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Need Help Deciding on chain saw Time out adding another saw after some checking any pros cons 310

Post in 'The Gear' started by kscowboy, Feb 13, 2010.

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  1. kscowboy

    kscowboy New Member

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    I have recently purchased and addo on furnace and plane on using wood to heat with as main source. Have been looking at stihl cain saws i will be cutting a lot of wood i currently have a craftmans (given to me) with an 18 bar am going to by a used 16 in populan ($40) and going to buy a good one like the 290 or 390 stihl and pro cons or other sugestion thank for the help

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  2. thinkxingu

    thinkxingu Minister of Fire

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    kscowboy,
    Some things to consider:

    1. Weight. There are some here who will poo-poo all over the saving-weight idea, but if you're going to be using one saw for felling, limbing, and bucking weight will be key.
    2. Pro vs. homeowner. I didn't really think much about this when I bought my first saw, but after a half year, I did. If you'll be using it a lot, the extra $100 or so will be worth it in the long run.
    3. Subjectivity: everyone who answers here will have their favorites, so take the comments with a grain of salt.
    4. Buy a 361--you can find them fairly discounted (about $550) and they cure cancer.

    Good luck!

    S
  3. Monkey Wrench

    Monkey Wrench Feeling the Heat

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    Great Post
    +1

    But going back to your original post.
    If it is either the 290 or 390 .... Get the 390 w/ 20'' bar.
  4. Monkey Wrench

    Monkey Wrench Feeling the Heat

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  5. Monkey Wrench

    Monkey Wrench Feeling the Heat

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    Make sure you buy some protective gear. It is a MUST.

    Ear and Eye Protection And Chaps are your basic . Don't go cheap here.
  6. charly

    charly Guest

    I'll second the MS361. My MS360 has treated me well. 7 years old , over 100 cords cut and never a problem. Only other saw I would consider would be either Sachs Dolmar, 5100s or 7900. Talked to a dealer who sells Stihls and Huskys. He said Stihls have a 2500 hour service life and Huskys about 1500. Both great saws, I've cut with them all on different tree crews. For what it's worth. It's nice to make your first purchase a smart purchase. Good saws aren't cheap, but you get what you pay for. A nice power to weight ratio. Hope this helps.
  7. webie

    webie Minister of Fire

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    Ya I couldnt make up my mind either
    check out my signature
  8. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    those furnaces will go through 6-10 cords a year just depends if your running 24-7. I am with the others saying 361 or 362 last thing your going to want to do is work on a saws.
  9. Bigg_Redd

    Bigg_Redd Minister of Fire

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    Pros - reliable in extremis

    Cons - They are considered heavy compared to saws weighing 1lb less and costing 2x more.
  10. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    Big Redd, in his cons, is comparing the 290 series with the 361 being suggested above. The 290/310/30- series is a touch heavier but is much cheaper and for homeowner use is every bit as dependable.

    I own the 290 and if the 290 is not enough for you then do NOT pay hundreds more and only end up with a 390, go all the way to a 361. A regular homeowner cutting for his personal use will have a hard time needing anything more than a 290. My 290 has a 20" bar and has all the power I need to cut logs that are well over 3 feet across, from both sides of course, but if the extra seconds were critical that a 361 could give me with a faster cut or if I had to cut 3 foot logs all day then I would want a big pro saw.

    Personal firewood cutting only = 290. Has anyone ever been on this site and said that their 290 did not perform or was unreliable? I haven't seen it.

    Now there is a whole different issue of want vs. need. You might want a 361 because it's cool or something. You can justify this by noting that it is in fact a touch lighter weight and has more HP. I like cool stuff and might someday buy one but I will fully realize that it would be to satisfy a "want".
  11. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    Thats all ture but with a furnace it can and will comsume a lot of wood. If he had a stove with 3-5 cords a year 290 is a great saw, but if he is ever going to get 3 years ahead thats 25-30 cords thats a tall order even for the 361.
  12. Bigg_Redd

    Bigg_Redd Minister of Fire

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    I cut 10+ cord every year for the last 6-7 years with my 290. Will my next saw be a 460? Probably. But the 290 is plenty sufficient for cutting lots of wood.
  13. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    maybe but to get up on top of the game is 25-30 cords 3 years worth is a very tall order 10 cords a year not bad but with his set up the next 3 years are ruff I know I have one "furnace" and a 361 and a 460. Not kocking the 290 just I would "go for it" hes going to need ever advantage he can get. He will need 15 cords a year for 3 years to get a hold of it. (and thats only two years ahead)
  14. midwestcoast

    midwestcoast Minister of Fire

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    You've already got a smaller saw (or 2) for limbing... So you could justify a larger 60cc+ saw if you want one (unless all the wood you'll cut is smallish). Spending good money for a saw will be worth it for you in the end. IF you can afford it, go MS361, everyone raves about'em. If you can't afford it, don't worry the 290-310-390 are great, solid saws keeping many in firewod.
    For a bigger, faster, but heavier saw without a huge sticker$ look at Dolmar 7900 (that's bigger than a wood-burner really needs).
    Used is a good option to get a pro saw. You can generally pick-up used Huskys cheaper than Stihls (hold their value to damned well). Look at Husky 359, 357 & 372, as well as the Stihls.
    Budget for chaps with the purchase & make sure you have eye & ear protection, gloves & steel-toe boots. Saw safe.
  15. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    I guess I just don't see this perceived "advantage" with a pro saw. If both saws will start up and cut all day then just don't see the advantage. True, I am not burdened with justifying the purchase of a pro saw which certainly would make finding this advantage easier but what is it exactly? Does anyone actually expect the OP to cut 30 cords of wood this year? I sure don't and I think we can all assume that the majority of wood furnace guys do NOT have 3 years of wood stacked up. Heck all but the minority of woodburners barely have enough for the winter at hand. Does anyone expect to wear out a Stihl? Other than, of course, an actual forestry professional.

