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MS 290 'nuf saw for few cords/year of 20" locust/oak ?

Post in 'The Gear' started by SmokeyCity, Nov 26, 2012.

  1. SmokeyCity

    SmokeyCity Feeling the Heat

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    I've accumulated a modest collection of bucked trees in my backyard. Most of them no more than 20" diameter of locust and oak. The trees keep coming and I need to catch up on the cutting and splitting.

    My Husky 18" 455 Rancher just died. It had been used pretty harshly for several years.

    Will the MS-290 with a 20" blade be enough to cut 2 or 3 cords per year of this kind of stuff?

    Don't want to overbuy on the saw.

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  2. amateur cutter

    amateur cutter Minister of Fire

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    MS 290 is about what the 455 Rancher was/is. Good durable saw, heavy for the power it makes, but reliable. If you're not in a hurry you can get it done with that. Make sure you stick to .325 chain & don't push the saw real hard with a 20" bar, you're running at the limit of both power & bar oil. A C
    TreePointer likes this.
  3. SmokeyCity

    SmokeyCity Feeling the Heat

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    So what saw would be enough to give some headroom for a guy who may not be quite so patient and time taking to get through a big locust log and do so with a 20 bar on it?

    Id rather go STIHL than Husky for the reliability.
  4. osagebow

    osagebow Minister of Fire

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    Maybe get it with the 18" and save a coupla bucks, have more zip. No problems with a 20" locust (with a sharp chain ;) ) I've learned that's more than half the battle.
    Cool handle smokeycity - grew up near McKeesport myself.
  5. osagebow

    osagebow Minister of Fire

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  6. SmokeyCity

    SmokeyCity Feeling the Heat

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    If I stepped up to a 391 would that be overkill? I'd like to be able to go through them quickly without worrying about changing my technique to save the motor.

    I'm in E. Pgh just across the bridge so Im not far from your old haunts.
  7. osagebow

    osagebow Minister of Fire

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    Might be overkill - many on here don't know the meaning of that word though!
    Hopefully the saw experts will chime in. I'm only a second year burner but like the 290 (18 inch bar) and have used it on four 24"+ oaks and several 20" locusts with no problem.
  8. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    20" wood all the time, the MS290 would be only a budget contingency option for me. It is roughly equal to the 455 Rancher in power but I would expect far longer life from that engine however. ;)

    I'd be looking at a used 034, 034 Super, 036/Pro, MS360, MS361 if you were really in a hurry and on a budget.

    For new saws, the 391 isn't overkill for 2-3 cords a year. Should run the hell outta a 20" bar in any hardwood too. It's going to be a whole 'nother world compared to that 455R too. ::-)

    If you think you'd be cutting more than 2-3 cord in the future, as I see you have a couple stoves to feed, I'd just slide on up to the MS362 (a pro saw) and not worry about the saw for 20+ years. Saw loses over a lb in weight and picks up .2 hp over the 391 as well. I know it's a big chunk to bite off, especialy if you were looking at the $400 category, (DSRP on the MS362 20" is roughly $700) but nobody has ever regretted buying a professional grade saw for the kind of wood cutting a lot of us do around here.
  9. StihlHead

    StihlHead Guest

    I ran a 290 with a 3/8 standard 20 inch B&C on it for years, no problem. Even cutting madrone, which is harder than locust. Yah, its not the fastest saw out there. But it cuts wood. 3/8 has the same kerf as a .325, so you are doing the same work, regardless of chain type. Keep the chain sharp and modify the muffler (or get the original early model muffler for it) and it will run just fine. If you are less patient, get a 310 and modify it (I kept one, even with my other pro saws). Or get a 361 and slap a 22 inch B&C on it and you are set for life. Really, the 361 is the cat's meow here. Best saw Stihl ever made in my opinion. $375-400 will get you a good used 361. $275-300 will get you a good used 310, and $250 will get you a good used 290. The 361 is well worth the difference in price.
  10. HittinSteel

    HittinSteel Minister of Fire

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    Get an ultra reliable Husky 372....... you'll pay about $150-$200 less in the used market than for a similar stihl. Something like this

    http://cleveland.craigslist.org/grd/3417625747.html
  11. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Yes, the 290 will do the job for years and years
    and Yes, the 361 is probably the best all around firewood cutting saw on the planet.:p
    StihlHead likes this.
  12. Danno77

    Danno77 Minister of Fire

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    what are you doing with the dead husky?
  13. Bigg_Redd

    Bigg_Redd Minister of Fire

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    Yes
    Nixon and mecreature like this.
  14. corey21

    corey21 Minister of Fire

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    Yes it is a great saw see my sig for what i have.
  15. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    New avatar for Danno?

