New Stihl?

   #1  

dvan1966

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I have a 029 that I bought new in 1994 with a 20" bar that I'm still using. Been thinking about getting a new one and that should last me the rest of my wood cutting days. I've always wanted something with a little more power than the 029. I looked at the MS291, 311 and 391 today. The dealer said the 291 will probably have a little more than the old 029. I was leaning more towards the 311, more power and bigger chain, 3/8" instead of .325. He also had a 391 for $90 more than the 311 but not sure if I need that . The 311 is about 1.4lbs heavier than the 291. I have mostly been cutting dead ash the last few years and there is lots more still standing in the woods behind me. Any recommendations on which way to go?
I want to stay with Stihl because there are a few dealers/service in my area.
 
   #2  

4570Man

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Those are all farm grade saws. Do yourself a favor and get a pro saw. A stihl 261 is the same power as the biggest one in your lineup and 4 pounds less. You’re considering spending $4-500 and a 261 is low $600s. It would be well worth that much to shave 3-4 pounds off your saw and keep the same power.
 
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   #3  

bullbreaker

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If you want to stay in the Stihl lineup thats fine . Not sure of there current lineup but I would spend more beans and get one of their pro saws also . Years ago I owned an 029 ( great saw ) . I don't know maybe 7 years ago I bought me a new MS291 . I sold it to someone who asked me if I would sell it to them . I muffler mod etc my own saws . I was not too impressed with my MS291 , and it had no issues what so ever . Cranked easy also . Since then I have owned maybe 4 Echo Timberwolfs which would run circles and I like better than my MS291 . I flip saws in my neck of the Fla everglades etc . Not steering you to Echo , just saying I would spend more beans into the Stihl pro stuff and not homeowner "farm " catchy phrase series .

My current saws are a Shindaiwa 600 which is the same as an Echo 620 and a Timberwolf . Both saws pullin 24"bars . BTW paid $400 for the Wolf delivered to my house tax and shipping included . Tons of Timberwolf mods on utube .
 
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   #4  

fruitcakesa

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I just sprung for a Husky 562XP as a replacement for the old Jonsered 2255.
About the same weight, +_1 lb, but a much faster and pro grade saw.
Bigger money $800+- but it is a beast compared to the little Jonsy and will cut head to head with my 2171.
20 inch bars on all saws.
 
   #5  

PILOON

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My favorite 'go to' saw is a Stihl 009 that I purchased at a pawn shop for the sum of $40.00.
Lots of power for the weight and a favorite of tree surgeons, in fact it was modified with a hook to hang from the belt.
I've refused many offers for it from tree guys.
 
   #7  

fishdrivel

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I would caution inexperienced guys about pro grade saws. They can be a handful!
Farm swas have more a more effective torque curve that makes them easier to use.
Although I can't imagine a professional wanting anything less than the best pro grade they can get.
 
   #8  

mx1alex

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I used a 291 for 10 years or so. Super tough a dependable saw but it's underpowered for how heavy it is. Got a deal on a 261 and wish I would've made the move sooner. The 261 is the perfect all around saw IMO.
 
   #9  

Jchonline

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I have a 029 that I bought new in 1994 with a 20" bar that I'm still using. Been thinking about getting a new one and that should last me the rest of my wood cutting days. I've always wanted something with a little more power than the 029. I looked at the MS291, 311 and 391 today. The dealer said the 291 will probably have a little more than the old 029. I was leaning more towards the 311, more power and bigger chain, 3/8" instead of .325. He also had a 391 for $90 more than the 311 but not sure if I need that . The 311 is about 1.4lbs heavier than the 291. I have mostly been cutting dead ash the last few years and there is lots more still standing in the woods behind me. Any recommendations on which way to go?
I want to stay with Stihl because there are a few dealers/service in my area.


I have a 241 (18 inch bar) and a 362 (25 inch bar). Both great. They have the etronic carb
 
  
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#10  
OP
D

dvan1966

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How will the 261 compare to my 029 and the 291 power wise? I plan on putting a 20" bar on whatever I get. I was looking for something with a little more power than my 029. I do like the weight of the 261, especially compared to the 311
 

Snobdds

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An upgrade would be to the Stihl 362. Anything else would be a lateral move. The 362 can handle a 20 inch bar with no issues.
 

xyz123

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362 was replaced by 400. Same saw just bigger bore. 3.2 ounces more weight you can get a 462. Also being sold with a regular carb too in US.
 

xyz123

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NW Ohio near what town? NC Ohio here. @dvan1966

No stihls right now used.

