Which bigger saw to buy....

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Exmasonite

Feeling the Heat
Oct 3, 2010
321
Novi, MI
Hey everybody. Looking for some advice on a new saw. I currently have a Stihl 260 Pro and Echo 400.

I have a 10 acre property and looking for a bigger saw. What started this is that a large maple came down, ~ 24" and while the 260 pro performed admirably with an 18" bar (as it always does), the cutting was very slow going. We also have a 1.5 acre area at edge of pasture to clear out in the coming years with some larger trees. Lastly, want to process about 3-4 cords a year for the small wood stove in the house. Basically want something that will pull a 25" bar from time to time. I am sure the 260 pro will be my first grab in most situations but want something a little bigger when needed.

So, i have it down to 3 options. Want to stick to Stihl for simplicity's sake. I had an 066 before (kicking myself for selling it 6 years ago). There is a good dealer 6 min from my house.

I am between a new 391 ($589), a new 362 ($719), and something used in the 440/441/460/461.

I have a line on a 2012 441 on craigslist, essentially like new. Going to look at it this weekend. Guy wants $700 for it. It's a pre M-tronic saw. I attached a pic of it. Just getting mixed reviews of the 441 then saw that they were discontinued for awhile.

Honestly, a 391 would probably fit the bill but I think 362 will hold value better and for $130, I would tend to get the pro saw. 391 is non M-tronic and while I don't tune saws that much, having the option to do so without a computer is a bit appealing.

Any thoughts or opinions? Right now am torn between the 362 and the used 441 with 391 lurking in 3rd place.
 

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jwfirebird

Feeling the Heat
Sep 18, 2017
310
western ny
362 would be my choice, it was 361 when I bought mine, I liked the power to weight this has. it will run a 26inch bar though I never tried anything but 18, its really fast with that bar. I walk around with the saw a lot and wanted something that will last. never bought anything for it but normal maintaince stuff
 

StihlKicking

Feeling the Heat
Jan 12, 2016
488
Hatchie Bottom, MS
The first generation 441s seemed to be problematic to say the least and earned a reputation. I currently own a late model 441cm, 661, and a non mtronic 261. I have a company 461 I use at work. I probably use the 261 with a 16” bar more than any of them. If I had to pick one saw though it would be the 441cm. It’s the fastest cutting saw out of the bunch and more comfortable to operate than the 461 or the 661. It will pull a 24” all day no problem and can handle a 28”. It will handle 98% of my cutting needs. In my opinion a 661 is a waste unless you have a legitimate need to pull a 3 ft bar. Which in my case is only once or twice a year.

Nothing wrong with the 391 but if you have the money a 70cc pro class saw will be the best compliment to the 261 you already own.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
 
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jwfirebird

Feeling the Heat
Sep 18, 2017
310
western ny
just to add, I use the saw for my heating wood and cutting trails for the four wheeler club, the poulan lasted maybe a couple years with the abuse, the 361 ive had for 5 or 6 yrs. I got a lot of rough trees to test it, its been buried a lot. and the 362 has even more power, I think same weight.

the used saws IMO are too expensive they always want close to new price, why would you pay for someone elses abuse, who knows how bad they were on it. unless you were getting a good deal but I have never seen one on a used stihl
 

Exmasonite

Feeling the Heat
Oct 3, 2010
321
Novi, MI
The first generation 441s seemed to be problematic to say the least and earned a reputation. I currently own a late model 441cm, 661, and a non mtronic 261. I have a company 461 I use at work. I probably use the 261 with a 16” bar more than any of them. If I had to pick one saw though it would be the 441cm. It’s the fastest cutting saw out of the bunch and more comfortable to operate than the 461 or the 661. It will pull a 24” all day no problem and can handle a 28”. It will handle 98% of my cutting needs. In my opinion a 661 is a waste unless you have a legitimate need to pull a 3 ft bar. Which in my case is only once or twice a year.

