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Thread: chainsaw recommendation to complement my venerable Stihl O41AV

  1. #1

    chainsaw recommendation to complement my venerable Stihl O41AV

    Hi all,

    I have a Stihl 041AV that I bought when I was 17. It has been a tank. Rebuilt once and I finally had to put a new bar on it because I wore the other bar out completely. (but kept it as the Stihl dealer keeps trying to get me to contact Stihl and see if they would take in it and give me a modern saw because it is so old) - but it is a good friend to me.

    That being said, I have just purchased an overgrown piece of property that has lots of small trees, etc. that have been allowed to grow up and the 41 is just to big to carry all over the property triming off stuff that barely warranty a touch of throttle.

    So I have been looking for a smaller saw from Stihl or possibly Husqvarna and I am really struggling. I am not sure I want a top-handle saw - but I definitely want one that is 10lbs or less. the MS-200 is too much $ for the work I will put it to. I have the 41 for anything more than 8-10 inches.

    I have looked at the 151 (dealers only seem to stock the T model, if they can get one is stock)

    I looked also at the 194 (again, I can only find it in the T model) and was all set to buy one until I noticed the PLASTIC bucking teeth.... Really? And no way to replace them short of replacing the entire shroud and there is no part number for just the shroud according to the dealer. And I doubt they would have much "bite" anyway.

    So now I am back on the hunt.

    I don't want anything of less durability that the 41 has given me - and I don't need a new saw that can handle more than a 14" bar as I have a big saw already.

    So far I am not finding a good match, so I thought I would pose the question here. to me, it seems like there is a gap in the Stihl and Husqvarna line ups for a heavy-duty 12-14" bar saw that is not a "t" model.

    I welcome all suggestions.

    Regards,

  2. #2
    I recently, on the recommendation of a friend, bought an Echo CS 310 16" saw. My use has been light, but my friend has been clearing about and acre and a half of pine/oak for fire clearance. I was shocked when I saw how much he and his wife have done. With my "Thurs Old Man discount" it was $180. It does not meet your criteria for a super durable piece, but for the cost...! It starts, runs & cuts as well as my old Stihl, which the repair shop said was not worth fixing.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Lake Gaston, Henrico, NC
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    Yeah, the pro saws that size are for in tree work. My "big" saws are a little newer than yours- 036, and 066. My small saw is a 180. It does come with the easy start, and built in chain tensioner. I don't care for the easy start, but it works fine. I actually like the built in chain adjuster, because the little .043 chain stretches sometimes before you've run a tank of fuel out, so I can tighten it without turning the saw off.

    The 170 is cheaper, but the 180 has a bit more power, which can keep the chain going better. I've been tempted by the little pro saw-forget the model number, but the 180 is a reliable little saw. I don't use it for dropping much of a tree. I'll get one of the larger saws for that, but the 180 makes a good limber, or to carry on the tractor when clipping trails.

    If you want a Really small saw, look at some of the cordless ones. I have the little single battery Makita, which is a lot easier to start up in a tree, or bucket lift, and does a fine job dropping limbs. I cut a 6" Red Oak limb with it, but it took almost a whole battery charge.

    If you only have worn out one bar on your 041, you probably don't really need a pro small saw anyway.
    Last edited by Tom M King; 06-29-2020 at 12:17 PM.

  4. #4
    not up on saws but a few things when I hire an arborist friend he has a number of little Stihl saws top handle and throttle special model top quality, hangs off his belt, he climbs like nothing I have seen, more so as he is 60. We took seven trees down one day and a few were hard one uprooted and leaning over a cottage, one over a hydro line, that line already been broken off in the storm and re hooked up.

    I think there are three levels of stihl. Maybe there is offshore stuff assembled on an old Military base in Germany, heard some story like that. Then what I was given as a gift MS250 ive used six or more years and while not full time I use stuff hard. Its never let me down and ive toasted the chain on it from that much use, the 18" and still have the 16" it came with. As a mid level saw its worked for me and has never let me down. STuff in the past my father gave me it could bring on a mental illness. Someone mentioned Echo my weed whacker has never been serviced every and is used very hard and on a number of places, it still works fine which speak highly of at least that model.

    Always thought Shania could do a promo. "Your Stihl the one"

    Id check into the levels maybe stuff has changed but that is my recollection three levels and mine is mid level. I priced out the little ones the arborist has and they were double or more.
    Last edited by Warren Lake; 06-29-2020 at 1:26 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    E TN, near Knoxville
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    9,605
    I have four Stihl saws. My favorites are two MS250 saws, one a C model. The weight is close to your spec, certainly light enough for general use, limbing, firewood, etc. I have one big saw with a 24" bar and it's simply too heavy for general use. (I did use it to cut up a 48" trunk on a downed oak once!)

