edit: Can't believe I wrote 291 instead of 261 in title..oh well) Just came back from my Stihl Dealer with the new 261 . Dealer set me up with an 18" bar with full chiz .325. He assured me this 261 will pull an 18" chain just fine. He also said that it will take a 20" but he does not recommend. I am happy with an 18" - it's plenty for my application. Also recommended I use only Stihl's synthetic oil and use ethanol free gas if I can get it. Ethanol will not void warranty but real gas is better for the saw in the long run. Grabbed some Stihl oil and even a few cans of premix to tide me over until I can make the trip to my ethanol free gas station up north to stock up on the good gas for the winter. Got extra chain at half off and a protective carry case. Kicked myself on the way home when I realized I forgot the most important thing - A STIHL HAT!. Oh well, I'll ask for a free one when I come back for my Stihl trim saw. I'm now reading up on the break in process. I will not push the saw hard until I know it is broken in. As soon as I tackle the big logs I'll post some battle pictures. P.S. The first dealer I went to tried to steer me to a 362 because (he didn't have a 261 in stock and) he said the 362 will pull a 20" chain all day buried into big hardwood logs. I insisted on the MS 261 so he sent me to his Irwin store (he owns both so he still made the money) for the 261. Of course now I'm wondering whether the 362 is every bit as good as the 261 but with more power ? At least I now have a question to waste hours of research and speculation on The guy at the Irwin store took a fair amount of time with me to show me where the adjustment screws are, fire it up for me and show me how to start it and use the choke & decomp . He very answer my questions and volunteered some useful info. The first dealer (who sent he to Irwin) is primarily a repair/rental shop and gave the impression of being a bit more hurried and too busy for small talk. Both stores however a have good reputation for their warranty and repair support. I did OK today.