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Author Topic: Looking for Stihl chain ID clues ...  (Read 6012 times)

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Offline ex-Engineer Wannabe

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Looking for Stihl chain ID clues ...
« on: November 06, 2006, 03:00:46 AM »
I just visited my local Stihl dealer in an effort to check out Stihl's clamp-on file guide.  They didn't have one in the shop, so I started talking to the service tech about my MS 361.  After he asked me which type of chain I was running on the saw, I reminded him that he had, at my request, changed my bar to a 20" Rollomatic E when I bought it and, consequently, I honestly had no idea exactly which style chain he installed at that point.

Although I do know the basic specs of the chain -- 3/8" pitch x 0.050" gauge x 72 links -- I'm having a bit of trouble nailing down which cutter type it came with.  I've been studying the following website for quite some time -- Stihl Oilomatic Chains -- and am having a heck of a time identifying the chain.  As it IS NOT an "L" shape, a skip type or a full chisel, it would, according to the website, seem to be one of the following: RM, RS or RSK.  The same site, however, states that the RS is no longer available in 3/8" pitch, which would seem to rule that one out.  Studying the photos of the RM and the RSK, the latter is the only one with a point on the cutter.  My chain, although very dull at this point, seems to have come with a point as well, which would seem to rule out the RM.  On the other hand, the photo of the RSK shows a fairly pronounced "hump" between the cutter face and the raker, which my chain DOES NOT have. 

So...I'm thoroughly confused at this point.  If I had to choose a photo from the website, the RS would be the one, but, once again, Stihl says they don't make them in my size anymore.  Anyway, I'd like to know what I've got prior to buying any sharpening equipment or accessories, so I'd like to pick the brains of those who've worked with a lot of Stihl chains.  By the way, the backside of my cutters have Stihl C etched into them.

Any thoughts are much appreciated ...  ;)  
"Measure twice, cut once" -- Don't know who coined this one, but he was pretty wise.

Offline beenthere

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Re: Looking for Stihl chain ID clues ...
« Reply #1 on: November 06, 2006, 09:32:20 AM »
Sounds like it could be the RS, and is what I have, buying the saw two years ago (time flies) and getting the chain before it was discontinued. Another reason may be that the dealer had a supply (reel) of that chain on hand.  I don't have Stihl C etched on mine, only Sthil.
So for the reason it is not sold anymore, I wouldn't rule RS out for that reason.

I always get an extra chain, that comes in a box marked with the type, size, etc. Run two chains at a time on a single sprocket, then change sprockets when getting two new chains. That way the sprocket matches the chains, and avoids the mis-matching links to sprocket and the excessive wear.
south central Wisconsin
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Offline SawTroll

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Re: Looking for Stihl chain ID clues ...
« Reply #2 on: November 06, 2006, 12:13:56 PM »
There may still be 3/8" RS chain in the pipeline, and the RSC look pretty much the same - you will have to look real close to notice the difference..... ;)
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Offline macpower

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Re: Looking for Stihl chain ID clues ...
« Reply #3 on: November 06, 2006, 12:21:19 PM »
You likely have 33RSC, this is what is replacing the RS. (I think the difference is in the tie strap shape, not the cutter). If it has a bumper, (reduced kickback), it would be 33RSC3.
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Offline ex-Engineer Wannabe

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Re: Looking for Stihl chain ID clues ...
« Reply #4 on: November 06, 2006, 12:23:40 PM »
Thanks again, BeenThere!   :)   I just checked the weather at Lake Geneva, and it's not much cooler than ours (I'm currently in southern Mass) ...

Yep, you're right.  I am in the process of locating a few extra loops for my MS 361 -- without breaking the bank that is -- but I'd still like to know what I've got before I gear up to take care of the chains.  

As it sits right now, I just "overdulled" the chain the MS 361 came with.  As the saw had been cutting fine prior to this, I never really planned for maintenance, which I suspect describes many an operator just after they fall in love with this particular saw.  I certainly should've planned ahead, but I've simply been enjoying the best saw I've ever used so much, that I didn't think to plan ahead.  

As I posted in a different thread earlier, I'm now researching chain maintenance.  I look back at my younger days on the farm as the bad ol' days only when I think about how many trips we made to the saw shop for sharpening.  Now that I'm back to cutting my own stuff again, I want to learn as much as I can about what's available out there for my saw and, more importantly, how to take care of it.  