    [​IMG]

    (I'm just funnin' with ya) ;)
    Flatbedford, Nixon and osagebow like this.
  16. Danno77

    Danno77 Minister of Fire

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    LoL! Seriously, though, Just about every thread where someone posts that their saw is dead I jump on it and spread my wings out to guard my prey. CAD is a horrible horrible infliction.
    osagebow and MasterMech like this.
  17. StihlHead

    StihlHead Guest

    'cept that is a 371 there... ;)

    I know, the 371 is more or less the same as a first model 372, which I ran a few years ago. But it is confusing in the Husky line, as there are 3 different 372xp model saws out there with completely different engines in them. I had a 372xpW which was the best of the lot IMO, pre-smog and larger engine than the first 372, which was really just a warmed over 371, and not the later model X-torque EPA smogged model that is available now (or soon to be available, I am not sure, as I sold all my Husky saws and I do not keep up with them any more). Why they did not call the larger engine 372 a 373 is beyond me, or the X-torque a 374. That's Husky for you though. That 371 saw here would be about $4-500 here easy, no cheap Huskys in the PNW to be had, no sir ree Bob.
  18. bogydave

    bogydave Minister of Fire

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    Just South a few miles on 51 of youns, are my old stomp'n grounds

    No such thing as "overkill" if the weight of it is manageable ;)
    I went Husq 359 for the lighter weight , 20"
    60 cc for throwing a full comp chisel is recommended

    But a 290 / 91 it will do a fine job on 2 to 3 cord a year for many years

    If I were to buy now: 20" on a : Husq 555/ 562xp 12.3 lbs or MS 362 (13 lbs)
    & I'd expect 20 + years of service from either of them at the rate you cut .
    Could always have a 24" bar chain hanging around if you got into some big stuff.

    You already did the "off the shelf box store saw"
    Go kick the tires at the Husq & Stihl dealers of upgraded quality & look at the pro saws.
    Little more money but allot more quality & longer life too.

    Fix the 55 & no new saw needed or have a back up ?

    Can always go rent at HD & get it bucked up & have more time to decide ;)
    Get on the used list at HD for a Makita too

    Lots of choices :)
  19. SmokeyCity

    SmokeyCity Feeling the Heat

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    Thanks Dave:

    After way too much reading and researching I finally settled on the MS 261 with an 18" blade.
    From what I've read, the MS261 is a saw you just can't go wrong with for day in/out cutting of logs up to likes of 20".

    It's the cheapest pro level saw that is enough for my purposes. I could buy more power but the build and reliability of the 261 seems to make up for that. I'm guessing it won't wimp out when I run it hard.

    I'm picking it up tomorrow from my local STIHL dealer.



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  20. bogydave

    bogydave Minister of Fire

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    Like you I tend to over research, & end up somewhere in the middle. Usually end up with a tool that will do the job well.

    MS 261 Great choice.
    Won't "need" another saw for many years ;)
  21. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    My first question would be why a 20" bar? It is not needed. I have a 16" bar and it does much better on that size log. By going smaller the motor will appear stronger and the saw will be lighter and the cost will be less now and when you have to replace the bar and chain. The 290 is a good saw. If you want more power, that is okay but I would say not necessary.
    AJS56 likes this.
  22. SmokeyCity

    SmokeyCity Feeling the Heat

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    I decided to step up to a new 261 and go for 18". I really like the adjustable oiler ( Ill just max it out and leave it like many other 261'rs do)
    I'll be talking to my STIHL dealer tomorrow at pickup time so I'll be sure to ask him if the 26I is optimal with an 18". If he says no Ill step down to 16" and step up a bit in tourqe
    AJS56 likes this.
  23. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    It should be a good saw for you. Good luck. However, if it is just the oiler, there is an adjuster on the bottom of the 290.
  24. SmokeyCity

    SmokeyCity Feeling the Heat

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    repair/keep as backup
  25. Researcher1

    Researcher1 Member

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    I really enjoy my 261. It is powerful enough for most jobs. I run mine with a 16 inch bar but it will be fine with an 18.
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