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Posted: 8/21/2017 3:06:16 PM EST
I apologize if this has been beaten to death, I did a quick search and only came up with a topic for electric chainsaws.


I recently purchased some land (5 acres) that I will need to do some clearing on. Nothing significant, mostly just getting rid of shrubs and smaller trees around the larger trees I plan to keep. There are however two dead trees that have about 18"-24" trunks that I will need to take down.

After doing some quick research I came across the Stihl MS 271 Farm Boss. My dad as well as a good buddy of mine both have Stihls and love them but I honestly dont know the first thing about chainsaws as far as what to look for.


What size bar should I look for? 16"? 18"? 20"?


No budget requirements really. Just need to know what to look for here.
Link Posted: 8/21/2017 3:28:01 PM EST
[Last Edit: 8/21/2017 3:31:33 PM EST by sea2summit]
On the right track. I'd drop the couple extra dollars and get a Stihl 261 pro grade saw. Will last you about twice as long as the 271, 2 pounds lighter, and way more power.

If you're going to fell a tree 24" in diameter you want a little more than that on the bar, general use an 18" bar will do most jobs and not get too heavy but a longer bar is handy for special jobs.
Link Posted: 8/21/2017 4:34:58 PM EST
[Last Edit: 8/21/2017 5:56:18 PM EST by FZJ80]
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Originally Posted By sea2summit:
On the right track. I'd drop the couple extra dollars and get a Stihl 261 pro grade saw. Will last you about twice as long as the 271, 2 pounds lighter, and way more power.

If you're going to fell a tree 24" in diameter you want a little more than that on the bar, general use an 18" bar will do most jobs and not get too heavy but a longer bar is handy for special jobs.
View Quote
Pretty much this. I cut about 8 cords of wood a year, plus woods road cleanup. In general, people tend to go too cheap and too big of a saw. I do 90% of my work with a 16" bar. I have another saw with a 20" bar for the big logs. Are you going to be cutting near the ground? Are there rocks in Texas? Buy some extra chains.

ETA: Don't forget the chainsaw chaps and helmet/face shield/ear pro combo. My chaps have saved me several times and the helmet has kept my bell from getting rung as well. The screen type face shields is much more pleasant on a warm day to wear than safety glasses.
Link Posted: 8/21/2017 4:49:52 PM EST
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Originally Posted By FZJ80:


Pretty much this. I cut about 8 cords of wood a year, plus woods road cleanup. In general, people tend to go too cheap and too big of a saw. I do 90% of my work with a 16" bar. I have another saw with a 20" bar for the big logs. Are you going to be cutting near the ground? Are there rocks in Texas? Buy some extra chains.
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Same here. I was clearing land for a friend and picked up half a dozen helpers. They thought it was a waste of time switching between saws. I should have let them toss the Echo Timber Wolf around for a whole day.
Link Posted: 8/21/2017 5:41:44 PM EST
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Originally Posted By FZJ80:
Pretty much this. I cut about 8 cords of wood a year, plus woods road cleanup. In general, people tend to go too cheap and too big of a saw. I do 90% of my work with a 16" bar. I have another saw with a 20" bar for the big logs. Are you going to be cutting near the ground? Are there rocks in Texas? Buy some extra chains.
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Originally Posted By FZJ80:
Originally Posted By sea2summit:
On the right track. I'd drop the couple extra dollars and get a Stihl 261 pro grade saw. Will last you about twice as long as the 271, 2 pounds lighter, and way more power.

If you're going to fell a tree 24" in diameter you want a little more than that on the bar, general use an 18" bar will do most jobs and not get too heavy but a longer bar is handy for special jobs.
Pretty much this. I cut about 8 cords of wood a year, plus woods road cleanup. In general, people tend to go too cheap and too big of a saw. I do 90% of my work with a 16" bar. I have another saw with a 20" bar for the big logs. Are you going to be cutting near the ground? Are there rocks in Texas? Buy some extra chains.
^^All of this, and I do the same between a 16" and 20" bar. I've taken 40" diameter trees with a 20" bar, so it can be done (don't do shit like that unless you know what you are doing, BTW. An extra cut here or there before you should when making your notches can be BAD). But the 16" is easier to maneuver, but more importantly is less chain to sharpen. No big deal if you have a high quality electric sharpener, but if you are doing it with a file, those extra cutters to sharpen add up... Besides, you need a FULL extra chain/bar to cut yourself free when (not if, but when) you pinch your bar in a log. Leave the bar/chain that is stuck, and use the other bar/chain to cut yourself free (this time using wedges ). If you get the second bar stuck too, I can't help you.

