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Author Topic: 550xp with 3/8" chain?  (Read 1404 times)

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Offline gman98

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550xp with 3/8" chain?
« on: December 17, 2017, 07:15:24 PM »
Hello guys.  I'm looking to add another saw to my arsenal.  I've got 60cc's right now, and I'm looking at getting a 50cc.  I cut mostly softwoods, and any hardwood I cut is handle well enough by the 562 and 362.  I was wondering how a 550xp would pull a 3/8" chain in softwoods?  Looking to go with the larger chain to simplify things as farm as bar and chains.

Thanks
Stihl 362 c-m
Husqvarna 562xp
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Offline DelawhereJoe

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Re: 550xp with 3/8" chain?
« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2017, 08:00:17 PM »
The 550xp is rated at 3.75 hp the 455 rancher is only 3.49hp and comes standard with an 18 or 20" 3/8 bar so the 550xp shouldn't have a problem pulling it. Have you looked into the Stihl ms 261 it seams to have less issues on starting then the 550xp HolmenTree has a whole thread on a comparison between the 2 of them. Either the 261 or the 462 will be the next new saw I pick up but most likely it will be the ms 261 to replace an old but good 024.
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Offline celliott

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Re: 550xp with 3/8" chain?
« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2017, 08:36:13 PM »
I run 3\8 chain on my 346xp, well, actually I should say ran, because some lowlife stole it out of our job trailer along with a 50cc echo........  >:(

Anyways... back to your question- the 550xp replaced the 346xp, I ran a 3\8" 16" setup on my 346. For cutting softwood it will be fine, you might have to take it easy burying the bar, don't expect it to perform like your 562. I wouldn't run any longer than 16" for sure, and you certainly don't want to get overly aggressive filing the chain or the depth gauges, it will bog it down.

I did it because all my other saws ran 3\8" chain, and I even had another saw setup with 16" 3\8" so chains, bars, and files swapped. I don't really like the .325 chain, especially to have only one saw run it.
I will be getting another 50cc saw in the future, (hopefully a 550xp) and I'll likely set it up the same way.

Like I said, don't expect it to perform like your 562 or 362. I run a 16" on my Jonsered 2260 and love it for softwood and even limbing hardwoods, lots of power and easy to handle.
Chris Elliott

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Offline Maine372

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Re: 550xp with 3/8" chain?
« Reply #3 on: December 18, 2017, 07:40:34 PM »
to me a 50cc saw should be a trim saw. limbing, cutting under brush, in the tree work, the kind of task that you don't want to lug extra weight. therefore on my 346xp, and a 550xp I ran for someone else, I ran .325 chain and the lightest bar I could find. usually that means a homeowner grade laminate, but they since they aren't seeing bar buried conditions they last well enough for the price.

a 550 will pull 3/8ths chain but I prefer the balance of a lighter b/c combo

Offline HolmenTree

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Re: 550xp with 3/8" chain?
« Reply #4 on: December 18, 2017, 08:09:22 PM »
The trouble with running a full size 3/8" on a 346/550XP is they only start to perform when the cutters are filed back about half ways,  a little ahead of the  the rear rivet
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Offline bluthum

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Re: 550xp with 3/8" chain?
« Reply #5 on: December 19, 2017, 07:35:09 PM »
 Holman, why is it 3/8 only performs on these saws when  when filed back? Thanks.

Offline starmac

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Re: 550xp with 3/8" chain?
« Reply #6 on: December 19, 2017, 08:58:18 PM »
Holmen, does that mean the 455 will do a better job if the cutters are filed way back also?
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Offline HolmenTree

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Re: 550xp with 3/8" chain?
« Reply #7 on: December 19, 2017, 11:38:05 PM »
Holmen, does that mean the 455 will do a better job if the cutters are filed way back also?
Holman, why is it 3/8 only performs on these saws when  when filed back? Thanks.
Well fellas if you can't figure out why that is..... then just don't worry about it hahaha.

Just keep doing what you're doing. :D
Making a living with a saw since age 16.

