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Author Topic: Which new saw?  (Read 1148 times)

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Offline Tyson Wedekind

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Which new saw?
« on: June 11, 2018, 06:21:30 PM »
First time poster. A little background I grew up cutting firewood to feed my grandparents Hardy outdoor boiler,but have not cut alot in the last 15 years, now there is a good chance that by this coming winter I will have a boiler to feed. I still have my old 029 super farm boss with a 20" bar that is 20 years old,but I am considering a new saw...I'm looking at the echo timberwolf or a ms261 stihl...t understand there is about a $200 price difference that's why I'm asking...I do have both Stihl and echo servicing dealers within 12 miles.thanks in advance.

Offline olcowhand

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Re: Which new saw?
« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2018, 06:55:20 PM »
Hey, Tyson.
Let me be the first (and probably the "least") to welcome you. As you can see, I'm new myself. But, these good folks welcomed me, as I'm sure they'll welcome you.
I was looking for a mid- sized saw, and read a post on here posted by a knowledgeable member (If you key a search in for MS 261 CM, you'll soon see who it is..... If you're "stihl" stumped, I'll tell you who later.), and I went out and bought an MS 261 CM.
That saw is the sweetest combination of tolerable weight vs. power that I've found for my Firewood work. I have a larger Stihl for the heavy lifting, but I can't run it all day.
I'll disclose right now that I'm partial to Stihls, and you'll get a lot of knowledgeable people tell you other things, but I have not regretted buying that saw for a second.
Another thing you should know about price differences: Stihl Dealers "Deal".
They say the mind is the first to go; I'm glad it's something I don't use!

Ezekiel 36:26-27

Offline Southside logger

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Re: Which new saw?
« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2018, 07:48:52 PM »
Welcome to the Forum, personally I am a Husky guy, and most of that reason is due to the Husky dealer that I have access to, absolutely amazing customer service.  First time I went there I brought in an older saw for some minor tuning and they treated me like I had bought 10 brand new saws from them, the bill was a whopping $15.  Since then I have purchased two new 372's from them and many loops of chain, bars, etc.  What I am getting at is that a major part of your decision should be based on the customer service you will receive moving ahead.  Find a saw of each make that fits your needs and price point, then look really hard at which dealer will be good to you down the road, sometimes spending a bit more up front can save a ton of frustration and money down the road.  
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Offline Greyhound

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Re: Which new saw?
« Reply #3 on: June 11, 2018, 09:10:51 PM »
Echo 590 is a very good saw for the money and would be fine for your intended purposes.  Stihl MS261CM is an excellent saw, much lighter weight, better power:weight ratio, electronic carb.  Only you can decide if the price difference is worth it to you.  Neither one would be a "bad" choice.

Offline luvmexfood

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Re: Which new saw?
« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2018, 09:50:40 PM »
Having had both I would say Echo all the way.
Give me a new saw chain and I can find you a rock in a heartbeat.

Offline Tyson Wedekind

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Re: Which new saw?
« Reply #5 on: June 11, 2018, 10:27:10 PM »
Thank you for the quick replies I am seriously considering the 590 over the 261cm due to the $200 price difference.what size bar do you guys recommend for the car 590 and 261cm?....I also have a old Husqvarna 49 (1997) that runs but I believe it needs a new clutch if I can get it repaired  I would use it as a limbing saw.

Offline sawguy21

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Re: Which new saw?
« Reply #6 on: June 11, 2018, 10:47:16 PM »
Both saws use .325 chain, the longest bar readily available in that pitch is 20". In reality, you don't want any more than that on either one. Both are very good saws but as Southside logger says dealer support is more important than brand.
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Offline ladylake

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Re: Which new saw?
« Reply #7 on: June 12, 2018, 05:45:09 AM »

 Both good saws The Echo uses a 3/8 chain and will pull up to a 24" bar, the Echo will need to pea sized muffler opened up ( real easy just enlarge the deflector) as Echo saws come with clogged up mufflers to get by emissions , also some come tuned lean for the same reason so check the tuning. The 261 stihl might have a little less grunt but they run real good and are around 2 1/2# lighter.  Either one is miles ahead  of your 029.   Steve
Timberking B20 12000 hours +  Case75xt grapple + forks+8" snow bucket + dirt bucket   770 Oliver   Lots(too many) of chainsaws, Like the Echo saws and the Stihl and Husky     W5  Case loader   1  trailers  Wright sharpener     Dino setter Volvo MCT125c skid loader

Online teakwood

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Re: Which new saw?
« Reply #8 on: June 12, 2018, 08:11:01 AM »
Welcome to the FF.

