I was working with my father-in-law last weekend trying to buck up some hickory logs - his two cheap chain saws were just more fight than they were worth. One was an underpowered and flimsy Poulan 16" and the other an underpowered 18" with more wrong with it than I can describe. It cuts, but between the chain brake not working right, having to manually pour bar oil on the chain, and the lack of power, it was more hassle and unsafe than I care to repeat. He isn't about to buy a new one, so I'm shopping for one for myself so I can have an easier time of it next time. The reality is that as he gets older, I'll be doing more of the cutting, and I don't want to use old tools that are more trouble than they are worth. His woodlot is primarily sugar maple and hickory, with a mix of beech and cherry also. Yeah, I know, pretty nice woodlot. Mostly, trees blow over due to the wind (he owns on a large wooded hill, and the winter wind usually brings down what he needs). He'll cut about 7 cords a year, and I'll be cutting 2-3. It's safe to say that the saw I'll buy will cut more than 2-3 cords/year since I'll be helping him with his 7 cords. Some of the rounds can be 18" or more in diameter easy, sometimes bigger. My dad had a Homelite when I was younger that we used to clear our land for a house and driveway. I remember that it was pretty rugged and pretty trouble free. He's had it for 30+ years now and tells me that it is time to put some money into it - so it's been a good saw for what he has used it for. So I'm predisposed to at least look at the Homelite saws. I see that a lot of the serious woodburners on this site use Stihl saws, so that is worth a look for sure. So I did some web searching and saw the Homelite UT10520 for about $200, the Stihl MS 290 for about $400 and the Stihl MS 260 Pro for about $500. I'm interested in your opinions on these saws, and would appreciate knowing why I would consider one over the other. I don't mind spending good money for something built to last, but I do have an upper limit - no more than $500 and I would be more comfortable at $400. I figure once I narrow down my options, I'll find the dealers and see what the real prices are on the street. For what it's worth, I'm a slightly built guy (5'-9", 150 lbs., but in pretty good shape). I know how to handle a saw and not muscle it. I'm not looking for the lightest saw, but I want to be realistic about the overall weight and balance also.