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Author Topic: Which: Stihl MS250, MS260, Husky 346XP  (Read 17686 times)

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Offline logbutcher

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Which: Stihl MS250, MS260, Husky 346XP
« on: January 08, 2004, 07:11:12 AM »
OK, OK-- more saw advice needed.

What more do you get buying the "pro" model (not the MS260 Pro)Stihl MS260 than the so-called "homeowners" 250 for the $150. US extra ?  Specific: durability ? Reliability ? Torque/hi end RPMs ? Life?
And how about the well-reviewed 346XP ?

Use: 12" to 26" mixed hard/softwoods cut.
       Ave. 1+ full day/week year-round.
       6-8 cords hardwood for heating/year.
       Woodlot mangement: selective cuts, blowdowns.
       16" bar (now from 20").
Use now Stihl 028 for most work. Husky 136 for light limbing and high stuff. But I'm using the tiny 136 more and more because of the weight. The 028 is going to hell too slowly along with a lower back, so weight is a major consideration. (Yes I know--"no whining").
Go GOL . :-/

Thanx.

Offline slowzuki

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Re: Which: Stihl MS250, MS260, Husky 346XP
« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2004, 01:43:34 PM »
Well, I choose the MS260.  I would have been happy with the 346 too I think.  If you have a bunch of Stihl's now, why not more for bar interchange?
Ken

Offline slowzuki

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Re: Which: Stihl MS250, MS260, Husky 346XP
« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2004, 04:43:51 PM »
Re the 250 vs the 260, I believe the 260 has much higher torque in the lower rpms due to the different porting and 1/2 more hp at peak.

It would have been fine for me, the dealer said the 260 would last me about 3x what the 250 would if both were well taken care of.  He mentioned in pro use the difference would be larger.

The 10 lb saws are very nice after hauling an 18 lb saw around awhile, although the little 8 lb pruning saw is nice too!

Offline jokers

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Re: Which: Stihl MS250, MS260, Husky 346XP
« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2004, 07:54:44 AM »
Hi Logbutcher,

Just having a little fun with numbers, if you cut one day/week, year `round (52days) x let`s say an average of 6hrs/day, since you said full days, it`s taking you 312hrs to produce 8 full cord(I assume "full") which equates to 13hrs/16" face cord. Even felling, limbing, skidding, and bucking, that`s alot more time than it should be taking you. I realize that you must also be doing some cleanup in that time, but in purely firewood terms, I think that 1 1/2 - 2 hrs/face cord from stump to stacked is alot more realistic. Please be patient because this is leading somewhere.

If my initial calcs were anywhere close to reality for you, it tells me something about your saw technique, and the first thing suggested is that you run dull chain. I don`t mean to offend you, but many people, including "pros" are guilty of this. If this is true, learn all that you can about sharpening and then put it to practice, you will see your production increase about 700 - 800%. There are other things to practice as well, such as guide bar maintenance and letting the saw rev and do the work, don`t force it. Bear with me, I`m still leading somewhere.

My point is, that if you run dull chain, wrong depth gauge height, force the saw, run a bar that is too big, and generally don`t give it optimum maintenance or operate like a craftsman, none of the saws you are looking at is going to please you. They are all small cube saws that are generally unforgiving of any operator error.

The 250 is a pretty good saw that will serve many people perfectly, as long as they don`t expect blazing performance. It will last quite awhile, longer than most people will care about.

The ms260 will last 2-4 times as long as the 250, and then is still a viable candidate for a ring job, which is alot easier on the 260 due to construction differences. It will cost you less to rebuild the 260 than the 250 if you take it to a shop. The 260 also turns about 1500rpm higher equating to significantly faster cutting of all material except the largest that you might tackle with a small saw, and the extra horsepower is evident at every point in the powerband.Your questions will be answered if you get the chance to run these models side by side.

The 346xp is a great saw that will routinely outcut the 260 by a small margin in the hands of an expereinced operator. In the hands of someone less savvy, it will fall on it`s face. The 260 has a more forgiving range of peak power and that`s important to many people. It also allows many people to tackle bigger wood with the 260 without realizing that they aren`t operating anywhere near peak efficiency. As far as durability, the 346 seems to be as good a saw as the 260. It`s very well constructed and it`s holding up well in the hands of the hack and slash ROW clearance crowd.

Sorry for the length of my reply but I wanted to explain my opinions and give some comparative information at the same time. Maybe this will be of some help to you as you read it and decide for yourself what type of operator you are or aspire to be.

Russ

Offline ricksvar

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Re: Which: Stihl MS250, MS260, Husky 346XP
« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2004, 07:56:13 AM »
I"ve got the 026(non pro model) and it's a fine saw.Run a 16" bar with semi chisel chain.Cuts above around 12" I'll reach for a different saw just to finish a little faster if I have several cuts to make.Saw oils very well and handles dry/dead wood with no problem.

