1. Welcome Hearth.com Guests and Visitors - Please enjoy our forums!
    Hearth.com GOLD Sponsors who help bring the site content to you:
    Hearthstone Soapstone and Cast-Iron stoves( Wood, Gas or Pellet Stoves and Inserts)

Choosing a Stihl Saw

Post in 'The Gear' started by WarmGuy, Mar 20, 2008.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. WarmGuy

    WarmGuy Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2006
    Messages:
    492
    Loc:
    Far Northern Calif. Coast
    The Stihl dealer has suggested one of the following saws for me (replacing my Craftsman 18"):

    MS 250: $319
    MS 270 $379
    MS 290 $369

    This will be for bucking 3-5 cords per year of downed scrounged trees.

    Any comments? Would I notice the two pound difference between the different models? Thanks.

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. computeruser

    computeruser Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2007
    Messages:
    343
    Loc:
    East Lansing, MI
    Three decidedly different saws there, save for their pricetags.

    Assuming you're looking to run an 18" or 20" bar, I'd skip the 250. Sure, it's still a lot more saw than you're used to, but I'd not want to run more than a 15-16" bar on that saw.

    The 270 or 280 would probably be my choice, unless you needed the added grunt that the 290 provides (at the expense of a few pounds...). A 270/280 with a 16" or 18" bar is a superb firewood saw.
  3. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2006
    Messages:
    9,427
    Loc:
    base of Mt. Rainier on the wet side, WA
    Those are good prices. As far as the weight... do you plan on hauling this saw into the brush? You mention only bucking logs and if that is simply converting logs on the ground into rounds and your body is in average shape then the heaviest saw on that list is not too heavy. The lightweight pro saws are better for the long days of cutting in the forest, felling, limbing, topping, and packing the saw to the tree. Weight can be an advantage when you are simply letting the saw fall through a log.

    It only takes a few hours to buck up 3-5 cords of logs anyway.

    Is the 270 a "pro" saw or is it a medium grade like the 290?
  4. WOODBUTCHER

    WOODBUTCHER Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2006
    Messages:
    935
    Loc:
    Pomfret, CT
    I was in the same boat, looking at Stihl's. Came really close to buying the FarmBoss, thats until some people here mentioned the Dolmar 5100s.
    I have'nt pulled the trigger on a new saw yet, I have a local dealer selling the 18" Dolmar 5100s for $379.00. It's worth a look........

    Dolmar 5100s 11.2 lbs/50cc/3.9 horsepower.

    WoodButcher
  5. kevin j

    kevin j Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2008
    Messages:
    563
    Loc:
    minnesota us
    on the AS site, the 5100 and 7900 (and Stihl MS361) have mystical qualities of the gods. they are all VERY good saws though.
  6. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2006
    Messages:
    9,427
    Loc:
    base of Mt. Rainier on the wet side, WA
    The trouble with Dolmars is getting your hands on one. Availability is very limited in certain areas and don't be fooled by their dealer locator as it includes dealers that don't deal. Dolmar has now prohibited shipping of the new saws, mail order buying, whatever, so despite their good reputation the Dolmars are have some major drawbacks. You can buy parts online though.

    I'm back to looking at Stihls myself which pains me due to their high price. The 290 with a 20" bar is cheaper than the Dolmar 5100 with the 20" bar. Heavier and not a "pro" saw but at least you can go and buy one.
  7. kevin j

    kevin j Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2008
    Messages:
    563
    Loc:
    minnesota us
    how about the 260/280 then? I have a 280, like it. and an old 026, love that one better. 280 is more power, but 3/4 lb heavier. Still about 11 or 11.5 lbs PHO though so lighter than the 290. I have hefted a 290 but never used one. I am old and out of shape, so I really notice a half pound or more between 280 and 026. It's not carrying the weight that matters, is is accelerating and decelerating it: moving all over, swing, limb, swing, limb, etc. I think the 290 would wear me down limbing, no worries bucking. I run 20 inch on both. A bit underpowered for bucking but works fine for what I do.

    k
  8. kevin j

    kevin j Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2008
    Messages:
    563
    Loc:
    minnesota us
    oh, and farm boss: I wouldn't touch one. heavy, heavy for the power. Great for farmers cutting off fence posts a few times who don't maintain anything. tough and rugged but a real pig.

    k
  9. DKerley

    DKerley New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2008
    Messages:
    75
    Loc:
    Yukon, Canada
    I have a 260 and love it!
  10. JustWood

    JustWood Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2007
    Messages:
    3,525
    Loc:
    Arrow Bridge,NY
    I'm gonna piss alot of people off here but if a saw weighing 2 more pounds is a big difference in weight then your a feline ( 50+ years young exempt). Warmguy you only cut 3-5 cords a year and you probably don't cut it all in one day, so I doubt your going to notice 2 lbs.If you want the big saw go for it.
    If your concerned about weight buy a 2" smaller bar and only fill half full with gas and oil. A smaller bar will help you power through the cut faster so that the amount of time you spend cutting (holding onto saw) is reduced.
    A lighter saw will also kick back faster than a heavier saw.

