Nail gun not shooting nails? Here is what to check

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Nail gun not shooting nails? Learn how to fix it in this nail gun troubleshooting guide…

In this post, I will be showing you how to repair different nailer brands once it stops firing….

Let us get started.

Nail gun not shooting nails? Here is what to check

While there are a range of different types of nailers out there, they have a couple of common reasons that cause them not to shoot nails.

Let’s start by looking at these basic causes and their potential fixes..


Jammed nails

This is usually the first likely culprit if your nailer is not firing nails- remember a nail jam prevents the tool from cycling hence the problem.

So check if there are jammed nails in your nail gun and clear it (check your owner’s manual for detailed instructions on how to clear the jam).

Dry fire lock

Nailers tend to have a dry fire lock mechanism to prevents them from firing when they are running low on fasteners(when it has between 3 and 6 nails).


For starters, the internal parts of the nailer can be damaged if you repeatedly pull the trigger when the magazine is empty.

So open the magazine to see if there are enough fasteners remaining and reload it (if not) then see if it will resume shooting.


Lack of enough or no air pressure

If you are using a pneumatic nailer, it may not fire if you are feeding too little air pressure or there’s no air pressure getting to the nailer.

Keep in mind that pneumatic nailers, in general, require between 70 and 120 psi of air pressure to work smoothly.

Recommended fix

The insufficient air issue could be due to partially or fully clogged hoses- perhaps moist air has frozen in there, subsequently clogging your air hose.

Now, the simplest solution is to first warm your air hose(to ‘melt’ the freeze) and see if the nail gun will stop acting up.

You can also disassemble the air hose to check for (and clear) any clogging.

Besides, inadequate air pressure might be due to a leaking nail gun.

There’s no specific fix here: refer to your user manual as there are different remedies, depending on the part that is leaking air.


Battery issues (cordless nail guns)

When it comes to cordless nailers, what you may be behind the fault is your nail gun’s battery…it can ‘refuse’ to shoot if low on battery or the battery is itself defective (so it’s not holding charge).

Recommended fixes

Make sure the battery is 100% charged then retry.

Get a new battery- there’s no shortcut if the battery is bad..just replace it.


The nail gun is dirty

If you had stored the nailer for a long period of time, it might have a lot of dust in sensitive parts(dust/ sawdust inside the nailer could end up clogging the feeder).

Likewise, dust may have accumulated over time if you have not cleaned it recently if you work in really dusty areas.

So try to clean your nail gun(see your owners manual or YouTube tutorials for steps)- you need to clean the feeder as well as its internal components(all the moving parts)

This might get your nailer firing once again.


Worn-out or damaged O-rings

The O-rings are crucial to the proper functioning of the firing mechanism of nail guns.

Unfortunately, the parts start degrading over time if they aren’t regularly lubricated or are frequently over-lubricated (for oil-less nailers), sometimes leading to shooting issues.

So you might want to disassemble the nailer and see if you’re looking at damaged or worn-out O-rings…just know that the only fix is replacing the necessary O-rings.

Damaged driver blade

The other typical cause is a damaged driver blade- and again your best bet is swapping it out with the manufacturer recommended replacement part.

Nail gun not shooting nails – how to troubleshoot the issue on specific nailers

Bostitch nail gun not shooting nails

If you are using a Bostitch nailer and the previous steps don’t work, try lubricating the nailer through the air line connection.

If this doesn’t work, disassemble the nailer and check whether the head valve is stuck in the cap.

If so, dislodge it and lubricate all moving parts before reassembling your nailer.

Note that this only applies to those Bostitch nailers that require lubrication.

Side note: For durability of your Bostitch nailer, always use the recommended Bostitch Pneumatic Tool Oil for lubricating your Bostitch tools.

Dewalt nail gun not shooting nails

Is your Dewalt Nail gun still shooting blanks even after trying the above steps?

If yes, try the following:

  • Check if your driver/return assembly is damaged-simply replace them if so and see if this resolves the problem.
  • Check your pusher string- If you note that it’s damaged or worn-out, change it out and retry to shoot nails.


Dewalt 18 gauge brad nailer not firing nails [fixed]


Metabo nail gun not shooting nails

For Metabo nail guns, if all of the previously mentioned fixes don’t work for you, we advise you to visit an authorized Metabo service center for professional help…there are not many DIY repairs for the problem for this nail gun brand.


Metabo HPT nail gun troubleshooting guide


Rawlplug nail gun not firing

The official Rawlplug website has the following to say:

If your nail gun has fired about 50,000 shots, there’s a chance that the nailer may need service. This would be a general maintenance service and is not included in the warranty of the tool.  We suggest you take your tool back to any of our authorized service/repair centers to advise you with this –

Note that this only applies if you are within the UK as the approved service centers are within the UK only.


Ridgid nail gun not shooting nails

When it comes to the Ridgid brand of nailers, once again try all the steps we have looked at above before anything else.

This is another nail gun brand that we recommend professional service if you have not been lucky..


Hitachi nail gun not shooting nails

If you are having a Hitachi nail gun, then it must be pretty old.

Nonetheless, the above solutions might work- visit an authorized Metabo service center if they don’t work for you.

Quick Tip: Hitachi and Metabo joined and all Hitachi products have since been transitioned into Metabo HPT.


Hitachi nail gun troubleshooting and basic solutions


Paslode IM250 not firing nails

Your starting point is the troubleshooting steps we went through previously.

Next, check whether your gas fuel cell is attached properly or empty- re-attach the gas fuel/refill it as needed.


How to tell if Paslode fuel cell is empty [Easiest method]

Paslode nail gun not firing? Here is what to check



Makita GF600 not firing

If the above steps don’t work on your GF600, reach out to an authorized Makita service center – a pro could advise you further.

Campbell Hausfeld nail gun not shooting nails

If the above steps do not fix your gun, try tightening the house screws – this helps if there is air leaking between the housing and the cap.

And if the problem persists, replacing the housing gasket might be worth trying.

An authorized Campbell Hausfeld service agent might be help too.


Final thoughts

If you have a valid warranty and your nailer isn’t firing nails, don’t try to disassemble it as this would void the warranty.

Instead, contact the manufacturer or dealer for a replacement.

P.S: Always follow the maintenance tips in your owner’s manual as some problems associated with nail guns not shooting are normally as a result of poor maintenance.



Nail gun nails not going all the way in [Fixed]

Craftsman 18 gauge brad nailer troubleshooting guide

Milwaukee m18 framing nailer problems and troubleshooting

Bostitch nail gun troubleshooting and easy fixes

Paslode nail gun repair manual- all paslode nailer problems solved!


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