Nothing wrong with the 391 but if you have the money a 70cc pro class saw will be the best compliment to the 261 you already own.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro


What would be considered first gen for the 441? I have read meh reviews on the early mtronic and trouble starting but not as much on non-C 441
 

Exmasonite

Feeling the Heat
Oct 3, 2010
321
Novi, MI
Firebird-

I am just wondering if for $6-800, do I want to be complementing my 50cc pro saw with a 59cc saw or do I hold out for the 70cc?

I know it's not all about size but just don't want too much overlap.
 

Prof

Minister of Fire
Oct 18, 2011
582
Western PA
I love my 261, but my 362 will run a 24 inch bar when I need it to--though not ideal. I think what I would choose would depend on how often I need to cut the big stuff. I live on 15 acres with a good deal of beech that are prone to come down on a somewhat regular basis. But, I still spend a minimal part of my time cutting an18+ inch trunk, so the 362 fits my needs. Even a big tree can mostly be cut up with an 18 inch bar in my area. If I was going after the big stuff on a regular basis, I'd get a saw that could better handle the big bar. Just my thoughts.
 

salecker

Minister of Fire
Aug 22, 2010
1,526
Northern Canada
Are you mechanically inclined?
And do you expect to use the big saw a lot?
Because there is another option. You can buy offshore chainsaws in a box that you have to assemble.The Stihl MS660 clone is around $250.00.There are a bunch of other sizes as well.
For a big saw that you will only use once in a while for yourself it is an option to get a "new" saw for a reasonable price.If you plan on working it everyday by a new one.
 
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jwfirebird

Feeling the Heat
Sep 18, 2017
310
western ny
I went to the dealer and he had a few different ones you can play with. seems that way to me too 90 percent of the time you don't need the extra and for the little time you make a second cut its worth not having the weight causing you fatigue. really dangerous holding a big saw cutting when you are worn out and I'm trying to minimize that. when you cut it down you have to cut wedges and be careful Ive never wished it was bigger or had more power
 

FLINT

Minister of Fire
Dec 5, 2008
535
Western VA Mtns.
I can highly recommend the 362. I bought one new in 2010 and it has been nothing short of awesome. My previous saw was an 028 which should be similarily powered to your 260, and the step up in power with the 362 was significant. The 362 is more powerful, lighter, and better built than the 391, so I think very well worth the extra money. When I bought my saw, got the dealer to give me a good deal on bars and chains and bought mine with 18" and 25" bars. Most all of my cutting has been with the 18" bar and it absolutely rips with that bar and Stihl's "yellow" chain. I've used the 25" bar a few times to cut up some very large oak trees and it seemed to handle that bar just fine. If you did end up getting a 362, I would put a 16" bar on the 261 (should be happier with that length bar anyways), and maybe a 20" on the 362 and could get a 25" bar if you thought you would ever use it. You need two saws anyways, I don't like going out to the woods with only one saw. Good luck!
 

Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
15,717
Philadelphia
36x is not a big saw. They work hard to keep up with a 20” bar nose buried in oak. It’s a good firewood saw, for folks who don’t get into much big stuff, but I find I rarely use mine.

The 44x is often cited as a great single saw. Big enough to do big boy work, in a pinch, light enough to not be a hinderance. It’s one of the most popular pro saws, around here.

I’m a big fan of the 064, but of course that’s long-discontinued, now. If replacing that today, I’d just buy a used 660 Magnum or a new 661 C-M. I’d not go bigger than the 66x, because that handles anything I come across, myself.
 
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StihlKicking

Feeling the Heat
Jan 12, 2016
488
Hatchie Bottom, MS
Firebird-

I am just wondering if for $6-800, do I want to be complementing my 50cc pro saw with a 59cc saw or do I hold out for the 70cc?

I know it's not all about size but just don't want too much overlap.

The 361 I owned was a good saw but it wasn’t that much more powerful than my 261 and it wasn’t that much lighter than my 441. I usually shy away from 60cc class saws. They will do the work but in my humble opinion a 50 or 70 cc class saw will usually do the work better. So I sent the 361 down the road for a nearly new price that folks are willing to pay for STIHL saws.

