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I NEED a new saw!! (Update)

Post in 'The Gear' started by mrfjsf, Oct 3, 2010.

  1. mrfjsf

    mrfjsf Member

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    Hey all. Im in serious need of a new saw, the crapsman just isnt gettin it anymore. Ive been doing a little research on the net. I fell in love with the husqvarna's xp series, but I just cant afford one. My budget right now is around 400-450. I wanna get the best bag for my buck and I want something that is going to be dependable and last a while. My only requirement is that the saw has to be able to take a 20" bar without much troubles. Im not really partial to husky or stihl or dolmar, I just want a good running saw that can breeze through some wood. Ill be cutting 6-10 cords/year perhaps more. The few saws I was looking at were the Stihl MS290, Husky 359 (couldnt find one in my price range though), husky 346xp (love this saw but once again I cant find one in my range)

    any other suggestions?

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  2. Jamess67

    Jamess67 Feeling the Heat

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    Ive cut close to 9 cords with my MS290 and couldnt be happier. To each their own, but thats my opinion.
  3. kenskip1

    kenskip1 Member

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  4. wendell

    wendell Minister of Fire

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    I just got my 346XP for less than $450. Offer them that. All they can do is say no. (And i predict they will say yes.) And it is waaaay worth it!!
  5. Bigg_Redd

    Bigg_Redd Minister of Fire

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    I've been cutting 8-12 cord per year for 7+ years with my 20" bar-equipped 290 and I've had exactly zero issues with it. And I'm going to run her till she pukes, which may be a long time.

    But, the saw was a gift to me. If I had no saw at all I'd come up with the extra $200 for a 361. But, that's just me.
  6. mrfjsf

    mrfjsf Member

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    Less than $450 out the door for a xp saw? Crap, where is your dealer at? lol

    I need to do some checking around and see what I can come up with. Would it handle a 20" bar with ease?
  7. mrfjsf

    mrfjsf Member

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    Id love to own a 361 bigg redd, however its just not in the cards for me right now. Heckuva saw though
  8. wendell

    wendell Minister of Fire

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    I would say it could handle it but with ease?, I'm not sure. If you are a tight budget, find a Home Depot selling their 6401 Makita rental saws. They can handle a 20" bar with no problem!!
  9. flewism

    flewism Member

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    I would definitely go the check out the Home Depot rental centers for the Makita 6401,
    The ms-290 would be a major upgrade, and will do the job.
    If I didn't all ready own a 359 and needed a 60cc saw right now then this would be it.

    http://www.baileysonline.com/itemdetail.asp?item=MKA DCS6401 20&catID=11227

    An xp346 is one of the finest saws around, but running a 20 bar on one is a bit of a stretch.
  10. nate379

    nate379 Guest

    I am very happy with my MS290. It was about $450 with a case, oil, and 2 spare chains.
  11. Tony H

    Tony H New Member

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    I needed a larger saw and called around to HD stores for a 6401 is came with a 20'bar and can really go thru some big logs very well. Got the saw plus an extra bar and chain for a little over 200.00 . Just look up the HD in your area and start calling ,I had to drive about an hour to get one . FYI Makita says it can run up to a 32" bar , I don't think I would go that large but I can sure see it running a 24 or 28 with little problem.
  12. mrfjsf

    mrfjsf Member

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    Dolmar makes Makita or vise-versa correct? Ive read up on the Dolmar 5100s, not toooo many people have them, but the ones that do say its one of the best saws they've ever owned.

    Which department do you ask for when you call home depot? DO all HD stores rent? What kind of condition was the saw in then you got it? Its hard to beat $200 for a saw of that size

    Thanks guys!
  13. wendell

    wendell Minister of Fire

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    Makita owns Dolmar. Dolmar makes the saws. Ask for the rental department. I think there are a few HD's that don't have rental departments but not many.
  14. Idahokid

    Idahokid Member

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    I bought a stihl ms310 and it runs like a ***** ape.It was on sale here at ace hardware for 389.00 with a 25 inch bar.Very happy with it.
  15. gzecc

    gzecc Minister of Fire

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    FYI, I bought a good condition 290 on CL for $190 with a couple of dull chains and a case. Keep looking on CL the good stuff comes up. You need to be quick.
  16. Battenkiller

    Battenkiller Minister of Fire

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    You say "breeze through wood". Be patient and buy a good saw used. I got lucky and found a nice 357XP for $225 on Craigslist and I just love it. My buddy has a brand new MS290 and it is not in the same class as my used saw. He cuts a lot of wood with it. It gets the job done. He is happy with it. I would be disappointed if I had to go backward. You really have to use a pro saw a little to get what folks are excited about. For example, I have extremely bad carpal tunnel and shouldn't even be running a saw. After my first load of standing dead locust logs (went fast), my wife asked me how my hands were doing. I thought about it and said, "You know... I didn't even notice the saw vibrating". That has never happened before, and this wood was hard as rock.