If I were to buy a 346 I would put a 14" bar on it.I've never used one but doubt it's oiler could be adjusted to put out as much oil on the bar as a 026 non pro saw.Not a critical factor in green wood but in dry wood full load cuts I think a difference would be noticeable.That's why I would use a 14" bar combo on the 346.IMO the 346 is also a fine saw and I doubt I would have any regrets owning one,in fact I would like to own this saw,,just don't need it.

Rick

Offline jokers

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Re: Which: Stihl MS250, MS260, Husky 346XP
« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2004, 08:44:55 AM »
Hi Rick,

Husky does not seem to be afflicted with anemic adjustable oilers the way that Stihl is. I do prefer the non adjustable oiler on the 026/260 vs the adjustable oiler of the Pro version, but the 346`s oiler works equally as well. I normally run a 20" bar on the 346 and it cuts whatever gets in the way. I only go for a larger saw if the job warrants it right from the start and then it`s the primary saw to be used.

Russ

Offline ricksvar

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Re: Which: Stihl MS250, MS260, Husky 346XP
« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2004, 09:16:27 AM »
Hi Jokers,

I agree 100% concerning the Stihl adjustable oilers.Just my taste I would run a shorter bar on a 346.I'am not saying anyone should not run a 20" bar on a 026 or 346.Everyone should set up or buy a saw to suit their needs which can vary depending on individual use.

Rick

Offline logbutcher

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Re: Which: Stihl MS250, MS260, Husky 346XP
« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2004, 02:39:48 PM »
Well OK Jokers, you win this one. "To make things perfectly clear" (remember Tricky Dick ?) : for every firewood tree felled, I do 10-20 trees managing our 60 acre woodlot. Blowdowns, opening areas for growth, clearing for value trees, dropping deseased or damaged timber, felling money trees like cedar or pulp. The "1 day/week" is a low estimate for the work we do on the woodlot.
I'm just getting tired with the 028 repairs, hard-starts, and more important, weight.
I could have been clearer.
Back to a saw choice : it sounds like most of you feel that the quality, engineering , and manufacturing make to higher end "pro" saws like the MS260 and Husky 346XP  worth the extra cost. The potential few years more of useful life is the key for me. Since I have had good luck w Stihl -- 2 028's and a F81 brush and sapling cutter ---over the past 20 years, perhaps it is worthwhile to stick w the familiar.
Are you some kind of auditor or CPA ? Fun to get hammered like that. Always learn something. Keep it coming.\
Much thanx.

Offline Stan

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Re: Which: Stihl MS250, MS260, Husky 346XP
« Reply #8 on: January 09, 2004, 02:59:58 PM »
I guess Jokers wouldn't understand my problem. It's me that's worn out, not the chain.  :-/
I may have been born on a turnip truck, but I didn't just fall off.

Offline Oregon_Rob

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Re: Which: Stihl MS250, MS260, Husky 346XP
« Reply #9 on: January 09, 2004, 07:29:28 PM »
For the amount of sawing you do, why not buy a nice light 346 and have one of the saw builders upgrade it for you?
That way you get a lighter saw to carry around and if it cuts faster, you get the days work done earlier and get back to the barn that much quicker? I am an out of shape high tech worker and i don't hold up for a full days work in the woods.
At the very least, modify the muffler and get the low cost improvements, it was really noticeable on my 372xp


Rob


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Offline logbutcher

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Re: Which: Stihl MS250, MS260, Husky 346XP
« Reply #10 on: January 10, 2004, 03:42:22 AM »
Here are the stats on the 346 and 260:
Stihl MS260= 2.97 cu in, .54 pwr/wgt ratio, 10.6 lbs, $400+.
Husky 346XP= 2.7 cu in , .52 ratio, 10.6 lbs, $350+.
Pretty close, including color! Stihl gives a two-tone however.
Husky "feels better" in balance. Stihl has higher torque at WOT and I can say the name easier when the lips are cold.(Important now since we have -13 F w. a gale blowing off the ocean.) :'(
I would not modify the saw until using it stock for awhile.
Got a Husky 136 that does what it should....nice tool. And the Huskys (346XP, 353, 372XP) were used by us in the Game of Logging/CPL training.
Chains/sharpening: always touch up the chain at least after every 2nd tank, often more if cutting blowdowns or dirty wood like a standing dead oak. Got a portable filing vise that digs into a stump. Greatest tool yet: a Pferd or Husky Sharpforce File Guide that does both cutter and depth gauge (raker) at the same time. Best sharpening ever !

Offline slowzuki

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Re: Which: Stihl MS250, MS260, Husky 346XP
« Reply #11 on: January 10, 2004, 06:22:31 AM »
Just a note on the MS260 oiler, it is adjustable,  I haven't tried the extreme settings but I use a tank of oil for a tank of fuel now.  The chain looks dry but if you lift it out of the groove everything is well lubed.

