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Chainsaw

Post in 'The Gear' started by f700, Feb 16, 2008.

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  1. f700

    f700 Member

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    Loc:
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    Looking for opinions on a new saw. Have it narrowed down to the following in no particular order:

    Husky 346XP
    Husky 455
    Husky 460

    Stihl 270
    Stihl 280
    Stiihl 290
    Stihl 260

    I am leaning towards the 346XP for it lightweight, but have always run Stihl products, trimmer and small saw. Plan on cutting 8 cords a year (grapple loads).

    Thoughts?

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  2. TMonter

    TMonter Minister of Fire

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    Sounds like the 346XP New Edition would be your best bet. MS280 is a good equivalent but its performance is lacklusker without some modding which will only increase the cost.

    In the same price range I'd take a close look at a Dolmar 5100S as well.
  3. cmonSTART

    cmonSTART Minister of Fire

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    If I were buying a saw from that list, I would spring for either the MS270 or MS290. Both are decent saws.
  4. kevin j

    kevin j Minister of Fire

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    Need to define your needs. all are around 50 cc.
    the 270-280-290 are good quailty mid ragne saws. The 260 is lighter, fster speed, and more of a pro saw. DOlmar 5100 is comparable to the 260 in performance and price, the others are in a lower price and performance class, still WAY above any box store saw. Don't know about husky at all.

    I have a 026 and a 280. The 026 wore out and seized, bought the 280 while awaiting repairs. 280 has more power but a pound more wieght. I like the quick handle second brake. Overall, I go back to the 026 most of the time becaue it is faster, lighter and more maneuverable. I use 20 bar on both, better for limbing. Bit much for bucking but they pull ok.

    as a one saw, Ithink about 50cc is right balance of power and weight.

    go to arboristsite.com and ask the same Q;
    You will get the Ford v chevy, bud v miller, etc etc arguments but lot of good info also. Dolmar 5100 is a favorite there of many people.

    I think it's whatever you feel most comfortable with and grow into-Start with a good pro saw and never be furstrated you should have bought better.Either way it's such a jump up form the mac/poulan/crafstman/whatever yu have now, you won't care if one of the others would have been 2% better.

    k
  5. MALogger

    MALogger New Member

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    out of the list you made, I would vote for the 346 xp or the ms 260. With that said which saw brand has a good dealer closer to you? I have also heard alot of good things about the Dolmar 5100s. Any of those three saws will serve you well for cutting up a triaxle load of wood per year as long as you aren't getting a load of hoobers (big stuff) from a tree company.

    Good Luck,

    Craig
  6. ms440

    ms440 Member

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    You could always step up to an MS361. I love mine. If you are just bucking up wood the very little extra weight is a non issue and it will cut faster. If you already have and know Sthil, I find it easier to stay with that same brand, and the pro saws are just plain easy to use.
  7. f700

    f700 Member

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    Thanks for the input. I have both dealers relatively close. Currently, I just borrow my dads stihl 025, and like it, but now that I will b cutting that much wood, I want something bigger and faster.
  8. Outdoorsman

    Outdoorsman New Member

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    First I'll say I've not owned a Husky.

    But the 346 has very good stats & Husky is a good name in saws.

    I've owned 2 of the Stihl saws you list, the MS 290 & now a MS 260.

    The 290 has more power but is heavier & for limbing (up to 10") I like the MS260 much better. I have a MS 460 for larger cutting and usually switch to it for much cutting over 8".

    The 260 is a VERY good saw, tough, light & quick handling. Best saw for trim and lighter logs than anything else I've had the chance to try.

    As you're already used to Stihl brand saws I'd recommend the 260 to you. I'd not bother with the adjustable oiler & compression valve, they're really not needed, most of all the compression valve.

    If the time comes I need a compression valve on this class of saw it's time to give it up and hand off my saws to a younger man.
  9. TMonter

    TMonter Minister of Fire

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    What size are most of the logs your are cutting in your grapple loads?

    If most things are under 18" the 346XP/MS260 will be great saws with a slight edge to the 346(new edition, 50cc) in performance.

    Also consider the Dolmar 5100S as it has a bit more power and can pull a bigger bar without taxing the saw.
  10. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    I'm in a similar situation, about 6-10 cords / year, some light felling but mostly grapple loads. However my grapple loads sometimes include 36" + trunks and often 24"+ so I wanted something I could use with a 20" bar most of the time, but mount a 28" for handling the "bertha" class logs.

    Going by the "3-4cc per inch of bar" rule told me I wanted something in the 60-70cc range - Dolmar makes a series of three saws, the 6400, 7300, and 7900 that all use the exact same powertrain except for the piston and cylinder, and thus have the same specs except for the engine size / HP. At 13.6 lbs for the powerhead, the 6400 is a little heavy for it's size, the 7300 is about comparable to the same size Stihls and Huskys, and the 7900 is the lightest of any saw I found in that class. They claim that at 6.4HP it's the best HP to weight ratio saw on the market.

