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Replacement for Mac 610?

Post in 'The Gear' started by AJS56, Nov 20, 2012.

  1. AJS56

    AJS56 Burning Hunk

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    Hi. I have a McCulloch Pro Mac 610 that I bought new back in about the late 70's/early 80's. I've used it for cutting/bucking my own wood supply for most of these past 30 years. For the past 3-4 years I have had my own woodlot and now use it to fell trees also. It only has a 16 inch bar but that has always met my needs.

    It still runs and cuts pretty well, the oiler seems to work fine, and other than a few chains and spark plugs I really haven't had to do much to it. Honestly, in general it still does the job pretty well.

    I'm thinking about getting a new saw that would be similar in size, power, etc. but perhaps lighter??? (My wife even suggested looking for a lighter saw might be a good idea!!!) And I'm curious if there are other advances in saws that new ones might offer? Or, are there things about the new saws that make them less desireable than my old 610? I've been eyeing the Stihl 290 models?? Also, bar size and chain type? But... I don't want to have too much saw for an old guy to handle!

    I have good Stihl/Husky dealers nearby and wonder what models in those lines might be comparable in size/power to my 610, and what experiences recommendations you good folks might be able to offer. Thanks!.

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  2. Boog

    Boog Minister of Fire

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    I'm no expert AJS56, but your Pro Mac was a 60cc displacement saw. The closest thing displacement wise in the Stihl lineup would be the 362 series at 59cc, its rated for a 16-25" bar. Another option might be the 261 series. A little smaller and lighter at 50cc, rated for a 16-20" bar, but still considered by many here to be an excellent saw. Both of these are considered Pro saws in the Stihl lineup. There are cheaper saws in the "Farm and Ranch" lineup in the displacement range, the 290/291/311 saws. Good saws, but not considered to be at the level of the Pro saws. There are no saws in Stihl's "Homeowner" linup near this displacement level. Since you state that the 16" has always met your needs, and you are "semi-retired and tired" ;), I would go for the smaller 261. I think it would meet all your needs. I'm sure you'll get some more responses to kick around.

    I'm 57, retired, and tired, and I cut with a bigger saw and hand split about half the day today. My back is whipped. Good luck!
  3. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

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    Budget?
  4. HittinSteel

    HittinSteel Minister of Fire

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    I see you own a Taylor. If you would like a saw of that quality, take a look at the Stihl 261/ 362 or Husqvarna 346XP / 550XP / 562XP.
  5. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    I second the motion for a Stihl MS261/362. After running the 290 you might just pick up that old 610 again. ;lol

    If budget is a real concern, then perhaps the MS311 is worth a look.
  6. AJS56

    AJS56 Burning Hunk

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    Thanks Boog and everyone for the make/model suggestions and thoughts. I will do some research on those models. Any thoughts as to the advantages/benefits between the Stihl Pro vs Farm/Ranch series?

    MasterMech - are you saying the 290 would be heavier/more saw to handle? Again, I need to research the specs.

    Lukem/HittinSteel - budget isn't the main consideration as I want good quality, but not more saw (weight, etc.) than I need. I don't think I will succumb to SAS (saw acquisition syndrome?). Though I have been accused of having GAS (Guitar acquisition syndrome). And yes, GAS in general...!

    Thanks guys!
  7. HittinSteel

    HittinSteel Minister of Fire

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    I would think a 261 with a 16" or 18" bar would be perfect for you. Pro grade quality/ longevity and lightweight power.

    I play a Taylor also (baby) and an Alvarez (MD80).
  8. AJS56

    AJS56 Burning Hunk

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    Thanks HS. I'm gonna take a look at that 261, and I did think about an 18 inch bar, though I have to say I've never failed to get the job done with my 16". ;)

    Good to meet another picker - what music do you like to play? (Maybe we should start a differnt thread?)
  9. nate379

    nate379 Guest

    610 is about 4hp. Great saw for its time, just compared to new saws it's heavy and low RPM.

