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Stihl Saw Advice 250 or 290?

Post in 'The Gear' started by btj1031, Apr 23, 2010.

  1. btj1031

    btj1031 New Member

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    I've been doing a lot of reading, and I think I'm ready to pull the trigger, so I thought I'd throw out the question before I go and drop a few hundred bucks. I need a new saw, and I'm pretty sure I'll get a Stihl due to dealer proximity. I made the mistake of buying a crummy Craftsman a few years back and it died on me last year. I have a little pile of wood sitting in my front yard from the recent wind storm and its time to cut it up and move it.

    I was hoping to buy wood by the grapple and get my cord wood that way, but I was told by a logger that due to low power lines that won't work for me. So it will be mostly C/S/D for now, and the occasional load of scrounged wood or 4 footers delivered in a dump if I can find it. So there won't be too much annual firewood processing, unfortunately. The more likely action for the saw is cutting up really tall white pines that surround my property and seem to drop a few limbs down every winter. Most of them are in the 12" - 18" range.

    This will probably be my only saw. I've read a lot that the MS 290 is a good versatile saw, but at ~$70 less and a little lighter weight, the MS 250 may fit the bill and save me a few bucks (not looking to ignite the battle on the benefit or drawback of saw weight :) ) Any advice on making the decision would be helpful. I'm hoping to buy something that will work well for me and last many years.

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  2. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    I fill there's a good reason the 290 is 70.00 bucks more and is also a mid range saw and not a homeowner saw with that said 290 if one saw is your plan!
  3. btj1031

    btj1031 New Member

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    Thanks Jay. I see that the 290 is a "class" ahead, but I'm not sure that means a whole lot. If it did, I should get a "pro" saw and call it a day. :)
  4. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    got to draw the line some where! if not you would have a 880,660,460,441,362,260,200t,192t the 290 just tuff saw and 10 more cc if you already had a bigger saw I would go with the 250...but your looking for a good one saw plan 290!
  5. Danno77

    Danno77 Minister of Fire

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    I'm with Jay on the 290 making a decent one saw plan for a small-time (but serious) woodcutter. the 250 is a good saw, but is smaller than I'd want if I only had one saw. but that's me, YMMV.
  6. HittinSteel

    HittinSteel Minister of Fire

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    I agree.......out of your 2 choices get the 290
  7. webie

    webie Minister of Fire

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    250 is all you will ever need for to scrounge a little and cutting up white pine . I would save the 70 bucks .
  8. thinkxingu

    thinkxingu Minister of Fire

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    J-Man, where you at in NH? If we're close, you could always give my 250 a shot. I also have a 361, so you could feel the difference in weight--the 290 is actually almost a pound heavier than the 361, so it would be a close comparison.

    S
  9. 'bert

    'bert Minister of Fire

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    Go with the 250. I have one as well as a few others (incl 361) and I often find myself grabbing the lil' 250. We do not have a bunch of large 100 YO oaks here so my situation is like yours.
  10. btj1031

    btj1031 New Member

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    I'm in Hopkinton.

    Uh oh, seems to be a push. I guess I can't go wrong either way. I was hoping to get to the store tomorrow AM, but now that doesn't look like its going to happen. So, I might have another week to look at the little pile in my front yard and think about it.
  11. Beowulf

    Beowulf New Member

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    Just to further muddy the water...

    I have the MS250C. I had carb problems with it from almost the beginning. I finally found that the diaphragm cover on the Chinese carb was warping just enough to shut the fuel down when it warmed up. I sealed it with gasket sealer and it has run good for about 10 tanks of gas since doing so. I was not impressed with the carb quality, though. Maybe the MS290 will get a little better carb?

