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Help with purchase of firewood/ground saw

Post in 'The Gear' started by fmelani, Apr 3, 2013.

  1. fmelani

    fmelani Member

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    Shopping for a new or used chainsaw that can handle a 20” bar. I am cutting between 6 and 8 cords of firewood a year with an Echo CS440. The Echo is a nice light 45cc saw but is pretty slow through some of the bigger pieces that get dropped off by the tree guys. I like the idea of having a second larger ground saw and using the Echo for a limber and smaller stuff.

    Have heard great things about the MS261 on this board (thanks Manitoulin Maples) which is at the absolute top of my price range new, but just not sure if it makes sense having a 43 and 50cc saw. Would it make more sense jumping up to a 59/60 cc saw like a used MS361 or new MS 311/391. Can’t justify the price of a new MS362?

    Any thoughts or suggestions would be appreciated. The wood that gets dropped off is a wide variety of hardwood anywhere between 10” and up to around 36” (approximation)… it’s free so I don’t complain.

    I am not brand specific, but the Stihl is what I have looked at so far.

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  2. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    In a word - Yes!

    MS261 is too close to your Echo capability wise and a 20" bar is asking a lot of it if you intend to use all 20" of it. The MS361 will run a 20" with ease.

    You should be able to score a still-smells-new MS361 for less than what you would spend on the MS261.
  3. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    The 361/2 will run a 20 inch bar with authority. And the kicker is, that it will run a 25" if your tree service gets excited.
    smokinj likes this.
  4. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    6-8 cords you bet! (Would not gloss over a 441 either) :)
    Fifelaker, Nixon and Jags like this.
  5. If you are cutting 2'+wood on a regular basis I think you'll be disappointed in a 361/390. I picked up a 361 over the winter and have been cutting with it this spring. I have a 20" bar on it and would not want anything longer than that. If you only want one saw a 361 would be a great choice.

    A 70cc would be a better match to go with your 43cc echo. And if you want to cut and noodle 36" gnarly tree service logs with a smile than think along the lines of a 660 :)
  6. fmelani

    fmelani Member

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    I have found a 361 used with a 20" bar for around $450. Any ideas what I should look for or stay away from? Would ask the owner if I can run it through a few pieces to see how it runs. Any red flags I should look?
  7. fmelani

    fmelani Member

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    I usually get sent a little bit of everything, the last drop ended up being just over 3 cords. Of that maybe 3 of the 10' pieces were 28". Next time I will measure to get a better feel.
  8. I paid 250 for mine and that was with a brand new 20" bar/chain. I've recently paid 300 for a nice 372 xpg.

    Others will chime in on what to look for. But the basics are good compression, nothing broken or missing, clean air filter. And no matter what pull the muffler and check for scoring on the piston. Also pull the spark plug and check the color of the plug.
  9. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

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    361 wearing a 20" bar is the best all-around firewood saw there is, in my biased opinion. There are about 2 hours out of the year I wish I had a bigger saw (32"+ logs that I rarely get into).

    $450 is a good deal. As long as it starts easy and runs as it should, you should be fine. I would stay away from any saw used commercially (tree service, logger, landscaper, etc).
  10. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

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    I don't disagree, but not everyone is going to let you take their saw apart before selling it. This wouldn't be a deal breaker for me unless I suspected the saw had questionable compression. There's always the hold it by the rope check...not scientific but easy to do and will reveal bum compression quickly.
  11. Ram 1500 with an axe...

    Ram 1500 with an axe... Minister of Fire

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    I have the same echo with the same problems. The next saw I get is a stihl that makes the echo look like a little brother...
  12. I just bought a 346xp that started up and ran fine. Compression was over 150. But the piston looked like this.

    [​IMG]

    I paid a $100 for the saw which was otherwise in great shape. And sold it for 250 with full disclosure. I could have gotten more for the saw if I wanted to cheat someone. No one would have suspected anything wrong with the saw from listening to it for 30 seconds. The guy I sold it to is running it as is and hoping for the best. :eek:
  13. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    If keeping the Echo, I'd only be looking at 70cc+ saws. Why own two saws so close in size? Put an 18" bar on the Echo, and a 24" bar on your 70+cc saw, and you'll be set to rip thru wood like nobody's business.

    I actually carry three saws with me, when I go out cutting:

    35cc w/14" bar
    62cc w/20" bar
    85cc w/28" bar

    The two guys I cut with are always blown away with how quick I get thru the wood, but it's all about having a saw big enough for the job, and small enough that you don't tire out too quick.
    mikefrommaine likes this.

  14. I think 450 is fair for a 361 but I would try for 3-350. I've had my 361 on CL for a month at 485. And had only one tire kicker so far.
  15. fmelani

    fmelani Member

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    I have heard nothing but great things about the 361 as a firewood saw, but it never occurred to me to even look at anything bigger. The 361 is a little over 12 pounds from what I read, which is not much heavier than my Echo (which is a plus). Based on HP the 361 has just under 50% more power than my Echo which on paper (for whatever that is worth) is a lot.

    Also whatched a few videos on the 361/362 and holly cow does that thing cut wood. Don't know if I want to go much bigger that that.

    Last question, is their that much of a drop off from the 361 to say a 391/311. Basically same power but pro to farm grade.
  16. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    The wood isn't gonna notice pro to farm grade, but you sure will.
  17. fmelani

    fmelani Member

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    Thanks Mike. I will offer him $300 and see where the conversation goes. Not sure if he will let me take the muffler off. What is the hold it by the rope check? Hold it from the starter rope handle and it should support the weight of the saw? Stupid question just not super mechanically inclined accept for regular maintenance.
  18. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    It checks to see how fast the cylinder (piston) will bleed down (compression).
  19. If you are concerned about weight then forget about the ms390 -- it weighs about the same as a 372xp and is not nearly the saw.

    The 361 would be a huge step up from your echo. And is a great all around saw. But I find it a little big for limbs and a little under powered for bucking large logs. If all your doing is bucking logs to length a used 372 or 440 would be a good choice as well.
  20. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    There are two potential answers to your dilemma:

    1. If you're only getting a 361/362, you could just sell the Echo, so that's some good $$ back in the bank. You'll never use the Echo again, owning two saws so close in weight.

    2. I was looking for a used 70 - 75 cc pro saw a year ago, and when I couldn't find one, settled for a used 85 cc pro saw. Figured I'd be a little scared of it at first, but it's amazing how quickly you can get used to something.

    If you're convinced you don't want anything bigger than 65cc, then I'd buy the 361/362, and sell the Echo to comp the price difference. You will be much happier with one 361/362, than with a 391/311 and an Echo you never use.

    PS -- I've been getting an itching to try an MS 880, although I could never in a million years justify the need for one.
  21. I always try to start the conversation really low. Like half of what they are asking or less. ;)

    To pull the muffler off a 361 you'll need a T27 bit on a screwdriver handle or on a t-handle. A socket T27 will not fit.
  22. Nixon likes this.
  23. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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  24. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    A little further down the orginal owner of the saw clarified exactly what parts/work were in the saw.
  25. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    Yeah... after I posted that. ;lol

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