Nail Gun Not Shooting Nails – What Would You’ve To Do Next?

Nail Gun Not Shooting Nails

When a nail gets caught in the gun or strikes an object and diverts, it causes a jam, and the nail gun not shooting nails. After pressing the trigger of your nail gun, it refuses to shoot, and you acknowledge it in the middle of driving nails. What a mess!

A jamming nail gun is a rampant problem, and most owners of framing nailer or nail guns often face this scenario. If you found that your nail gun won’t shoot nails, the most likely reason is that the instrument gets jam.

Therefore, it is necessary to learn how to unjam a nail gun quickly and correctly. If you’re a pro user, you may have enough understanding about all the elements of a nail gun. But, if you’re a DIYer or a weekend warrior, keeping the instruction manual diligently and reading it before making any fixes is crucial.

However, no need to worry! We are approaching here to give you a short but effective overview of what to do or don’ts if the nail gun keeps jamming. So, to get back to your work quickly, you can follow the understated steps.

Safety First

Nail guns may turn into deadly weapons because of improper handling. Therefore, to be safe and to be risk-free, it is essential to –

  • Wear protective goggles to protect your eyes from any accidentally flying nail or strip collation materials like plastic
  • Wear heavy-duty hand gloves to give protection to your fingers during clearing jam

Usually, all mechanical devices create a certain amount of noise, high or low. Framing nailers or other nail guns powered with pneumatic force produce a sound of about 70 dBA to 120 dBA, which is not always good for our ears. So, during the check, you should wear earbuds or earmuffs to protect your ears.

How To Remove Nails From A Nail Gun

Once we have been taken all safety measures, we are now set to proceed to unjam the nail gun. Let’s dive in.

Step – 1: Disconnect The Power Source

The basic rule for the repair and maintenance of any machine is to disconnect the device from the power source first. And this is also a must-follow rule for the case of clearing the jam of a nail gun.

In the case of a pneumatic framing nailer, you can cut off the power by simply removing the air hose from the nail gun. Modern pneumatic nailers are fitted with an easy-to-connect swivel plug connector for connecting to the hoses. And if you use a battery operated nail gun, remove the battery from the system to mitigate the possibility of accidental fire.

Step – 2: Take Away The Leftover Racks Or Strips Of Fastener

Once the tool has been disconnected from the power source, the next obligatory task is to take out any unfired nails or strips from the magazine. Don’t avoid taking this measure. It is crucial that you disengage the device and remove nails to prevent accidental firing.

Since the nailer is waiting to obey the firing order given before the jam, it’ll try to fire as quickly as the jam clears. Don’t think anything else; unplug the tool and remove all the nails from your magazine.

Step –3: Removing Stuck Or Jammed Nail(S)

The next move is to have access to the jam stage. It is best to obey the guidance in the manual since different brands suggest different approaches. Commonly, you should follow the procedures below to remove a stuck nail(s).

A. Open The Barrel By Using Release Lever

If your device has a release lever, let’s find it first and use it to open the barrel. Clearing jammed nails by using the release lever is flawless and secure. Most modern nailers have this system, such as Dewalt has a stall release lever. However, you do not need to worry if you found it missing in your nail gun. Keep an eye on the next step.

B. Dislodge Jammed Nail(S)

If the nose of your nail gun is flip-style that allows the magazine to slide open without tools, then use the claw part of a hammer or pair of pliers to remove the nails and slide the magazine free.

If there is no latch on the nose of the gun, then do not attempt to open it by pressure. Instead, you can reach the jammed nail through a latch on top of the gun by opening a few screws.

Now, you can use the tip of a nail and pliers or claws of a hammer to dislodge the stuck nail from the barrel manually. This manual process is a bit time-consuming, but don’t be distressed; hold your patient until entirely expel the jammed nail. Don’t forget to remove all the remaining nails from the magazine once prying out the jammed nail.

Also, inspect the barrel and nose of the gun for any impairment. If found so, it is better to take professional advice and replace the damaged part.

