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Author Topic: what do you think of the ms 390  (Read 1724 times)

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Offline 567paloggger

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what do you think of the ms 390
« on: March 10, 2009, 06:22:24 PM »
a buddy of mine wants to buy a ms 390 just wondering what you thought of that saw thanks

Offline John Bartley

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Re: what do you think of the ms 390
« Reply #1 on: March 10, 2009, 06:58:05 PM »
They're good saws for the price. They're a bit heavy and a bit bulky, but the tend to last a long time with the usual basic maintenance and have more than adequate power for the price. As with all 2-cycle"stuff", use fresh, clean, properly mixed fuel (without alcohol if possible), keep the air filter, fuel filter and cooling fins clean and keep the chain sharp. It won't let you down


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Champion 25hp band mill, 20' bed
Stihl MS361
Stihl 026

Offline Al_Smith

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Re: what do you think of the ms 390
« Reply #2 on: March 10, 2009, 07:55:24 PM »
It's not what is considered a pro saw but they do alright .

My little bud the tree trimmer had several he used for ground saws . They seemed to do okay .Fact is any saw that can hold up in tree service work does okay because the hired help is not gentle with them .

 I had one on the bench this winter some yahoo blew the clutch apart on from loosing the e-clip and bearing .Repaired it with parts from an old 029 and gave it a run .It did just fine ,surprised me .

Offline Engineer

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Re: what do you think of the ms 390
« Reply #3 on: March 10, 2009, 09:19:05 PM »
I'm quoting parts from a post I made this morning on another forum, regarding the 390:

"... I bought my 390 off eBay a few years ago, after a storm had passed through the central east coast and dumped a lot of trees. Some guy in West Virginia had bought the saw, with a 25" bar and two safety chains, probably ran two tanks of gas through it to clean up his yard, and sold the saw. This thing was mint condition and I think I paid $250 for it. Since then I've put a couple hundred hours on it, beaten it up pretty bad but not enough to break it, I really only use it for bigger stuff, noodling up large blocks or trimming logs on my sawmill. I used to own an 066, so I knew what to expect. It's not the greatest saw in the world, it's got decent power, it's heavy, but for the amount I use it, it's fine. It probably gets a total of 8-10 hours of work a month, on average, for the year. I feed it Stihl oil and keep it sharp and it does fine.

Would I like a bigger saw? Yeah. I wish I hadn't unloaded the 066. I could really use it to quarter up the bigger logs I get for my mill, and make some of the bigger rounds smaller. The 390 just can't handle it. Well, maybe my patience can't handle it. I haven't ported this thing yet, so I'm going to give that a try. I normally run it with a 20" bar and it seems to be fine. I'm neither happy nor unhappy with the 390 - it's just a saw. If I had gone to my dealer for a new saw, I would more than likely have gotten into an 036PRO or MS360 (I don't think the 361 was out when I bought this one). I use my little 025 90% of the time for firewood, and I don't think I'd be happy with a much larger saw. I ran a friend's 361 with an 8-tooth rim not long ago, and it was a nice saw, but not 'amazing' like some say. "

Basically - the 390 is a lot of saw for someone who is used to a much smaller saw.  For a pro, it's somewhat of a porker.   It's heavier than a 361 and less power, but a $100+ cheaper.   I have heard that a muffler port job and carb adjustment will make a 390 scream.  I can pull a 25" bar with full comp chain on mine and it performs adequately.  If your buddy can get a used one for about $200, that's a good deal.  If he's paying new, I'd probably advise him to check the penny jar for enough to get a 361, or back down to a 280, or switch brands.  The biggest sleepers in the 60cc class are the John Deere CS62 (made by Efco) and the Makita 6401 which is a Dolmar in disguise and which can be gotten used for well under $200.  The slick thing about the Makita is that you can swap out a 7900 top end on it and turn it into an 80cc monster.

Offline ErikC

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Re: what do you think of the ms 390
« Reply #4 on: March 10, 2009, 10:22:42 PM »
  I have an 039 that's been great. Hundreds and hundreds of hours, lots of weather, still starts and runs great. I put a 28" bar with full chisel skip on it and it will pull that fine, I like to lean over less ;), it's not my main saw but it really does a good job. I agree if you are buying a new saw, the 361 is probably better. But not much better, and the price is higher.
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Offline Ianab

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Re: what do you think of the ms 390
« Reply #5 on: March 11, 2009, 04:55:32 AM »
I have MS310, smaller brother to the 390.

It's designed as a 'part time' saw. Farmers, firewood cutters etc that need something better than the little sub 50cc homeowner saws. As long as you realise that, and want to use it to cut a couple of weekends of firewood each year, it will last for years. Mine has been totally reliable, and I can pull it out of the shed after 6 months and it fires up just like normal.

If you compare them to a real 'professional' grade saw, then they aren't so good. But for a weekend firewood cutter, buy the cheaper saw and put the money you save into some safety gear, wedges, sharpening kit, spare chains etc and you will be better off.

Weekend warrior, Peterson JP test pilot, Dolmar 7900 and Stihl MS310 saws and  the usual collection of power tools :)

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