    I ended up purchasing the 7900, and could hardly be happier. It goes through red oak like a Jedi's light saber goes through storm troopers... The other day I was cutting a 20"+ red oak, and it did not seem like it slowed down one bit even with the bar totally buried. It feels reasonably light and well balanced, with the 20" bar the center of gravity is just about even with the top handle. It is incredibly smooth running, it's a little shaky at idle, but not enough to be a nuisance, but at speed it is almost as smooth as if it were off - just a lot louder.

    Construction seems top rate, and everything I've done on the saw (not much beyond taking things apart just to see how they went together...) seems very simple and well engineered.

    IMHO I wouldn't ignore the Dolmar 5100, but it might be worth stepping up into the 6400-7900 class

    Gooserider
  11. Xpress

    Xpress New Member

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    Certainly not an expert by any means but I have a older Stihl 032av and a yr old Dolmar 5100. I have also spent extensive time on my dad's 346xp. All three are good brands and the 5100 and 346 are very close in comparison. You can't go wrong with any of those three brands. Now that I have run the 5100 for a yr I can say the vibration damping is incredible as is the power the saw develops. The only two interesting things I can say I honestly wonder about are the throttle cable and the air filtration.

    I popped the cover off and was surprised to see an actual cable, not that they are less reliable but I hope it doesn't stretch or otherwise "wear out". The air filter is a very thin membrane over rigid plastic and I noticed immediately a sort of fine dust or soot collecting on the inside of the intake throat. Other than those minor issues the saw is everything I would want in a 4hp saw.

    Good luck in your search
  12. f700

    f700 Member

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    Okay...narrowed it down further to Stihl.

    MS280
    MS290
    MS310

    My friend has the 290 and loves it. but now I am debating on the 280 as it is lighter weight, or should I go to the 310 for the extra HP over the 290...... Decisions decisions.
  13. f700

    f700 Member

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    Well after more research and speaking with dealers I think I am going to get the MS270. From what I have read and been told, it has a much broader powerband than the 290, is lighter weight, is in the "pro" style chassis" which has better antivibe. If I get lucky enough, maybe my wife will let me go to the 361, but I doubt it!
  14. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    I am trying to make a similar decision on a good saw to use a 20" bar for non-pro firewood processing and limited clearing duties.

    I am on my third Poulan 16" barred wood shark or something like that. The poulans have been extremely dependable but lack the power and speed of cutting that the larger saws have. I had two poulan chains sharpened and it cost 13$ for a saw tha tonly cost 120$ to start with. I never have regretted the Poulan purchases since they filled the disposable saw area very well and have slowly cut even the big 30" diameter logs into rounds.

    I priced the MS290 at 380$ and the MS270 MS280 and about 480$. All three could use a 20" 3/8 pitch bar and chain. The MS290 is the non-pro saw with a plastic case and smaller log dawgs or whatever you call those metal teeth at the bar/case joint. The 290 is the farm boss and has been a top seller for Stihl because, I believe, the saw is 100$ cheaper than the 270 or 280 but has about the same power. The local saw shop came to the rescue though and told me about a nasty habit that the 290s have which is oiler failures. I asked around at work and the three guys that use 290s or 029 farm boss saws had indeed suffered from oil pump failures. The saw shop recommended against the 290 in favor of the 280 or 270 since the oiler failure of the 290 cost about 80$ to fix and the pro saws use an adjustable oiler that isn't prone to failure. The 100$ savings for the 290 is burned up the first time you need to fix it.

    Me being younger and supposedly more stubborn he also recommended that I look at the bigger and heavier saws with the 361 getting good marks. You can always run a 20" bar on that saw but the 280/270 will be maxed out on that 20" bar.

    The stihls are a big recognizable name around here with easy parts and service. The Dolmars have a dealer in town but they are rare. The 5100S which is supposed to be superior to the 280 type saws is only about 400$. People really seem to like the 5100s.
  15. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Well I just checked and Amick's where I got my 7900 has the 5100s for $389 w/ an 18" bar, plus probably about $20 for shipping... I like my 7900 as you've seen, and have heard good things about Dolmar from everyone. When I was asking about saws over on Arboristsite, it was interesting, even the Husky and Stihl fans were saying nice things about Dolmar, at the same time they were ragging on the other brand... Quite aside from quality issues, I was advised that it was better to get a Pro-grade saw just because if you needed to work on it a Pro-grade was easier to deal with just because it didn't have the plastic case and so forth that you had to get into.

    The 5100s is described as the mid-range pro-grade for Dolmar, and it looks like a nice saw, the only thing that makes me a little hesitant about it is that it is billed as revving to 14,500rpm, and I don't really like saws that make their power by revving to extreme levels - supposedly that approach gives a very narrow power band and peaky performance... (My 7900 makes it's power through displacement, 6hp from 79cc's at 12,500rpm) However it does have a rated 3.9 hp, and Dolmar's website says it can pull a 20" bar, although they say 16" and 18" are the reccomended "standard" bars (which is consistent with the usually suggested 3cc of engine / inch of bar rule ) - Sounds like you could do worse than to get into a Pro-grade Dolmar for the same price as a home-owner grade Stihl...

    Gooserider
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