Remove a nail with release lever

Step –4: Organize And Reload The Magazine

Once completed the unjamming process, insert a fresh strip of nails in the correct direction. Then slide the pusher back over the nails. It will be picking them up and keeping them in place – if you’re playing well.

Step –5: Restore Power Source And Test

After reloading the magazine, connect the device with a power source (with air hose if pneumatic, plug in the power cord if electric, or reinsert battery if cordless type nailer). Before going for final firing, test the gun on scrap wood to ensure it is correctly functioning. 

You may Also see the below video to get some visual idea

Okay, now you know how to unjam a nail gun, but it’s not the only factor why a nail gun won’t shoot nails. So, before we finish our talk, we love to explore some other reasons why my nail gun not shooting nails.

Common Problems Of A Nail Guns

Usually, nail guns are a powerful tool built to operate for a long time to come. Yet no gadget is 100% trouble-free, and over time it may start to wear or turn into scrape due to repetitive use. Nail guns are no exception, either.Let’s come to the point and find the reasons why a nail gun not working –

1. Improper Adjustment Of Air Pressure: 

Usually, the pneumatic nailers are working at a pressure range of 70 to 120 psi. Pressure below the required range or high air pressure may cause problems. If the necessary air pressure is not set correctly, the nail will not shoot. Either it’ll over flushed or went deep into the wooden piece.

However, it is very simple to solve this problem just by setting the necessary pressure to the air compressor. You may check the required pressure by going through the manual or running a trial and error method on a scrap piece of wood. It is also essential to check whether or not your air compressor is working correctly.

2. Battery Is Not Charged Or The Fuel Cell Is About To Drain

It’s obvious that if your battery is old, it won’t hold the charge, or if it’s new, you might not charge it properly. In both cases, there is a chance that your nail gun won’t shoot nails.

In the case of a defective battery (whether it cannot retain power even after full charge or cannot operate for optimum time), it is best to replace it with a new one. If you’re just buying a gun and a charger, consider contacting the manufacturer to get a replacement.

Some nail guns use both the battery and the fuel cell to shoot nails like Paslode cordless nail gun. In that case, it is important to check whether or not the fuel canister is full or empty.

3. Using Wrong Nails:

There are various types of nail guns available on the market, including framing, finishing or brad, roofing, or flooring nailers. Different nailguns support different sizes, shapes, and collation of nails. For example, you can use 15 to 16 gauge 1 to 2-1/2 inch nails in a finish nailer, while the framing nailer allows you to drive up to 3-1/2 inch nails. Again, there are different nail angles from 15 to 34 degrees, and different nail guns are designed to fire different degrees of nails.

So, before you’re loading your magazine with nails, it’s safer to check the size of your nail that best fits your magazine. You can find this information either in the manual book or engraved right on the tool’s body.

4. Nail Is Stuck Or Jammed:

It’s a growing issue for both cordless and pneumatic framing nailers. We address the unjamming procedure in detail above, as it is the most frequently occurring problem.

5. Other Repair Maintenance Issues:

Damage to any part of the nail gun due to undue pressure or use is evident. Some common types of nail gun defects are –

  • Loader spring is weakened and either twisted, torn, or frizzed,
  • the magazine is twisted,
  • the guide channel narrowing has occurred,
  • nail gun shooting blanks,
  • nail gun firing pin won’t retract,
  • framing nailer leaks air around the trigger,
  • the guide is broken or buildup dirt or grease around it, etc
Sectional view of a nail gun

Image: Sectional view of a nail gun

Anything may happen and makes it hard to shoot the nails properly. You may get a cure by diagnosing and fixing or removing the damaged parts.

Also, taking care of some routine maintenance issues such as adding oil at least once a day and cleaning the entire machine once a week or at least quarterly, store the tool in a toolbox or in a plastic bag to avoid dirt buildup will help keep your nail gun full of work and provide long-lasting performance.

