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Stihl MS 310 or MS 390

Post in 'The Gear' started by dumbodog00, Dec 18, 2007.

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  1. dumbodog00

    dumbodog00 New Member

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    This is my first post so please be gentle. I have been lurking here for quite a while and have learned a lot of new and great things! My old (late 70s) 031 Stihl is on they way out. I checked at the dealer and I am going with either a MS310 or MS390. There is a $120 price difference between the two. Does anyone have any feedback on which would be better? The 390 has slightly larger displacement and a decompression valve. Otherwise they are about the same, including weight. I plan on running the 20" bar it comes with. I am usually cutting wood several times a week. Any feedback would be appreciated.

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  2. yetty734

    yetty734 New Member

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    hmmm..tough one...

    i would say get the 390 if you have the money because it supposedly ways the same as the 310, but has the little bit of extra juice and the decompression valve. ive ran a 310 with a 24" bar and it was pretty nice even with that big of a bar though so im not sure that it's worth the xtra $120. if you have any kind of shoulder problem i know the decompression valve is nice for that. if i were in your situation i would get the 310 because i dont have the extra 120 and just keep the chain really sharp and that would make it really close to equal with the 390. cutting wood severals time a week.....if money isnt a problem maybe consider a ms 361 or go real big and get a 440 magnum.

    my ideal chainsaw setup would be my little husky 45 with its 14" for limbing and toy sawing and a ms 440 magnum with a 24" bar for the big stuff. my 62cc timberbear runs 20" easy so neither saw will have any power problems.

    simply.....get the 390 if you have the money and if not get the 310. if you were fine powerwise and with the 031 then the 310 will be just fine if not better.


    ccb
  3. pdboilermaker

    pdboilermaker New Member

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    I have an ms310 with a 20" bar, my buddy has the same bar/chain combo and my third buddy has an ms310 with a 28" bar. All are 4-5 years old and never had an issue with them. We all cut about 15-20 cords per year each. One thing that we found and like is we order a chain from baileys-online.com. It is a chisle chain but it is called a skip chain, some of the teeth are missing so your rpms stay up much higher through the entire cut.

    When we first tried these chains, I had a brand new skip chisle, my buddy with the identical saw had a brand new standard chisle. We worked a couple of feet apart on the same log dropping our saws full tilt at the same time, I was through the log while he was 1/2 way. Big difference.
  4. TMonter

    TMonter Minister of Fire

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    What are the prices that you are paying for the saws?

    Personally I'd go for the 390, the extra power is very nice, especially in larger timber.

    Any idea what's wrong with your 031? Is the cylinder worn out or is it something a piston/rings can solve?
  5. yetty734

    yetty734 New Member

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  6. TMonter

    TMonter Minister of Fire

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    135lb of compression is really low for a saw that size, it should be closer to 170-200 lbs.
  7. yetty734

    yetty734 New Member

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    this looks better even though its more.....


    just poke around on ebay...if it looks clean then it normally is. and with stihl's that havnt been used very hard u dont need to worry about a warranty because you know they are quality. i would be bidding on this saw if i didnt have my timberbear. ill either by this or a 440 when my bear dies(hopefully soon). in this saws case it may even have a warranty as it has only just been taken out of its box.

    http://cgi.ebay.com/NEW-Stihl-MS-36...ryZ79669QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem
  8. chad3

    chad3 Feeling the Heat

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    Depends on what you are looking for from the saw. If you want a homeowner saw, I'd go 390, but in reality, check out the 361 if you are really serious about cutting. I'm running one as my go to saw and it is great. I've put the full wrap kit on it, modded muffler, and bigger oiler. It is a good saw now as before. 20" oak is about the max, but what more can you ask for. Good luck, post what you get.
    Chad
  9. TMonter

    TMonter Minister of Fire

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    Unless you're totally stuck on a Stihl, I'd look at what Husky and Dolmar have to offer in the similar category as well. I own both and can tell you either of those three brands are great saws.
  10. pdboilermaker

    pdboilermaker New Member

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    I dont know about the Dolmer (rebadged husky?) Tmonter but I do know about the Husky. A friend of mine has a Husky and it runs as good as a Sthil, I cant fault it for starting or power. My issue with Husky is this, it is heavier than an equivilant Sthil and does not seem to be as well balanced / ergonomically laid out.

    These may seem like minor details but at the end of the day those small differences make a big difference on YOUR wear and tear. I have cut with both saws as has my friend that owns the Husky, we both come to the same conclusion: Working with the Husky for an hour has about the same effect on you as working with the Sthil for about 3 hours.

    You can cut more wood and feel physically better at the end of the day with the Sthil as opposed to less wood and physically drained with the Husky
  11. MuckSavage

    MuckSavage Member

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    Like someone else said.....what's wrong with the 031? Referring to your question, buy the most saw you can afford. You've put the MS-390 into the mix, so go for it, be happy & report back!
  12. TMonter

    TMonter Minister of Fire

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    Which Husky are you trying to compare?

    In almost all categories the Husky is almost identical in weight and power to the Stihl and my experience is with newer saws, the Husky's are actually a little smoother if not a little louder, but not by much.

    It's not really fair to compare the 390 to a professional series husky but the MS361:

    DISPLACEMENT
    59.0 cc (3.6 cu. in.)

    ENGINE POWER
    3.2 kW (4.3 bhp)

    WEIGHT
    5.6 kg (12.3 lbs.)

    FUEL CAPACITY
    685 cc (23.1 oz.)

