Safe disposal of an unusual nail gun

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Just4Fun

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Here is a strange question raised by an elderly uncle (in the UK). He was having a clear out and came across a nail gun from the 1960s or 1970s that used to belong to his father. This is not an electric tool. Instead it uses cartridges that are just like bullets. The tool was used to punch nails into concrete or even steel RSJs. It hasn't been used for decades and who knows if it would still be safe to use. Anyway, he will never use the tool and is concerned about how to safely dispose of it.

He says about 5 years ago the local police had a firearms amnesty and he asked them about the tool. They took some of his documentation about it away for study and decided they weren't interested so he stuck the tool back in the cupboard until he re-discovered it now.

I have asked him to let me have brand name, model number, or any other information he can find. In the meantime, does anyone know about this kind of tool? Any suggestion what he should do with it? His proposal is to cut the gun in half with a hacksaw and put it in his rubbish bin, then bury the "bullets" in the garden. Apart from the waste (if anything is still usable) I would be concerned that at some time in the future after he has long gone a kid could dig up the then rusty bullets and try hitting them with a hammer or something.
 
Calling it a nail gun is not the best. It is better described as a 'powder activated cartridge tool. About the best known of the breed is a Hilti DX450.

Google 'hilti cartridge disposal' for some relevant suggestions. Burying in the garden is not one that features highly in the search results.
 
I would take it to a reputable metal recycling centre ask for it to be cut up and letter of disposal issued??
 
I hired a Hilti one in the late 80's to fix a load of batterns to a concrete ceiling......It worked a treat, but scared the bejesus out of me every time I pulled the trigger.!!!😮
I've always known them as a "Hilti Gun"....?
 
They were very common, never knew you needed any license as they are no different from a starter pistol and no more dangerous than a modern framing nailer. The cartridges were colour coded for the application and is how the force was adjusted, I can recal Red and black ones but not the intended purpose.
 
Absolutely no need to worry about the tool. Certainly not to waste time trying to cut it up. These are not firearms and not licenced. List it up on ebay or put it in the metal recycling skip at your local dump.
If the tool isn't rusted, the best way to make the cartridges safe are just to put them in the gun point at the ground and fire them off. They contain powder and primer but no projectile.

It's a sound idea to keep out of the hands of kids. If you can't fire them off after which they just go in the bin, then dispose as hazardous waste.
 
If the tool isn't rusted, the best way to make the cartridges safe are just to put them in the gun point at the ground and fire them off.

You cannot fire the device without the end of it contact with the surface. That is one of the defining features of a cartridge tool that distinguishes it from a gun.

Similarly, when you are trained to use the device, they tell you never to fire it without a nail inside it (because the energy from the cartridge is not going into pushing the nail into concrete, it can damage the piston).

So it is probably best not to offer advice if you have not been trained or do not recall what you were taught.
 
Here is a strange question raised by an elderly uncle (in the UK). He was having a clear out and came across a nail gun from the 1960s or 1970s that used to belong to his father. This is not an electric tool. Instead it uses cartridges that are just like bullets. The tool was used to punch nails into concrete or even steel RSJs. It hasn't been used for decades and who knows if it would still be safe to use. Anyway, he will never use the tool and is concerned about how to safely dispose of it.

He says about 5 years ago the local police had a firearms amnesty and he asked them about the tool. They took some of his documentation about it away for study and decided they weren't interested so he stuck the tool back in the cupboard until he re-discovered it now.

I have asked him to let me have brand name, model number, or any other information he can find. In the meantime, does anyone know about this kind of tool? Any suggestion what he should do with it? His proposal is to cut the gun in half with a hacksaw and put it in his rubbish bin, then bury the "bullets" in the garden. Apart from the waste (if anything is still usable) I would be concerned that at some time in the future after he has long gone a kid could dig up the then rusty bullets and try hitting them with a hammer or something.
https://www.hss.com/hire/p/dx450-cartridge-nail-gunhttps://ksshire.co.uk/product/hilti-dx-460-nail-gun-hire/
 
They were very common, never knew you needed any license as they are no different from a starter pistol and no more dangerous than a modern framing nailer. The cartridges were colour coded for the application and is how the force was adjusted, I can recal Red and black ones but not the intended purpose.
This is just not true
The tool has the ability to drive a 3" nail through wood and concrete and thats the little one with a .22 cartridge. They also made ones with .38 and .44 cartridges.
Not the same at all as a starter pistol.
If it's not good as a tool anymore and you think it dangerous, take it to the Police and they can dispose of it for you.
 
Hi Just4Fun. Is this nail gun the Hilti type that needed to be hit with a lump hammer to discharge the nail onto a solid surface?
 
You cannot fire the device without the end of it contact with the surface. That is one of the defining features of a cartridge tool that distinguishes it from a gun.

Similarly, when you are trained to use the device, they tell you never to fire it without a nail inside it (because the energy from the cartridge is not going into pushing the nail into concrete, it can damage the piston).

So it is probably best not to offer advice if you have not been trained or do not recall what you were taught.
That's a sensible point. Of course we don't know the make of this tool but I was going from Hilti's own video that says firing the cartridges is the best way to dispose of them ...
 
Hilti dx 450 the predecessor to cordless tools and the perfect answer to site work pre sds drills . One of the best solutions to no power on site especially useful for fixing timber Battons to concrete as previously mentioned. I still have mine and will keep it for as long as possible. If I recall the pistons and the piston ring had to be changed regularly but apart from that never had any issues apart from the noise . Mine has an adjustment for denser concrete. A definitive blast 💥 from the past .
 
I had one I was gifted and sold it on facebook a couple of years ago for £50 with a load of cartridges. It could punch the nails straigh into stone and concrete but as said with a hell of a bang. The buyer said he'd been looking for a while.
 
How many cartridges left? 100's or a few?
If a few discharge them by firing the hilti against a brick or concrete block - the tool without cartridges is a piece of inert metal just take it to your local council recycling depot and put it in the scrap metal section. It will get recycled with all other bits of metal eg washing machines bicycles and so on.
If he has hundreds let us know and will find out from Hilti UK - they will advise.
 
Thanks for some interesting replies. I will next be in contact with him on Sunday so I hope to know more then.
 
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