FAQs On Nail Gun Not Shooting Nails

Q-1: Why is my nail gun just shooting air?

You pressed the trigger, and the nail gun just blows the air. This can happen due to air leakage through the pumping valve of a pneumatic tool. When we pressed the button to shoot the nails, the air is pushed into the fire valve, which forces the valve upwards, opening the main cylinder sleeve and allowing the air to move the nail.

If the O-ring dries out and fails to seal the valve properly, it escapes air immediately after pressing the trigger, causing a leak and making the hissing sound.

You can use air tool oil to mitigate this problem merely. However, in the worst scenario, you might need to open the nail gun and extend the O-Ring on the valve and add grease. If the O-Ring loses its temper, all of you need to replace it.

It is advisable to contact an expert if you have not enough knowledge of it. And as a preventive measure, you should apply oil in the NPT connection point regularly.

Q-2: Why does my nail gun shoot two nails?

If you are a professional framer, you may often notice such a problem. Firing double nails against pulling the trigger for a single time is also known as a Double Kiss. It’s a serious hazard as because of double firing, the successive nail hit onto the head of the first one, which may cause jamming, damage to the driver and piston, and even hit the user too.

If you have a double fire instead of one, it can happen for a number of reasons instead of one. Like –

  • Incorrect handling of the contact shooting mode. Not applying enough pressure to the nailer when pushing the head down on the surface.
  • Supply low air pressure to the valve and the piston to help the nailer bounce back.
  • Leaking air through the trigger valve weakens the driving force when it is released.
  • The contact actuation mechanism is no longer in service

If you have discovered that a double kiss happens due to unsafe handling, first remove the nailer from the work surface, then hit the trigger and hold the head tightly to the surface until the nail is fully charged. During the operation of the nail gun, always verify that the air pressure is in the optimal range to prevent bounce back.

If you have noticed leakage in the trigger valve or a defective contact actuation system, troubleshoot it with the aid of an expert.

Q-3: How do you get nails out of a nail gun?

If you are reading our article above then you have already got this answer. However, you can get the stuck nails out from your nail gun by open the latch of the driver shaft.

Q-4: How do I fix my air nailer?

If you face any issues when firing nails through your nail gun, it’s probably going to happen for some reason. First, try to diagnose the cause of the problem and then take the appropriate action accordingly. We’ve discussed some of the common nail gun issues above, which might help you as well.

Q-5: Can I use WD40 on my nail gun?

Never! Never! Do not try using any engine oil or transmission fluid, or aerosol lubricant in your nail gun, as the rubber parts can be damaged over time. Pneumatic nailers have a rubber O-Ring, which is necessary for proper air circulation, which may be compromised by improper use of the lubricant.

Final Thoughts

Fixing up a jammed nail gun is not a strenuous task at any rate. Even you will not require any special tools or clutch to do this — all you need to be alert and know the process well. If you are putting oil in your nail gun regularly, the chances of getting jam are reduced drastically.

However, if you still notice that your nail gun not shooting nails, it could be for another technical problem or stall. Whatever the cause, try to diagnose it properly and take the appropriate action accordingly. In our reviews, we addressed some of them with their solution, hoping it will work for your gun. Consequently, maintaining the tools in the correct way is advisable.

Finally, wishing you to use your nail gun happily and safely.

Related Reviews:

  1. How To Maintain Your Pneumatic Tools In The Winter
  2. 7 Benefits of Using A Nail Gun
  3. How to use a framing nailer?

Some Conversation Between Readers And Tools Mirror Team

MARCH 25, 2020 AT 5:41 PM

I have a Dewalt DC616 that will not fire nails. It is not jammed, as intermittently, it will fire. The battery if fully charged (20 volt with adapter), the lights turn on, sometimes the motor will initiate, and then it locks out with flashing lights. When the nailer fires, the nails set perfectly.
Can you tell me what the problem is?
Tim J.

