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I NEED a new saw!! (Update)

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

  1. HittinSteel

    HittinSteel Minister of Fire

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    I'm not sure if they are still being produced, but they are around at dealers. See what your dealer can find for you.

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  2. bogydave

    bogydave Minister of Fire

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    Like you 20" is the bar length.

    I looked at the 346 XP,
    BUT::
    The only down side for me was the selection of chains available for the .325" pitch.
    Loved everything till I got to that.

    Choosing between the 359 & 357XP is where I am now.
    From what I've read here, the XP series may be more $$ but in the long run just a better built saw for power, handling & ergonomics (& maybe fuel consumption which now-a-days is an issue)
    Hard to justify $160 more though.
    May just have to cut more wood to justify the better saw.
  3. HittinSteel

    HittinSteel Minister of Fire

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    The same selection of chains should be available for .325 and 3/8"

    The 359 is a great saw and is basically the same as the 357XP. In my area the 346XP and 359 are very close to the same price and the 357XP is quite a bit more money. I think this makes the 359 the choice for a 20" bar.......unless you can get by with an 18" bar, and then the 346 looks best and would run 3/8" fine if you are against .325
  4. bogydave

    bogydave Minister of Fire

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    I'm not a chain saw guru, so:
    What is the difference between chain selections between 3/8 (.375) & .325.
    What is the big difference between 325 & 375 for cutting? (kerf?)
    Was told by 2 different chain saw dealers that there is less selection in the .325 chain size.
    Was also told, (even the Husqvarna guy) that Sthil make the best chains & I could get one made for the 359 or 357 if they carry the good chisel chain in bulk & can make it. But not in .325
    Is any of this true??

    20" is sooooo much easier on my back, & 20" for the log sizes here is usually big enough for everything.

    I really like the weight & $$ of the 346, it was the chain selection issue that took it off of my list. (but barely)
  5. TreePointer

    TreePointer Minister of Fire

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    Nonsense. Some Stihl dealers only carry .325 pitch chain in .063 gauge, or just the green low kickback chain version. It doesn't mean that Stihl doesn't make other types of .325 pitch chain.

    Less available selection? I'd say that's true, but a 50cc saw or smaller doesn't really need to run much more than a good full-chisel or semi-chisel chain. If you want to run semi-skip, full-skip, chipper, or square ground chain then you are doing things not typical of the average firewood cutter and likely will be using a different saw anyway.

    I've run Stihl RMC (.325, .050) and Oregon 20LP/LPX and 95VP on my NE346XP. (20LP/LPX was from Baileys Online, 20VP came with the saw.)

    I've also run into a dealer who told me that I don't want to run a certain pitch of chain on my saw. Why? After showing him in the Stihl catalog that they do indeed make the chain that I wanted, he finally admitted that he wanted to sell me what he had in stock. Needless to say, I don't visit that dealer anymore.

    BTW, I agree that with the Husqvarna dealer who said that Stihl makes some of the best chain on the market.
  6. mrfjsf

    mrfjsf Member

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    Im no saw expert either...How many different chains do you need? There are good enough chains out there for this saw in .325. A full selection of NK, semi and full chisel.
  7. TreePointer

    TreePointer Minister of Fire

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    Bingo!
  8. bogydave

    bogydave Minister of Fire

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    Sounds like I should put the 346XP back on the list.
    Somewhere I was reading that the 346 with a 20" is pushing it & it was mentioned again here by "hittensteel" above.

    I did check out the Stihl chains online & can get one if needed

    I did call & check out prices at the husky dealer. Only has a 359 in store. (we had bad windstorm last week & the local dealers, Stihl & Husqvarna have low or no inventory on saws.
    Should be getting new ones in this week

    346XP 20" 11.2 lbs 3.7 bhp $509
    359 20" 12.1 lbs 3.9 bhp $549
    357XP 20" 12.1 lbs 4.4 bhp $709, (+ I get a free Husqvqrna hat )

    MS362 20" 13 lbs 4.6 bhp $680
    MS391 20" 14.1 lbs 4.4bhp $529
    MS311 20" 14.1 lbs 4.2 bhp $500

    weight is dry power head only

    Now it has been 28 years since I bought a saw, Husky 61 in 1982. So the prices are scary & the selection almost endless.
    Probably the last saw I'll buy. If I wear it out, it'll be time to buy CSDS (cut,split,delivered,stacked) fire wood
    May just treat myself & get the 357XP & a hat :) or a MS362. (more HP uhg uhg) Dealer to call when new shipment gets in this week.
    Will see what they can sweeten the deal with. ( free case, chain, ???)