You can't go wrong with the 261 but i'm a Stihl guy so other may opinion different.

For the 261 a 16" or 18" will be best. I don't recommend larger than 18", it's still a 50cc saw.
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Offline samandothers

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Re: Which new saw?
« Reply #9 on: June 12, 2018, 09:44:54 AM »
Welcome to the Forum.  

I donít have either of the saws you are looking at.  I do have a Stihl 250 and an Echo 341.  Both run great.  I have been looking at the Echo 590 too versus a new Stihl primarily due to price difference.  I might add I am not a professional and use my saws for clearing on our land and firewood for future home.  The 5 year warranty on the Echo is good too.

Either way you win and the dealer does make a difference.

Offline Tyson Wedekind

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Re: Which new saw?
« Reply #10 on: June 12, 2018, 11:15:07 AM »
I was in the echo dealers shop and he had a cs-501p which is considerably lighter than the cs-590 and on par with the ms261 in weight and power, and is a pro saw and it it $100 less than the stihl. Does anybody have this saw or tried it out? From what I've read it is mostly a  shindawia (engine anyway). Opinions?

Offline DelawhereJoe

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Re: Which new saw?
« Reply #11 on: June 12, 2018, 12:09:31 PM »
Have you looked at the echo cs 620p, takes up to a 27" bar has more hp then the 590 but should cost less then the ms 261. Unless you want a lighter weight saw and more money in your pocket go with the cs 501p.
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Offline Weekend_Sawyer

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Re: Which new saw?
« Reply #12 on: June 12, 2018, 12:46:32 PM »
I had a stihl 028, 029 and a Husky 455 among others, and I now have the MS261C-M and love it.

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Offline ladylake

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Re: Which new saw?
« Reply #13 on: June 12, 2018, 03:07:21 PM »
I was in the echo dealers shop and he had a cs-501p which is considerably lighter than the cs-590 and on par with the ms261 in weight and power, and is a pro saw and it it $100 less than the stihl. Does anybody have this saw or tried it out? From what I've read it is mostly a  shindawia (engine anyway). Opinions?
 I have A CS501p, it took a while to break but it pulls really good now, lots of power and torque for 50cc and light. You wont go wrong with it plus the 5 year warranty.  Echo is having a 20% off sale for 1 day at some dealers, check the Echo website to find the dealers close to you.  Steve 
Timberking B20 12000 hours +  Case75xt grapple + forks+8" snow bucket + dirt bucket   770 Oliver   Lots(too many) of chainsaws, Like the Echo saws and the Stihl and Husky     W5  Case loader   1  trailers  Wright sharpener     Dino setter Volvo MCT125c skid loader

Offline olcowhand

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Re: Which new saw?
« Reply #14 on: June 12, 2018, 05:15:42 PM »
As stated earlier Tyson, you'll get a lot of good advice from guys who have put their money down on the saws you're considering. And Dealer service is a huge factor.
My 261 came with a .325 chain and 18" Bar; I had them install a 3/8 Sprocket and 16" B/C when I bought it. That was only to keep my sharpening gear consistent, plus interchangeability. I think the upfit was net +$6.00, but I'm not sure. If there is $100.00 holding you off the Stihl, tell the Dealer what you're thinking- he might come your way. I would encourage it if you want the Stihl.
Otherwise, good luck- Buying a saw is a decision that you're either going to love or hate down the road.
You won't find too many folks on this site that are "Ho- Hum" about their saw(s).
They say the mind is the first to go; I'm glad it's something I don't use!

