THE BEST DRILL EVER: MILWAUKEE 1/2" MAGNUM "HOLE SHOOTER" DRILL REVIEW
I know what you’re thinking. Why in the heck would you review a corded drill when every tool available is moving towards a cordless version.
The truth is, I’ve been meaning to include this tool on the website for a while. Not necessarily as a review, more like a tribute to the best, most indestructible drill I have ever used.
Chances are, if you have worked in construction for any length of time, you have seen this drill. While cordless drills have taken ownership of today’s jobsites, up until about ten years ago the Milwaukee 1/2″ Magnum drill, also known as the “Hole Shooter” was a very common sight on almost every construction project you were working on. Even now, when cordless tools of just about every variety are strewn across the jobsite, this drill can still often be found laying in the job box. Sitting there waiting to prove itself once again on some abusive task.
A look at the specs will tell you the basics. RPM 0-950, 5.5 amp motor, 1/2″ keyed chuck. and a five year warranty. What the specs don’t say is that this drill packs an enormous amount of torque into its frame.
Indeed, I experienced this as a first year apprentice. I learned that until you are completely familiar with this drill and it’s power, don’t attempt to use it without the side handle attached. Even with the side handle attached and two hands on the drill, I learned that you need to always be alert with this thing. (This is something quickly learned when the drill catches and twists your arms together like pieces of twine.)
Once you get accustomed to it, however, it is a tool that one will come to depend on. When you need a corded drill because the task you are on will simply chew up batteries, this is the drill you want. I thoroughly believe if you were to survey seasoned construction crews about this the Milwaukee 1/2″ Magnum Hole Shooter, you would find them singing accolades and most would have stories about how far they have pushed one of these drills.
Practically indestructible, most of these drills I see are several years old to say the least. They have been thrown in the job box, sent out to jobs, tossed around, used when needed and sent back to the shop only to have the story repeated over and over. The motors are not brushless and while they should require replacement at some point, I have never ran across one that needed new brushes. These may have been changed at the shop, but I will say the only tools that I saw get attention at the shop where tools that were broken. The others were quickly checked and then set on the shelf to await the next jobsite journey.
So what do you need a drill like this for? What “tasks” do you have that you wouldn’t want to use a cordless drill for? Here’s a trip down memory lane on some things that I would NOT trust a cordless drill with:
1) General mixing. You know, where you put the attachment in the drill and mix up something in a five gallon bucket. Things like drywall mud, thin-set, mortar, etc. This is something I would NEVER use a cordless drill to do. As a matter of fact, I burned up a Dewalt corded drill after stirring up the second five gallon bucket of thin-set. Smoke started coming out of the vents. Expecting the Dewalt to be on par with the Milwaukee Magnum 1/2″ Hole Shooter #0234-6, I pressed on, only to be met with the internals melting and seizing up. Lesson learned as the Dewalt was my personal drill.
2) Large hole saws. Sure, you can use a hole saw with a cordless drill. I do that all the time. You can even step up to a large hole saw if you only doing one or two. More than that and you will quickly find that the drill gets hot and batteries deplete quickly. If you have many holes to do, the Milwaukee Magnum 1/2″ Hole Shooter will start to shine. Yes it will get warm, but this thing will just keep going. I was on a job site and we needed to cut in a dozen 4″ holes through floor tiles. Not just any floor tiles though. These tiles part of a reinforced, raised floor and were composed of 3/4″ concrete sandwiched between two pieces of 1/6″ steel. We grabbed the Milwaukee Magnum out of the gang box and started cutting. This drill made it through all of the tiles. We burned through many hole saws as the concrete wore down the teeth. As this would happen, we pressed harder on the drill to grind away as much of the concrete as we could before changing out to a new hole saw. At some points there would be two of us pushing on the drill. If the drill broke, it was simply a matter of grabbing another one, so we weren’t concerned about going easy on it. We just needed the holes cut. That 1/2″ Milwaukee got so hot there was smoke pouring out of the motor vents. Still we kept drilling and that thing was still funtional when we were finished.
3) Wood boring bits such as found in residential electrical, plumbing, HVAC installs and any task requiring power hungry, loaded, low speed, high torque applications.
As far as I’m concerned, the Milwaukee Magnum 1/2″ Hole Shooter has earned its reputation as the king of corded drills. If you can afford it, I would highly recommend keeping one on hand for any heavy duty work such as the tasks listed above. Five stars out of five, this one earned it!