Offline DelawhereJoe

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Re: 550xp with 3/8" chain?
« Reply #8 on: December 19, 2017, 11:38:48 PM »
Isn't Husqvarna going to be putting out that new faster cutting chain soon, the one from thst 572xp vs 462 video?  That should improve the cutting ability of a smaller hp saw running 3/8 chain.
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Offline HolmenTree

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Re: 550xp with 3/8" chain?
« Reply #9 on: December 19, 2017, 11:45:17 PM »
Isn't Husqvarna going to be putting out that new faster cutting chain soon, the one from thst 572xp vs 462 video?  That should improve the cutting ability of a smaller hp saw running 3/8 chain.
Joe, yes it should help much the same as a new 3/8 chain's cutters filed back some.
From looking at pictures of this new  Husqvarna chain it looks like it's got some narrow kerf characteristics.  Flattened rivets and the cutter bit moved more rearward allowing a bigger gullet.
Making a living with a saw since age 16.

Offline ehp

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Re: 550xp with 3/8" chain?
« Reply #10 on: December 20, 2017, 08:00:57 PM »
I run 3/8's on everything, 346/550/261 . A lot of people use stihl 33 chisel chain, I use that only on my landing saw to buck up . I donot like the feel on how it cuts thou to fall timber with . I have been using husky 47 and 48 chisel chain on my falling saws . But I file every chain before it ever touches wood , they are not sharp and donot cut worth a crap to me and that includes the stihl chain . Why do I use 3/8's chain on the small saws is because once filed the way I like it is faster than .325 could ever be . Husky sent a rep out from BC to a contest we had up north in the winter time , he brought a 395 and in 10 by 10 frozen aspen in 3 cuts I out cut him with a stock husky 40 running my filed 3/8's chain , he had a hard time with that one but you will find the small saws cut pretty good with a sharp chain

Offline HolmenTree

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Re: 550xp with 3/8" chain?
« Reply #11 on: December 21, 2017, 12:22:24 AM »
I run 3/8's on everything, 346/550/261 .  Why do I use 3/8's chain on the small saws is because once filed the way I like it is faster than .325 could ever be . Husky sent a rep out from BC to a contest we had up north in the winter time , he brought a 395 and in 10 by 10 frozen aspen in 3 cuts I out cut him with a stock husky 40 running my filed 3/8's chain , he had a hard time with that one but you will find the small saws cut pretty good with a sharp chain
Ed, in all fairness there is only a small handful of people in the whole world who can file a race chain as good as you.
And your saw building and tuning also fits into that category ,..... 8)
 
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Offline ButchC

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Re: 550xp with 3/8" chain?
« Reply #12 on: December 21, 2017, 10:35:21 AM »
Holmen, You bring up a good point.  I dont know either you or Ed from Adam but I am reasonably sure from reading your postings that you guys know what you are doing around a chainsaw. However they way most saws get used and taken care of means a full sized 3/8 chain is a poor choice for a 50CC saw. I think the chain Mfgs get their recommendations pretty close to right for the average saw owners who do a lousy job of keeping up with the needs of their saws, at least in my experience.
Personally I am in betweener.  I keep my chains sharp but have never tried to make science out of it.  I have never raced a saw nor modded a saw motor (other than opening up the muffler).But I will out cut 99 out of 100 people I have ever cut wood with. Simply because I maintain my powerheads and am very particular about keeping my chains sharp,, in the field grade sense.
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Offline HolmenTree

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Re: 550xp with 3/8" chain?
« Reply #13 on: December 21, 2017, 11:14:32 AM »
Good post Butch. Maintained sharpness is everything.
 Manufacturers who have to cover warranties and stay in business have saws matched with a specific chain pitch. Running a constantly dull or poorly maintained 3/8 chain is only going to make more stress and damaging heat on the smaller engine.

A full size 3/8" chain offers a end user alot more sharpening life and durability over a .325...IF they maintain the life of the chain right down to the witness marks on top of the cutter's top plates.
But if the chain is tossed because of one or two cases of dulling, then you might as well run the recommended .325 which has a cutter length of a third filed back 3/8" chain. That's the point when a 3/8 chain cuts the best on a smaller displacement saw.

If the end user is experienced in saw handling, "NOT in a hurry" and keeps the 3/8" chain well maintained throughout its life...sure run it on a 50cc saw.
Making a living with a saw since age 16.