Ezekiel 36:26-27

Offline Greenerpastures

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Re: Which new saw?
« Reply #15 on: June 12, 2018, 07:01:47 PM »
Hi, I had an Echo 501 and sold it a short time ago.
They are a fantastic saw, it came with an 18" bar and I swapped
it for a 15, it was 3/8 lo pro chain, these are fantastic saws and I
would take it any day over the 261, now am going to get slack for
this as I have no links to the information that am going to share,
but the crank on the 261 is supposed to be soft, and the clutch
bearing runs on that, and you can figure out what happens next,
this is why i passed on the 261 and discovered the Echo 501,
lots of people how ever are using the 261 and have had no issues,
I do not know if it was a bad batch of cranks, I think I read it on
another forum, out door power equipment, I lost the links to the post
through a computer crash so can't elaborate any further.

I sold my 501 and now am looking to replace it, I did not realize
how easy it was on my back until it was gone, so in order to save
my back a bit am looking for a new 50cc saw.
I bought a Shindaiwa 490, perfect saw, until I took it home and
cleared the dust off it, it had sat on a shelf for a while in the dealers
as they are no longer made, then I made some discoveries and took
the saw back, lest say I was convinced it was not new, I had one last
year and know every inch of them, so it went back.

Am currently looking into the Makita range, as I know them to be a
good saw.

Would I buy another 501, absolutely, only trouble is, they have rocketed
in price where I live, so am looking around before I drop any money,
had I know the dealers were going to put them up so much in price I
would not have sold it, they are very well built.

If the OP likes to mention what size of wood he will be cutting mostly
then it would help zone in on a suitable saw, when I was younger a
big saw was the answer, it usually always cuts faster and runs cooler
unless you over tax it, this saves time, if time is important,
now things have changed, I much prefer a lighter saw as I can stick with
it longer, and as I have bigger saws I can use them on the thick end of the
tree and park them while the lighter saw does 90 % of the work.
But if I was not cutting down trees in the wood, and staggering over rough
ground, in other words in the yard, I would use a 60cc saw and blast through the work, weight in this situation is completely different,
it takes may be Two seconds to lift the saw up and the next 6 to 10 seconds
the weight of the saw is resting on the log as it cuts, so am only swinging the saw
for a short amount of time and as such no where near as tired,
try that same saw for limbing fallen trees and the constant swinging it from side to side of the tree and the up down movement / lifting this incurs and you will be tired in no time
at all compared to say a lighter 50cc saw.

A lot deepens on what you need to cut, and the time you can afford to spend cutting it.

For limbing fallen trees, or cutting and limbing trees around 12- 14 inches the 501 will be
perfect, it will still be good  if you have a larger saw to cut down larger trees and deal with the thicker but sections, but if your in the USA maybe a 60 cc saw would be a better bet over the 501 if your wood is large enough to warrant it,
if so,the Echo 590 or the Echo 620 would be my choice, the 620 is the pro saw and it will be
more costly, if your working in hot weather, the Echo and Stihl have two piston rings,
this removes heat a lot faster to the cylinder wall and is better in my opinion.

Makita 6100 also has two rings on the piston and in my opinion is a better saw than
its Stihl 362 competition, though slightly heavier, for working in the yard cutting rings
or cutting down heavy trees the Makita 6100 would be my choice, but for limbing I like the
MS362 as it is lighter, and some how feels a lot lighter and nimbler in that environment in the 60cc class, I have used the 6100 and the Stihl 362 from new, and the Echo
501 and these are only my opinions on how i found them.