    Good luck.
  12. Danno77

    Danno77 Minister of Fire

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    no, you can't. Both are good saws.
  13. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    seems that anyone that says 250 has another saw this will be his only saw...and I can tell you my one saw plan was a 460 go as big as you can afford.
  14. webie

    webie Minister of Fire

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    My brother only has a 250 and cuts 8 full cord a year with it mostly ash and silver maple . If you keep the chain sharp it really wont make much difference cutting up white pine and doing a bit of scrounging . My other brother had an 028 and gave that to his son because he wanted a new saw and bought a 290 , this was to be his only saw . He hated it from the first weekend on , only because of the weight for limbing and brushing . He ended up buying another smaller saw a jonsered . I think the big difference here is the big weight issue the 250 is only 10.1 pounds and the 290 is 13 pounds thats a huge difference . With the small amount of wood you are planning on cutting I dont see a need for swinging around a 290 but then thats up to you . Of course with a bigger saw you will get done faster with cutting so you will have more time for drinking beer to forget about your aches and pains .
  15. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    10 more cc as well and I only had a 460 for a year so felling limbing and bucking with a 460 and if I had it to do over again it with one saw it would be a 460.......lol but I am also 5 ft 11in. 210 and most guess me at about 175 so a few pounds on a bigger cc saw is what I like and its jmo! no subs for cubic in.
  16. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    Ja, 6' 2" here, under 200 lbs. First saw was 55 cc and now happy with my 65 cc on a one saw plan.
  17. Danno77

    Danno77 Minister of Fire

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    i'm basically on a one saw plan right now, it's an 028. It gets the job done, but I'm in the market for a bigger saw because i'm beyond wanting to "get the job done" I'm onto "get the job done easier, faster, and more gooder...."

    can a 250 get the job done? I don't doubt it one bit. BUT there are better saws out there for only a little more dough. I'd be willing to pay the extra $70 if it was me just for the ease in cutting it would bring. If you get the 250 I gaurantee there will be days (maybe only a handful of them) when you would wonder why you didn't fork out that little extra. It's not my money, though, so that clouds my decision.
  18. webie

    webie Minister of Fire

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    I agree with you guys on the bigger saws but with what it looks like the guy will be cutting in the original post it sounds like the saw wont be used much and at that a little scrounged wood and then some white pine limbs , He is going from a craftsman to a stihl so no matter what it is a step up . My honest opinion I wouldnt drop a penny on either saw since in most cases he will get the dreaded saw disease before he wears it out and want a different one . I cut for many years with just a 024 and a 026 and a homelite 360 . When the homelite puked I dropped it in the garbage can and bought a stihl 361 . If I was to buy a 13 pound saw I wouldnt spend a penny on a 290 because I think its a boat anchor compared to alot of other stihl saws 280 ,310 ,390 , 361 ,362 ,440 ,441 ,460 .
    If I had to do a one saw it would be eithe a 280 or a 361 even at the extra cost by the time you break down how long you will be haveing the saw your only talking a few bucks per year on ownership .
    Either way he goes it still boils down to his personel choice . Either saw will be a good saw . I think if he test run both saws would be his best bet to help make up his decision .
    Just dont test a 280 or a 361-362
  19. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    "290 because I think its a boat anchor"

    with those 2 choices I would go with the boat ancor please!!!!!!lol
  20. btj1031

    btj1031 New Member

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    I kind of had a feeling this is what I would generally be hearing on these saws. $370 is kind of pushing the budget right now. I hear what you're saying webie about dropping the bills for quality now, especially using it for a long time. Problem is when you got a house and a family there's a million decisions that could include that analysis, and there's always a good reason to spend more $. The problem is, there isn't always more $! I think you said it - I'm upgrading from a POS to a decent saw either way. Hopefully the end of the week I'll go buy something. This is shaping up to be a big week at work so getting out to the store might not be in the cards. I will certainly let you all know how I decide and post a pic of the saw's first cutting.
  21. thinkxingu

    thinkxingu Minister of Fire

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    J-Man,
    The 250's a real nice saw for the weight and money--I use it exclusively for limbing. For bucking (especially larger trees) and felling, I use the 361. The reality is this: the 250 will definitely, without a doubt, no question in my mind do what you want it to do. At this point, it's really a question of more weight vs. more power and price. REMEMBER: if you buy a 250 and want to move up, you could most of your money back within a couple years.

    S
  22. webie

    webie Minister of Fire

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    +1
  23. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    880 or should I go with the cheaper 660 and a few lbs lighter? huh you knuckle heads have bigger saws and limbing with a 250 what do you think will happen in the near future...
  24. webie

    webie Minister of Fire

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    Have you ever cut up white pine ? You could put a 16 inch bar on your 192t and go at it .
  25. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    yep and my 192t rocks but if it was my only saw and I needed firewood for the next 5-7 years I would go cold pretty quick...
    firewood needs will change very quickly and what you have today is not what you will have the next.

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