Saw recommendations

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Bushels20

Feeling the Heat
May 20, 2018
418
OH
Right now I am running an MS 210c (16 inch bar) which was free to me and lightly used when I received it. I have made due the last few years, but it’s time for an upgrade.

I’ve looked at a 251 (not going to be enough saw I don’t think...?), and today looked at a Farm Boss 271, 291 and a 391. Am I on the right track?

I think I’m set on Stihl but also know folks on here run “Huskys” which I have always assumed to be Husqvarna. I am open to the idea but it would take some convincing.

To give an idea of my needs:

1. My wood is delivered my the dump trailer in 15 foot lengths to the house.

2. I buck to 16 inches.

3. Logs can be anywhere from 8-12 inches up to 24 or so. The rare 24s, I am ok with a double cut. I don’t want to spend an extra $400 on a saw to a of the occasional double cut.

4. I’ve never run a “powerful” saw before so anything is going to be an upgrade but I would really like to increase my efficiency when cutting. I feel like the 210 really lags due to a lack of power.

5. From a budget standpoint, I’m willing to spend the money on a good saw. But also, don’t want to overspend unnecessarily.
 
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DodgyNomad

Minister of Fire
Dec 19, 2009
702
West Michigan
A husky, Stihl, or echo closer to 60cc is going to be a good option.
 
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SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
7,085
Downeast Maine
I would be looking really hard at the Husqvarna 550xp or stihl 261 pro saw. A 55cc pro saw won't break the bank or your back. Whatever you do don't get the Husqvarna 460, the 60cc Echo and Stihl equivalents are much lighter. Really it comes down to which dealer you like best and which saw is the lightest that will get the job done. You will be hard pressed to find anything better than 45-55cc pro saw for a power to weight ratio, brand doesn't really matter much.
 
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Bushels20

Feeling the Heat
May 20, 2018
418
OH
I would be looking really hard at the Husqvarna 550xp or stihl 261 pro saw. A 55cc pro saw won't break the bank or your back. Whatever you do don't get the Husqvarna 460, the 60cc Echo and Stihl equivalents are much lighter. Really it comes down to which dealer you like best and which saw is the lightest that will get the job done. You will be hard pressed to find anything better than 45-55cc pro saw for a power to weight ratio, brand doesn't really matter much.


What makes something a “pro saw”?
 

SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
7,085
Downeast Maine
What makes something a “pro saw”?

Lighter construction generally. Husqvarna puts an XP designation on their pro saws. I think anything 261 and above from a stihl dealer is considered a pro saw by stihl. I don't know anything about echo equipment.

Really it comes down to the Stihl 261 c-m vs the Husqvarna 550xp if I were buying new. My wood processing load is about the same as yours.
 

Bushels20

Feeling the Heat
May 20, 2018
418
OH
Lighter construction generally. Husqvarna puts an XP designation on their pro saws. I think anything 261 and above from a stihl dealer is considered a pro saw by stihl. I don't know anything about echo equipment.

Really it comes down to the Stihl 261 c-m vs the Husqvarna 550xp if I were buying new. My wood processing load is about the same as yours.

I know geography plays a role to a degree in pricing but do you have a sense of pricing on these two units?
 

lsucet

Minister of Fire
May 14, 2015
1,697
San Ysidro, New Mexico
Best bet is going into the websites and it will take you to them. You will see pricing and specs. Now a days the 261cm is unbearable. 50 cc and 4hp in a pro package and 10.8 pound only. Here it runs in the $700s. I am a husky guy and I still prefer the husky and I have both brands. Stihl is getting the edge for me with its light weight lately.
 

Bushels20

Feeling the Heat
May 20, 2018
418
OH
Best bet is going into the websites and it will take you to them. You will see pricing and specs. Now a days the 261cm is unbearable. 50 cc and 4hp in a pro package and 10.8 pound only. Here it runs in the $700s. I am a husky guy and I still prefer the husky and I have both brands. Stihl is getting the edge for me with its light weight lately.

When you say the 261 is “unbearable” what do you mean? Cost?

And why do you prefer Husky? Not being condescending. I really want to know. I am just starting my search and want to be thorough.
 

lsucet

Minister of Fire
May 14, 2015
1,697
San Ysidro, New Mexico
Cost is about your budget and if you feel comfortable with the price. I was talking about the performance and power to weight ratio. It is important in those days that you will be bucking all day long. Stihl is going that route lately with lighter saws compare to husky.
I like the way husky cuts, nice and smooth and no vibration. Stihl is getting way better on that but I feel the husky more smooth in the cut and pleasant. Maybe just me. You can't go wrong with either one. It is your choice. One way or the other you will be pleased.
 
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xman23

Minister of Fire
Oct 7, 2008
2,460
Lackawaxen PA
I believe there are some quality differences in the Stihl saws. I don't see it explained on there site. Maybe someone here can shed some light. I have a 260 pro with a 18 inch bar. Its was the perfect size saw for the 2 -3 cords a year I burn. It's almost 20 years old and runs like it's new. I say buy the best saw you can afford.
 

duramaxman05

Minister of Fire
Aug 17, 2014
677
Perryville, Mo
Dont forget dolmar/makita. They are hard to best for the money. Pro built saws that are quite a bit cheaper than stihl and husqvarna. And I have stihl, husqvarna, jonsered and dolmar
 

duramaxman05

Minister of Fire
Aug 17, 2014
677
Perryville, Mo
Newer Stihl pro saws are 201t, 241, 261, 362, 441, 461, 462, 661, 880. I have a husqvarna 550xp with 18" bar. Dolmar ps421(complete animal of a saw for its size), jonsered 2172(same a husky 372xp), stihl 031av, and a 1958 homelite zip saw
 