    The C model is nice for two reasons - it has a spring-loaded ratchet pull rope so you can pull several short strokes rather than one he-man stroke. Second, the chain tension adjustment doesn't need any tools. Both saws have run "forever" with no service other than cleaning the air filter. Always start. I keep 16" bars on them which is fine for even cutting up a 30" log.

    BTW, the price on Stihl carbide chainsaw chains has come down. I recently bought one from Baliey's OnLine where I buy all my chainsaw and tree-related stuff.
    https://www.baileysonline.com/
    I usually buy bar and chain combos with a few extra chains.

    JKJ

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Lake Gaston, Henrico, NC
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    4,861
    Funny, I posted my earlier post while I was home for lunch. I was moving some trees that I had dropped a while back.

    I took the 180 to buck up this 15" Red Oak, and took this picture. It, of course, wasn't as fast as either of the larger saws, but it went right on down through it, and never sputtered, or hung the chain up.

    I'm planning to get a MS261C-M, woods ported by Mastermind, late next Fall, for secondary thinning of a 100 acres of Pines I'm doing some experimenting with. The 261 only weighs a little over ten pounds, and stock, has a bit more than 4 hp. It would be my next step up from the 180, which I think weighs about 8 pounds.

    This 180 is on it's third chain, and I swear it seems like it's gotten stronger.

    It's 90 degrees now, and that's about all the running a chainsaw I want to do today.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Location
    Cambridge Vermont
    Posts
    750
    Do you have a specific brand of cordless tools? If so I would get a cordless saw that uses the batteries you already have. Otherwise I would look into cordless saw reviews in general. There's several really good options out there. I'm basing this off of your comment barely touching the throttle. That just screams "battery powered" to me. They are very capable of cutting more than a couple of limbs.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    New York, NY
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    Not sure if itís in your price range but the 40.2 cc Shindaiwa 402S is a great little saw. Lightweight, smooth running and super easy to start. Should be able to find one for less than $350.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Lake Gaston, Henrico, NC
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    I remembered a picture of the 180, next to the 21 year old 036, and older 066. I don't know of another 8 pound saw I'd replace it with.


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2020
    Location
    Mid-Hudson Valley
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    14
    In my experience running a longer bar for cutting small stuff is a lot easier on your back... less bending. How long of a bar depends on your height and arm length.

    Having adequate power is important too as making the cuts quickly is easier on your back and arms also...

    I currently run an MS261 with an 18" bar and an MS461 with a 25" bar (sometimes a 36"). The MS261 replaced an MS271... the lighter weight and more power of the 261 is definitely noticeable. The power head weight is about 10 lbs as I recall.

    A few months ago I helped a friend clean up some trees. He has an MS170 and it was painful to watch him cut slowly and hunched over. He used my 271 and instantly understood how hard HE was working with the 170.

    Based on your description I'd look at the 261. It's a pro saw with a good track record.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    E TN, near Knoxville
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    9,605
    Quote Originally Posted by John Grossbohlin View Post
    In my experience running a longer bar for cutting small stuff is a lot easier on your back... less bending. ...
    Since I am elderly and feeble I picked up a new tool which eliminates the back problems from bending and hunching over when chain sawing. Keeps the chain away from the ground too.

    trackhoe_20190916_190256.jpg

    It will easily hold a 2-3000 lb log or tree or one end of a much heavier tree at a comfortable height off the ground.

    It will also take down small trees (about 10" dia or so) without using the saw - dig a little around roots and push from maybe 8-10' up. I've also been using it to load logs onto the trailer then place them gently on the sawmill. And it should come in handy if I need to bury a horse. Get one for your own back yard!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
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    52,881
    I have an .029 Farm Boss and while it's not super light, it's not heavy, either. I happen to have an 18" bar on it, although it came with a 16" bar. I've had it since about 2001 and it's always started great, even after a long hiatus.
    --

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

  13. #13
    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.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
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    SE PA - Central Bucks County
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    52,881
    Scott, viewing photos can be obtained by clicking on the "Donate" button up above and becoming a Contributor for $6 a year. (or more if you prefer) You also get access to private messages, the Classifieds, and a few other things as a Contributor.

    ----
    If there's a possibility that you can physically access a Stihl dealer in your area, take your spouse with you so she can pick up one of the lighter saws like the Farm Boss or even smaller, and see if she's comfortable with that. There's nothing like having them "in-hand" to get a feel for the weight and that includes for you, too.
    --

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

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2005
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    Highland MI
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    I have an 018 and an MS290, my son has an MS250. Frankly the 250 is a nice compromise the 290 Farm Boss being quite a bit heavier, although I have sawn a ton of wood with the 018 and it is my go-to. I have Poulin Pro that gets used if I need to chop roots. Top handled saws are recommended only for pros up in the trees as they are inherently more dangerous as your hands are much closer together and less able to deal with kickback. But most of them are built to tougher pro standards.
    Last edited by Ole Anderson; 07-01-2020 at 8:38 AM.
    NOW you tell me...

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