    I have never compared side by side, but my Dad has a 610 which I've used and I'd say it's roughly equal to my MS290.
    A ms460 would be about equal in weight and it makes 2hp more
  10. AJS56

    AJS56 Burning Hunk

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    Hi Nate,

    The MS290 (Farm Boss, correct?) looks like a good model for what I'm doing. How long have you had yours and what do you like/dislike about it? Thanks.
  11. Thistle

    Thistle Minister of Fire

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    I used a PM 610 that I bought new from summer '92 to March 2000.It was more than any 290 I remember seeing I'll tell ya that much.Pulled a 24" full comp chain with authority.Originally bought it as 2nd saw & mainly to power my then-new Alaskan Mill.Heavy beast though,with only 61cc's was a bit much for it milling hardwood logs over 20" however.

    Powerhead was 18 lbs dry.I replaced it with Super 380 (rebadged Pioneer/Partner after the Electrolux takeover in the early-mid '90's) & let the Mac sit underneath bench for 11 yrs til selling it on Ebay last March.The Super 380 that replaced it had similar displacement 62cc, only weighs 12.5 lbs,has 1/2 more HP & 30% more RPMs.I did a few tests between them using equal chains & the 380 run circles around it every time.
    ScotO likes this.
  12. StihlHead

    StihlHead Guest

    The 290 is a dream compared to the old Macs... I ran one for years. I also ran a lot of Macs and an Olympik (same saw, really) that I liked a lot. I still have my 310 which will run just a hair behind my best 361 saws with just a light modification.

    Everyone here is steering you toward the new saws, but the "older" pre-EPA 026/260, 036/360 or 361 are great pro model saws, they are cheaper, and are better designed saws IMO. Similar with the 290 and 310 'homeowner' saws. Pro and homeowner are misleading here though, as they all can be used for the same type of wood cutting. Some of these saws have been coming up there in Michigan on CL for good prices, as has been posted on this forum. I would recommend a 310 over the 290, as it is the same weight but more power, and less vibration. It also tends to sell for about the same price on CL as the 290. The 390 has more power still, but there tend to be far fewer of them around and they are more vibration prone than either the 290 or the 310. My favorite saw of all is the 361, bar none, and if I could only have one saw, that would be it. As for replacement power similar to your Mac, the 310, 360 and 361 are at or over 4 HP. The 260 is just over 3 HP.

    One note of caution, I would avoid the 029 in favor of the 290. Many think they are the same saw, but they are not. The 029 'Super' is the same as the 290, the 029 is too underpowered in my experience. Looking on the MI CL today, there is a 260 for $145 that I would jump all over. There is an 029 Super for $250 that looks good. Then there was that 361 that was posted here on this Forum from a CL post in MA, $399 included US shipping. That is (or was) a good deal.
  13. bogydave

    bogydave Minister of Fire

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    I replace a 1982 Husq 61, 2 yrs ago.
    Figured I earned a new saw.

    Might look at the Husqys pro saws: light weight & plenty of HP for 16" bar.
    I went with a Husq 359 2 years ago for the light weight, easy start & 20" bar.
    Plenty of HP for me & full chisel 20".

    Now I'd go with the 562 (12.6 lbs) (some nice features)
    http://www.husqvarna.com/us/forest/products/xp-saws/562-xp/#specifications

    OR
    The 555 : (12.35 lbs)
    http://www.husqvarna.com/us/products/professional-chainsaws/555/#specifications

    But if a 16" bar is all you want & need, a sweet powerful light weight saw is the Husqy 346 xp.
    346 is light weight, (11 lbs) & near 4HP. Lots of power for a 16" bar (even 18")
    http://www.husqvarna.com/us/forest/products/xp-saws/346-xp-g/#specifications

    Have fun kicking the tires on the new saws.
    Let us know when you bring one home :)
  14. HittinSteel

    HittinSteel Minister of Fire

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    I always like matching a saw with the smallest bar that will get the job done, so by all means, if the 16" works then don't go bigger.

    I like a lot of different styles of music, from Dead; Allman Bros to 70's and 80's rock. Since I only read tablature and listen to country music mostly now, that is what I gravitate to. What about you? With a Takamine, you must play some country.
  15. HittinSteel

    HittinSteel Minister of Fire

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    BTW, there is no real reason to consider carrying as much weight as the 290 has if you just need a 16" bar. I pro grade 50cc (I prefer husqvarna) will be alll you need and weigh considerably less.
  16. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    I'm saying you're probably going to be disappointed in the performance of the 290 compared to that 610. Kinda like a v6 in a full-size pickup. It works but don't get in a hurry or load it up too heavy. If that's what you're expecting from a saw, then by all means the MS290 is a solid saw reliability wise.

