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Last week, we had the opportunity to visit with the folks at Bosch in Chicago about their 2009 lineup. The first item on the long list of new gear Bosch is rolling out this year is their Full Force Technology nailers, the stars of which –- mostly ‘cuz they’re the only ones out yet — are the SN350 series framing guns.  The phrase “lean and mean” was tossed around a lot by many folks at the event, and while we admit that it’s largely a catchphrase, it applies in this case.

The Full Force in the name refers to Bosch’s new pneumatic system which was designed from the ground up and works differently than the traditional gun. To start off with, it’s around twenty percent smaller than, say, a Paslode or Hitachi, and it’s a little more powerful.

The standard way to return the piston is with a return camber that builds up air when the gun is fired and eventually pushes the piston back to the reset position when enough pressure is put into it. Bosch’s new Full Force system uses a separate, much smaller blast of air to return the piston on the trigger release -– of course, if the gun’s in multi-shot mode it’ll do it automatically.  But what’s important is that there’s a second chamber in charge of nothing but the back stroke;  that means the entire blast is dedicated to driving the nail, not split between driving and returning the piston.

Bosch makes the housing as rugged as any gun on the market today, with a solid aluminum frame and no plastic parts except for on the trigger.  Going a step further, Bosch also added a metal plate on the butt-end, for guys who like to use their gun like a hammer to nudge boards in the right direction before fastening them.

The bumper or tip of the gun also underwent serious scrutiny as the most likely part of the gun to wear out — Bosch designed the tip with aggressive teeth to hold wood on toe-ins, and it won’t deform easily.

The most interesting part of the whole gun to us was the detachable magazine. The lever’s located to the side and out of the way, plus it doesn’t seem to come loose unless the operator disengages it — even when we threw it around (read: across the room) at the Bosch event.

With one clean flip of a lever the magazine comes completely off the gun in case of jamming. Even the best of guns jam on occasion because fasteners get stuck for one reason or another, and the simple fact that the operator can just slap another mag on with the flick of a lever and deal with the jam later is very sweet indeed.

As far as we can tell this is one of the largest leaps forward in pneumatic gun design in the last few decades. A great deal of thought and practical engineering went into the Full Force system, and with all the other guns on the way we think this is a lineup worth checking out if you’re in the market.

Of course, like anything else, you get what you pay for, and you’ll notice your wallet is a little lighter after shelling out the $350 for this rig.  It’s a price tag at the upper edge of the market — however, as far as we can tell from first glance, the gun is more durable and well-put-together than anything we’ve seen.

Bosch has done some in-depth testing and shakedown of the new system, and it shows.  If the guns hold up half as well as we suspect they will when the test units show up, Hitachi, Paslode, and DeWalt should be shaking in their boots.

SN-350 Framing Guns [Bosch]

 

11 Responses to Preview: Bosch Full Force Framing Nailers

  1. fred says:

    There ia already lots of buzz about this new lineup. Time will tell – but the newer smaller tool size should be good.
    We’ve never stuck to one brand – buying what we thought had an edge for a particular tool – with each new purchase – se we’ve ended up with Bostitch, Hitachi, Makita, Grex, Porter-Cable, Paslode, Senco and others in our boxes. Will probably add a Bosch or two now.

  2. Barri says:

    Same here. Just purchase what does the job best. Makita Framing nailer, Paslode angled Finish nailer, Makita straight finish nailer and Bostitch floor nailers. Cant say i ever had a problem with the makita and power. The Bosch looks very much like my makita frame nailer to be honest. But at double what i paid for my Makita will it sell?

  3. PutnamEco says:

    Did you happen to notice where they where manufactured? Not China I hope.
    Does it use regularly available nails or will they use their own proprietary nails?

    Being lighter, I wonder if recoil will become a problem.

  4. Sean O'Hara says:

    I will check on the manufacturing but I can answer the nail question. The entire lineup when they are out including the framing guns will take anyone’s standard fasteners. Bosch has no plans to enter into the fastener market from what they told us time and time again at the event.

    I can also tell you that being too light was something they took into account when designing the gun with framers who are going to use it all day in mind. Plus they did a great deal of user testing in the field with it to get the weight right. I thought it felt good. Not being a pro framer myself though [shrug] I can’t speak for the guys that might use it 10 hours a day… at least not till we get our hands on one.

  5. Jim says:

    @PutnamEco
    It’s not lighter. It’s smaller. Two different things, it’s actually slightly heavier than another one I looked at. Which is explained by them using ALL metal except for the trigger. BUT it is slightly heavier, but more likely than not it’s more durable with all metal construction. I’ll probably get it, I love Bosch though. They make awesome stuff, them and festool. But they know they make good tools and charge accordingly. I love having quality tools too much to let price concern me for the most part. Don’t flame me though, I’m not pushing that philosophy on anyone else.