Offline gman98

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Re: 550xp with 3/8" chain?
« Reply #14 on: December 21, 2017, 12:20:38 PM »
I'm looking at the 50cc - 3/8" combo as a chopping saw.  Holmen- I know you and I have discussed powerhead and bar combos in piece work cutting before, and you seemed to be a strong supporter of larger power heads and shorter bars.  Just finished up cutting pine for the winter, and I was running a 562 with the 20" bar.  Cut fine, but at times I did find it lacking in bigger pine, but I was okay with that because I needed the lighter saw because I was limbing and topping with it as well.  I also just chop, so I lug saw, gas, oil etc. myself.  We are moving into some smaller spruce/fir (up to 20") as well as larger aspen next week.  My theory is that the smaller saw will result in less fatigue over the day, which will help to increase production.

Thanks
Stihl 362 c-m
Husqvarna 562xp
Husqvarna 359

Offline HolmenTree

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Re: 550xp with 3/8" chain?
« Reply #15 on: December 21, 2017, 03:12:07 PM »
gman, if you're going into spruce/pine with some trees up to 20" then a 18" b/c is all you need...even 16" will get you by just fine and you'll save alot weight and gain a little extra h.p.

With my test of my latest upgraded MS261CM and 550XP, I can see the 4.1 h.p. 261 will handle a 3/8" better then a 3.75 h.p. 550XP.  The 261 easily out torques the 550. I guess next year I'll have to test that.

You may even want to look at the new MS362CM at 12.35 lbs.  Over a lb. lighter then the 13.4 lb. 562XP. Both same h.p.
If you're stuck on a 20" b/c then look at a Stihl ES Light 20" bar which is 30% lighter then a standard ES 20". Which will equal approximately a 18"
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Offline gman98

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Re: 550xp with 3/8" chain?
« Reply #16 on: December 21, 2017, 03:19:41 PM »
gman, if you're going into spruce/pine with some trees up to 20" then a 18" b/c is all you need...even 16" will get you by just fine and you'll save alot weight and gain a little extra h.p.

With my test of my latest upgraded MS261CM and 550XP, I can see the 4.1 h.p. 261 will handle a 3/8" better then a 3.75 h.p. 550XP.  The 261 easily out torques the 550. I guess next year I'll have to test that.

You may even want to look at the new MS362CM at 12.35 lbs.  Over a lb. lighter then the 13.4 lb. 562XP. Both same h.p.
If you're stuck on a 20" b/c then look at a Stihl ES Light 20" bar which is 30% lighter then a standard ES 20". Which will equal approximately a 18"
I was planning on going 16" on the 550.  I had a 545 previously with the 16" bar and found it to be a good combo.  I never tried the 3/8" chain on it though.

Thanks
Stihl 362 c-m
Husqvarna 562xp
Husqvarna 359

Offline HolmenTree

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Re: 550xp with 3/8" chain?
« Reply #17 on: December 22, 2017, 11:23:24 AM »
My 550XP is permanently wearing a 14" with 3/8" Stihl 33Topic Super chain and no dogs. (Actually 13" from tip to bumper)
It's only job in my tree service is dedicated for small conifer.  :)
 

  

 
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Offline gman98

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Re: 550xp with 3/8" chain?
« Reply #18 on: December 22, 2017, 11:50:10 AM »
My 550XP is permanently wearing a 14" with 3/8" Stihl 33Topic Super chain and no dogs. (Actually 13" from tip to bumper)
It's only job in my tree service is dedicated for small conifer.  :)
 

 (Image hidden from quote, click to view.) 

 (Image hidden from quote, click to view.)
Must be a quick file job!  I think trees would definently need to be cross felled to limb with it all day.
Stihl 362 c-m
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Offline HolmenTree

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Re: 550xp with 3/8" chain?
« Reply #19 on: December 22, 2017, 01:06:40 PM »
My 550XP is permanently wearing a 14" with 3/8" Stihl 33Topic Super chain and no dogs. (Actually 13" from tip to bumper)
It's only job in my tree service is dedicated for small conifer.  :)
 

 (Image hidden from quote, click to view.) 

 (Image hidden from quote, click to view.)
Must be a quick file job!  I think trees would definently need to be cross felled to limb with it all day.
I'm not 8 hr a day forest logging here, just tree removal in customers yards.
Open grown spruce and pine with bushy limbs you'll appreciate limbing at knee height.  Yes thick forest grown trees with no lower limbs you have to cross fell them.
But I'm gifted with short legs and long upper body/long arms as an advantage.  :D

Here's my forwarder  ;D
 

  

  

 
 

 
Making a living with a saw since age 16.


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