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SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
7,085
Downeast Maine
I think you could take a 550xp home with a bar and two chains under $700. The MSRP on the saw is $500. Either way, get a saw with auto tune, which puts you again at the 550xp and 261cm
 
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duramaxman05

Minister of Fire
Aug 17, 2014
677
Perryville, Mo
Makita 50cc is ea5000 and 56cc is ea5600 if want simple carburetor and a little cheaper. If you could find a new dolmar 5105, awesome 50cc saw. The dolmar 510 is more like a farm and ranch saw. I'm not pushing you towards them, just explore options. Thata what I did. I was always die hard stihl. Now i have one in every flavor
 

thewoodlands

Minister of Fire
Aug 25, 2009
14,808
Foothills of The Adirondacks
Right now I am running an MS 210c (16 inch bar) which was free to me and lightly used when I received it. I have made due the last few years, but it’s time for an upgrade.

I’ve looked at a 251 (not going to be enough saw I don’t think...?), and today looked at a Farm Boss 271, 291 and a 391. Am I on the right track?

I think I’m set on Stihl but also know folks on here run “Huskys” which I have always assumed to be Husqvarna. I am open to the idea but it would take some convincing.

To give an idea of my needs:

1. My wood is delivered my the dump trailer in 15 foot lengths to the house.

2. I buck to 16 inches.

3. Logs can be anywhere from 8-12 inches up to 24 or so. The rare 24s, I am ok with a double cut. I don’t want to spend an extra $400 on a saw to a of the occasional double cut.

4. I’ve never run a “powerful” saw before so anything is going to be an upgrade but I would really like to increase my efficiency when cutting. I feel like the 210 really lags due to a lack of power.

5. From a budget standpoint, I’m willing to spend the money on a good saw. But also, don’t want to overspend unnecessarily.
I bought an older 028 Wood Boss (Made in West Germany) for $60.00 bucks and love it but we have some big trees on the property so it's always nice to grab the 660 with a 25 inch bar if needed.

Today I ran the 390 with either the 18 or 20 inch bar, it was perfect for the job I was doing. 90 percent of the time, I can take the 310 and the 390 with me to do the job.

Good luck with your saw purchase.
 

TreePointer

Minister of Fire
Sep 22, 2010
3,122
PA
A pro 50cc saw wearing 16-18" bar and .325 pitch is a good "do everything" saw for firewooders. It can have a very good power-to-weight ratio. If you later realize you need more length/power, add a 70+cc saw to make a great firewood processing combination. Even with a 70cc saw in your stable, you'll likely use the 50cc saw much more often (I do).

A good 60cc saw wearing 20" bar and 3/8 pitch (not 3/8LP) is a compromise between owning both a 50cc + 70cc . It's heavier and bulkier than a 50cc saw, but it will be faster than the smaller saw with a buried bar and is better at noodling and making stumps.
 
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Sawset

Minister of Fire
Feb 14, 2015
1,278
Palmyra, WI
stihl 261 pro saw
I'm very happy with mine. Lite weight. Enough power for hard woods. 18" bar covers 99% of log sizes - maybe cutting once, then the back side if over 18".
A pro 50cc saw wearing 16-18" bar and .325 pitch is a good "do everything" saw for firewooders
you'll likely use the 50cc saw much more often (I do).

I feel like the 210 really lags due to a lack of power
The ms260 will definatly not lag. Zippy and raring to go would be a better description.
 
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Do you have a good dealer near by which will explain/ repair what you buy , that is the key .. he can recommend a saw , and you can hold it to see how it feels.. :)
 
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MTASH

Burning Hunk
Dec 24, 2018
188
Montana
I run a MS271 with a 20" bar that I received as a gift. I've never been completely happy with the performance and would rather have a MS291, to gain a bit more power without extra weight. That is what I would've purchased had it been my decision at the time....

Or step up to one of the pro saws as mentioned previously.
 

Zack R

Feeling the Heat
Sep 27, 2017
423
Sisters, OR
flic.kr
My vote is a Husqvarna or Stihl in the 55-70cc range for your needs. The bigger question is how long do you plan to be using the saw? If you see yourself doing this annually for the next 5, 10+ years then it's worth it to get a pro saw that will be more durable and easier to maintain.

I had a similar upgrade path, from a MS211 homeowner saw (still have it for limbing) to a Husqvarna 365 Special (65cc pro saw). Night and day difference in not only power but also productivity and ease of maintenance. I plan to keep the MS211 since its not really worth anything to sell and it still runs great, however ideally I'd rather have a pro grade 40-50cc saw for limbing (something like a 543xp).
 

Zack R

Feeling the Heat
Sep 27, 2017
423
Sisters, OR
flic.kr
What makes something a “pro saw”?

Beyond lighter weight a pro saw is built to be used and maintained on a daily basis, so in general its more durable throughout. They are more flexible (adjustable oilers, ability to run different bar lengths, felling spikes, etc..) and in addition are easier to maintain (replaceable bearings, engines are rebuildable, etc..).

Many homeowner saws are built for limited use, cutting up a tree after a storm and then put away for a year, etc. I wouldn't push someone away from a homeowner saw if it truly met their once in a while needs, however if you are cutting 4+ cords of firewood year after year that's more that many homeowner saws were meant to handle.
 

salecker

Minister of Fire
Aug 22, 2010
1,872
Northern Canada
What makes something a “pro saw”?
T he easiest way to tell is if it is a clam shell crankcase it is a homeowner saw.
If it is a split crankcase where you can remove the cylinder without splitting the crankcase it is a pro saw.
So turn the saw upside down if you can see 4 bolt heads that go towards the top of the saw its a clam shell
 
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