I built my first wall in my basement when I started to frame and I bought the Ramset MasterShot 0.22 gun from Home Depot and read up on everything and when I used it to nail my treated 2x4 to the cement the nails don't seem to go down all the way.

Here is a picture of how far they go. enter image description here

I'm using the yellow powder which should be plenty powerful enough and the 2 1/2 nails which are meant for nailing 2x4 to concrete.

6 Answers 6


These nails are not meant to sink even with the wood. If your framing is done right these nails should provide nothing more than bump resistance for the wall. Your framing should be very snug to joists and let the wood get itself straight. Meaning that the nails at the plates don't do much.

When I am framing a basement I usually put in 3 per 8' board. I would be happy with your depth and would want it no more than an inch in concrete. Meaning the wall isn't moving any, but if someone needs to take the wall up they can do so with a prybar or hammer. If your bottom plate doesn't wiggle and you can kick it you are good.

Note: I have my guys send pics of framing when I am not at site and if they sent me yours I would be happy (well not happy with close-up but happy with nail depth)

If you look at the picture below from the Ramset guide. Your installation is a normal removable installation. And there is no way a basement wall should be permanent. Also not that the fastening power is actually created from the heat produced during the shot.

enter image description here


If this is a base plate on the floor for a wall, you're fine as is and it pretty much happens to everyone. The nail is embedded in concrete, the floor keeps the base plate from moving lower, the nail's job is to keep it from moving side to side, and the wall you build on top of it is what will keep it from lifting up the small distance you see there. I wouldn't attempt to force it lower since you risk bending or breaking the nail, or fracturing the concrete that you have a solid bond to now.

As for why this happens, not all concrete is the same strength, especially if it's had a long time to fully cure. A charge that might work on one floor can easily come up short on another. I've also seen a firm grip on the tool and solid hand with the hammer (for the hammer style ramsets) can make a big difference.


I will guarantee you that plate will stay there until somebody pulls it up. There is a good bury on the nail point, you could strike it with a hammer if the plate is stable. If plate vibrates, there is a strong possibility that the nail will blow out a big chip and the nail will loose what hold it had.

To solve it, use a red load, that should get it down flush or lower which works too.

Still the nail will hold very well like it is.


Putting in a second load will secure the screw all the way flush but carries a high chance of chipping the concrete

  • Hello, and welcome to Home Improvement. Thanks for the answer; keep 'em coming. And, you should probably take our tour so you'll know how best to contribute here. Commented Sep 21, 2019 at 20:14

I always seem to have this problem with powder setting. I have one of the hammer actuated ones like this one (it quite possibly is that one -- I haven't had it out in a while):

powder actuated tool

What I usually do is load another charge in the gun and fire it over the same nail to set it. As far as the safety of doing this with any particular tool goes, my disclaimer is that this technique isn't mentioned one way or another in the instructions that came with mine. My method may quite well be stupid or dangerous, so if you try this, you do so at your own risk just like I do mine.

Image courtesy of http://www.zoro.com/powers-fasteners-powder-actuated-tool-single-shot-52013-pwr/i/G8724161/


Here is what I would suggest. Get a spade bit and cut out the circumference of the end of the barrel, then run that spade bit into the 2x4 about quarter of an inch just enough for that head of the nail and the plastic propeller to be flush. You will still have plenty of lumber to hold with that small amount removed. This might allow the nail to be just flush with the outer surface of the 2x4.

  • 1
    Sorry, I am not following this. Could you expand your answer please. Commented Jan 30 at 22:40

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