    Didn't mean to hi-jack the thread, but got into it & got lots of good info & feedback.
  9. mrfjsf

    mrfjsf Member

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    Not a hi-jack at all. Its all good info to read. Thanks for posting up your findings!
  10. HittinSteel

    HittinSteel Minister of Fire

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    I don't think your getting good info from your dealer. The simple answer is, I run .325 RSC on my 260. Now, it is a 16" bar, but I have seen .325 available for the 20" bar. Oregon also has .325 chisel chain for a 20" bar.
  11. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

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    Whatever saw you get (from the long list mentioned above) and whatever chain config you go with, it is going to feel like a rocketship compared to the ol' Craftsman. Good luck on your decision.
  12. Battenkiller

    Battenkiller Minister of Fire

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    Also no expert, but...

    9600 RPM on the 357XP vs. 9000 RPM on the 359, 4.4 HP on the 357XP vs. 3.9 HP on the 359. Not the same saw IMO, half a HP is a lot in a small engine. The 346XP produces 3.7 HP and it has much better vibration characteristics than either the 357XP or the 359. It seems to have a very strong following. For $40 more, you only get .2 HP more with the 359 than with the 346XP and you have to carry around an extra pound to get that. Slower chain speed as well. If I needed a bigger saw, I'd definitely spend the extra money and go with the 357XP over the 359. It's a lifetime investment for most of us here.

    Of course, I already own one, so I guess I'm forced to defend my gal. ;-)
  13. bogydave

    bogydave Minister of Fire

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    List is Down to 3
    copied to this pg so I could remember specs
    346XP 20” 11.2 lbs 3.7 bhp $509
    357XP 20” 12.1 lbs 4.4 bhp $709, (+ I get a free Husqvqrna hat )
    MS362 20" 13 lbs 4.6 bhp $680

    Actually my wife said buy the one you want. Will probably be the last saw you buy.
    That made it more tough, I think that was her plan. :)
    Do I want light weight or more HP??? Machismo in me says "yes", old sore back says "are you sure, think this through".
    .7 hp more is quite allot for .9 lbs more. (but for $200 ??)
    Weight is an issue, so the Stihls get dropped off the list, I think (362 is a strong saw). (but a future stihl chain is on the list)

    Will go look, touch & feel Husky's soon. No 362 in my area to look at.
    Leaning to the 357,
    If it was a "magnum", sold :)
  14. Battenkiller

    Battenkiller Minister of Fire

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    Well, they never make it easy on us, do they. :roll: ;-)

    We should get a pool going. I say you will go with the 357XP, because if you go with a lesser saw you will always be doubting yourself. Somewhere along the line you will say, "$200 divided by 20 years is $10 a year, so...." Or something like that. :)
  15. thinkxingu

    thinkxingu Minister of Fire

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    Find an MS361 somewhere and probably get a steal of a deal--I got mine for $560 or so with half a dozen bottles of 2-stroke mix, a gallon of bar oil, extra bar, and 2 extra chains. Otherwise, 357xp because the hat adds 1/2 a horsepower.

    S
  16. TreePointer

    TreePointer Minister of Fire

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    Now that's the best advice I've seen regarding a saw for a 20" bar. The 361 (20", 3/8, .050, 7t) is my favorite all-around firewood saw.
  17. mrfjsf

    mrfjsf Member

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    The 357xp was the saw that originally drew me to Husky. By all means, if money wasn't an object for me right now, Id be buying a 357. You are right though...is .7 more hp REALLY worth $200 more? If money isnt much of an object then its a no brainer, get the 357. If money is a little tight (like it is with me) then it might not REALLY be worth it. The other factor to consider is do you NEED something bigger than a 50cc saw? If not, then get the 346 and that $200 your saved can buy a boatload of chains, a carrying case and other nice goodies. I dont really need anything much bigger than a 50cc for the type/size of wood I cut. Would it be nice to have the extra power? sure! but like you said, for $200 more? Not in my case....

