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Thread: chainsaw recommendation to complement my venerable Stihl O41AV

  1. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Lake Gaston, Henrico, NC
    Posts
    4,954
    I had an 018, that ran great after 21 years. The reason I have the 180 is that a friend borrowed the 018. His method of locking his garage was parking a vehicle against the out-swinging doors. That worked fine until he decided to drive that vehicle to work one day. He bought the 180 to replace my 018 that was stolen.

  2. #17
    Join Date
    Jun 2020
    Location
    Mid-Hudson Valley
    Posts
    18
    There are a couple saw features that should be considered.

    One is gunning sights. These are lines embossed and/or painted on the power head that you use to line up your cut in directional falling. They also help you get the back cut to line up with the face cut when you set the hinge. Some saws have a second gunning sight pointing down the length of the bar that lets you judge where the bar tip is when it's buried in a tree/log. Many of the low end and homeowner saws lack gunning sights. Pass on those.

    Another is bumper spikes (dogs). Steel are preferred over the plastic ones molded into the power head case. The steel will bite into the bark and help keep the saw in position. They also let you pivot off the spikes if you are bucking larger logs. The plastic bumper spikes tend to slide on the bark... they need a hard edge on the bark to "stick." If you are dealing with rough bark larger dogs, even two dogs, may be needed for effective use.

    Regarding the bumper spikes, they are a poor substitute for a properly sharpened chain... Take a Game of Logging class (GOL1) for safety, sharpening and felling training. It's well worth the day! Alternatively, there are a couple old school loggers on YouTube that have good videos on hand sharpening:
    Ironhorse has a great video on how a chip is formed. This is the theory you need to really understand chainsaw sharpening https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aezO8-punDU.
    Buckin' Billy Ray Smith has a number of sharpening videos... different techiques https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...XwrHQ9A-I2F1RM You may recognize Buckin' from the last season of Ax Men.

    Regarding the GOL training. I've participated both as a student and host. Without fail all students benefit. New guys who have less than an hour of cutting, professional loggers and municipal workers, as well as amateurs who've run a saw for 40-50 years will walk away as safer, more effective chainsaw users. Don't be fooled into thinking the old guys who are on their 2nd, 3rd or 4th saws do best. I brought a kid to the last class I hosted whom I had given about a hour of hands on training before the class--his total saw experience. The trainer said that the kid had the best stump and exhibited the best safety practices. Bad habits by untrained guys are tough to correct!

  3. #18
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Location
    Cambridge Vermont
    Posts
    810
    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Blakely View Post
    Hi all,

    Thanks for all of the answers. Lots of great info and perspectives in these responses. Unfortunately I am no closer to making up my mind, but I will look at the 180 again. I am not going to go the batter route. This leaves you open to the "oh, they don't make that battery any longer." kind of design nonsense.

    I will also look at the Echo.

    I am not sure About the Farm Boss. It is very much like the 041AV except that it is lighter and my wife will also occasionally use this saw and the o41AV is too much saw for her.

    Unfortunately, I cannot open any of the attached pictures posted - but I thank those for posting them.
    Batteries can be a mixed blessing. If a brand sticks with them then you are all set. If they come up with a new style you are going to b hosed sooner or later. The good news is most popular brands of cordless hand tools have added a chainsaw. I'm currently using Milwaukee tools so I'm locked into their batteries. With so many of them out there even if Milwaukee changed design I'm sure the current design will still be sold by someone for quite some time. My neighbor just bought the Milwaukee chainsaw and loves it (I haven't used it yet). For me the idea of not having another engine to maintain is very much a plus. Like he said, fill it with bar oil, pop in a battery, and start cutting. I know Stihl makes at least one but without any other cordless Stihl tools it's not as tempting.

  4. #19
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona
    Posts
    160
    I've been running a MS261C-M for about 6 years now and it has been great. The dealer talked me into the M version and there are no fuel adjustments. All are done automatically. It's about 10 pounds and plenty of power. Good range of chain types fit this saw as well. If I had to do it again I would get the same model.

  5. #20
    Join Date
    Jan 2020
    Location
    Elizabethtown, PA
    Posts
    55
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Becker View Post
    I've had it since about 2001 and it's always started great, even after a long hiatus.
    A lot can be said for proper care to ensure easy starting. Draining the fuel after use in it will be stored for a while works wonders.

