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  1. #1
    Super Member MossflowerWoods's Avatar
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    Aug 2011
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    6,004
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    Ladysmith, VA
    Tractor
    Kioti DK50SE HST w/FEL, John Deere LX266 & STX38 Mowers. Stihl MS290 20" bar (For Sale), CS261, & FS190 + Echo CS400 & rusty old Ranger snowplow truck

    Default Looking for a lightweight limbcutting saw...

    I have a20" Stihl MS290 FarmBoss and I love it, but it gets heavy limbing...

    I have dozens of huge beech, oak, and etc tree tops I need to process for firewood and burn pile now that the clear-cutting is done

    I like Stihl.

    I looked at a MS250 woodboss my logger suggested, but it seems kinda big, or bigger than I need, but I do not want a toy saw, I want a good & durable saw.

    Suggestions?

    Thanks in advance & Be well,
    David
    Former Submariner & Army SGT
    2011 Kioti DK50SE HST, KL-401 FEL w/72" bucket, tooth bar, & Ratchet Rake, 2 rear remotes, canopy, WR Long RBG72 Grapple, Woods BB72X cutter & TSG-50 stump grinder, TSC PHD, & more to come. Mowers 2003 JD LX266 42" deck mower, & old JD STX-38 (12.5 hp).

    Managing 51 Acres of Virginia hills with ponds & streams, Freshly Clear Cut!, riding trails, empty pasture, long gravel drive, veggie garden, & yard.

  2. #2
    Super Member s219's Avatar
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    Dec 2011
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    5,605
    Location
    Virginia USA
    Tractor
    Kubota L3200 Deere X380 Kubota RTV-X

    Default Re: Looking for a lightweight limbcutting saw...

    Well, you could replace that boat anchor 290 with a MS261 and have a smaller lighter more powerful saw that is better for limbing, but won't give up any balls for regular cutting. Will be pricey, but hard to beat two saws in one. A Husky 550XP (or 346XP if you can find one) would be a good option too, and slightly more nimble than the Stihl 261.

    There are no compelling Stihls I'd recommend in the mid range or homeowner range. To me, they are a way to burn $$ that are better put into a Stihl Pro saw, or a Husky pro saw, or a better grade saw from any other manufacturer.

    If you want to keep the 290, a good smaller lighter saw is an Echo CS-400. That is smaller enough to broaden your quiver of saws compared to the 290. It is priced about the same as a Stihl 250, but is better construction (the 250 is a homeowner saw with a 50 hour rating). And you can get the Echo at Home Depot, in addition to Echo dealers, so they are easy to find. They usually ship with an 18" bar, which is good for limbing (longer reach), but I prefer a 16" bar on that saw for any regular cutting. I have half a dozen saws now, but still like that little Echo for the right mix of size/weight/power/reliability. Echo has a couple other saws that are a little bigger and decent, but not as light and nimble as the little 400.

    I almost forgot, I have a mildly used Stihl 261 that I keep meaning to sell -- if interested, give me a holler. I just don't use it much anymore with a Husky 562XP and Echo CS-400 in my lineup. The 261 is a great saw, but I simply bracketed it out of use with two other saws. Have a few extra bars/chains that go along with it. I'd only suggest the 261 if you want it to overlap or replace the 290. Otherwise go smaller for a two-saw strategy.

    Whatever you do, stay away from anything sold at Lowes, or the cheaper homeowner saws from Home Depot, TSC, etc... Just a way to burn $$ in the short term.

    Good luck!

  3. #3
    Elite Member Baby Grand's Avatar
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    Nov 2007
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    Windsor, CT.
    Tractor
    Kubotas: L3240GST B2320HST B5100D & G5200H

    Default Re: Looking for a lightweight limbcutting saw...

    I have an old, 14" Stihl 011 AV that is light and rips through tree top limbs.
    Can't say what their current, equivalent, model is, but I'm sure one of TBN's tree guys can.
    Last edited by Baby Grand; 06-18-2015 at 10:16 AM.
    That's the problem with trouble.
    It always starts out as such fun."
    - Randall Brown

  4. #4
    Gold Member The Deerslayer's Avatar
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    Feb 2011
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    436
    Location
    Northeastern CT
    Tractor
    Kubota L3901 Former: Kubota L2250

    Default Re: Looking for a lightweight limbcutting saw...

