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MS261 Setup Options

Post in 'The Gear' started by ampamp, May 27, 2013.

  1. ampamp

    ampamp Member

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2010
    Messages:
    91
    Loc:
    Buffalo - Rochester
    Not that familiar with the 261, but since I am potentially looking at a good 50cc firewood saw.....what are my options with a MS261. I want to leave the dealer with it the way I'll run it for a good long time. I've seen folks set them up with 3/8. Depending on what style chain you get, is the opinion that it will perform better than a .325 full chisel set up.

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  2. StihlHead

    StihlHead Guest

    I have done timed cuts with a 026s back to back with 3/8 vs. .325 full chisel and there was narry a difference. .325 has more cutters per inch and a lower profile, but the kerf (cutting width) is the same so the cutting time is the same. Some swear by .325, others by 3/8. I am in the later camp. I never liked .325 myself and I have larger saws set to swap out the 3/8 bars and loops. You can go up to 20 inch bars on that saw easy. I tend to run mine with 16 or 18 inch bars though. I would say get an 18 inch bar and you will be set. The gauge on 3/8 varies as to where you are located. In the west 0.050 is more common, in the Midwest, east US and Europe 0.063 is more common. On .325, they are all 0.063. Also on .325 they are all full chisel from Stihl. With 3/8 they come in semi and full chisel. I would get a full chisel full comp (not skip tooth) non-safety chain myself. I would also get an ES pro solid bar with replaceable tip.
    Todd 2, mikefrommaine and 'bert like this.
  3. Todd 2

    Todd 2 Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2012
    Messages:
    416
    Loc:
    NE Ohio
    Im running my new one with the stock 18" bar & chain .325 and it has impressed me more than I ever thought it would.
    However, I know I will have to experiment with setups as StihlHead said at a latter date. I just cant seem to leave good enough alone. :)
  4. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest


    You should buy whatever cutting hardware you can easily service/replace at your dealer. If he doesn't stock 16" 3/8" loops of chain or large-format 16" bars in 3/8", then I'd stick with the .325". ;) It really won't matter unless you have other saws that you want to swap bars or chains with.
  5. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2006
    Messages:
    14,901
    Loc:
    Northern IL
    ...and that is one nice little firewood saw. It really is a sweet machine if you aren't getting into big stuff as your mainstay. If you are on a one saw plan, then I am in complete agreement with MasterMech. A two saw plan brings me around to StihlHead's way of thinking.
  6. ampamp

    ampamp Member

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2010
    Messages:
    91
    Loc:
    Buffalo - Rochester
    good info. it's not so much that I'm a one saw setup, but I always seem to grab my husq 350 for pretty much any job. Even the big stuff it seems to work fairly well. It's light and works well. my setup is .325, 0.58, full chisel. The 18" bar has about 16" of useable length when buried in wood. So I usually don't shy away from hardwoods up to 30". Of course it takes two cuts, but it's real doable. My issue is that it's an old saw....and in reality not too capable of pushing a 20" bar if I really needed it to. I guess I want to move up to a pro 50cc saw and see how stihl answered the 346 too. I'm thinking from what folks say too.....the ms261 should push a 20" bar if needed.
  7. StihlHead

    StihlHead Guest

    I would step up to a 361 or 362 if you are cutting 30" stuff. I run a 20 or 25 inch bar on my 361s with no problem, and they are my favorite go to all around saws. I use the 026s for falling smaller stuff, trimming and limbing.

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