Offline Minnesota_boy

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Re: Which: Stihl MS250, MS260, Husky 346XP
« Reply #12 on: January 10, 2004, 07:35:08 AM »
I have a Husqvarna 136 and a Stihl MS-180, pretty comparable saw in terms of weight, power, etc.  The Husqvarna uses a tank of oil to a tank of fuel, the Stihl uses a tank of oil to 3-4 tanks of fuel, but the chain is lubed properly.  The difference for me is the way the oiler is run.  Husqvarna oiler is crankshaft driven.  When the saw runs, the oiler pumps, whether you are sawing or just idling.  Stihl oil pumps are clutch driven.  They only pump when the chain is turning.  Since I end up with the saw idling quite a bit, I don't need a puddle of oil where the saw sits so I prefer the Stihl.

I eat a high-fiber diet.  Lots of sawdust!

Offline Bobcat_pa

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Re: Which: Stihl MS250, MS260, Husky 346XP
« Reply #13 on: January 10, 2004, 11:08:17 AM »
I have both the 260pro & 346xpg .  Jokers made a very important comment regarding the power, and use of these two saws.  The 260pro has a lot more cutting power when running less that max rpm's.  I know that a chain saw was made to run a max, but I find myself not always doing this.   Although I do not have much time on the 346 yet, it was immediately clear to me that this saw needs to run a full throttle.  If I baby the 346, it just bogs down and forces me to get the rpm's up.   As Jokers said, the pro user will make this saw run fast, and take advantage of that  extra chain speed on the 346.       Bob  

Offline logbutcher

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Re: Which: Stihl MS250, MS260, Husky 346XP
« Reply #14 on: January 11, 2004, 12:51:07 PM »
Super advice on choice.
Jokers: not clear on the RPM range of the 346 and 260. We always cut WOT, so why wouldn't they be the same in operation ? I did like the balance and feel of the 346 for a short run felling.  The 260 did "feel" a little less anti-vibe, and slightly less "balanced". What experience do you mean  to use  each ?
I am leaning toward the Stihl 260 because of higher power w same wgt, good experience w Stihl, rep for durability. Am I missing something ? (No wise cracks here, please.)
All opinions will be weighed in the opinions of the judges.
Thanx.

Offline Minnesota_boy

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Re: Which: Stihl MS250, MS260, Husky 346XP
« Reply #15 on: January 11, 2004, 01:06:16 PM »
I do most of my cutting at WOT too, but sometimes I'm willing to let the saw do its cutting and sometimes I want to push it a bit.  When I push it, the RPM drops.  Is it still in its powerband?  Must be, because it cuts a little faster, but the engine is working harder to do it.    If the powerband was narrower, the saw would bog down and cut slower if I tried to push it.
I eat a high-fiber diet.  Lots of sawdust!

Offline Fish

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Re: Which: Stihl MS250, MS260, Husky 346XP
« Reply #16 on: January 16, 2004, 04:55:58 PM »
So you all actually listen to Russ or Rick?
  Fish
FISH

Offline CWS

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Re: Which: Stihl MS250, MS260, Husky 346XP
« Reply #17 on: January 16, 2004, 05:30:59 PM »
Who else are we going to listen to? I hate Champion spark plugs by the way, don't know why, just do. :-*

Offline jrb34

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Re: Which: Stihl MS250, MS260, Husky 346XP
« Reply #18 on: January 17, 2004, 02:48:32 AM »
So where does the MS270 fit into this? I went saw shopping yesterday, and my neighborhood Stihl dealer seemed very keen on it, after selling them for a year. Better anti-vibe and cutting efficiency, he mentioned. A pound and a half heavier than the 260, I mentioned. $75 cheaper, he mentioned. Long track record, I replied.

As anyone here used one of these?
JRB

Offline logbutcher

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Re: Which: Stihl MS250, MS260, Husky 346XP
« Reply #19 on: January 17, 2004, 05:34:21 AM »
Also gently 'pushed' the MS270 for me. You must have gone to see Viking ? Mike is "all Stihl all the time." Most other dealers here have Husky and other tools and motors.
Called Stihl tech line for their technical take on the lineup of saws. Just obsessed with info, huh ?   :o The 250 is "homeowners", 270 "intermediate", 260 "professional" in construction and materials. Not much comment on the comparison w the Husky line and particularly 346XP.
The 270 did have a fuel tank recall and is newer . The 260 is the basic 026 from 1988 used by ROW and line companies as a primary tool.
Going w the 260 when the 028 gets fussy again....clean air filters, new gas filter, new plug, new starter spring and rope. Still 8-10 pulls at all temps.


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