Hope you get sorted

Offline Greenerpastures

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Re: Which new saw?
« Reply #16 on: June 12, 2018, 07:34:23 PM »
As stated earlier Tyson, you'll get a lot of good advice from guys who have put their money down on the saws you're considering. And Dealer service is a huge factor.
My 261 came with a .325 chain and 18" Bar; I had them install a 3/8 Sprocket and 16" B/C when I bought it. That was only to keep my sharpening gear consistent, plus interchangeability. I think the upfit was net +$6.00, but I'm not sure. If there is $100.00 holding you off the Stihl, tell the Dealer what you're thinking- he might come your way. I would encourage it if you want the Stihl.
Otherwise, good luck- Buying a saw is a decision that you're either going to love or hate down the road.
You won't find too many folks on this site that are "Ho- Hum" about their saw(s).
I think the 261 is just about the only 50cc saw I would put a 3/8 on, its rated
3kw where I live, the Echo 501 is 2.57kw, and my 48cc Shindaiwa 490 is 2.28kw,
do you mind if i ask how long you have the 261 and have you much done with it,
not trying to hijack the op post, just curious as I almost bought one and am looking
again for a 50cc but heard some things about the 261.

Online teakwood

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Re: Which new saw?
« Reply #17 on: June 12, 2018, 07:35:35 PM »
My 261 came with a .325 chain and 18" Bar; I had them install a 3/8 Sprocket and 16" B/C when I bought it. That was only to keep my sharpening gear consistent, plus interchangeability.


olcowhand: How is that setup working?  isn't the 3/8 pitch to big for this small saw?  Do you have the newest version MS261C II? The one with 0.5hp more than the older models?
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Offline ladylake

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Re: Which new saw?
« Reply #18 on: June 13, 2018, 05:13:07 AM »

 Keep in mind these rated HP numbers are coming from the manufacture and are often over rated to sell saws, Stihl had the MS290 rated at 3.8  hp  yet saws with way less or equal rated HP cut way faster.  Over on you tube a Husky 550 rated at 3.75hp cut about even or a little faster than the Stihl MS261 rated at a bit over 4 hp.  After being broke in good, tuned good and a slight 5 minute  muff modd I'd run my Echo CS501p against either one, it might win or lose but it will be real close to either of those 2 also with muff modds , plus its the lightest.  Steve
Timberking B20 12000 hours +  Case75xt grapple + forks+8" snow bucket + dirt bucket   770 Oliver   Lots(too many) of chainsaws, Like the Echo saws and the Stihl and Husky     W5  Case loader   1  trailers  Wright sharpener     Dino setter Volvo MCT125c skid loader

Offline Greenerpastures

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Re: Which new saw?
« Reply #19 on: June 13, 2018, 10:09:55 AM »

 Keep in mind these rated HP numbers are coming from the manufacture and are often over rated to sell saws, Stihl had the MS290 rated at 3.8  hp  yet saws with way less or equal rated HP cut way faster.  Over on you tube a Husky 550 rated at 3.75hp cut about even or a little faster than the Stihl MS261 rated at a bit over 4 hp.  After being broke in good, tuned good and a slight 5 minute  muff modd I'd run my Echo CS501p against either one, it might win or lose but it will be real close to either of those 2 also with muff modds , plus its the lightest.  Steve
Over rating does seem to happen, for my 490 Shindaiwa that is rated lower
than than the Echo 501, cut faster and stayed very cool too, just can't
explain it, the 490 had no spark arrestor from factory though which I contribute 
to the cooler running engine that never seemed to be under pressure either.

Offline olcowhand

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Re: Which new saw?
« Reply #20 on: June 13, 2018, 05:34:27 PM »
GreenerPastures, I've had the saw for about 6 months now. I've put 17- 20 tanks of fuel through it. It's turning into my go- to saw for everything except the Heavy Falling and Bucking. I like the M-tronic (or whatever the DanG term is) ignition. It starts easy no matter the temp, cold start/ hot start, and the oiler is more than adequate.
Teakwood, I (or my saw, or both of us...) must be too dumb to know that the 3/8" RS Chain is too much for that saw. Like running any saw through any wood, I let the saw tell me when I'm asking too much of it. When it does, I back off. I can't use the same cut rate on 14" Ironwood as I do for the same size maple or Beech. Any saw will tell you that. I try to keep the chain sharp and out of the rocks (not very successful there.....) and make do.
Most of you know that I'm not a pro, so I don't have to make the most out of every minute I'm on a saw (and I'll never win a Lumberjack Competition- Congrats, by the way). I got clued in to the wonders of the MS 261 CM in the same thread you did (Holmen Tree) and I respect Willard's opinion. I'm also pretty sure he's advised against putting that chain on that saw in other threads, but that's the decision I made, and I'll stand by my earlier comment. That's the best money I ever spent on a saw.
They say the mind is the first to go; I'm glad it's something I don't use!