  6. #21
    Join Date
    Jun 2020
    Location
    Mid-Hudson Valley
    Posts
    18
    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Bull View Post
    I've been running a MS261C-M for about 6 years now and it has been great. The dealer talked me into the M version and there are no fuel adjustments. All are done automatically. It's about 10 pounds and plenty of power. Good range of chain types fit this saw as well. If I had to do it again I would get the same model.
    I have an MS261 without Mtronic. I heard too many negative things from tree service guys and shops about the computerized Stihl and Husky saws... I'm Okay with tweaking the carburetors, using non-ethanol gas and synthetic mix oil, keeping the air filters clean and changing a spark plug occasionally. Keeping after the maintenance has led to all 7 of my Stihl machines being trouble free.

  7. #22
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
    Posts
    53,294
    Quote Originally Posted by Ryan Yeaglin View Post
    A lot can be said for proper care to ensure easy starting. Draining the fuel after use in it will be stored for a while works wonders.
    That's true, but so I can be honest and upfront...I've never drained mine since I've owned it. It starts with a few pulls under choke and then choke released if it sputtered even if it's sat for months which is typical for my usage. It's just plain a good saw!
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  8. #23
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Lake Gaston, Henrico, NC
    Posts
    4,954
    I have way too much small equipment to worry about draining it every use, and I certainly don't want to run one dry. I do use only non-ethanol gas though, so every piece is ready to go when it's called on. That, and the Stihl synthetic mix, has never failed me. I do use Klotz, when the Stihl dealer is out of gallon jugs of mix, but go back to the Stihl when I have it.

  9. #24
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    E TN, near Knoxville
    Posts
    9,723
    Quote Originally Posted by Tom M King View Post
    I have way too much small equipment to worry about draining it every use, and I certainly don't want to run one dry. I do use only non-ethanol gas though, so every piece is ready to go when it's called on. That, and the Stihl synthetic mix, has never failed me. I do use Klotz, when the Stihl dealer is out of gallon jugs of mix, but go back to the Stihl when I have it.
    I don't drain either and the saws (Stihl) always start up nicely even after sitting idle for months - since I have several saws some only get started rarely. I use only the Stihl oil (which contains stabilizer) in pure hi-test gas. Perhaps draining is critical for some types of saws and fuel mixtures or in cold climates, I don't know.

    BTW, I knew a guy who always had trouble starting his Stihl. Turns out he didn't read or follow the starting procedure in the manual. Stihl says to start it the way Jim mentioned - apply full choke, pull a time or two times until the engine sputters, then flip off the choke and pull two or three more times until it starts and runs. The MS250-C also has a fuel primer bulb which I use. My largest saw has a primer bulb and a compression release.

  10. #25
    Hi Scott,
    I just had to chime in because I have my Dad's 031av. He died in 1979 so its got to be 50 years old and still starts and runs well. I did have to work on the recoil starter and since the parts are no longer made I had to buy from ebay where I found some new old stock.
    I also i also have a ms150c and ms261 and they are all great saws.

  11. #26
    I have the MS290. It's pretty heavy if using it all day. Great saw, though. The 026/Ms260 is lighter and almost as strong. More of a pro saw I think. +1 on the long bar for reach. 20" works well for me. I'd start with the bar I want and find a light saw that will run it. You cant really go wrong here. Anything this saw wont handle you can get your big saw. I'd get something light.

  12. #27
    I know the MS200T is a spendy little saw, but it is a powerhouse that will fit in your pocket. I paid about $700 for it over 10 years ago and it still screams today and it easy to pack around. I love it on my four wheeler or on foot. I do some minor arborist work and light enough I barely feel it hanging from my belt. But itís powerful enough Iíve felled almost 24Ē trunks with it. As with any tool, you get what you pay for.

  13. #28
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    East Texas
    Posts
    210
    I've had a MS250 with an 18" bar for over 20 years - great chain saw. If I were buying another, I'd probably give serious consideration to the ECHO C400. (both are larger than what the OP is looking for)

    A comment regarding longevity with new chainsaws: go to the trouble to use high octane ethanol free gas. Pre-mixed with oil has gotten cheap enough that even pros I've worked with buy it in large quantities. A compromise if you are a not using the saw as much as the original poster and you don't use the saw up for extended periods - run it empty and put a little of the canned pre-mix in, make sure it is off and give it a couple of pulls to flush the fuel system. older saws don't have this problem - it comes from carburetors having to be redesigned so chainsaws can meet emissions standards (thank you EPA) .

    This is what I learned going through factory training for both ECHO and Stihl (I repaired both) for several years.

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