With the Gen 2 Finish Nailer’s Milwaukee did three things to improve this.
First, they redesigned the striker (the component that drives the nail) to leave smaller holes in the material when a nail is driven.
Second, they improved all the nail guiding and feeding components to ensure the nail is always in the proper position to be fired within the tool.
Third, they distributed the tool weight in a way to ensure the striker was not
slipping off the nail head while the nail was being driven, which was another factor that led to large holes / double striker marks with the Gen 1 nailer.
Our testing and field use showed Gen 2 to be an improvement.
On earlier testing, we found that the Gen 1 installed fasteners, 3/16th inch off-center, which we felt was the result in too much play in the contact bracket.
Gen 2 does not have this issue.
Milwaukee changed from the wire from tip [rolled wire] to a precision point tip, resulting in WAY better line of sight, and getting the tool into narrower and tighter spots.
Our testing found the contact tip accurate, by lining up the white arrow, we were able to place a nail exactly where we wanted to.
The Gen 2 finish nailers are a little longer than their predecessors.
The slimming down allows the tool to get into corners and tighter spots.
The Gen 1 finish nailers had Milwaukee’s standard, old M18 belt hook.
Milwaukee changed the style of the hook with a larger, better flare-out. They also moved the hook from the tank location to the bottom of the tool.
As a right-handed user we think this hook is ok, not great, here’s why:
Hooking onto a loose tool bag seemed fine, but to hook onto the tool belt, you must look, use a second hand, and maneuver the nailer to engage the clip onto the belt.
Once hung, the nailer hangs better off the belt and is balanced.
When the hook is mounted on the right side of the tool [for left-hand users] the hook works flawlessly.
The battery orientation was changed and is now angled allowing the tool to sit upright, on its battery pack and magazine.
To address this Milwaukee improved all the nail guiding and feeding components to accommodate to be less sensitive to these slightly different manufacturing tolerances.
The Gen 2 nailer magazine holds 110 DA nails from 1-1/2 to 2-1/2” When paired with a 2.0 Ah battery these nailers will install:
750 nails per charge – 15-gauge:
800 nails per charge – 16-gauge
Milwaukee made some big improvements from Gen 1 to Gen 2 regarding thermal protection controls.
Gen 1 would hit thermal protection at approximately 100-150 nails when fired at a fast rate continuously. The Gen 2 Finish Nailers can fire 350-750+ nails continuously depending on how fast you’re firing.
We found both nailers installed finish nails consistently, at the desired set depth.
Throughout our testing, the nailer performed flawlessly with no jams or misfired nails.
The crew loved that there is no “ramp-up time” for this nailer, it placed a nail as fast as we were able to accurately aim, set, and pull the trigger.
The recoil is smoother too.
In the field, we used the nailers mostly with PVC trim.
In the shop, we tested the nailer by fastening different wood species from Oak, Poplar, and plywood.
The results were the same as in the field – we experienced consistent depth, fast fastening, and no nail jams.
There was no issue with toenailing and the nailer was powerful to toenail into the Oak as well.
These finish nailers consistently performed like a pneumatic nailer by driving nails to the proper depth in Oak while leaving clean nail holes matching the head of the nail.
We didn’t experience any jams in our testing. Clearing jams is a simple and easy task by unlatching the “jam latch,” clip on top of the tool nose area.
The LED light will turn on with a trigger pull without the contact bracket engaged, giving you the ability to light your work area before you’ve placed the nose of the tool down and are getting ready to fire.
The LED light is located on the right side of the tool and is bright, but casts a shadow on the left side. As a right-handed user, this is the side I view mostly.