    I too have the MS290 and went through a similar consideration as you a few years back. I needed something to handle the limbing as well as smaller quick jobs. I ended up going with the MS180. It is light and has handled all tasks given with great ease. This set up with the duo works great for my needs (4-6 cords a year).
    Kubota L3901, 7' International rear blade, 5' JD brush cutter, 6' King Kutter york rake, Pronovost Puma-64 snowblower, Bear Cat 73454 Wood Chipper,Carry All, Ratchet Rake,Pats Easy Change....and a bunch of Stihl stuff

  5. #5
    Veteran Member roadhunter's Avatar
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    Mar 2014
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    NW Nebraska
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    JCB 212SU

    Default Re: Looking for a lightweight limbcutting saw...

    I've been researching this same topic and keep coming back to the Echo 370 or 400. Everywhere I look people seem to really like the Echo saw for this application. I'm going to snag one and do the muffler mod and tune the carb which everyone recommends on these saws.

  6. #6
    Super Member
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    Fanning Springs, Gilchirst County, North-Central Florida
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    Kubota Tractor Loader L3560 HST 37-hp / 5,400 pounds

    Default Re: Looking for a lightweight limbcutting saw...

    For limb work a battery powered reciprocating saw is superior to a chainsaw.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Looking for a lightweight limbcutting saw...-img_0610-jpg  

  7. #7
    Veteran Member roadhunter's Avatar
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    NW Nebraska
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    JCB 212SU

    Default Re: Looking for a lightweight limbcutting saw...

    LOL. Superior in what way?

    Sawzall is not even remotely close to being a replacement for a limbing saw IMO. Would be nothing but a waste of time.

  8. #8
    Super Member
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    Kubota Tractor Loader L3560 HST 37-hp / 5,400 pounds

    Default Re: Looking for a lightweight limbcutting saw...

    Respect other opinions.

  9. #9
    Elite Member 4570Man's Avatar
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    Apr 2015
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    Crossville, TN
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    Kubota L3240, Kubota B7100, Kubota F2560, John Deer, F525 Mule 600

    Default

    For limbs under an inch it is hard to beat a good axe. A good axe is the secret. I have a tractor supply axe that couldn't cut a stick of butter in half. I have an axe that was my great grandpas that will cut a 1 inch limb in one swing.

  10. #10
    Elite Member Sodo's Avatar
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    Cascade Mtns of WA state
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    Kubota B-series & Mini Excavator

    Default Re: Looking for a lightweight limbcutting saw...

    Limbing is a fairly wide category.

    Since this is a chainsaw thread I have to say I have a Stihl 028 AV Super with a 24" bar. Have to own a decent size saw for credibility in discussing more sensible saws.

    I have a razor sharp axe, it has its benefits in some situations, but I don't use it often.
    =============

    1/2" limb or 3"?
    Cutting "at the trunk" or "away from the trunk"
    Cutting 5 limbs or 300?

    A battery powered recip saw could be the best choice of tool at the top of a ladder. I don't enjoy pulling starter ropes while on a ladder, or up in a tree. Squeezing a trigger has its benefits. If a chainsaw cuts a limb in 3 seconds vs 20 seconds with a recip, sometimes in the overal scheme of things; the "safer" unit is prudent use of "17 seconds". My Stihl mS201 (high performance pro unit $649) could easily take 17 seconds just to get it started.

    I have 12" echo chainsaw that's 20 years old. Very very used, looks like it might be on it's last legs, but, always always always starts on 1st pull. I'm currently having doubts why I ever went away from Echo, except that Stihl is "cool".

    Also have a weedeater-type polesaw, it's in new condition and I suspect it will remain in new condition for awhile because it's so strenuous to use. My tool of choice for limbing is 95% brushcutter type Echo PAS 266 with a 7 1/4" carbide skillsaw blade. It cuts with surgical precision, I like it.
    Be careful what you wish for, you might get it.

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