    CHAIN OIL CAPACITY
    325 cc (10.9 oz.)

    The Husky 357XP:

    Cylinder displacement 3.45 cu.inch / 56.5 cm�
    Power 4.4 hp / 3.2 kW
    Maximum recommended engine speed 14 000 mm
    Fuel tank volume 1.44 US pint / 0.68l
    Oil tank volume 0.80 US pint / 0.38l
    Oil pump type adjustable flow
    Vibrations, front/rear handle 3.9 m/s^2 / 4.2 m/s^2
    Weight excl. cutting equipment 12.1 lbs / 5.5 kg

    Depending on the age, size, and model of your friend's saw I wouldn't discount the other brands, you'd be doing yourself a big disservice.

    I'm with other people on this site however, if you're going to get a new saw, do yourself a favor and save some money and get a professional series saw. You'll be happier and the professional series stuff just seems to be built better.
  13. computeruser

    computeruser Feeling the Heat

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    Dolmar is a separate company and has been in business longer than Stihl or Husqvarna's involvement with with chainsaws. They make some fine machines, too, and I find them easier to work on than Stihl or Husqvarna - the Dolmar 6400/7300/7900 can be torn down and get a top-end rebuild with nothing more than the T-27 Torx bit and carb screwdriver that came with the saw.

    I agree, the ergonomics are a bit part of saw fit. The pro Husqvarnas feel OK, but the homeowner 455/460 feel odd to me. And the Jonsered saws are actually Husqvarna saws in a red-black color scheme and with a different front handlebar angle that suits some perfectly and annoys others. Different strokes for different folks, obviously, but it is something to consider all the same.

    The MS310 or MS390 are both excellent firewood saws. Their track record, along with their sister 290, is excellent - durable, reliable, and surprisingly trouble-free. Both should outcut your 031 by a noticeable margin. The place where the plastic-cased 290/310/390 fall behind the current generation of pro saws is in anti-vibration (the pictured Dolmar 7900 and Stihl MS441, for example, have silky-smooth spring AV versus the rubber bushings of the older Stihls) and in air filtration. But if you clean your filter off regularly, you will be A-OK with a 310 or 390 for hundreds of cords of firewood. And the rubber bushings don't just fail and leave your saw more or less out of commission the way springs can.

    Attached Files:

  14. dumbodog00

    dumbodog00 New Member

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    The problem with the 031 is the age. The muffler has worked loose and subsequently rounded the bolt holes and also damaged the mating surface. My dealer (whom I trust) said I need a new muffler and there could be further problems than that. According to Stihl, the mufflers are no longer available. I also don't want to put money into a losing battle when I can get new.
    Reference the money question the 310 is $400 and the 390 is $520. I will now also check into the pro models as well.
  15. MuckSavage

    MuckSavage Member

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    Perhaps your dealer will take it in a trade(The 031) Surely it has parts value, or part it out yourself. The beauty of a Stihl is a "family" i.e. My 034 share parts with the 036.
  16. pdboilermaker

    pdboilermaker New Member

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    The 310 has it going on, that should be the saw of choice based on price and performance
  17. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    I'm gonna throw my $.02 at ya. If you are even considering the pro models, then just do it. I have ran both of the saws that you have listed, but I own a 361 (other saws are now gone). The pro saws are just that, not that I am a pro. The 361 has the 310 and 390 beat in every way but $$$$. You get what you pay for.

    I am not brand biased, the other names listed above all have very strong machines, I just noticed that you have so far leaned towards Stihl. Of the models you have looked at, if price is not a barrier, the 361 is indeed a step up (or two) from the 310 and 390.

    My 361 just plays with the 18" bar and on the 25" is very acceptable and I run pretty aggressive chains.
  18. TMonter

    TMonter Minister of Fire

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    The Husky 359 is a valid alternative to the 310 and takes to porting and a pretty substantial power increase very well. It also weighs a pound less. The Dolmar PS5100 also has a great rep in this saw class.

    Before buying any saw see if you can demo one first. Try a range of saws to see what you really want.
  19. johnsopi

    johnsopi Minister of Fire

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    I have MS310 20" and Dolmar5100 18" The Dolmar is by far the go to saw. Much more power,less weight. I may put a16" on the 310 and start using it again but now it just sits there. On the positive side I have 3 years of wood and don't use more then 50 gal of HHO ayear.
  20. paulie

    paulie New Member

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    I have to buut in here gentlemen.... I work for the county. we have a tree crew, and we all have a saw. We have STIHL. All 36 Pro. We do have up to 48" bars on others. My piont is this...some of the yahoos I work with, and the abuse that is given to these saw's, and I mean ABUSE !! droping them, little care is some instance's. The hours they are ran...and ran hard. these guys don't care because it isn't their's. And these saws just keep on running! and running well.
    It has diffenently proven to me, that a Stihl is a very,very well built saw. I don't think the average home owner would use and abuse a saw like this in a ten years. Go with a stihl pro....you won't be sorry! Don't get me wrong ,there are other good saws out there, as fore mention by others, Iam only speaking from experience....I have seen professional abuse. LOL
  21. paulie

    paulie New Member

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  22. Jack33

    Jack33 New Member

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    Are you sure about the prices and models? A 390 is about $50 more than a 310. There is about a $120 difference between a 390 and a 361.

    If the question is a 310 or 390, for another $50 get the 390.

    If the question is a 390 or 361...get the 390 for homeowner firewood use. It will out perform your tired 031 by a large margin and last just as long with regular maintanence. If money is of no concern, by all means get the pro series 361.
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