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Choosing the "right" Stihl...I need a lesson in numbers!

Post in 'The Gear' started by avc8130, Dec 22, 2010.

  1. avc8130

    avc8130 Minister of Fire

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    I NEED a chainsaw. I have a Stihl FS90R string timmer that I LOVE so I figure I will "keep it in the family" and look for a Stihl saw.

    I have used MS270, MS290 and MS390.

    1 buddy has an MS270 and he is insisting I buy more saw. He burns about 5-7 cords annually.
    1 buddy has an MS290 and swears it is the perfect saw. He maintains 7 acres and does about 5 cords annually.
    1 buddy has the MS390 and is in love. He has no trees on his property and doesn't burn wood. His father-in-law is a Stihl dealer.

    I need a saw that is managable, but also capable of felling trees and handling larger log deliveries (24-30"). I originally started looking at the 290, and see it can take a 20" bar. Speaking with a buddy about his 390, he said it can take a 25" bar. I don't see the 390 on the website any more, but I see a 391. This saw is only rated to a 20" bar also!

    Do I really need to jump up to a professional saw to take more than a 20" bar? Is the 391 still worth the extra coin over the 290? I see they weigh in about the same, but the 391 has more power.

    Any help?
    ac

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  2. K2Orion

    K2Orion Member

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    I have a 390 and an 021. The 390 has a 20" bar. Longer bars are available, if not recomended. I almost had Santa bring me the 24" and 2 chain combo from Bailey's. It even comes with a free T-shirt.
    I love my 390. I bought used for a lot less than a used 036/360/361. But sometimes I wish I had gone with a pro saw. The antivibe is nice and is a litttle lighter saw.
    But I have the 021 for small stuff.

    If 1 saw is your plan, my vote is 290 and an extra 24" bar for the rare big stuff.
  3. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    391 would run a 25 in. bar so would a 362...I have seen a 361 with a mini mill riping a log with a 28 inch on it..... Not the fastest thing I have every seen but holds its rpm's well.
  4. avc8130

    avc8130 Minister of Fire

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    The price jump from a 391 to the 362 seems crazy.

    Is the extra HP of the 391 worth it over the 290? I figure if I am sticking in this size range, buying the extra HP up front is easier than having to buy a new saw when I come up a bit short, right?
    ac
  5. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    Just an example I think the 391 will do everything you want! 391 has 65 cc's more than enough to pull off what your doing. 362 59 cc. 391 is a good bag for the buck
  6. HeatsTwice

    HeatsTwice Minister of Fire

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    Yep and mine does. It blew through this thing easily enough.

    Attached Files:

  7. Bigg_Redd

    Bigg_Redd Minister of Fire

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    I've been cutting 7-12 cord per year for 8 years with a 290 (20" bar), and, I cut lots of logs in the 30" range.

    If I were buying a new saw today I'd go find a left over 361 and put a 25" bar on it.
  8. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    How much are you cutting in a year?? I have run a friends 390 stuck into some pretty big stuff with a 20" bar and it did just fine. I sure wouldn't be concerned if it will do the job for firewood. It will. I have no comment on the 290 - never ran one.

    Now - the 361 compared to the 390 - two different critters (with two different price tags). The 361 is a better, faster, smoother saw in every way, but you pay for it.

    "Just ask the man that owns one" - James Ward Packard.
  9. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    Yea I really think that a 390,391 with the muff mod. may just out pull a 361 with a 25 in. bar. Be a fun race!
  10. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Nu-uhhh! Muff mod ain't enough.
  11. ISeeDeadBTUs

    ISeeDeadBTUs Guest

    If I were purchasing a new saw, it'd be a 660 so I could use the 440 for smaller stuff.

    All this talk of saws that begin with "3"s and even "2"s . . . confuses me
  12. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    lol New that would get you going...But what I really like about a 361 is that it runs best at high rpm's what I don't like is that you need to keep that saw there to really show it off. I think the 391 just might pull a full comp. and lug its way to victory in a larger log.
  13. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    I will agree that the saw needs to run at the top of its RPM to really shine. Running a full chisel in my 25" bar and NOT being aggressive with the rakers keeps that baby at top RPM's and sling'in chips. My buddys 390 IS a muff mod saw. But I ran it before he did the mod as well. He thought the same thing as you. Had to teach him a lesson (and what GOOD beer really tastes like :lol: )
  14. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    Beer is Good! I have a few doing nothing... 40+ inch wood.
  15. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Now yer just bragging. :lol:
  16. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    lol

    I know when the 361 really has to grunt it loses alot of time and on the back side of 40 inch I think that 390 got a real shot.
    Smaller stuff the 361 wins all day long.
  17. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Dunno, he has yet to beat me in a cut - even at full bar depth, and my saw wasn't really even broke in yet.

    Ahh..were splitting hairs :lol:

    Back to the OP - that 390 is a darn capable firewood saw. According to Redd - so is the 290. Ya can't go wrong. Pick your price point and roll with it.
  18. golfandwoodnut

    golfandwoodnut Minister of Fire

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    I have a 390 and for not alot of extra coin over the 290 you get almost a full horsepower more, pluse a compression button like the pro saws. I think it is definetly worth the extra coin and gives you the option of a larger bar if needed.
  19. avc8130

    avc8130 Minister of Fire

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    I went to the dealer and I am even MORE confused.

    I asked him about 290 and 391 (note 390 are long gone).

    He said the 391 was definitely worth it. The extra power was good.

    When I asked about a bigger bar, he said he always sticks with Stihl's requirements. He said something along the lines that with the new EPA saws you can "burn them up real easy" with a bigger bar, not using premium or running the wrong oil/ratio.

    Then I asked if I should get the 391 and he said "depends how heavy you want to run all day". So I commented that the 290 and 391 weighed extremely close to the same. "Depends how heavy..."

    I am looking around $500. Is the 391 the answer?
    ac
  20. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    My opinion is that if you have interest in a longer bar than 20" then go with the 391. The extra HP will be advantageous.
  21. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    It a great saw for the money! epa on that saw is eazy enough to change.
  22. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    lol Yea I hear you on the 361 just way to much hipe for that saw...Fine small saw though!
  23. midwestcoast

    midwestcoast Minister of Fire

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    Whatever he means by "EPA Saw" it's not very helpfull advce. You can burn a saw up by using too much bar & forcing it to bog down in the cut for long periods. That keeps the saw from acheiving the necessary rpms for air cooling to work. Any modern saw will burn-up on bad gas. The 391 is a strato engine that purges exhaust from the cylinder & crank with a puff of air instead of using fuel mixture. The effect of that on cooling is minimal IMO.
    On the issue of weight on 290 vs 391 make sure you're comparing them based on how they feel, not the specs. Companies fudge specs all the time. In this case Stihl may try to hide the added weight of the new 391 vs the old non-strato 390. Your arm doesn't lie & the difference may be so small you don't notice.

    Jags said it: Need over 20" bar? go with 391. For 18" bar & extra coin in your pocket, go 290. Not much more to it than that.
  24. midwestcoast

    midwestcoast Minister of Fire

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    on the 391? I don't see how without porting & fitting a new carb minimim. Who cares anyway, strato's work.
  25. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    I am for the 391 am I missing something here? air in exhaust out.

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