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Best ~ 70cc chainsaw. suggestion please

Post in 'The Gear' started by snydley, May 3, 2008.

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  1. snydley

    snydley Member

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    I have a P.O.S. 55 cc Craftsman chainsaw that's just not "cuttin' it". I want to replace it with a good pro saw. I started burning wood for my primary heat source since January, this year, and I'm going to be heating that way from now on, screw the oil companies with a sharp jagged pole! :vampire: I've tried buying "seasoned" firewood by the face cord and have found that the firewood man's idea of seasoned, and mine are 2 different things. So I started scrounging firewood. I figured if I was gonna get green/slightly seasoned firewood from the firewood man, I might as well cut and split my own and then I know what I'm getting. I put an advertisement on our local library's web board, and craigslist and have scrounged between 8 - 10 face cords by answering the emails people have written to me, and have been working almost everyday cutting free wood. I swear there is so much wood locally that I could work 24/7 if I wanted to. Some of the trunks I've cut up on these "jobs" have been almost 36" in diameter, and it's really been a chore for the 18" Craftsman I have. I plan to do this every year, so long as the supply holds up. If/when it dries up then I'm going to start buying tri-axel log loads and cut and split them myself,(I also bought a Husky 22 Ton log splitter). :coolsmile:
    So, to make a long story even longer, Now I want to retire the craftsman saw and buy a good pro saw. I've been looking at the Stihl MS 440 or 441 and 460, online. They seem to be almost the same saw, with the 460 being a little bigger. Which of these would you buy, and which would you stay away from? I also am considering Husqvarna, because we have a dealer locally that carries both Stihl and Husqvarna. Unfortunately I know less about the Husqvarna's than the Stihl's, which is next to nothing, that's why I'm posting this cry for help to you guys. I want to buy a saw that will last years, and one big enough that I won't have to upgrade to a bigger saw in a few years, hopefully never. My thought is a pro saw approx. 70cc or bigger, with a 20" bar and chain, and if it looks like I'm gonna need something bigger I'll buy a 25" or bigger bar and chain for the big stuff. What do you guys think? Can you offer me any suggestions?
    Thanks,
    Snyde

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  2. firebird400

    firebird400 New Member

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    hi synde ihave a stihl ms440 20inch bar and its great love the saw bought it used on ebay was like new got it for all most half of new
  3. chad3

    chad3 Feeling the Heat

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    Pick up a Husky 372XP if you can find one. Best saw out there in this range, I feel. It is however a pretty heavy saw to be cutting with for an entire day. I have a Stihl 361 (running a 20" bar) for most cutting and the 375 just comes out for the bigger wood (24" bar). Then there is the 80 cc saw for the really big wood with the 28/32 bar. I use the Solo, but really its only for really large wood which means it doesn't get used much.
    You need to think about how much wood you cut in the 20"+ range as this is just about the only time you would need a saw of that size.
    Just my .02
    Chad
  4. Sealcove

    Sealcove Member

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    In my opinion a 70+ CC saw is overkill for home use firewood cutting. A Husky 357XP or Stihl MS 361 could each easily handle the task at hand with an 18 or 20" bar. I have a 372XP, and I have never needed to use it for my wood pile even when I have 36" oak. Just my two cents.
  5. TMonter

    TMonter Minister of Fire

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    If you really need that big of saw the best three choices are:

    Husky 372XP/XPW

    Stihl MS440/441

    Dolmar 7900

    All three are great saws in that class and when taken care of all three should last at least 15 years if used primarily for woodcutting.

    I think that depends on the type of firewood cutting done. I've found my 372 to be an excellent firewood saw but a bit on the heavy/large side for limbing and small work.
  6. Sealcove

    Sealcove Member

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    I don't disagree with that statement. I have a 372XP, and it does a fine job as a firewood saw, but I have found it to be overkill for anything less than 36" oak. If the majority of the wood is going to be over 24" then it probably is worth hefting the extra weight and power. I would not bother if the majority of wood is smaller than 24". Just my take.
  7. loggie

    loggie New Member

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    Everyone has a favorite brand of saw,I like stihls,I worked for a logger as a kid he swore by them.He said the huskys he tried didnt last and blew up.He ran 044s and 064s before the 66 came out.I have a 036 thats almost 20 years old cutting firewood and clearing land and working on my 40 acres its had alot of bars and chains on it and I have never had a problem with it ,I doubt there is a saw on the market that can beat that.I also have a 066 that is newer and after using it for a while I dont use the 036 for anything over 12" the 066 rips through in half the time it is heavy but it balances well with a 24" bar and I can cut the same wood in half the time with less effort.If my 036 blew up tomorrow I would replace it with a 440 or 460 I feel no need to experiment with other brands If there is a better saw on the market I dont need it.I do not care to struggle with small saws anymore,buy bigger you wont be sorry.
  8. Sealcove