    BTW I don't think you'd be totally happy with a 20" bar on a 346XP. My 357 came with a 20" bar, but I got an 18" bar on advice from folks at Bailey's and on this site and it cuts better, even on a 12" log. Less drag on the bar, I guess.
  17. mrfjsf

    mrfjsf Member

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    what are things i should look for on a used saw? I dont want to spend 2-300 on a used saw and get something that is junk when I could have spend 4-500 on a new one and know exactly how it was treated. Are there any tell-tale signs that the saw was abused or beaten on hard?

    thanks again guys, this thread has been a big help so far.
  18. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    I'm up to around 60 cords with mine now. Although it will take a 20" bar, I have only a 16" because that is all I need.


    On the saw to get, go with what you want but if you can't afford that, then go with whoever is a reputable dealer CLOSE to you.
  19. zzr7ky

    zzr7ky Minister of Fire

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    Hi -

    I went with the Dolmar 5100. Very happy with it, but I started cutting large trees and grabbed a Makita 6401 from HD for $300 with new bar and chain. Very, very happy now. My buddies put their saws away and start loading wood now.

    ATB,
    Mike
  20. mrfjsf

    mrfjsf Member

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    how is your 5100 for power to weight ratio? they really seem like great little saws. If you dont mind my asking, what did you pay for your 5100? most of the cutting I do is on my buddies farm where im in all diff types of terrain fighting my way through brush, is the 6401 too heavy to be toting around the woods all day or does its speed make up for the difference in weight? I dont really plan on cutting anything more than 24" diameter. Most everything I fell is between 10-18" with the occasional ones I run into that i'd LIKE to fell being 24" or a little larger(i wont touch em with my current saw, too much work for that little dog). I just dont want something that is going to be too much saw to carry around all day. For those wondering, the reason I want a 20" bar is im 6'1" and the constant hunching over kills my back.
  21. HardWoodW

    HardWoodW Member

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    bang for buck for me was MS 290 - with the "free case deal" I got the saw (18" bar) case, and spare chain for $370. I don't have a lot to compare it to- previous saw was the old poulan wood shark nuff said.
  22. Jamess67

    Jamess67 Feeling the Heat

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    I am also 6'1" and feel your pain. I will say the MS290 is some what easy to bog down with a 20" bar and a sharp chain, would probably be best with a 18". It is a hand full to carry alot. All that being said, if your looking for a " do all" saw, it cant be beat. I did alot of cutting yesterday and fell a 36" maple and a bunch of 10-12" cedars and a few apples, and it did great. Now for de liming a fallen tree such as a maple a smaller 12-14" is a MUCH better choice due to the 290s over all length.
  23. mrfjsf

    mrfjsf Member

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    im going to keep the craftman for small delimbing purposes and trimming the small stuff around the house. it is light enough for me to swing around a little. I think I have my choices narrowed down to either Dolmar 5100s, Husky 346xp or a Makita 6401 (if I can find one used at a good price). For my purposes, im feeling that the 346xp or 5100s will be a better everyday work saw that can do almost everything I need it to. The 5100s is a little cheaper than the 346xp and rates just as high sometimes higher than the 346. BUT, the closest dealer to me is almost 40 miles away. Thats not tooo very far but, I have a reputable husky dealer within 5 miles. The only thing making me not want to completely jump on a makita 6401 for an everyday worksaw is the fact that it is almost 2lbs heavier than either the dolmar or husky. That, and if it breaks and I need parts from a dealer, it will be more difficult. However, the extra 1 hp is quite a jump and the ability to go from a 20" to a 32" bar is quite attractive.

    I guess my question to you all that have a 6401 or similar saw and also have a 5100/346 or similar saw is which saw would you not wanna leave home without? If you were gonna be in the woods all day, which saw would you take?
  24. golfandwoodnut

    golfandwoodnut Minister of Fire

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    I did not see anyone mention the Stihl 390. I got one over a year ago with a 20 inch bar. It is almost a full horsepower more powerful than the 290 and can even handle 24 or 28 inch bars. It is not much more than a 290 so if you want some horsepower and a 20 inch bar I think it is well worth it. Has some pro features too like the compression button etc. 59 cc.
  25. mrfjsf

    mrfjsf Member

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    Just thought yall might find this a little entertaining. I had a little doubts about a 20, but this is a little over the top. She held her own though.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9PlFC-nwdl8&feature=related

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