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  1. #1
    Veteran Member buck12's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    NW Mississippi
    Mahindra 2615

    Default .325" or 3/8"

    I need an education on chainsaw chains. I am planning to buy a Stihl 260 pro in the next couple of weeks. It is available with a .325 or 3/8 chain. I am not sure which is best for my needs. The main use will be limbing, cutting lots of smaller to medium size trees, and cutting the occasional large tree. The saw is probably more than I need and more $ than I should spend for my uses but I am tired of cheap saws. I want a saw that will run when needed and last for years. Any guidance as to chain size is appreciated.

  2. #2
    Elite Member Ductape's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Central New Hampshire
    Kubota B3030HSDC

    Default Re: .325" or 3/8"

    I would run .325 on that saw unless you already have other saws running 3/8ths. If you already have other saws with 3/8ths its a matter of convenience when sharpening, buying chains, etc. Otherwise, i'd stick with the .325 .

  3. #3
    Platinum Member jpm1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Panther Lake, Oswego County New York
    Mahindra 2810 HST, Kioti DK35SE HST

    Default Re: .325" or 3/8"

    I've own Stihl saws for years and you will not regret buying it, it's only money. At one time i was a big firewood cutter and dad told me to rin the biggest chain possible. It seems easier to grind or file and pulls a bigger chip when cutting. If your buying from a dealer say in the country talk to them, big box stores probably will not be of much help. I am very fortunate to have a great dealer who has been in this business for lots of years and is GREAT to work with. Remember all this is my opinion, good luck. . . John
    Lord, Help me to be the man my dog thinks i am . . .John. Mahindra 2810HST, 108H loader with Quick tach buckets and forks. Kioti DK35SE HST with loader, Hyd. top link and second set of rear remotes, 60" and 66" buckets, Kubota 900 RTV and a bunch of other good stuff
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  4. #4
    Elite Member Car Doc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    YM3810D Yanmar

    Default Re: .325" or 3/8"

    If you have other saws with 3/8 it may make sharpening and chain buying easier having all the same chain otherwise the .325 arguably will cut quicker and smoother (less felt vibration) as long as it is nice and sharp especially if its narrow kerf NK type chain which it probably is. My experience with NK chain is it dulls easily.

    I went from 95VP NK to 3/8 chisel and noticed a lot more vibration on my trim saw but grinding chains is a breeze now. I don't have to mess with the grinder settings anymore so at least for me it works better. ymmv

  5. #5
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Hardy Co. WV
    Mahindra 3215 gear

    Default Re: .325" or 3/8"

    Smaller chains take less power but require you to be a better operator because they pinch easier.

  6. #6
    Silver Member Country1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Virginia, The "Old Dominion"
    Kubota M7060 HD12

    Default Re: .325" or 3/8"

    Congrats on picking a fine saw!
    I've been cutting wood all my life and my saw of choice is by far is a Pro model Stihl. The 260 pro with a 16" bar and .325 Stihl RSC chain will serve your requirements for many years or even a lifetime if taken care of. You want to go with .325 chain for the reasons stated above, smoother in the cut and less power robing. RSC is Stihl's Rapid Super Full Chisel chain. It's the chain the pro's run. I've run up to a 20" bar on my 026 (same as the 260, but older) and it works but not ideal. In my opinion, a 16 is much better balanced and gives good power and torque. Having to make a double cut with a 16 every once in a while for the bigger trees is a better solution than running an 18 or 20 all the time.

    I'd get one or two extra loops of chain to put on when one gets dull or you get into some dirt or rocks. Sagging and/or dull chains are the number one problem with inexperienced operators. So keep your chains tight and sharp and good luck and happy sawing!
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  7. #7
    Bronze Member Saxman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Southern Illinois

    Default Re: .325" or 3/8"

    I have a 260 and run 3/8" .063 gauge chain on it because I have many other Stihl saws all the way up to a 660 that all run the same pitch and gauge. That allows me to switch bars and chains between all of them. If you are only going to have the 260 the .325 will be fine, but it will handle the other well also. Also, be aware that Stihl has just come out with the replacement for the MS260, the MS261. I have both and the 261 has a better air filtration system, better anti-vibe, and is a stratified engine design that uses less fuel. The 260 is great, but maybe you can use this to get a better price on the it if the dealer knows you know about the 261. Can't go wrong with either saw.


  8. #8
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Central Virginia

    Default Re: .325" or 3/8"

    Quote Originally Posted by buck12 View Post
    I need an education on chainsaw chains. I am planning to buy a Stihl 260 pro in the next couple of weeks. It is available with a .325 or 3/8 chain.
    I prefer the 3/8 as there is a greater selection of chain styles available for the 3/8 vs the .325. Rip, carbide, skip etc...

    However for general homeowner/farm/ranch, you are unlikely to see/notice the difference. For a 5+ cord a year firewood processor, daily use pro etc... those are the people who will see/notice/care about the difference.

    The other tip to happy saws... Sharp chains. Get a file and guide and learn how to use it. Touch up your chain every fuel tank or two (the saw not the 5gal can ). Keep a few spares. That way when you try to cut the earth in half, you'll be more likely to swap to a good chain than keep pushing a bad one.

  9. #9
    Super Star Member LD1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Central Ohio
    Kubota MX5100

    Default Re: .325" or 3/8"

    If stihl list is as either .325 or 3/8, if you opt for the 3/8, it would probabally be the low-profile 3/8. Or picco as I have heard it called.

    There actually isnt a whole lot of difference in the 3/8 Low-profile and .325 chain in terms of how they feel in the cut. They are both smoother and geared toward use on smaller saws compared to somethig like 3/8 full comp.

    That said, it is a matter of personal perfrence. Ask your dealer. And ask him which he stocks the most of. (if that is where you plan on buying replacement chains from). If he doesnt sell many .325 chains, and in turn doesn't stock many, that alone may sway you to the 3/8.
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  10. #10
    Bronze Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2009

    Default Re: .325" or 3/8"

    I worked at a Sthil Dealer's shop for a few years, If You are getting Your saw From a Dealer(Small engine shop) ask them They will know all of the advatages & disadvantages of each size. The shop I worked at sold way more Oregon saw chain than Stil. For the record I perfer 3/8" chain over .325 .

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