But run and test a bunch here.

Just waiting on brake parts for this 67cc I just put a new piston in.

s462500.jpg
j67028.jpg
j670xx.jpg
j670xxxxxxxxxxxxxx.jpg
j67020x.jpg
 

Bearsixty7

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I bought my first Stihl back in March 2021 during the nearby dealers big sale week, A MS261C based on lots of comments in another thread here. I used it a little over the months and a full couple days this past summer and it worked great and cut like no other I've used. Hopefully I'll be just as happy with it in 10-20 years.
 

4570Man

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How will the 261 compare to my 029 and the 291 power wise? I plan on putting a 20" bar on whatever I get. I was looking for something with a little more power than my 029. I do like the weight of the 261, especially compared to the 311

The 029 is rated at 3.7 hp and the 261 is rated at 4 hp. But the biggest saw in your lineup is only rated at 4.2 hp. You can get whatever size pro saw you want but you’ll be spending a grand vs $600. Realistically I think you would see a lot of difference between your O29 and a 261. But if you really want to be impressed get a bigger saw.
 

kenmbz

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The 261 costs more than my cs-620....
Does have great power to weight ratio though. I will stick with the Echos value/$.
My cs-490 seems a bit light on the power for a approx. 50cc, but the 620 is a beast on the 20-36" trees with the 24" bar.
 

Fxfymn413

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I love Stihl saws....but My experience is that the newer saws just do not compare to the older stuff. I ran an 026 for 20 plus years cutting anywhere from 3 to 6 cords of hardwood a year before I just plain wore the saw out. I replaced it with an MS290 which lost enough compression that it would not start after 4 years; and yes I use alcohol free high octane fuel and the Stihl synthetic oil.

Given the choice I would spend the extra dough and upgrade to the commercial line.
 

4570Man

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The 261 costs more than my cs-620....
Does have great power to weight ratio though. I will stick with the Echos value/$.
My cs-490 seems a bit light on the power for a approx. 50cc, but the 620 is a beast on the 20-36" trees with the 24" bar.

Stihl doesn’t provide the most bang for your buck that’s for sure.
 

flagpond01

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I have a 029 that I bought new in 1994 with a 20" bar that I'm still using. Been thinking about getting a new one and that should last me the rest of my wood cutting days. I've always wanted something with a little more power than the 029. I looked at the MS291, 311 and 391 today. The dealer said the 291 will probably have a little more than the old 029. I was leaning more towards the 311, more power and bigger chain, 3/8" instead of .325. He also had a 391 for $90 more than the 311 but not sure if I need that . The 311 is about 1.4lbs heavier than the 291. I have mostly been cutting dead ash the last few years and there is lots more still standing in the woods behind me. Any recommendations on which way to go?
I want to stay with Stihl because there are a few dealers/service in my area.
I have a 391 and a Pro 261 C-M. The 261 is much lighter with lots of power. The 391 has a lot of power, just as does the 261, but it is a handful. I had a 311 but it refused to start when it got hot so I gave it to a friend.
 

nyone

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I bough a new ms290 just before they switched to the ms291. It def had more power than the 026 it replaced. But 3 yrs ago I bough a used 046 for bucking. The extra weight far out weighs having all that power.
 

marksmand

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Another recommendation for the 261cm Plenty of power and very light weight. Used to have a ms290
and the weight really makes a difference after working a few hours
 

greenerdreams

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my brother has done tree work for decades and brings his saws over anytime i am cutting. His go to is the 261, he also says all his co workers always grab those saws as well. they have access to almost all the saws in stihls pro lineup but always go to that saw because of its power to weight. when he is cutting big wood he goes with the 660 but that is almost the only time, unless climbing he uses the 200t. i will admit the first time i held the 261 it felt like a toy because of the weight, but it beats my larger dolmar every time.
 
  
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OP
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dvan1966

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Another recommendation for the 261cm Plenty of power and very light weight. Used to have a ms290
and the weight really makes a difference after working a few hours
I looked at the 261. The dealer said I would be stepping down in power from my 029 and the 291 might be a little more due to the 029 being 27 years old. I don't cut that much, just in the fall and winter. The 029 has been a good saw, just getting tired if not having the power for the bigger stuff and dead ash. I do like the weight of the 261. The 311 seems heavy, but is about the same as my 029.
 

