MS 291 or 455 Rancher

dquest

New Member
Dec 13, 2018
65
Ont,Can
Looks like my ms250 is past it's due date.
Looking to get your thoughts on either the 291 or 455 prob with 20" bar.

The ms250 is under powered for some of the wood I cut last year .

Thanks.
 

EODMSgt

Feeling the Heat
Dec 11, 2018
265
White Mountain Region, NH
Looks like my ms250 is past it's due date.
Looking to get your thoughts on either the 291 or 455 prob with 20" bar.

The ms250 is under powered for some of the wood I cut last year .

Thanks.
What type of wood are you primarily cutting (hardwood vs softwood, locust vs birch, etc.), what are the typical diameter trees, and how much per year? Also, how close are your local Stihl and Husqvarna dealers when you need supplies or repairs?

I've been using a MS290 (predecessor to the 291) for about 11 years and it is still my go-to saw. I've probably cut around 100 cords with it and other than routine maintenance, never had an issue. I do have an MS362 for larger trees however it's overkill for a lot of what I get. Reading up on reviews of the two (291 vs 455), they seem to be fairly matched so it may just be a personal preference towards the manufacturer and closeness of the dealer.

You said your 250 was underpowered at 45cc. When I use the 362, it's only a jump of 3.5cc over the 290 (59cc vs 55.5cc) however it makes a big difference. If you go from your 250 at 45cc to the 291 at 55.5cc, that'll be a nice increase in power.

There will be those that say don't waste your time and you need at least a 70cc saw. Well, that's fine, everyone is entitled to their opinions. I cut firewood year round and usually have at least one saw in my truck in case I come across a blow down. The 290 is usually what I carry and has been fine for 95% of what I have needed it for.

 

Mutineer

New Member
Dec 13, 2018
33
NE Ohio
I cut with Stihl MS290 and 018C, and my MS290 experience is the same as EODMSgt's, been my "big boy" saw for about the same time as his. I even bought a 24" bar and full chisel chain for it a few years ago to cut up a red oak that was about 36" at the base and it handled it with ease. That said, my wood cutting buddy has 13 Huskys that he swears by, so it is like the Ford vs Chevy debate from back in the day and the Sgt advice is sound, especially since Stihl controls their parts supplier chain so tightly which makes getting parts over the Net so difficult.
 
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dquest

New Member
Dec 13, 2018
65
Ont,Can
What type of wood are you primarily cutting (hardwood vs softwood, locust vs birch, etc.), what are the typical diameter trees, and how much per year? Also, how close are your local Stihl and Husqvarna dealers when you need supplies or repairs?

I've been using a MS290 (predecessor to the 291) for about 11 years and it is still my go-to saw. I've probably cut around 100 cords with it and other than routine maintenance, never had an issue. I do have an MS362 for larger trees however it's overkill for a lot of what I get. Reading up on reviews of the two (291 vs 455), they seem to be fairly matched so it may just be a personal preference towards the manufacturer and closeness of the dealer.

You said your 250 was underpowered at 45cc. When I use the 362, it's only a jump of 3.5cc over the 290 (59cc vs 55.5cc) however it makes a big difference. If you go from your 250 at 45cc to the 291 at 55.5cc, that'll be a nice increase in power.

There will be those that say don't waste your time and you need at least a 70cc saw. Well, that's fine, everyone is entitled to their opinions. I cut firewood year round and usually have at least one saw in my truck in case I come across a blow down. The 290 is usually what I carry and has been fine for 95% of what I have needed it for.

Thanks for the info. I mostly have elm and just my own firewood for the winter so maybe 5 cords +/-.

Size is around 20 -24"

There is also some maple a little birch and some beech.
 

EODMSgt

Feeling the Heat
Dec 11, 2018
265
White Mountain Region, NH
Thanks for the info. I mostly have elm and just my own firewood for the winter so maybe 5 cords +/-.

Size is around 20 -24"

There is also some maple a little birch and some beech.
Basically the same as what I am cutting except for the elm, none of that here. The main sources of firewood I cut are all hardwood - beech, ash, silver maple, white birch, and red oak. Sounds like you're cutting a larger diameter tree than I usually get and if 24" is pretty common, you may want to move up to the next size saw. The 290 (291) can handle a 20" bar but it's happier with a 16 or 18.
 

thewoodlands

Minister of Fire
Aug 25, 2009
12,977
Foothills of The Adirondacks
Looks like my ms250 is past it's due date.
Looking to get your thoughts on either the 291 or 455 prob with 20" bar.

The ms250 is under powered for some of the wood I cut last year .

Thanks.
Most of our firewood is cut with my first real chainsaw, the 310 with a 16 or 18 inch bar. I usually take the 310 and 390 in the back of the Rhino after a wind storm when I check the trails.

The 310 was having problems last year so after two Stihl dealers told me there was nothing wrong with it, I bought a parts saw and took the almost new carb out of it and put it in the 310, it has been running fine since.
 
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dquest

New Member
Dec 13, 2018
65
Ont,Can
Basically the same as what I am cutting except for the elm, none of that here. The main sources of firewood I cut are all hardwood - beech, ash, silver maple, white birch, and red oak. Sounds like you're cutting a larger diameter tree than I usually get and if 24" is pretty common, you may want to move up to the next size saw. The 290 (291) can handle a 20" bar but it's happier with a 16 or 18.
Thanks. That's what the dealer just told me as well . Didnt recommend the 291 with anything larger than 18".

Suggested the 362 but I cant afford that one now.
 

EODMSgt

Feeling the Heat
Dec 11, 2018
265
White Mountain Region, NH
Thanks. That's what the dealer just told me as well . Didnt recommend the 291 with anything larger than 18".

Suggested the 362 but I cant afford that one now.
I don't know what 'improvements' they made from the 290 to the 291 however based on your 5+ cords annual harvest, I don't think you would go wrong with the 291. I used the 290 for everything for about 8 years until a bad storm in October of 2017 brought down some large trees. That's when I upgraded to the 362. If you get it (or the 455), keep us posted.
 

dquest

New Member
Dec 13, 2018
65
Ont,Can
I don't know what 'improvements' they made from the 290 to the 291 however based on your 5+ cords annual harvest, I don't think you would go wrong with the 291. I used the 290 for everything for about 8 years until a bad storm in October of 2017 brought down some large trees. That's when I upgraded to the 362. If you get it (or the 455), keep us posted.
Will do. Apparently the 291 will go on sale in the fall down to $500 from $610 so i'll wait until then. in the meantime the 170 is on sale for $199 so I'll be grabbing that as I need something smaller as well.
 
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dquest

New Member
Dec 13, 2018
65
Ont,Can
I don't know what 'improvements' they made from the 290 to the 291 however based on your 5+ cords annual harvest, I don't think you would go wrong with the 291. I used the 290 for everything for about 8 years until a bad storm in October of 2017 brought down some large trees. That's when I upgraded to the 362. If you get it (or the 455), keep us posted.

Little update. Dealer prepped a 562xp with 20" bar for a sale and the guy that was going to buy it bought a different saw so I got really good deal for a "demo" saw with a 5 year warranty.
 

EODMSgt

Feeling the Heat
Dec 11, 2018
265
White Mountain Region, NH
Little update. Dealer prepped a 562xp with 20" bar for a sale and the guy that was going to buy it bought a different saw so I got really good deal for a "demo" saw with a 5 year warranty.
Very nice! That's a big jump from your old saw. I was surprised to see it can take a 28 inch bar.