When STIHL first went from the 440 to the 441 people were reporting hot start and spark plug spitting issues. STIHL took the 70cc saws off the us market for a year or so then reintroduced them sometime last year. I bought mine last summer and haven’t had any trouble yet and hopefully won’t. That saw is a beast. As far as how to determine when a saw was made IDK.


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DodgyNomad

Minister of Fire
Dec 19, 2009
686
West Michigan
Firebird-

I am just wondering if for $6-800, do I want to be complementing my 50cc pro saw with a 59cc saw or do I hold out for the 70cc?

I know it's not all about size but just don't want too much overlap.

Hold out for the bigger saw, as it sounds like you've got the work that can justify it. I'm a big fan of the 362 as a firewood saw, if you had only 1 saw. But you will appreciate the 4xx saws more, and it will pull a lot better with a big bar.

The 66x is a big saw, and heavy, and unless you've got a lot of big wood, you won't likely use it very often. I like that 441 for your needs. A lot of the pro tree guys use that saw, and is a great one for your line up.
 

Exmasonite

Feeling the Heat
Oct 3, 2010
321
Novi, MI
So, I am leaning towards a 4xx series saw.

Going to look at the 441 in the picture. He bought it in 2012, non C-M but it's supposedly almost new, less than 10 hours on it. Looks pristine in the pic. Comes with a 25" stihl bar and chain.

He was asking $750. He has come down to $700.

I am on fence... seems a lot for a 6 yr old used saw but a new 441 CM (which can be hard/impossible to find being phased out and the 462 in the wings) prices out at $1K.

Thoughts on price? I may try to haggle him down. $600 seems like a fairer price
 
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DodgyNomad

Minister of Fire
Dec 19, 2009
686
West Michigan
So, I am leaning towards a 4xx series saw.

Going to look at the 441 in the picture. He bought it in 2012, non C-M but it's supposedly almost new, less than 10 hours on it. Looks pristine in the pic. Comes with a 25" stihl bar and chain.

He was asking $750. He has come down to $700.

I am on fence... seems a lot for a 6 yr old used saw but a new 441 CM (which can be hard/impossible to find being phased out and the 462 in the wings) prices out at $1K.

Thoughts on price? I may try to haggle him down. $600 seems like a fairer price


Cheaper's always better (of course,) and he's asking good money for it, but if it's pristine and low hours, he's not out of line. I'd rather pay an extra 100 bucks for a really clean saw than "save" 200 on one that's all clapped out.

Take good care of it, and you'll always be able to get your money back if you decide to sell someday. And, you get the pleasure of running a big pro Stihl in the meantime.
 

Exmasonite

Feeling the Heat
Oct 3, 2010
321
Novi, MI
Thanks for insight nomad... Glad to hear I am at least not getting totally fleeced. Will let you guys know how it goes.
 

Tar12

Minister of Fire
Dec 9, 2016
1,734
Indiana
I would pass on that 6 year old 441....they had nothing but trouble with them...my bud works as a Stihl mechanic at the one dealership and my other friend owns a Stihl dealership...they both said run away from them...it was my understanding that the 441 was just re-released...I haven't heard anything yet on the just released 441s....
 
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Jerhurt

Member
Jul 2, 2014
67
Vermont
Order up one classic firewood saw combo please a good 50 and 70 cc. I think you’ll be much happier with the 70 cc saw


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Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
15,717
Philadelphia
The consensus here is that a 10cc spread between two saws is pointless. Some here argue that 50 & 70 cc’s is best, and if you don’t do much big wood, that could work great. Others (maybe just me?) say 65 and 85 cc are the magic pair.

I’ve run the MS 441 C-M Magnum, and it’s a nice saw, but wouldn’t want something that small as my biggest saw. I like my combo: 36cc top handle for limbing and marking, 63cc for bucking stuff under 20”, and 85cc for everything else. This is perfect for me, and I put more hours on that 85cc saw than the other two combined.