Fxfymn413

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It's a long story, but a neighbor gave me a basically new MS390. It's heavy, but I equipped it with a full chisel chain and 20 inch bar and for doing large stuff it is a great saw.
 

mmranch

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I've got an older MS361 20in and a newer MS362C 20in and love them both (they were expensive but I've gotten great use out of them both). I didn't like the 362 at first because of the computerized carb stuff... but after a few days of getting the saw acclimated (and me acclimated to the newer tech)... I love it now. Easiest starting/restarting of any saw I've had.
 

Budweiser John

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I have a Circa early 90s Stihl 029 and a MS391.
the 029 can sit for months in cold weather and will start with 3 to 5 pulls.
the 391 is a much different story, that sucker needs to overnight in a warm environment to have any chance of starting. Once started and warmed up it performs as advertised. Bottom line, the 029 is still my ‘go to’ cordwood saw.
 

RobertN

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Stihl doesn’t provide the most bang for your buck that’s for sure.
Nothing bad to say about Echo; have a pole saw I like.

But I also still use 2 almost 40 year old Stihl 024(great great granddaddy to the MS261). Older Pro saw that still work great and has cut A LOT of wood. That saw has provided decades of bang for the buck. That was an expensive saw 40 years ago, but I think we got our moneys worth :D

It depends on your use, and how it is amortized over time...
 

Loaderman22

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I bought a Stihl 029 in 1995 or so, was my one and only saw used it tons. The plastic handle cracked but that was my fault. About 8 years ago my boss had a much newer 029 that his son in law ran straight gas in, cooked it. I put my motor into the MS290 case which meant I got flip caps (best thing)!! But its still the motor from 1995, and still running today. Saw can sit all summer in the basement with ethanol free gas in it, take it out in the fall, 3-5 pulls she's running like a champ, every year. As a back up to my 029/ MS290, I bought a MS390 thinking I needed a bigger saw, & it was, but I was mostly disappointed with the saw, it would run 20" bar ok I guess, but anything longer, or a less than perfect chain it just didn't have the oomph to go through hardwoods. I found my self running the 029/MS290 all the time anyway. I did appreciate the compression release though when starting the MS390. Recently I bought a lightly used MS361 PRO saw and after running it the first time, I sold the MS390 and am not missing it at all. So my unprofessional opinion is, if your 029 is about to be retired and even if its occasional use, go with the MS261 PRO saw, you will not be disappointed, more power, and less weight than the 290, yeah its more $$ but you won't ever think to yourself, should have went a little bigger. I would not even consider the MS390 as an option, a couple more lbs, but not enough power to justify the weight & extra size.

Besides some of us might need your 029 for parts someday!!
 
  
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dvan1966

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I bought a Stihl 029 in 1995 or so, was my one and only saw used it tons. The plastic handle cracked but that was my fault. About 8 years ago my boss had a much newer 029 that his son in law ran straight gas in, cooked it. I put my motor into the MS290 case which meant I got flip caps (best thing)!! But its still the motor from 1995, and still running today. Saw can sit all summer in the basement with ethanol free gas in it, take it out in the fall, 3-5 pulls she's running like a champ, every year. As a back up to my 029/ MS290, I bought a MS390 thinking I needed a bigger saw, & it was, but I was mostly disappointed with the saw, it would run 20" bar ok I guess, but anything longer, or a less than perfect chain it just didn't have the oomph to go through hardwoods. I found my self running the 029/MS290 all the time anyway. I did appreciate the compression release though when starting the MS390. Recently I bought a lightly used MS361 PRO saw and after running it the first time, I sold the MS390 and am not missing it at all. So my unprofessional opinion is, if your 029 is about to be retired and even if its occasional use, go with the MS261 PRO saw, you will not be disappointed, more power, and less weight than the 290, yeah its more $$ but you won't ever think to yourself, should have went a little bigger. I would not even consider the MS390 as an option, a couple more lbs, but not enough power to justify the weight & extra size.

Besides some of us might need your 029 for parts someday!!
The 029 still runs fine. I'll take a look at the 261 again. As I get older, heavier isn't the way I want to go. Maybe the 261 with a 18" bar and stay away from the big stuff. I plan on keeping the 029 as a backup.
 

yomax4

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I sold my 029 due to it being as heavy as my 361 and there is no comparison. I use my old 026 pro with a muff mod for all smaller stuff and limbing. It would run with the 029 any day at much less weight. Some of the equation is how well the saws are tuned.
 

Loaderman22

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The 029 still runs fine. I'll take a look at the 261 again. As I get older, heavier isn't the way I want to go. Maybe the 261 with a 18" bar and stay away from the big stuff. I plan on keeping the 029 as a backup.
Just playing with ya on the 029, at this rate mine may never need parts... With the 261, you can run the 18" bar and cut a pretty big tree, there are techniques to minimize the holding wood so you can get a darn big tree on the ground with a shorter chain. I am also assuming you could put a 20" bar on it for those occasionally larger tress, and just cut from both sides.
 