    Sealcove Member

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    The pro level saws by Husky or Stihl are pretty much of equal quality. If you get either you will be happy.
  9. snydley

    snydley Member

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    What I need this saw for is cutting large trunks of felled trees. I started scrounging downed trees, etc. around my area, and there seems to be a good market, I've got more work than I can possibly do. People don't want me leaving the large tree trunks in their yards after I've cut all the "prime cut" firewood from the tree, so I need a saw that will cut through the large stuff. The last tree I got, approx. 36" locust tree, was really taxing my 55cc, 18" bar Craftsman chainsaw. Now I'm sure that part of the reason was that it's a Crapsman, but if I'm gonna go buy another saw, I'm gonna go larger this time. I can always use the Craftsman for the smaller stuff.
    After more research on this site, and the info. on Dolmar saws, the Dolmar PS7300 and 7900 look like good options. Are they as good a saw as Husqs and Stihl?
  10. Sealcove

    Sealcove Member

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    I have never cut locust, but I have to imagine that it's a workout. I have no experience with Dolmar saws.
  11. countrybois

    countrybois Member

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    I have a 440 and I LOVE it. I also have an 036, but there is no comparison. I run a 28" bar on the 440 and it seems like a great match, and that is cutting mostly oak. I've had all 28" buried in oak and I grin the whole time. It is mighty heavy to be limbing with though, so maybe if the crapsman is still running, keep it for the small work.
  12. Turner-n-Burner

    Turner-n-Burner New Member

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    are you limbing these felled trees too?

    I've done some limbing with my 357XP, and I wouldn't want to swing anything larger than that. Seems like your options are either to get one saw that will do everything pretty well - stihl 361 or husky 357. or get something big like a 372, and have a smaller saw too for limbing.

    Oh, and because no-one else said it. Sharpen sharpen sharpen. a sharp chain makes a huge diff on any saw!
  13. TMonter

    TMonter Minister of Fire

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    Why do you think I have the 346XP %-P

    Depending on how much his craftsman weighs it might be good for him to get the 70cc Saw and save the craftsman for the limbing and small work. Of course as you get more saws MCD sets in pretty quick.
  14. snydley

    snydley Member

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    Yes, I'm limbing too. The Crapsman does ok with that. Oh, and I know about sharpening! Don't even bother if it's not sharp! I bought a Stihl guide bar and files and it works really well. I'm doing as well with that as with having the local shop do it. The Crapsman manual says the saw is 17.6lbs. I assume that's with bar and chain, since it makes no distinction.
  15. snydley

    snydley Member

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    MCD? :question:
    The Craftsman is 55cc., 7200+ RPM and 17.6lbs. according to the manual. It doesn't list horsepower. The Dolmar PS 7300,(one option I'm looking at), weighs 13.6 lbs.,(powerhead only), so I think I'd get a bigger more powerful saw with about the same weight. I'm also considering the Stihl MS440, and the Husqy 372XP. The Dolmar seems to be the best "value" of the lot, but is it as good a saw? I don't want to "go cheap" and not get as good a saw. I'd use the Crapsman for the small stuff. It's great on anything that is smaller than the bar length. Part of the reason for getting a bigger saw is to also take some of the work off of the Craftsman. I really "taxed" it with the last locust tree I cut,(approx. 36"). Trying to cut the trunk, when the whole 18" bar was buried in the tree really worked it over! It was stalling and kicking back. I want something that will cut right through that big stuff. I also didn't feel real safe running the Craftsman that way. All in all it just felt like it was too big a tree for that saw. I don't want to buy something and have that same problem, that's my reasoning for going with a bigger saw.
  16. GrantC

    GrantC Member

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    When I went shopping for a 70cc class saw, I did a lot of research and asked a lot of questions. Someone over at arboristsite.com said something that I found very helpful: in the 70cc class, all of the available saws are of good quality, since just about the only people who buy them are "pros." Even Echo's offering, though light in horsepower relative to others in the class, isn't a bad saw.

    Stories about how one brand "blowed up" while another ran 150 years, cured cancer and served cold beer on demand are just that: stories. Truth is, any of the saws in that class will prove to be more than adequate for any use you'll ever put them to.

    In my case, I picked a Shindaiwa, based on a history of using their products (all of it fantastically good.) They start easier than others, are harder to flood than many, and have superb fit and finish. That they have a reputation for long service life under harsh usage is icing on the cake. However, I don't think I'd feel any more or less satisfied with a Husky or a Stihl or a Dolmar or a Solo or a....you get the point.

    Since it's hard to make a bad choice in the 70cc class, and lacking previous brand experience, you should probably let local dealer support make the decision for you. Pick the dealer who has the best stock of parts AND accessories, and simply buy whatever saw they carry.