You're exactly right, though.  If I would've planned ahead when I bought the new saw, instead of grinning from ear to ear when the guy started it for me in the parking lot, I never would've reduced the chain to the butter cutter it is right now (and I would've been careful enough to grab the box the new chain came in).  Just like everyone else, I'm living and learning every day.  ;)

Please keep the thoughts coming ...      
"Measure twice, cut once" -- Don't know who coined this one, but he was pretty wise.

Offline ex-Engineer Wannabe

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Re: Looking for Stihl chain ID clues ...
« Reply #5 on: November 06, 2006, 12:44:44 PM »
Howdy, Mac!  :)

Isn't the RSC and the RSC3 full chisel chain?  The cutting edge on my chain is rounded with what appears to be a tip on the front.  It looks a lot like the RS chain shown on the website with the exception being the notch shown at the top of the raker.

As for the hump on the drive link, I'm not sure.  There's a notch on the bottom of the drive link, but I believe that's not unusual in any way.  As for a hump, though, I don't see anything resembling that.  The links just before and just after the cutters, which I know as drive links, are flat on top.

Please keep in mind that I grew up taking the saw and the chains to the shop for any type of work -- including sharpening.  Chain maintenance is new to me, so I may very well be adding one and one and coming up with three here.  ;)

Thanks for your thoughts ... and please keep 'em coming ...
"Measure twice, cut once" -- Don't know who coined this one, but he was pretty wise.

Offline beenthere

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Re: Looking for Stihl chain ID clues ...
« Reply #6 on: November 06, 2006, 02:28:37 PM »
B in NOLA
I'm beginning to get confused here (not hard to do, but don't want to see you confused :)). Maybe if you'd wander back into the Stihl shop, and compare your present chain with some new chain that is marked, you will then find out for certain what you have and then can decide on the next step (at least one new chain  :)). From your comment, sounds like a pretty dull chain on your saw now, and you'll need to get some sharpening done. Maybe you hit some metal in that tree? Or dirt in the bark? or dirt or rock in the ground?

The way I see it, the RS, RSC, and RSC3 are full chisel, and nearly identical except for minor differences, to minor to get very excited about. 
The RM series is rounded, the RS series is more square cornered back from the cutting edge.  None will cut wood when the cutting edge is gone.  :)
south central Wisconsin
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Offline macpower

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Re: Looking for Stihl chain ID clues ...
« Reply #7 on: November 06, 2006, 03:16:34 PM »
B...
What type of cutting are you doing?
Even though the MS 361 is a "Pro" saw, it is under 3.8 cu. inch. The recomended set up would be either 33RM2 or 33RSC3. These are reduced kickback chains. The RSC3 will do everything that the older RS would do, with the exception of a bore cut, it is a chisel chain.
You may want to ask your dealer for Stihl pn: 5605 007 1029, it is a filing kit that comes with a 13/64" round file, filing guide, handle, flat file and raker guage. He should show you how to use it, pretty bullet proof, just takes a bit of practice. It will work with all Stihls 3/8 round filed chain.
Purveyor of Stihl chain saws.
Thomas 6013 Band Mill, Kubota L3400DT, Fransgard V3004, 2 lazy horses and a red heeler

Offline ex-Engineer Wannabe

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MYSTERY SOLVED! (I think)
« Reply #8 on: November 10, 2006, 04:12:25 PM »
Howdy, folks!

An old acquaintance of mine, from back home on the farm, mailed me a new chain.  It's a Stihl Rapid Super (RS) in 3/8" pitch x 0.050" gauge x 72 drive links.  From what I've learned through my research, I believe it's also called a 33 RS-72.

Based on my verbal description, he sent what he thought I had -- and I believe he did a pretty darn good job.  I hung my dull chain behind it and lined up the cutters for a close inspection.  Apart form the fact that my cutters no longer have a tip on them, they really look nearly identical.  Once again, I'm using this link -- Stihl Chain Descriptions -- as the basis for my chain research.  So ... it would seem that the chain I got when bought the saw, after negotiating for an upgrade to a 20" bar, was a Rapid Super after all.  One things for sure, however.  The MS 361 combined with this chain surely cut like a demon 'til I dulled the chain!

Thanks again to all  ;D
"Measure twice, cut once" -- Don't know who coined this one, but he was pretty wise.


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