New Stihl 261

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BIGChrisNH

Minister of Fire
Dec 16, 2015
645
New Hampshire
Finally pulled the trigger on a new Stihl MS 261, after thinking about it for many years. I got good service out of my 250 and 271, and was able to sell both of them for $300 each to fund the purchase of this saw. It's the non-Mtronic version, just standard carb. As you would expect, it's been wonderful to use so far, starts easy, smooth to operate, and very well built. I like the different screws for the top shroud compared to my ranch level saws, the starter cord is better, adjustable oiler is nice to have on a smaller saw like this, noticeably smoother to run, it's tuned perfectly, and of course the magnesium case. Even the stupid flippy caps seem better, maybe because they are seating in metal rather than plastic? I'm on a two-saw plan now, Jonsered 2166 for the bigger stuff, and the Stihl 261 for everything else. It's one less two stroke engine to maintain around here. Running Stihl MotoMix for the first several tanks until I can make time to go to the airfield and grab 5 gallons of ethanol-free fuel. I had run one of these in the past that belonged to someone else, and again as a rental but having one of my own is really nice. I keep going out to the garage just to look at it.
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June will be three years on my 261. I couldn't find a non-Mtronic when I bought mine. Its my go to saw any more. After a couple shoulder surgery's the 461 spends more time sitting in the saw trailer. I have had zero issues with mine. Have blocked a ton of locust and hedge with it.
 
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June will be three years on my 261. I couldn't find a non-Mtronic when I bought mine. Its my go to saw any more. After a couple shoulder surgery's the 461 spends more time sitting in the saw trailer. I have had zero issues with mine. Have blocked a ton of locust and hedge with it.
Funny about the Mtronic, my closest dealer had a bunch of standard carb 261s in stock but others told me on the phone that they could only get Mtronic. I don't get it. There's a factory somewhere making saws and they either make both or they don't. But, I'm glad to hear your happy with yours!
 
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Its my go to saw any more. After a couple shoulder surgery's the 461 spends more time sitting
Same here, I don't get out the big boy unless I have to. I have a 20" bar on my 261, and it handles it pretty well. That length will handle the majority of what I cut here. I've got the m-tronic. I don't know enough about saws to know if that's good or bad.. 😏
 
I love the flippy cap instructions on the side of the stove. I'm on the second replacement of those caps. The latest version, you have is the best.
Is that a pro version? I like the decompression valve on my pro.
 
I love the flippy cap instructions on the side of the stove. I'm on the second replacement of those caps. The latest version, you have is the best.
Is that a pro version? I like the decompression valve on my pro.
The 261 is a pro saw, yes. I got some more trigger time on it over the weekend, and the flippy caps on this saw work better than those on my 250 or 271 did. it's easier to properly seat the bar oil cap for some reason. I'm not sure why, maybe I'm just better at it. The only thing I need to watch is the chain throwing, it's happened twice with this saw and I haven't ran it all that much yet. I think it's probably just the new chain stretching but it's something to keep my eye on. I'm getting some logs delivered this week and I'll be sure to check chain tension more often as I'm cutting. If it happens again when I'm being extra cognizant of it, I'll contact the dealer. But fingers crossed that's unnecessary.
 
I've had my 261 for about 8 years. It is my go to saw. I have a 362 as well, but it mostly sits on the shelf. Interesting to know about the M-tronic thing. I'm not opposed to improvements, but there is also some merit to the whole "If it ain't broke" adage.
 
The Mtronic wiring harnesses were made in Ukraine. Production was reduced or eliminated there, and Stihl ran short. So they brought back manual adjust carb versions of many of their Mtronic saws. I heard that production was started somewhere else.

Mtronic is just a computer controlled jet in the carb. It's still a carburetor. The computer is really simple. It's mostly measuring RPM changes. See

My two Mtronic saws run just like regular carb saws that are tuned just right. I never need to tune them (yes I know how).
 
chain throwing, it's happened twice with this saw and I haven't ran it all that much yet. I think it's probably just the new chain stretching but it's something to keep my eye on.
I didn't notice that being a particular problem on mine (a few years old,) but on multiple saw I'll get a very loose chain once in a while. Still haven't figured out how that can happen..??
 
I love my MS261C-M. I will likely add a MS500i 25in to handle my big tree work some day. For the mean time I will abuse my cheap Echo CS-670 25in that I got for $185.
 
I love my MS261C-M. I will likely add a MS500i 25in to handle my big tree work some day. For the mean time I will abuse my cheap Echo CS-670 25in that I got for $185.
Yeah, I only break out the big saw occasionally--hard to justify the money I spent on it. It sure is fun to let 'er eat once in a while, though.. 😏
 
I didn't notice that being a particular problem on mine (a few years old,) but on multiple saw I'll get a very loose chain once in a while. Still haven't figured out how that can happen..??
I haven't had it happen on other saws before. I'll watch it closely now and if the chain tensioner is loosening during operation I'll just ask the dealer to exchange it for me.
 
The tension on the chain is kept by the tightness of the bar nuts clamping the bar down against the saw body. The tensioner is just to make adjustment easy.

