Replace my Stihl 361 with ???

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Minister of Fire
Feb 2, 2008
My Stihl 361 is dead beyond hope. I am looking for a direct replacement that will handle a 20" bar in white oak.

This is not my most used saw - I have a Stihl 025 for most jobs, but when I needed that 361 I really needed it. Most years I only ran six or eight tanks of fuel on the 361. It makes it hard to justify $800 for a new one, or whatever they are now.

Any suggestions, even other brands, would be welcome.
It sounds like the 361 was used in bigger wood. If you are looking at a pro saw maybe the Stihl 500i. Not sure, but I think it weighs around the 361 but with more power. There is also a 400i version. Or a more budget minded purchase - Echo 590 (620 or 7310). A used 361 maybe. You already know this saw which usually makes things easier. Everyone who owns a Husqvarna 562 seems to like it.
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I run 20" on my 261. I use that saw most often--great combo of power to weight.
I have a very nice 262xp. Irreplaceable. Unfortunately. I also have a 590 Echo. I had a OE ms362, which is a very, very nice saw wrt power and antivibe, as well as being a decent handling saw - much better than the CS590, but not in the same league as the 262. I have run a 361 (irreplaceable saw also), and a 562xp.

Undoubtedly, I like the older saws better. I sold the MS362, not because I didn't like it, as it truly was the nicest to run between my three 60cc saws at the time. Similar power to the 262xp, tho not as "sporty". Best antivibe by lots among the three, and a much better feel than the Echo tho not as handy as the Husky. I sold it because I didn't trust the strato technology for longevity. I don't want an autoboom or moronic saw. Period. Just me. Don't need it don't want it. My ms362 was not a mtronic saw, btw. It ran better than the mtronics, contrary to some opinions. I've run mtronic 362's too. Kind-of shrieky things (lean) with thin power in the middle relative to the nonmtronic model, imo.

are the cases destroyed on your 361? If they are good cases you could rebuild it.

I haven't run an Echo cs620, I own a 590. It is a workmanlike saw with pro case construction (that's as far as the "pro" goes, btw), farm-saw porting , ergonomics and antivibe. It is a workmanlike saw. Good, good saw but not particularly exciting overall. The best value in a farm saw by far.

Short story, you are basically stuck between paying lots for a stihl or husky pro saw which is far more complex than a saw needs to be. Maybe you like that? IDK?

- Or buying an Echo, which is likely to run and last a long time with basic maintenance. The 590 is uninspiring; kind-of cheap antivibe that works pretty well with very nice, strong power, but no real thrust of top end rush that you get with a nicely ported "pro" saw. Perhaps the 620 is close. Maybe...probably not. It won't feel as nice in the hands as the stihl or husky, but it will cost less and probably last you forever as a firewood saw. The 590 is a really nice little bucking saw, for sure. I don't think I would consider the 620 for the small upgrade I believe it to be. Could be wrong there..

anyway, pretty wordy, lol, but I hope this is a little help. :eek:
Thank you for the replies. Some background -
I am nearly 70 years old; it will be a wonder if my health, strength, wife, and government allow me to continue cutting wood 10 more years. The 361 is, not surprisingly, heavier to work with than I like, but I am still comfortable with it. I have to deal with white oak, mostly, and occasionally need every bit of that 20" bar. That said, it seems hard to justify the expense of a new 362 over, say, an Echo 590 at $420 locally.

Used 361/362 are not thick on the ground around here. I'd jump on one if I could find one.

A Home Depot reasonably close has a used Makita 64 cc for sale in their rental department for $295. I do find myself wondering....
I was going to suggest a 6400. I haven't run one. Shoulda bought one. Oh well.

makita/dolmar has been out of the gas saw business for about a year. You shouldn't need anyparts, but maybe they will slowly dry up..

oh, and nearly impossible to justify the expense of a 362/400/562 over the 590 if you are not a full time sawhand.

don't overlook jonsered equivalents of the huskys. Or husky's in general. just not any "5" series made between about 2006 and 2016, lol.
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Just go buy the 400$ echo 590. Get the pain and anguish and gnashing of the teeth over with.