  6. PutnamEco says:

    Re:
    Jim Says:

    They make awesome stuff, them and festool. But they know they make good tools and charge accordingly
    ———————-

    I like Bosch stuff too. I will be very disappointed if I have to pay top dollar for something made in China though.

  7. fred says:

    We haven’t bought a lot of Bosch power tools lately – buying more from Milwaukee and Makita – but our last few Bosch items had a mixed country-of-origin:

    1640VS FINE-CUT SAW USA
    1773AK CONCRETE SURFACING GRINDER GERMANY
    12524-03 CORDLESS HAMMER DRILL KIT MEXICO
    1365 14INCH ABRASIVE CUTOFF MACHINE GERMANY
    1775E TUCKPOINTER GRINDER GERMANY

  8. Captain Obvious says:

    Dudes….

    It DOESN’T MATTER what “country” something is made in,
    and every one of us knows it:

    Have YOU ever worked with a crew that cared about integrity/quality of work,
    in your country?

    Have YOU ever worked with a crew that cared ZERO about integrity/quality of work,
    in your country?

    http://www.MEC.ca/ has a simple policy:
    they employ people,
    in *any* country,
    who are paid fair wages,
    who care about *making* it right,
    and NO-one here can convince me that no-one,
    whatsoever,
    in China, cares about quality work.

    IT DEPENDS ON THE CREW, NOT THE COUNTRY.

    However, the main reason corporations prefer to employ Chinese/Indians is because they can be paid what, to us, would be dirt,
    and get selling the product for better profit
    ( or even be *able* to sell, at all, with customers being so
    “I don’t care if the makers even WERE paid: I want it cheaper”
    attitude ).

    I proudly buy whatever is made right, that I require,
    no matter where it was made,
    and have been burned by makers/workers in every country I’ve ever
    ( indirectly, even ) dealt with.

    Including crews I’ve worked with, or for, in my hometown(s).

    If it’s Bosch in charge of the making, the process, and the quality-control, I trust it:
    no matter where it’s made: they value the reputation they earned.

    Good work is worthy. Period.

    Cheers,

    – Captain Obvious (:

  9. busf says:

    According to my local bosch rep, “the entire line of nail guns are manufactured in Taiwan, to Bosch quality controls.” He also told me the entire team of engineers and managers are based here in the US. They were designed using feedback from all over the country.

    Lets just say I have a good relationship with my local rep.

    I have one on order to add to my tool collection, I picked it up for $315.

  10. SLB says:

    Warranty comparisons:
    Bostitch: 7 Years (Limited) – Excludes: Normal Wear Items – Bumpers, driver blades, o-rings, pistons, piston rings, negator springs, air inlet casing.

    Hitachi: 5 Years (Limited) – 90 day coverage on driver blade and o-rings
    Does not cover malfunctions resulting from normal wear, neglect, abuse, accident. Excludes normal wear Items – Bumpers, driver blades, o-rings, pistons, piston rings, negator springs, air inlet casing.

    Senco: 1-2 Years (Limited) – Excludes: o-rings, seals, and driver blades.
    Senco will replace any tool destroyed by “An act of God” within the normal warranty period.

    Paslode: 90 Days (Limited) – Excludes: Bumpers, o-rings, driver blades, and piston rings.

    Bosch: 1 Year – Covers ALL components. No exclusions. 1 – Year Warranty, 30 – Day Money Back Guarantee – 1 – Year Service Protection Plan! Bosch will cover ALL normal wear items.

    So, as you can see the Bosch Pneumatic line will covered by the “Best Warranty Plan” along with some of the industries best innovations in Pneumatic Nail Guns!

    We all know what “Limited” means…

  11. PutnamEco says:

    Re:
    Captain Obvious Says:
    It DOESN’T MATTER what “country” something is made in,
    and every one of us knows it:
    —————–

    It does matter what country something is made, I take it you’ve never been down sized or outsourced.. Just ask the guys over at the former vice grip plant in DeWitt Nebraska if it matters where vice grips are produced. If you don’t care for more than your own wallet or that YOU get a good tool and could care less whether your fellow countryman has a job or can afford your services, fine go buy that foreign tool.
    Or maybe you need to look at all the reasons they can maximize profits for their corporate parents. No environmental regulation enforcements. They are free to dump all their toxins in our oceans and to emit as many noxious gases as they please into our air. Pollution knows no boundaries.
    Need I mention, their records on treatment and safety of their workers or supporting a government that opposes all the freedoms we enjoy.

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