If it's slipping and the bar nuts are tight then there is something wrong. More likely the chain is loose or damaged, possibly by the first derailment.
 
The tension on the chain is kept by the tightness of the bar nuts clamping the bar down against the saw body. The tensioner is just to make adjustment easy.

If it's slipping and the bar nuts are tight then there is something wrong. More likely the chain is loose or damaged, possibly by the first derailment.
Thank you Eric I appreciate the information. The bar nuts are definitely tight. I took a look at the chain and it looks good to me. I'll keep any eye on it and report anything else that happens.
 
Ran the 261 again today being very very cognizant of chain tension. I checked it after bucking each log. It seemed to hold the chain tension this time, I tightened the crap out of the bar nuts. However this time the saw stalled while cutting. I had run it for about 45 minutes at that point and was close to being done. It wouldn't start back up and seemed to act like it was flooded. This is the second tank of fuel (Stihl Motomix). I finished the job with the Jonsered. So far, I've used this saw 3 times and it's thrown a chain, thrown a chain, and stalled. It's going back to the dealer on Monday. At this point I'm quite disappointed in it and have no confidence in it. If I was going to do a cutting job I'd bring the Jonsered, not this. Not cool for a $700 saw. I'm sure the dealer will make it right, but at this point I think I'd like to exchange this for another saw rather than have them fix it.
 
Did you run it out of gas?
Great question. Not I did not. That's what I thought it was at first, naturally. But I checked the tank first thing and there was about a 1/4 tank left. I haven't had a saw cut out on me because of low fuel, only if the tank is empty.
 
Chainsaw fuel pickups can't get all the fuel in the tank due to the way they're designed- they have to operate in any position. Sometimes there is more fuel left than I think there ought to be when the saw starts cutting out or showing signs of fuel starvation, and I can get a bit more run time by shaking the saw so the pickup moves around in the tank. I'll do this if I have one more cut left and it's not going to leave something dangerous if the saw cuts out in the middle.

But usually at the first sign of low fuel, when the engine catches or won't rev out (or revs high because its going lean), I stop and gas up. Running an engine lean is potentially harmful.
 
Chainsaw fuel pickups can't get all the fuel in the tank due to the way they're designed- they have to operate in any position. Sometimes there is more fuel left than I think there ought to be when the saw starts cutting out or showing signs of fuel starvation, and I can get a bit more run time by shaking the saw so the pickup moves around in the tank. I'll do this if I have one more cut left and it's not going to leave something dangerous if the saw cuts out in the middle.

But usually at the first sign of low fuel, when the engine catches or won't rev out (or revs high because its going lean), I stop and gas up. Running an engine lean is potentially harmful.
Fair enough and that's good advice thank you. I'll cut more next weekend with it and see how it does.
 
Fair enough and that's good advice thank you. I'll cut more next weekend with it and see how it does.
If you can get it working right, it's a sweet saw. Worth it not to give up on it yet I'd say, since you've already spent the money (yeah, they might give you credit on something else.) I'm not a saw guru, but I like it, anyway..
 
If you can get it working right, it's a sweet saw. Worth it not to give up on it yet I'd say, since you've already spent the money (yeah, they might give you credit on something else.) I'm not a saw guru, but I like it, anyway..
The thing is I don't want any other saw. This is the one. I've wanted one of these for a long time. I'll get it going well I think I just wish I wasn't having these hiccups.
 
One thing to know about Mtronic- if you're cutting with the saw and shut the saw down immediately (like when running away from a tree as its starting to fall), the saw will be too rich to start if you go to start it up when its still hot. The saw needs to be idled for ~5 seconds before shutting down.

If you forgot (like you were busy running away from that tree and really wanted the saw off) and it's acting flooded when you start it, pull a few times with the chain brake on and throttle open. The extra air will lean out what's in the cylinder and it will start.

I get this more with my 362 than 241, but I do more felling and big cuts with the 362 where I'm likely to shut down a hot saw than when limbing which is what I mostly do with the 241. It may be that the Mtronic on the 362 just does it more than the 241.
 
The thing is I don't want any other saw. This is the one. I've wanted one of these for a long time. I'll get it going well I think I just wish I wasn't having these hiccups.
Yeah, I can relate. Just got a little Stihl 151 top-handle a couple months back. I think it had a loose bar-mount stud from the factory but the dealer/owner tried to tell me maybe I over-tightened the nut. Well, I've been tightening them the same way on many Stihl saws for many years, and never had a problem. ;hm
 
It's a great saw. Mine 23 years old, and my first issue, broken shut of wire. I don't flood it often, but when you do, it's rough. Of course we all don't want to wait hours to it cools.
As to throwing a chain. Is the bar noise sprocket ok. How did it happen? Slow speed, grabbing a small twig?
 
It's a great saw. Mine 23 years old, and my first issue, broken shut of wire. I don't flood it often, but when you do, it's rough. Of course we all don't want to wait hours to it cools.
As to throwing a chain. Is the bar noise sprocket ok. How did it happen? Slow speed, grabbing a small twig?
Flooded, I just pull the plug and then pull the rope several times to evaporate the gas outta there.