    Take the time to go to a big saw dealer and pickup both models at the same time. They usually have all the different models they sell on the showroom floor . Lift them both up different ways even up to eye level at arms length (not running of course) just to get an idea if an extra 2 lbs is gonna tire you out . I doubt it will
  11. kevin j

    kevin j Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2008
    Messages:
    563
    Loc:
    minnesota us
    two pounds, even one pound, is a huge amount when used a lot. it's part of why people pay a few hundred dollars for a pro saw. It's also the feel of a precision tool vs. a slug.

    However, your first point is excellant: for a few cords a year it likely won't matter.

    And IMO your second point is the bottom line: go to the store and compare a few. Ideally, make some cuts in the back lot but few stores do that any more. Even better, cut with some friends and try different saws.

    And ANYTHING you buy new will feel and cut so much better than the small cheap saws. We are really discussing the fine tuning of a decision, when moving from the cheapie to a better one is the biggest jump. Whatever you get, there will be something that 'could have been' better, but focus on what an imiprovement yu have made and enjoy the task !

    k
  12. Ken45

    Ken45 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2008
    Messages:
    545
    Loc:
    southern Ohio
    Thanks a lot! (Okay, I'll be 61 next month, does that exempt me? I'd prefer to think I'm not "old" yet.)

    I was cutting with an old Homelite SXL (15.5# with 20" bar) a couple of weeks ago and it wore me out. I really prefer the MS170 but it was too small for what I was cutting. Of course sitting around inside all winter hasn't helped me keep in shape.

    Ken
  13. TMonter

    TMonter Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2007
    Messages:
    1,493
    Loc:
    Hayden, ID
    Ever lug a saw 200 yards uphill to fell a tree? Two pounds is a lot, especially when you spend the whole day in the woods sawing, even for firewood. That two pounds gets multiplied when you're holding it out while sawing. (Torque = FxD) It all depends on your usage, I find I use my 346XP more heavily for small work because of weight and my 372XP for stuff 16"+ and felling larger trees. The 056 at around 20 pounds only gets used on stuff 24"+.
  14. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2006
    Messages:
    9,427
    Loc:
    base of Mt. Rainier on the wet side, WA
    The 290 or 029 is the farm boss. Sells for 369$ locally with a stock bar. Stihl's best seller.
  15. loggie

    loggie New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2008
    Messages:
    98
    Loc:
    neast
    JUST REMEMBER THERE IS NO REPLACEMENT FOR DISPLACEMENT!
  16. Ken45

    Ken45 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2008
    Messages:
    545
    Loc:
    southern Ohio
    Yeah but that Chevy 454 is just soooo heavy to lug up the hill! ;-)
  17. WarmGuy

    WarmGuy Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2006
    Messages:
    492
    Loc:
    Far Northern Calif. Coast
    Thanks for the advice.

    I'm 54, and in decent shape, but after cutting and loading a few truckloads of wood, I'm beat for several days. Anything that will help with that is a good thing.

    I want to get one that will last a lifetime, and it bothers me that the MS 250 is listed as an "Occasional Use Chainsaw," though I admit I'll only use it occasionally.
  18. kevin j

    kevin j Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2008
    Messages:
    563
    Loc:
    minnesota us
    The 290 or 029 is the farm boss. Sells for 369$ locally with a stock bar. Stihl’s best seller.


    you're right. My error. I ws thinking the Farm boss was one of the 03x numbers. Been a while since I used one, just recall the weight. but by the website numbers, the 029 is only a pound or so heaveir than teh 280. 280 in turn feels much noticeably heavier than my old 026. I end up back on the 026 most of the time.

    so, 280/290 proably a wash. I much prefer light saw with long bar though. Keep a razor sharp chain, file couple strokes every second tank of gas, makes up for small motors.

    but, light weight costs money. I look at it that the extra $100 or so is amoritzed over 10 years, or about .000001 for every time I swing it back and forth !

    k
  19. d.n.f.

    d.n.f. New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2007
    Messages:
    504
    Loc:
    Nelson BC
    I have the 270 with a 18" and love it. It has done 8 cords so far with no complaints.