It is a pleasing saw to run. It grows on you. It has pretty much all the torque of the more expensive ones. It just lacks the thrilling top end rush, the beautiful handling, and a hair of the throttle response when you are throwing it around limbing. For bucking full-bar cuts there's not really a whole lot of difference for a firewood guy. They are a bargain.

keep your eyes peeled for a pristine older pro 50cc saw to back up your 025. Eg, 026, 260, 2152, 346, 353, 2153, etc.
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It sounds like the 361 was used in bigger wood. If you are looking at a pro saw maybe the Stihl 500i. Not sure, but I think it weighs around the 361 but with more power. There is also a 400i version. Or a more budget minded purchase - Echo 590 (620 or 7310). A used 361 maybe. You already know this saw which usually makes things easier. Everyone who owns a Husqvarna 562 seems to like it.
At one time the 562 was about the most vehemently hated saw on the job. Now, not so much.
What's wrong with the 361? I'd first look at fixing that. A new piston and cylinder (if needed) and assorted bearings and gaskets will cost a lot less than a new saw. They are pretty easy to work on. Holzforma (Farmertec) makes clone parts for the 361 now. They are not always as good as genuine Stihl but are often serviceable.

An MS362 is about $900 list now, with an MS400 being about $1000.

At todays prices a cord of medium density hardwood replaces about $1000 in propane. If your wood is "free" except for your labor and you have the time and ability, that makes it pretty easy to justify the occasional tool for processing the wood.
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The makita is worth considering IMO. I don't think parts will be an issue even if you needed something, as it was a very popular saw in there line up. Popular because they didn't have issues.
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go have a close look at that 6400. It's a far nicer saw than the Echo. Strangely, the Echo has an appeal of its own. Like I said, it grows on you. One thing I can say is that the Echo fits together perfectly. No farting around with the air filter cover, for example. It just fits. First time, every time. On the air filter, it's prone to small leaks, nothing a wee bit of grease and an oring doesn't take care of. Oh, and get rid of the ridiculous u-turn in the exhaust exit. Just remove that piece.
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I wish I had a 6400. They are a very smooth saw and very understressed, as the same chassis is used in the much more powerful 7900. This also makes it a a pretty heavy and large 60cc class saw. But very robust mechanically.

they have a weakness. It's one of the antivibe mounts. I forget which one. If you yank the saw hard out of a pinch, that mount will fail. So don't do that.

btw, the echo is a large and somewhat heavy 60cc saw in its own rite. And certainly not in the class of the Dolmar, as saws go.

I don't regret buying my Echo whatsoever. Largely because I bought it new for 400$ cad in about 2017. Before the Echo prices started to climb.
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The crank failed and broke the case.
Want to sell the corpse? If you decide not to fix.
I have the remains of a 361 that has a case and crank.
Or i could sell that to you if you want to rebuild it.
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in nova scotia
This might not be popular but I will say I am quite happy with my Chinese 660 Holtzforma. (Gallons of gas through it on an Alaskan mill with a 52” bar bone stock). I’m not saying you need a a 90cc say but for the price of less than 300$ the 60cc g366 might be an option.

If price is no option. I’d get a 550xp mk ii and have it ported. Power head is less than 12#. and a chain grinder to keep my chains razor sharp. I’m of the camp that the smallest saw with a sharp chain with chain that gets the job done is the best choice. ( not the fastest cutting)®-59cc-blue-thunder-g366-gasoline-chain-saw?_pos=12&_fid=7231791fe&_ss=c
I think the 660 is the best sorted out of the Farmertech/Holzforma saws. I bought an assembled G444 (MS440 clone). It leaked copious amounts of fuel and oil. All due to poor assembly, like O rings not fully seated or small parts made poorly. It took a bit of sorting and a few extra parts to get a usable saw. It vibrates significantly more than my real MS460. Chinese pistons are heavier than OEM.

I got it a couple years ago. Maybe their assembly has improved since then, they seem to be getting better at a good rate. Personally I am going to stop buying those until I'm sure they're doing better.
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The two saws I liked the best of what I have seen and handled are the Stihl MS 362 and the Echo CS-620. The Stihl is, of course, $300 more. On the other hand, I have two pretty decent bars, one used and one new chain, and the sharpening cutter for the Stihl; which is not nothing.

I had two different Stihl dealers - both of whom I have long done business with, who were pretty emphatic that I would not be very happy with the MS 271 - not because it is not a good saw (one said it was his best seller), but rather because of expectations from all the years I have spent with my now-defunct 361.
20" white oak isn't hard to cut. A ported 50-60cc or stock 70cc would easily handle that. I run a ported 350 and a stock 372. They both handle 20" hardwood just fine. Take your pick on make/model.
I have a MS400 with a 20" bar. I cut a lot of hedge mostly standing dead and it has no problem with it. I would not be scared to put a 25" on it with a up graded oiler.
@jotul8e2 did you find a solution to your saw trouble?
I am interested in your broke 361 if you want to get rid of it.
Thanks Thomas