Mudfarmer

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I'm on my third Stihl 261 with 20-inch bar. The first one froze the engine just short of the 2 year warranty. Stihl didn't replace it, instead they sent the dealer parts to rebuild it - lasted another year. About three years later I pinched the second saw in a large (about two foot) horizontal spruce limb, torqued the bar and broke off the shaft, unfixable. I'm on my third one - they may not last, but they are the right size and power. Be sure to buy the hi-grade Stihl mix six-pack (the grey bottles) at the time of purchase - homeowners (not pros) get a one year warranty extension with that. Essentially Stihl expects their pro saws to last a year or so with everyday use; they expect their farmer/homeowner saws to last a couple of years with occasional weekend use. The main reason for buying a stihl in our area is that there are no other dealer serviced brands available.
 

Loaderman22

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You can't blame Stihl longevity on you pinching the bar in a spruce limb and mangling it beyond all recognition.... That's what is called "User error".
 

dodge man

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I have had 2 Stihl saws, a MS 250 and a newer MS 261. I have a 18 inch bar on both. The 261 easily pulls an 18” bar, the 250 not nearly as well. I’m pretty sure a 261 would pull a 20” bar well also. If you need bigger than a 20” bar, than I’d step up to a bigger saw.

The pic is some “noodling” I did with my 261. With a sharp chain it cuts really well. I noodle the bigger stuff so I can lift it up on my splitter, it’s horizontal only.
FB9A5496-49ED-4209-A43B-C5124A707135.jpeg
 
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oldballs

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I run a 20 inch bar on both my 290 and my new 261. The 290 worked fine ...but the 261 works better because it has a more aggressive chain.
Cheers,
Mike
 
   #37  

beenthere

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I'm more than impressed with my MS261 m-c and the MS362 m-c. 18" and 20" bar respectively.

Replaced a long-lived Farm Boss 041 that was an impressive saw for 30+ years.
Had the MS250 before the MS261 became available, and it to was a faithful Stihl saw. Never a complaint how that saw would run and run.
 

Milo

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I looked at the 261. The dealer said I would be stepping down in power from my 029... I don't cut that much, just in the fall and winter. The 029 has been a good saw, just getting tired if not having the power for the bigger stuff and dead ash. I do like the weight of the 261...
According to the specs your 029 made 3.7 hp when new, a MS 261 C-M makes 4 hp.

I have had 2 Stihl saws, a MS 250 and a newer MS 261. I have a 18 inch bar on both. The 261 easily pulls an 18” bar, the 250 not nearly as well. I’m pretty sure a 261 would pull a 20” bar well also. If you need bigger than a 20” bar, than I’d step up to a bigger saw.
Interestingly I have the same two saws, after just buying the MS 261 C-M. I run an 18" bar on the 250 but using the whole length works it pretty hard. My 261 came with a 20" which it runs better than the 250 does on an 18", as it should since the MS 250 only made 3 hp when new. I also bought an 18" bar and couple chains for the 261 and will probably use the 18" most of the time. Interestingly the 18" on the 261 is longer than the MS 250's 18".
For me the MS 261 C-M is replacing two saws my MS 250 (my main saw) and heavier 60cc Echo Timberwolf with 20" bar (only for larger stuff) and so far I think it's perfect for me. It's almost as light as the 250 yet much more powerful and smoother running, and will cut just as large of stuff as the heavier, buzzier, Timberwolf can.
 

Milo

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I'm not sure if there other differences but the chain for a MS 261 with 18" bar has (I believe 6-8) more links than one for MS250 with 18" bar.
 

dodge man

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When I bought my 261 that’s what the lady told me, more links. Some day I’ll have to read about the difference on chains, I plead complete ignoranice.
 

workinallthetime

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love the heck out of my MS362C I purchased this year, I was lucky enough to get one that was still made in Germany. I heard that Stihl was having quality issues with this model made here in the US. Moving also from an MS290 I am really impressed with the new 362, starts easy, cuts great. I am not doing production work or anything though. Still own the MS290, purchase new around 2005 I think, never gave me a bit of problems.
I am stuck on Stihl, I also have the BR550 backpack blower and a Combi head unit with several attachments from 2007 that I use all summer around the property. I always buy High octane no ethanol gas and Stihl mix.
 
 
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