Ezekiel 36:26-27

Offline DelawhereJoe

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Re: Which new saw?
« Reply #21 on: June 13, 2018, 07:29:23 PM »
Well here is the funny thing, the Husqvarna 455 rancher comes with a 20" 3/8 bar on it and most people don't complain about its 3.5hp. Its a go to firewood saw for alot of people out there, if you go by that why couldn't a 3.75 or 4hp saw run the same 18 or 20" bar.
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Offline Greyhound

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Re: Which new saw?
« Reply #22 on: June 13, 2018, 07:51:37 PM »
Thank you for the quick replies I am seriously considering the 590 over the 261cm due to the $200 price difference.what size bar do you guys recommend for the car 590 and 261cm?....I also have a old Husqvarna 49 (1997) that runs but I believe it needs a new clutch if I can get it repaired  I would use it as a limbing saw.
18" bar is a very versatile choice for a 50-60 cc class saw.  
I semi-disagree that dealer support is critical.  I have a great local small engine shop and I will always go to him first for purchases and service.  However, in the end, if he doesn't have what I want/need, I'm cool going to bigger retailers and/or internet. 

Online teakwood

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Re: Which new saw?
« Reply #23 on: June 13, 2018, 08:05:55 PM »
Good post from Joe and olcowhand.

I was just wondering if a small saw can handle the wider kerf of the 3/8" chain. The 3/8" is a lot hungrier and needs more power. Of course every saw can handle it but does the speed of the cut go to insupportable??

If it works for olcowhand then others may try it too.  
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Offline olcowhand

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Re: Which new saw?
« Reply #24 on: June 14, 2018, 04:39:30 AM »
Well, Teakwood- that's the thing. I respect and appreciate your experience, and don't want to promote a practice that may be detrimental to the saw. I'm happy with the combo, but I'm not a hard user of a saw.
Maybe one of these weekends, I'll get a video of some of the cuts I make on a regular basis, and let you good folks judge whether my decision was justified.
I do know that I'm very pleased with the way this saw moves chips.
They say the mind is the first to go; I'm glad it's something I don't use!

Ezekiel 36:26-27

Offline realzed

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Re: Which new saw?
« Reply #25 on: June 14, 2018, 10:02:39 AM »
When I was shopping for a brand new saw this early Spring - I looked at and was very impressed with the newest 261CC-MII version which I eventually bought and love for the balance and lightness..  The fellow who I was asking questions of at the dealership I frequent, has sold hundreds of these types of saws to users many of whom are government forestry departmental workers who use them in their daily work. He is a hands on type of guy with saws - not just a salesman, and when I asked him if I opt'd for a 20" bar with a 3/8" RS chain, would it pull it well - and he didn't hesitate in saying "certainly". He did allow that combination would hold an edge probably better than the .325 chain that they come with and was ready to set one up with such a configuration for me - but since I currently have other saws with the .325 chain and associated sharpening equipment I ultimately went with the .325 size for convenience and less hassle.  But I do intend to get a 3/8" set up at some point in the future when I get more hours on this saw to switch it over.  HE knows saws and had absolutely no hesitation in suggesting a 3/8" deal would work well - for what it is worth.. Bottom line is: anyone can overtax any saw regardless of the chain or sprocket or powerhead - but just using some good old common sense will make a combination last or not - it's not supposed to be a race! 

Offline Weekend_Sawyer

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Re: Which new saw?
« Reply #26 on: June 14, 2018, 10:51:06 AM »
My 455 was a very good saw but it leaked bar oil from the
oil line fitting under the saw. It seems to be a common problem.
I replaced it and even tried putting sealer around it as recommended somewhere on the net.
It still leaked.
Imagine, Me a Tree Farmer.
Jon, Appalachian American Wannabe. ... and it looks like my dream will come true!


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