Tools Mirror Replied

Hi Tim J.
Thanks for your input. As you said, this wasn’t intermittently jammed. I think it might be the battery power issue. Please check whether you charge it correctly or not. If that’s fine, then test for troubleshooting with your supplier, or you can swap the battery with a 20v Lithium-Ion. I hope you’ll get over this situation soon and get back to nailing.

Mainebrestoratarions says
JULY 21, 2020 AT 6:36 PM

It’s not the battery I’m having the same issue. Wasteing money standing still. I’m so pissed. Money they charge us for these pos battery nailers. Manufacturer should be sued for all our down time. They charge enough for these and only to have them fire 60 nails then start this crap. Om so pissed. Not a battery issue. Not as simple as that. We obviously tried all the common sense things before asking. We are skilled and cam figure out this stuff but not this. Wish it was as simple as a battery

Phil says
SEPTEMBER 19, 2020 AT 12:01 PM

Having exactly the same problem, no nails jammed but flashing red light telling me nail jammed

Tools Mirror Replied

The reason behind the fastener not firing
As per my experience and analysis, I observed the following troubleshooting match with your querries against the Dewalt DC616 nailer.

Problem: Tools in operational condition but no fastener is driven

Causes: It may happen due to the use of the wrong size or angle of the fastener, deposition of debris in the nosepiece or the magazine, worn or damage of the magazine or the driver blade, worn the pusher spring, etc.

Necessary Troubleshooting: Using the manufacturer recommended nails or fasteners, clear the nosepiece or magazine in case of deposition of debris, replace or repair the magazine, driver blade, or pusher spring (which one is appropriate) in case of damage occurred may solve the problem.

Problem: Headlight flashes continuously

Causes: Either for a jammed fastener or jammed mechanism; low battery charge or damaged battery; damage of internal electronics

Necessary Troubleshooting: In case of jammed fastener – remove the battery, clear the jammed faster, push the driver blade back up manually if necessary and reinsert the battery to check again. For other cases, either replace the battery pack or contact the authorized service center.

If the above process is not working, you can take replacement of your tools (if it is new) or contact for service at –

Thank you for reading our article with endurance.

Wil says
NOVEMBER 7, 2020 AT 11:40 PM

I bought a metabo cordless 16 gauge finish nailer. When I fire it the nails only drive in about 1/4 inch no matter what length of nail I use. Any suggestions?

Tools Mirror Replied

Hello Wil, Thank you for your nice question. You said that your Metabo cordless finish nailer won’t drive nails in full length. It may happen for several reasons. Here I try to discuss some common phenomena, though.

  1. Poor or low battery power. Always drive nails when your battery shows a green light. If it does not show green, might be you have a problem with your battery. Either it is not properly charged, or it becomes unusable. Check your operator manual for the proper charging method or contact Metabo for replacement.
  2. Adjust the Depth Gauge. Metabo finish nailer comes with a depth adjustment dial. If you find the nail is not sunk properly, turn the adjuster to the deep side to get the desired depth. Again to do so, follow the operator manual.
  3. Check the push lever and trigger moving smoothly or not. If it is not working properly, either the magazine got jammed, or the number of nails left on the magazine is low. Unjam the magazine if jammed and reload it. Also, clean the magazine to ensure it is free from any dust or wooden chips.
  4. Check the drive blade. If you found it worn, contact Metabo for replacement. Also, check the internal electronics and compressed air pressure. If found any damage to internal electronics, may cause a weak drive or slow cycle, and you need immediate replacement by contacting Metabo.

I hope the above points will help you overcome your current problem and operate your nail gun smoothly. Thanks again.

If you want to participate in a conversation regarding nail gun troubleshooting or maintenance problem of such kinds, please feel free to contact us.

Tools Mirror

Toolsmirror is a group of co-fighters dedicated to gathering information, analyze & test various items, and releasing reviews on various woodwork and outdoor tools. Our mission is to provide our readers with the most up-to-date ideas and approaches, as well as reveal the genuine features that will assist them in selecting the best items for their professions and DIY projects.

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