    These are just some of the things I thought about to narrow my decision down.
  18. DiscoInferno

    DiscoInferno Minister of Fire

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    You know, this thread makes me sort of glad both my saws (359 and 455) were gifts. Otherwise I might still be trying to decide...
  19. TMonter

    TMonter Minister of Fire

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    Just as an FYI, I own a 036 Pro, 372XPW, MS440, and a 346XP and the 346 gets the most use if that tells you anything. a 346XP with a 16 or 18" bar will be more than enough for any firewood and with a good RSC or similar chain it will cut excellent.
  20. raven

    raven New Member

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    I think the 357 is being replaced this yr with a new saw.
  21. CJW88

    CJW88 Member

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    Bogy, if it's going to be the last saw you ever buy and you're ok with the price difference then get the 357. I used to use the 346 and the 357 at work and while the 346 is a nice little saw, the 357 has a noticable power gain, if you need it.

    In my eyes the only thing to consider is the price difference, but like I said, if it's the last saw you'll ever buy and you can cover it the difference really isn't much is it?

    mrfjsf, you'll be happy with the 346, it's a good little saw when used on the size of wood it's supposed to be used on. One of the guys I worked with has been in the logging and tree service industry for almost 30 years and he loved the 346 and would constantly ask for it. For 99% of your firewood it will be more than enough. If I ever run across one cheap enough I'll pick it up.


    All that said, what do I know? I run a Stihl 390. But like women, they're all the same on the inside, some just weigh a little more.
  22. mrfjsf

    mrfjsf Member

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    For all of the 346 users, what chain do you all recommend for this saw? I know the stock bar and rim sprocket are .325. But what about the guage? I saw the bar available in both .050 and .058 on husky web. What are most dealers giving out or do I have a choice? Which guage would you recommend? I know that Chisel is the most aggresive chain but most say that unless you are cutting "clean" wood, it will dull quickly. It is suggested that you should use semi-chisel if you have any risk of hitting dirt or are cutting "dirty" wood. So I am probably going to go with semi-chisel (unless you all suggest otherwise) due to the cutting conditions I am working with. But should I just go regular semi-chisel or should I go narrow kerf? All signs im seeing point to NK being great for limbing purposes and fast bucking in very small diameter stuff, but in the larger stuff it tends to be slow at clearing out the chips, therefore slowing the overall cut down when compared to regular semi chisel.

    Any 346 users care to comment on any of the above? Im heading to the dealer this friday to buy the saw and want to have my ducks in a row first.
  23. TreePointer

    TreePointer Minister of Fire

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    I wanted to run a 16" bar on a NE346XP, so I bought the last one in the shop at the time; and it happened to have a "Husqvarna" narrow kerf (NK) bar with Oregon 95vp chain. That is, both the bar and chain were NK .325" pitch and .050" gauge.

    Can you run regular (not NK chain) on an NK bar? YES, and I do. I use .325 pitch Oregon LPX chain and .325 pitch Stihl RSC. The 95vp chain isn't too bad, either.

    Essentially all my firewood cutting is with full-chisel chain. Since I prefer to sharpen my chains in a heavy bench vise, I take 3-4 sharpened chains into the field with me every cutting session. If sharpening is needed, I do have a stump vise and hand sharpening kit handy. 16" chain is fairly inexpensive, so try a good chain of each (semi- and full-chisel). As of this posting, a 16" loop of LPX is $12.95 at BaileysOnline.com.

    As for gauge, I always recommend going with what local shops stock in our region. For me, that's almost always .050 gauge (and infrequently .063). Also note that, for the same bar length, larger gauges add to bar weight.
  24. mrfjsf

    mrfjsf Member

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    Thanks! I'll pick up a loop of the 20LPX then to give it a go and compare the two with the cutting I do. I want to see just how quickly it dulls compared to NK.
  25. wendell

    wendell Minister of Fire

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    I run .058, .325 RSC and LPX on mine. I like the RSC I bit better. I'm currently running 16" but found it a little short a couple times this weekend so will probably move up to an 18".

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