The sweet thing about the 44x’s is that you can go with one saw, where I have to carry two. Of course, when you have an issue with one, having a second is always a life saver.

I don’t understand the folks who claim that that the 660 is too heavy. I’m 170 lb and sit behind a desk 50-60 hours per week, and I have no issues with them. It’s not a climbing saw, but I do fine on the ground with my “heavy” old 064! I find slower saws (eg 361) tire me more.
 
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Exmasonite

Feeling the Heat
Oct 3, 2010
321
Novi, MI
Tar-
They dc'd the 441 c-m. I am hoping the pre auto tune saws while slightly dated have less issues. En route to see saw now
 

Exmasonite

Feeling the Heat
Oct 3, 2010
321
Novi, MI
Well, I picked up the 441. I have seen dirtier saws new in the dealership.

Met guy right as he got home from work and asked for a cold start... Second pull with choke on, burped. Took off choke and it screamed on first pull.

Pulled the exhaust off and piston/seals looks pristine. I don't have a way to check compression but that was enough for me.

Will get some pics up soon and will keep everybody posted. Thanks again for all the advice.
 

DodgyNomad

Minister of Fire
Dec 19, 2009
686
West Michigan
Congrats! That sounds like a creampuff.
 

DodgyNomad

Minister of Fire
Dec 19, 2009
686
West Michigan
The consensus here is that a 10cc spread between two saws is pointless. Some here argue that 50 & 70 cc’s is best, and if you don’t do much big wood, that could work great. Others (maybe just me?) say 65 and 85 cc are the magic pair.

I’ve run the MS 441 C-M Magnum, and it’s a nice saw, but wouldn’t want something that small as my biggest saw. I like my combo: 36cc top handle for limbing and marking, 63cc for bucking stuff under 20”, and 85cc for everything else. This is perfect for me, and I put more hours on that 85cc saw than the other two combined.

The sweet thing about the 044’s is that you can go with one saw, where I have to carry two. Of course, when you have an issue with one, having a second is always a life saver.

I don’t understand the folks who claim that that the 660 is too heavy. I’m 170 lb and sit behind a desk 50-60 hours per week, and I have no issues with them. It’s not a climbing saw, but I do fine on the ground with my “heavy” old 064! I find slower saws (eg 361) tire me more.

My 660 gets heavier every year. I've got a 36" bar on it currently, and it seems heavy to me compared to the featherweight limbing saws, that's for sure.

I also currently have a torn labrum in my shoulder that I'm putting off having surgery on because of the long recovery time, so my whining has increased dramatically regarding weight in the past year since tearing it up.
 
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Exmasonite

Feeling the Heat
Oct 3, 2010
321
Novi, MI
Ashful sir... I only have 3 thoughts for you.

1) I am not man enough to use an 85cc saw "most of the time"

2) In lower Michigan, I don't have enough big wood (and burn enough) to justify an 85cc saw

3) I have too much time on my hands and am happy enough cutting slowly with my 50-70cc saw


I can safely say I am 100% comfortable with any of the above 3 options... I used a 066 for 3 years living in CT and I only used it for felling big wood (30+" pine, occasionally 28"+ maple) or bucking the base of those logs. I can also safely say you certainly cut more than I do but I really don't see a reality where the 85cc is my go to saw.
 

Allagash350

Burning Hunk
Apr 9, 2016
200
Bowdoinham, Me
Congrats on the new saw! I bought my 441 used 5 or 6 years ago...funny, it also only had ten hours on it (bought from an arborist). I paid 600 bucks and it came with a 20 and 36 inch bar. 36 is too big for it in hard wood, but it looks cool!
The only issue I’ve had with that saw after all this time and a ton of use was the spark plug spitting out. Had the dealer repair it, there is a thread on here somewhere about it.

I love this saw, it is not heavy in my opinion, but it is fast. I am incredibly productive with this saw, just a good overall balance between raw power and all day usability.
I’ve dropped huge trees with this saw, but also grab it for little stuff. Post some pics, she sounds mint!
 
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