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What model Husky or Stihl would be appropriate for my needs?

Post in 'The Gear' started by Treacherous, Aug 25, 2012.

  1. Treacherous

    Treacherous Minister of Fire

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    I apologize if I should have latched onto another thread. It seems there quite a few on chainsaws. I currently have basic 16" Craftsman for cutting some small stuff. I have used my dad's 30-40 year old Stihl 041 but it seems a little overkill for my needs with it's 26 or 28 inch bar (IIRC).

    Here are my needs:

    • 2-3 Cords of logs cut a year. Mostly Douglas Fir. Logs range in size from about 12-24 inches. Usually have truck drop them off on my property. Dad has previously helped me cut this up but is getting up there in years and I need to take this on myself.
    • The only falling I will do is a tree or so every few years that may have died on my property. Even most of these are less than 20 inches
    • I am in decent shape and have good stamina so weight of saw isn't too big of a deal for me.
    • Lifetime saw, resale value doesn't matter, and unit was designed with easier maintenance in mind
    • A little extra safety gear on saw would probably benefit me since I really only use a chainsaw a few times a year

    Price aside which saw would you recommend?. I'm open to other brands if you think they are up to it. I'll pay more if it will last the long haul for my intermittent use. Of course I don't really need an overkill saw as well.

    Should I be going with an 18 or 20 inch bar?

    [Stihl MS 261]
    http://www.stihlusa.com/products/chain-saws/professional-saws/ms261/

    [Stihl MS 261 C-Q]
    http://www.stihlusa.com/products/chain-saws/professional-saws/ms261cq/

    [Stihl 271]
    http://www.stihlusa.com/products/chain-saws/farm-and-ranch-saws/ms271/

    [Stihl 291]
    http://www.stihlusa.com/products/chain-saws/farm-and-ranch-saws/ms291/

    [Stihl 291 C-BEQ]
    http://www.stihlusa.com/products/chain-saws/farm-and-ranch-saws/ms291cbeq/

    [Husqvarna 550XP Triobrake]
    http://www.husqvarna.com/us/products/professional-chainsaws/550-xp-triobrake/

    [Husqvarna 562XP]
    http://www.husqvarna.com/us/products/professional-chainsaws/562-xp/

    Thanks!

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  2. nate379

    nate379 Guest

    You don't have it listed but the MS290 is a great saw for the cost and it'd be perfect for your use.
  3. Treacherous

    Treacherous Minister of Fire

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  4. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

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    261 would be great, but 290 would serve you well for less $$$.
  5. mywaynow

    mywaynow Minister of Fire

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    Under 24 inch trees I would be at the 346xp Husky with an 18" bar.. Love my 359, but I bought that to hold the 24 inch bar when I need it. That is not to often, but the 359 has the right oiler for that length bar. Bought mine on line out of Co I think. Alamia was the seller. Good pricing. Not going to be there for service for me but I have a guy if I need one.
    certified106 likes this.
  6. jeepmedic

    jeepmedic Burning Hunk

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    I cut over 20 cords with my 290 last year and it is an AWESOME saw. I run an 18" bar and it does great on about every size tree you have listed. The 290 is by far a great reliable saw. Starts easy, easy to maintain, and is reasonably priced.

    I would recommend buying from a good saw dealer too. That relationship will help you in the long run with questions and service :)
  7. Treacherous

    Treacherous Minister of Fire

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    Thanks for the feedback. I really appreciate it all. The wife says I need a new chainsaw so I want to make sure I get a good one.

    EDIT: I think she is tired hearing me yell at the Craftsmen. :) ... it's fairly cold blooded. I haven't gotten around to see if I can tweak the carb any.
  8. amateur cutter

    amateur cutter Minister of Fire

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    261 Will probably outcut the 290 in the stuff you're working with. Lighter, better rpm, pro saw, If you don't mind dropping the extra cash you wont regret the 260. A C
  9. DexterDay

    DexterDay Guest

    I agree... The benefits of a Pro saw are well worth it.

    If your looking for a Lifetime saw, then Pro is the way to go.

    If your looking at the 562XP, then have you looked into the Stihl MS-362? That would be another to add to the list.

    Going from a 290 to 562XP.is a large chunck of change (Two 290's almost). Do you have a budget? ?
  10. Treacherous

    Treacherous Minister of Fire

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    I'd like to probably stay under $750


  11. TreePointer

    TreePointer Minister of Fire

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    If a lot of your logs are on the larger side, I'd be happier with a ~60cc saw running regular 3/8 pitch chain on a 20" bar (optional 24/28 bar). The top saws in this class are the Husqvarna 562XP and Stihl MS-362.
  12. bogydave

    bogydave Minister of Fire

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  13. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    look around for a newer used saw. The ms261, the mS360 or 361, all good saws, can be found relatively inexpensive if you look around. I just bought a used Husqvarna 372XP for 400 bucks and that baby is a little animal! Pulls a 28" bar like nobody's business. So, don't cut yourself short. Look around on Craigslist and your local classifieds too. I watched a nice Stihl MS460 Magnum go for $334.00 on ebay yesterday:eek: !!!!! I almost couldn't believe my eyes, it happens sometimes. If I had the money I would have been bidding on that bad boy, but my living room project is getting the attention right now, so the deals will have to wait....:(
  14. mywaynow

    mywaynow Minister of Fire

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    I had seen that 460 a couple hours before it ended. Forgot to put it on the watch list and did not seet the final cost. Thanks for updating me. There is also a 650 that is 10 miles away and going off soon. Interested to see that one go. He had that on CL for 800.