    The newer saws like the MS291,311,391 and all the pro grade saws (new or used) are going to be a massive ergonomic improvement from the MS290. Since you mentioned you're gettin' on in the years, I think you'd be best served by a saw with the latest in AV technology and that most certainly excludes the MS290. That saw, which is a 20+ year-old design, is still manufactured (and selling well) because it meets a price point. Period.
  17. nate379

    nate379 Guest

    I was comparing the 290 to the 610 in terms of power since the OP was asking about the 290 in specific.

    My Dad has a 16" bar on his 610 and IMO it's the biggest bar I'd run on it.
    Could be the saw is just tired, I dunno, but it's not anything spectacular. It's slow, heavy, but gets the job done.
    My Dad bought that saw new in the early 80s at Service Merchandise I believe. It's still the saw he uses, ~30 years later. Saw has probably 200 cords on it with minimal trouble. (Shame Mac doesn't make stuff like that anymore!) Other than a bit of trouble with the oiler I don't think it ever had any other issues.

    Not saying the 290 is all that and a bag of chips of chips, but it's not a bad saw at all for the price Yes it's an older design, yes it's lower RPM, but it's also built well, and the price isn't bad either.

    I run an 18" bar on mine. Does ok, but after switching to a 460 it's just been collecting dust. I hardly notice the extra weight of the 460... maybe because I'm handling it for a shorter length of time since it cuts much faster?

    AJS56, wish you were closer, I'd let you borrow my 290 for a while.
  18. AJS56

    AJS56 Burning Hunk

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    I appreciate that feedback. Is "AV" technology "anti-vibration"? And is the difference between the 290 and 291 quite noticeable?

    That is a good thought. I never felt the 610 was overpowered, but always plenty adequate to get it done.

    Appreciate that Nate!

    Thanks for the thoughts guys, I really appreciate it. I'm not seeing the benefits (for me, anyway) with the Stilh Pro vs farm/ranch series. I'm thinking I'm sticking with a 16" bar, and kinda leaning toward the Stihl 290 or 291. Just wondering what the "new technology" in the 291 is (seems mostly to be fuel efficiency and anti-vib?), and is it worth extra bucks, or if the older 290 has advantages by not having new technology as is sometimes the case...
  19. AJS56

    AJS56 Burning Hunk

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    Ha yeah, my Takamine is a cedar top dreadnaught so it has a nice warm sound, but I really don't do any country. Mostly pop/rock like Eagles, America, James Taylor, Beatles, J Browne, Van Morrison, etc. .
  20. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    Having never personally had my hand on a running MS291, I can't give you a first hand account. The major upgrade will be moving from the MS290's rubber mounts to the MS291's spring type mounts. I will say that my BR600 backpack blower and SH85 handheld shredder/vac/blower are spring mounted AV systems and they are amazing compared to the older units they replaced. I think the MS291/311/391 series would serve you quite well. There is a $100 difference between the MS290 and MS291 and the power is spec'd out the same. If it was my money I was spending, I'd be looking more at that MS311 to make sure I had enough power to not be tempted into picking up that old 610 again.
  21. dorkweed

    dorkweed Guest




    I would have to say that the saw is "old and tired", just like you did. My McCullock ProMac 610 has a 28 inch bar and just eats up wood....................fast!!!! My Dad bought it in the late '70's-early '80's also..................It's been me that's used it exclusively for the last 20+ years though. Hundreds of cords cut and trees downed with it.

    It is heavy though, and I only let myself and "experienced" sawyers use it/borrow it because of that. With a good sharp chain, it'll pull you over a log if you're not used to it. It just keeps running.................and running great!!

    I am considering a smaller "pro" type saw though.
    AJS56 likes this.
  22. AJS56

    AJS56 Burning Hunk

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    Thanks MM for that info. The 290/291 are probably the right size for my needs. I may head over to the dealer soon to check them out in person. Thanks again for all your help/feedback.

    And thanks everyone for your thoughts. I'll keep you posted on what "Santa" brings me. Maybe I'll be burning a lump of coal!! ;)

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