    Don't get the one with the easy start compression valve unless you are 90.
  20. struggle

    struggle Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2006
    Messages:
    727
    Loc:
    NW Iowa
    I have the Farm Boss and I see no problems with the weight of it. I carry it around a lot in the wood area I cut in. I do use a 019 for limbing though. I would think the Farm Boss would be a bit of a hassle for cutting the small stuff off.

    It seems to me in my time of heating with wood if one can swing the cost of having a small saw for limbing and a bigger saw for bucking works best and saves the most time.

    When I started cutting I only used the 019 and it was time consuming.
  21. Yule log

    Yule log New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2008
    Messages:
    21
    Loc:
    Central Indiana
    I bought an 290 last year after borrowing my dad's older, slightly smaller Stihl for a number of years. I will admit the farm boss carries a bit more weight but I appreciate the power cutting through up to 25" hardwoods (20" bar). I am 35 years old.

    I also carry along a 14" Poulan that I do most of my limbing with. It is worth it to me to hump two saws into the woods as a way to save some energy on the small stuff.
  22. Carl

    Carl New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2008
    Messages:
    366
    Loc:
    Northern Michigan
    I have used a Stihl 028 for the past 25 years. An excellent saw but it is having trouble idling so decided to get a new one with brake, and other
    upgraded features. I looked them over and purchased the 270 with the no wrench chain adjustment for 379.00. Seems like a nice feature
    since the chain does need adjustment and when it does the wrench is nowhere in site. I chose this one because it is a few pounds lighter
    than the 280 or 290. Weight does make a difference over the long haul. I was drawn to the pro 260 which was lighter and built better but
    the price of 500+ bucks and the salesmans comment that I didn't need such a saw kept me on track with the 270. He didn't think I would
    wear it out and is probably right since the old 028 lasted 25 years and I am now 62 so easy to figure that one. Grin.

    Tonight after work I fired it up and cut up a dead elm with a butt of about 14 inches. Didn't take long to turn it into firewood and the saw
    has less vibration then my older one. Tomorrow I have a couple more to cut and haul to the house and split. I only spend a few hours at
    a time cutting since it is at home.

    In a couple of weeks a friend said I could cut dead oak with him so working on getting in shape for the project. Since it is farther from
    home I plan on cutting at least half a day or more to make it worth my while.

    Have fun choosing a new saw for your wood cutting projects.
  23. Outdoorsman

    Outdoorsman New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2008
    Messages:
    65
    Loc:
    Mi.
    I have a 260 w/16" bar and it's just a plain joy to use. For limbing up to 12" in stuff like maple or ash it's my first choice.

    I like a saw to cut fast & am not real easy to please in this regard but the 260 is a top choice in this regard.

    Did try a guy I work with Dolmar 5100 & while it's a 1/2lb heavier it also has enough more bit to it that I thought it pretty good. Only problem I see is he'd moved here from a couple hundred miles away & no dealers in my home area. Do to the lack of dealers where I live I'd not buy one, but a choice to consider if you've a Dolmar dealer in your area.

    Husky 346xp is said to also be quite good in this size range, but I've not run one.

    IMO the pro saws are well worth the extra dollars. Last longer & cut faster + lighter to boot.
  24. ISeeDeadBTUs

    ISeeDeadBTUs Guest

    The MS440 which I use a few times a week has now been replaced by the 441 at 15.2 lbs. I would probably replace my current saw with an MS460 if I could, at 15.2 lbs.

    I'm still on the better :lol: side of 50, so I don't have the patience to wait for a small saw to make it's way through 6-30" oak. I'd say it depends what you are cutting and how much.
  25. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 20, 2008
    Messages:
    6,443
    Loc:
    S.NH- Mass's smoking section
    I've had a 260 pro for about 6 years now. I don't cut a huge amount of wood in a year, but I did beat this thing the first few years I owned it with not sharpening (burning through the wood by friction :), etc. If I had it to do over again- I would have bought this same saw- I think it's invincible.

    Maybe I'm a pooss- but I like it lighter. I've taken down an oak over 30" wide with it... took effort, but that whole 2-cord tree was done up with the 260 pro and a maul. That makes for long days for me (all 5'7" of me- lol)

    Oh- and for limbing- I use an axe. I asked for a Gransfors Bruks limbing axe for XMass- sharpen on a diamond stone after each use so it cuts hair. My wife got weird looks when she told people what she got me, and I got them too when I told people how psyched I was. Also have the Gransfors hunter's axe.

    Suggestion- wear your steel toed boots when limbing with a sharp axe.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page