    (After owning and using saws for a while, I've found the accessories are as important to me as the saw itself. If I find something I need or want for sawing, I want to be able to walk in and get it off my dealer's shelf. This includes things like chaps, helmets, wedges, cant hooks, and gas cans. I've gotten to the point where the lack of accessories is my biggest complaint with a dealer, and the usual reason I don't patronize them any more than I have to.)

    If you've got a good dealer who has both Husky and Stihl, toss a coin. Seriously.

    -=[ Grant ]=-
  17. kevin j

    kevin j Minister of Fire

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    great post. can't really go wrong with the bigger saws. Mainly it is a Ford/Chevy fine point arguemtn thing. Go with the best dealer, and what just 'feels right' in your hands.

    minor point, but don't do the smaller Dolmars. all three share the same power head, just different cylinders for smaller displacement. The smaller two are popular in rental marker, maybe more durable when in hands of idiots? So if you get Dolmar, go the 7900 for same weight, but more power.


    did I read that wrong-17 lbs and 7000 rpm for 55 cc saw! you could limb with a 460 or 7900 about the same......
    you might come home with 5100/7900, or 026/440, or 346/372 pairs!



    k
  18. snydley

    snydley Member

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    Thanks guys for all the help! I guess my next step is to go to our local Stihl/Husqvarna dealer and actually "put one in my hands". I don't know if they'll actually let me cut something with one, unless they have a demo model of the same size I want. Then my next decision is do I want one of those, or mail order a Dolmar 7900 and save a few bucks. I'll let you know what I decide.
    Snyde
  19. snydley

    snydley Member

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    I actually was thinking about the Dolmar 7300. 4.5 cu. in., 5.7bHP for $580. vs. Dolmar 7900 4.8 cu. in. 6.3bHP for $680. from Amicks as long as it's as good a saw as the 7900. Why not buy the 7300 and save $100.? Are there any problems with the smaller ones or is it that the 7900 is just a better deal?
    And yes, you read it right, at least that's what the manual says.
  20. biggins08

    biggins08 New Member

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    .6 HP is a lot with a chainsaw........
  21. downeast

    downeast Guest

    Get the tool that does what you need to do. If you're up for a macho experience, then it's another matter.
    Most cutting by loggers, producers, arborists--the professionals--work with the most efficient tool they need. No macho "muscle car" stuff. -

    I've gone DOWN in size over the years: lighter weight, more effective cutting, better maintenance, less fatigue. No more lugging a 440 a mile for clearing < 20" softwoods. A 16" or 18" bar WITH LEARNED SKILLS, and a 50cc pro saw such as a 346 or 260 saw is more than sufficient for 95% of Eastern trees IN THE RIGHT HANDS. ( Caps are for shouting)

    What's this about 42" bars and 70cc pro saws simply for working up a truckload of logs or a couple of cords of firewood ? %-P

    Concentrate on the skills to cut efficiently, safely, intelligently. Know the way your safety gear (PPE-Personal Protective Equipment) works....and use it. Watch loggers and arborists, take a CPL ( Certified Professional Logger), or Game of Logging course. It's competitive, not macho. There's nothing male intuitive about using a tool like a chainsaw. Kind of like rock or ice climbing...mistakes can be the last. :gulp:

    So, except for Northwestern logging, with DBH ( diameter breast high) in the 6' range, most of North American wood maxes at 2'-3'. Learn how to use a 16" or 18" bar for boring to fell a 3' DBH for example. It's the brain. How to drop the big one exactly where you want it. Understand how to use wedges and make a safe exit zone for yourself. Have some hard fun.

    JMNSHO
  22. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    Mail ordering a Dolmar??? You'll want to be sure to check that that is still possible. Last I checked it was not possible from Amicks or anyone else unless you can get someone to cheat.

    I've been interested in the 5100s with an 18" bar and my local support it poor.
  23. snydley

    snydley Member

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    I emailed Amicks and asked if I could order one over the Net, and if not, if I could call it in and have them ship it to me. They never got back to me. I guess I'll have to call. I don't understand what the big deal is about mail ordering a chainsaw. I pre-pay for the chainsaw + shipping and handling with my Visa, they take the bar and chain off, put it all in a box and ship it, or am I missing something here?
  24. TMonter

    TMonter Minister of Fire

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    The 7300 and 7900 have the same bottom end but different top end and same weight if I remember right. To me the $100 extra dollars is worth the extra power of the 7900. If the saw is going to weigh the same the extra power is worth it IMO.
  25. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    Yep. You're missing the Dolmar company rule that these saws can't be shipped. They want to support the local dealers, else only the big boys would survive and then you wouldn't be able to easily pick up a part for your Dolmar at a local shop.

    Try to mail order a Stihl, Husky, etc. Same deal. To some extent it happens with woodstoves too. I believe Hearthstone has a policy against shipping product.
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