    The 346xp can be had in hand for 499 with the 18 bar. That would leave room fro the $60 tough box and a few chains. I have read a lot of great reviews on that saw. So far I am completely satisfied with my Husky.
    ScotO likes this.
  15. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    As much as I like what Stihl did with the MS291, I think they're off their rocker price wise, especially the CBEQ version. Nearly $800 for a mid-range saw under 60cc/4 HP? Hey Stihl, Really?! :mad:

    The MS290 is ancient technology, although proven. Running a 16" bar, it's a good saw for folks who rarely get into 20"+ wood and are not in a hurry. ==c The MS290 is like a 1/2 ton V6 pickup truck, reliable, got nothing to prove, and will almost always get the job done. About as exciting as watching paint dry too. :p If your gaol was to buy the biggest saw you could for the least amount of money, then I'd recommend the MS290. But you said you might be interested in the "one and done" approach so here we go....

    I noticed you included a couple saws that have the rear-handle chainbrake option. I've run this option before and while I like it, it's only found on saws with a hefty price bump over the "base" model. You can train yourself to set the brake manually after you finish each cut in the first 5 minutes with any saw. I would put the extra cash spent on a feature like this into PPE for your body like a set of chaps or a forestry helmet.

    Honestly, if you want to buy one machine, the MS362 should be getting the majority of your attention. $700 wearing a 20" Bar. Tell the dealer you want a case and a extra chain included then see if he will discount the hell outta a pair of chaps since you are buying a new top-of-the-line saw. Should get you near you're budget of $750 before tax.

    The 562XP is also a great machine and arguably the best looking saw out there (will make the neighbors jealous.....) and would be a great choice as well, but expect to pay an extra $50 for the Husqvarna.

    Either one of the above machines will pull 24" bars just fine should you need to and will more than be able to stick with you should your cutting needs expand beyond 2-3 cord a year.
  16. basod

    basod Minister of Fire

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    Get a 20" roller nose for your dad's 041 and a few chains for around $100.
    Then convince him it's time to "retire" from woodcutting.
    If you're pretty much just dealing with logs this is a great bucking setup.
  17. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    Would be a very inexpensive way to go but the OP did express plenty of intrest in the safety features found on more modern machinery.... Most 041's I've seen lack a chainbrake of any kind. If the 41 did indeed have a brake, then this would be a very viable option. 'Course getiin' dear ol' Dad to part with his 30+ year old saw might be tougher than you think. ;)
    mecreature likes this.
  18. basod

    basod Minister of Fire

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    Agreed it doesn't a have a brake if non-AV. But we're talking bucking logs here - I'm assuming in an open space, how often does anyone engage their brake when doing this?

    Mine doesn't have one so I vote never;)
  19. Treacherous

    Treacherous Minister of Fire

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    I really appreciate all the feedback. This is good info. It will be a few more years before dad is willing to set his saw down. That old 041 has been one solid saw for him. It looks like it has been through a war but it still keeps going.

    EDIT: I'd say about 25% of the logs are in the 18-24 inch range.
  20. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    I still to this day run a 1970's Stihl 041AV Super all the time........its still my favorite saw in the stable!

    They just don't build them like that anymore.....

    2012-03-22_18-16-28_249.jpg
    BrianK likes this.
  21. Treacherous

    Treacherous Minister of Fire

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    I think my dad's is an AV model as well. I was talking to him this morning and he thinks he might have actually picked it up in the late 60's. Not sure how far back that model goes back though.
  22. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    *Gasp!* Scotty, is that, no it can't be.... green label chain??!! ;):p==c

    Love the handle bar AV on that puppy! :cool:
    ScotO likes this.
  23. Bigg_Redd

    Bigg_Redd Minister of Fire

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    If your budget is $750 and you cut wood here in God's country, skip all the little ticklers and go straight to a MS362 or 357XP with a 24" bar. There is nothing in this state you can't handily get through with a 60cc saw and a 24" bar. I cut for the better part of 8 years with a 290 - it's a great saw but it'll make you earn it on the bigger logs (which you WILL find).
  24. nate379

    nate379 Guest

    I have a 290 and a 460, both on 18" bars. Sure the 460 can pull through the wood quicker being it's a bigger saw, but the 290 isn't a slouch either. A tank of fuel in either saw nets me enough wood to be running the splitter for several hours.

    For a person that just cuts 2-3 cords a year the power and price point of the 290 makes it a great choice.



  25. Treacherous

    Treacherous Minister of Fire

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    Is there much need to tweak any of these saws for elevations 4000 feet and below?

    I notice some of the Huskies have this Autotune feature that kind a looks like the old electronic feedback carbs from early 80's pre-EFI cars and thus these aren't really tune-able simply with jet screws. I'd rather I not have to mess with that stuff if I don't have too. I half expect it on the cheaper stuff on the market.

    Are the anti-vibration features of both Stihl and Husky about the same? When I look around at people talking about them it looks like Ford/Chevy debate at times.

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