    I agree with midwest that your current saws are great lightweight limbers and then leave the bucking to a heavier and stronger bucking saw. If folks are right about your consumption then you would be money and time ahead to have these two sizes of saw. If I was looking to NEED a big saw like a 361 or bigger then I would be looking at the Dolmar/Makita 6400/7300/7900 line as an econnomical brute for bucking.
  16. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    Highbeam I would love to cut with you for a day you are very correct but one sided as well. The dolmar are as much as the stihls are now no real saving with them anymore. So the safe money is with the stihls. We will get two 361 and a 460 going. Its somthing to see what they will do and with a furnace your going to need the extra power for sure.
  17. DMX_512

    DMX_512 Member

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    Home Depot rental department's often sell Makita DCS-6401 (it is a Dolmar PS-6400). I picked one up last summer for $215 out the door. The guy even threw in an extra chain (safety type....but it was a very nice gesture)
  18. snowtime

    snowtime Minister of Fire

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    I cut 15 to 25 cords every year. Seeing as we are using wood for everything from house to greenhouses its my big job every year. I have done many things to make it easier such as using the tractor to hold the 120' trees at waist height so i can cut as fast as i can lift the saw. I bought 2 new 361s 2 years ago and could not be happier. Good saw. I won't go bigger as i am getting older. I figure if you are working hard then you deserve the best you can afford.
  19. John_M

    John_M Minister of Fire

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    You can see by my signature what I am using. The MS250 has the Easy2Start feature and it is truly outstanding. The 362 was very difficult for me to start originally but now that I have gotten stronger it is a piece of cake. The difficult starting when I first purchased the MS362 was my fault - not the saw's. Both saws cut extremely well.

    Others with much more experience than I will say just as many nice things about other Stihl models, all the models in the Husqvarna, Dolmar, and Echo brands.

    You now have two smaller saws, which is good. I would recommend your next saw be one in the 60cc displacement range. Here's why: We recently felled a large cherry in my back lot. A couple of days ago I cut a couple of rounds off some of the ends which were about 21" diameter. Used the MS250 first just for the heck of it and it cut very well up to about 10" diameter. In larger good it bogs down too much. Used the MS362 on the same wood and it zipped right through the tree. Having a stronger saw makes a big difference when doing a lot of bucking.

    I do not know your age or how strong you are or how much you have to spend. If you are young and strong and have the cash, I would recommend you also look at the Husqvarna 372XP. That is also one heck of a saw but might be more power than you need or want. It handles very well and cuts like a hairy chested beast! Good Luck, John_M
  20. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    very wise.....
  21. ISeeDeadBTUs

    ISeeDeadBTUs Guest

    Get a 660 and be done with it!

    When yer arms and lungs give out, I'll trade ya my 440 plus the price difference new.

    Then when you start collecting Social Security, you can trade the 440 in on a 290.


    Hopefully ya get my drift . . . everyone that has x but wishes they had y . . . y is a bigger saw. Don't wish. Cut wood ;-)
  22. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    if you ever get to old to run the 361 I would sure take that one. 440 another nice saw but bet you dont trade it for a 290?
  23. webie

    webie Minister of Fire

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    If your budget allows it grab a 361 it has probably one of the best anti-vibration systems around , you cut alot longer ( more hours in the day and less fatigue ) with that saw then you will with a 290 series , again this is something you gain with the pro series saw . Another thought here is go rent a few bigger saws and try them out if you can or if you have someones you can borrow for a bit . If your budget doesn't allow you to go bigger new check out a few saw shops around ........The last time I was at the stihl dealer I think he had like 25 used saws there . I have bought used saws and have found some great deals . I think I would kind of shy away from ebay and stay local if you do decide on a 290 series I certainly would shop used , they are a dime a dozen used , its one of there most reasonable highest sale saws . There is nothing wrong with it at all its a great saw for the price but its still a Chevy not a cadillac.
  24. chad3

    chad3 Feeling the Heat

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    Highbeam,
    Small stuff is the difference between homeowner saws and pro saws. Good example that happened recently, tank breather went out, kept stalling the saw from the vacuum in the tank. Do you know where the breather is on the homeowner saw? Pulling the tank. On a pro saw, small cap on backside. Took about 1 minute to get back up and running. Also seem to have better oilers, as well as more metal less plastic yet lighter with more HP.

    Might also want to look at the Dolmars. 2 year war. out of the box, commercial or homeowner. Good prices as well. Bailey's has them.
    Chad
  25. thinkxingu

    thinkxingu Minister of Fire

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    Redd, how can you make a snarky remark like "reliable, but twice as much for less than a pound difference" and, in the same sentiment, "next time I'll get a better saw"?!

    S
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