only the dry fire lockout doing its job.

No one likes firing blanks. But in the middle of a job, missed nails can seriously compromise the integrity of your project. After all, nails that aren’t there don’t provide much holding power. To ensure you never miss a stretch of vital fasteners and turn your client’s roof sheathing into contract-ending sails of destruction when the first heavy storm blows through, the R350RHF has a lockout feature that disables firing when you’re low on ammo.

Rafter / Belt Hook – Ridgid R350RHF Round Head Framing Nailer

Just hangin'.
Just Hangin’ – Waiting For Some Fe Nails To Steel His Heart.

There is a heavy duty plastic hook on the end of the handle for hanging the tool from a rafter (or your tool belt) when you want to take a break or just need your hands free for a moment. In my opinion, the hook feels a little too tight.

Rafter/belt hook.
The rafter hook rotates around to whatever side works best for you.

The hook has to flex a bit more than I’d like to fit over a piece of 2-by lumber, giving me concerns for its longevity and making me think the pretty orange paint job may end up prematurely worn with use. The clip is made of heavy plastic, so it may be just fine. But I do wish the gap was a tad wider.

Hitting The Nail On The Head – The Ridgid R350RHF

Swivel connector.
A swiveling air connector reduces strain on your air hose and virtually eliminates tangles.

Not only is this baby a huge time saver, it’s built with the user experience in mind. It has a swiveling air connector, attenuated noise, directed air exhaust, a self cleaning air filter built into the handle, easy jam clearing, 2 trigger modes, the recoil is pleasantly minor, and loading and unloading is as quick and easy as it gets.

Muffler and exhaust diverter.
The air exhaust has a built-in muffler and is vented to direct the air away from the user.

It’s also relatively lightweight, having a magnesium body and aluminum magazine. My scale clocks it in at 7 lbs, 7.3 oz. Yes, it still gets heavy after a while. But considering some of the alternatives out there, it’s not bad at all. It’s much less wear and tear on the old flesh and bones than swinging a hammer all day. Best of all: no more smashed thumbs or blood blisters!

Final Nail In The Coffin – Ridgid R350RHF

One bad boy.
Think of this bad boy as Ridgid’s safety orange force multiplier, harnessing the power of several hard swings with the light squeeze of a trigger.

I’m not saying I’d die for a pneumatic nail slinger (because, you know, a dead man can no longer play with his tools) but, figuratively speaking, it is to die for. Like any tool, it’s not going to fulfill every need. It can’t be aimed precisely enough to thread the little holes in joist hangers or mending plates, so you’ll still have to nail your brackets by hand. And you probably won’t be assembling jewelry boxes and dainty trinkets with what essentially equates to Thor’s hammer.

Fasteners o' plenty.
Imagine having to pound all 1,000 of these in by hand. That’s one exhausting day right there. With the R350RHF, it’s a breeze.

But when there’s heavy work to be done, the Ridgid R350RHF is up to the task. If you’d like to reliably sink the heads of up to 3-1/2” nails in less time than it takes to actually reach out to and pick up a nail, this workhorse is for you.

Ridgid R350RHF 3-1/2" round-head framing nailer.
Choose widely, Hammer-San.

Everyday maintenance is as simple as putting a few drops of air tool oil (included) into the air connector before you begin each morning (then maybe again later in the day with heavy use). And with Ridgid’s free lifetime service agreement that even covers the normal “wear and tear” parts (O-rings, piston stops and driver blades) – all for a new low price of under $200.

Buy the R350RHF for its new lower price of only $199!

Buy Now - via The Home Depot

I acknowledge that The Home Depot is partnering with Home Fixated in sponsored content. As a part of the sponsorship, Home Fixated is receiving compensation for the purpose of promoting The Home Depot. All expressed opinions and experiences are our own words. This post complies with the Word Of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) Ethics Code and applicable Federal Trade Commission guidelines.

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About Steve

Steve made his first woodworking project at age 9 (in 1982) and whittled his first wooden chain at 18. He was also a consumer electronics repair tech and shop owner for a little over 20 years, until his impending obsolescence became impossible to ignore. Since then, Steve has focused passionately on manipulating his wood... in his workshop. Don't judge him.

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6 thoughts on “Hitting The Nail On The Head – Ridgid R350RHF 3-1/2” Framing Nailer”

  1. I suspect you meant to say, “disconnect” in this sentence: “For safety’s sake, before loading, make sure to connect your pressurized air supply.” Good review, though. One thing folks might want to consider is how well stocked the plastic strip 21degree nails are in their locale… when I was in Eastern Ontario, they were pretty rare. Anywhere seismic or weather conscious, the full round heads are extremely easy to find.

    • Aloysius Defenestrate – Thank you for the feedback. As counter-intuitive as it may seem at first, that was not a typo. You should indeed connect the pressurized air supply to the nail gun empty BEFORE loading it with nails. Here’s how Ridgid words it in the R350RHF operator’s manual:

      — “The tool’s driving mechanism may cycle when the tool is first connected to the air supply. Always connect the tool to a pressurized air supply before loading nails to prevent injury from the unintended cycling. Always make sure the tool’s magazine is empty at the beginning of each work session, before connecting to an air supply.” —

      The potential issue never happened to me – and I’ve used the tool a lot more since writing this review (and it’s still living up to my praise) – but it’s always best to be cautious. But, in my review, I should have stated why; that would have avoided any confusion. So thanks for the comment and giving me a chance to clarify the reasoning.

      • Fascinating. Thank you for the clarification. (Who knew manuals contained useful information?!?) Now I’m wondering if this is something unique to the Ridgid, or possible in any framing gun. (I’ve never in 20 years with numerous brands/models had a gun cycle when connected, though I suppose there could always be a first time.) It is perhaps a good reminder to never point one of these where you wouldn’t want it to shoot, and to keep your finger off the trigger when you’re not using it…


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