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Reflections on chain saws

Post in 'The Gear' started by mtfallsmikey, Mar 12, 2008.

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  1. mtfallsmikey

    mtfallsmikey New Member

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    Since spring is here (or close, depending where you live!), a woodcutter's fancy turns to looking back on his saws, and thinking about what to buy next. I'd like to hear about good experiences or bad with anyone's saws, what you may be planning to buy. In my case, I bought a MS290 last summer, not happy with it because of the weight, but feel it is a dog with the 18" bar. Looking at 310/360. On the positive side, 'ole reliable, the MS 170, w/14" bar, new style Stihl chain, performed flawless on the small stuff/limbing. Best investment was the BR-550 blower, lots of leaf issues here, wife loves it, looks sexy when she straps it on!

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  2. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Looking at the 310/360 is an apples/oranges comparison. 310 is a midrange saw and the 361 is a pro saw. 361 is hands down the winner of those 2 choices (prices not included).
  3. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Just purchased a Dolmar 7900, couldn't be happier with it... Will mount (per factory) up to a 32" bar, with the stock 20" bar it goes through oak like a hot knife through soft butter, smooth, easy to start, 80cc worth of power in a light 60cc weight saw, with the 20" bar on it, it doesn't feel noticeably heavier than my 36cc "Pull-on" homeowner grade saw with the 12" B&C;... Definitely a pro-grade saw in every respect

    I haven't had a reason to try the 28" B&C;that I got with it, but expect it will pull that just as easily.

    Gooserider
  4. kevin j

    kevin j Minister of Fire

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    yes apples and oranges.
    depends on your need and use. for limbing and trmming, big saw is too heavy to accelerate and decelerate and exhausting to swing. For bucking the small motor doesn't do it.
    sounds like you have the 170 for limbing. on the small side but quite capable, so adding a 361 woouoold be a nice pair. 7900 is awesome jump to the big leagues. the AS guys really lver the 5100 and 7900.

    I like the 50 cc, 10-11 lb for limbing, 60 75cc for bucking.

    k
  5. Stlshrk

    Stlshrk Member

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    I've got a ms361 that came with a 20" bar.

    Love it, especially makes me smile when my Dad or Father in Law come and borrow it for a bigger job.

    I also run it with a 16" bar if I'm not working anything that I actually need the 20" for.
  6. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    I agree, the 7900 is a big saw, but it's not that bad - I haven't actually gotten out the scales, but doing the "heft in each hand" test, I'd be willing to bet that there is less than a pound or two difference between it and my little 36cc Poulan - I feel just about as beat after a couple tanks of gas in either saw, and both feel like they get a LOT heavier over the course of a day... I think this is mostly the difference between a "home-owner" grade saw, and a pro-grade - as by the stats, the small pro-saws are much lighter than my big Dolmar. Right now my tendency is that if I know that all I have to do is limbing and brush clearing type stuff, I will grab the Poulan, but if I'm dropping anything big enough to need the Dolmar, or planning to do any bucking, I use the Dolmar for the limbing and so forth as well, it isn't worth the effort to switch saws. (I like to run my saws out of gas anyway so that I can store them empty...)

    I got the 7900 mostly because I wanted a saw that could handle any log that came my way, and didn't want to end up with a big collection of saws - I mostly use the 20" bar on it, but I also have a 28", and can mount up to a 32" if i really need to... The bucking teeth make the effective length 2" shorter, which is no problem, I actually like it as it gives me a convenient measuring tool for cutting my desired 18" stove length. The Poulan was my first saw, and I wouldn't buy it today, but would consider a pro-grade in that size range.

    Gooserider
  7. WOODBUTCHER

    WOODBUTCHER Minister of Fire

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    I'm looking at the Dlomar 5100s ($379.00). Its right at my Budget, I'm looking to speed up my time cutting up grapple loads.
    Right now I'm using a Craftsman 18" 42cc freebie saw given to me about 5-6 years ago, it just takes too damm long with that saw.


    WoodButcher
  8. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    Good price woodbutcher. That 5100 has an excellent price. Hard to beat it when equivalent saws in other brands are 30% more money.
  9. TMonter

    TMonter Minister of Fire

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    I've cut with Husky, Stihl, Dolmar and Jonsared and honestly other than model specific problems any of them are fine if you chose a well proven model and design.

    Personally I cut with a Husky 372XPW and 346XP as my primary/secondary saws and I love both of them. However I have been really considering a Dolmar 7900 as a replacement backup saw to my 056 MagII monster.

    IMO the best thing you can do is make friends with other woodcutters and see if they'll let you make a few cuts with their saw. That really seems to be the best test of which saw fits you best. I've found that if you can afford it having a good primary bigger saw an a secondary smaller saw is a good way to go. Then you have the lighter weight limbing general work saw and the bigger saw for bucking the bigger logs.
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