Also, don't skimp on PPE, purchasing AND using. I still have a right leg thanks to kevlar chaps.

Oh, I have an MS270. Other than the stupid carb intake boot ripping every few years (known issue with that model), been a great saw. It has a LOT of hard hours on it.
Link Posted: 8/21/2017 6:04:52 PM EST
I run 3 Stihl chainsaws, 261 (16"), 362 (20"), 460 (28").
The 261 gets the most use by far.
Link Posted: 8/21/2017 7:59:10 PM EST
A pro saw is the way to go. It will be lighter, have more power, last longer, and generally be much less of a PITA. If you don't work on small engines, pick the brand based on the dealer you like. Don't shop only by bar length....look at the engine size when comparing saws. Personally I would not go lower than 50-60 CCs for a general use saw. I have Stihls and a Jonsered and both brands have been good.

There's nothing wrong with having different size bars for different jobs. The manual/specs will tell you the minimum/maximum lengths that are recommended. I use a 20" the most, but a shorter bar is nice. You don't need a 24"+ bar to cut a 24" tree, but you do need to know what are you doing to fell a tree that size. Consider finding a tree guy that will get them on the ground for you on the cheap.
Link Posted: 8/21/2017 9:02:48 PM EST
thanks for the feedback guys.

right now I'm 100% looking at Stihl but is there any other brands I should be checking out? How about Husqvarna?
Link Posted: 8/22/2017 8:47:35 AM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By superspud:
thanks for the feedback guys.

right now I'm 100% looking at Stihl but is there any other brands I should be checking out? How about Husqvarna?
View Quote
They make good saws as well.  Johnsered makes great saws as well as Dolmar (Makita).  I would go with whatever brand has a close dealer you like.
Link Posted: 8/22/2017 8:56:29 AM EST
Also, as others have suggested, please buy good PPE.  Chaps are a must.  The Stihl chaps are good for the smaller saws but I personally run Labonville
X-TremeCompetition Chaps.  They are fairly light, comfy and full wrap.  10 layers of Kevlar will stop even the big saws.

Labonville Chaps
Link Posted: 8/22/2017 9:27:38 AM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Pavelow16478:
Also, as others have suggested, please buy good PPE.  Chaps are a must.  The Stihl chaps are good for the smaller saws but I personally run Labonville
X-TremeCompetition Chaps.  They are fairly light, comfy and full wrap.  10 layers of Kevlar will stop even the big saws.

Labonville Chaps
View Quote
Worth watching, neither "stopped" the saw but you could at least survive one

Non-scientific testing.


Link Posted: 8/22/2017 10:29:01 AM EST
You don't need a pro saw for 5 acres, unless the extra money doesn't matter in which case just buy an 18" MS261 and be done with it.

Stihl's consumer grade saws are no better than anyone else's. I would go with an Echo CS-450P over a MS-271. Some improved features over the Stihl and still plenty power for medium duty cutting.
Link Posted: 8/22/2017 11:01:52 AM EST
I would rather have a Husqvarna or a Stihl, I have a Poulan.  I abused my first Poulan taking down 5 trees on my old property, taking out several freeway bushes down to the root, junipers, cactus, and many, many pines on my Aunt's farm.  It was still running strong, so I sold it due to hours and bought another one.  All I do is chop up firewood these days and maybe take out a tree a year, so it will serve me a long time.  I will keep a Husqvarna on my Amazon wish list for a long, long time, until I am drunk shopping and find one severely discounted. 
Link Posted: 8/22/2017 3:18:08 PM EST
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Originally Posted By superspud:
thanks for the feedback guys.

right now I'm 100% looking at Stihl but is there any other brands I should be checking out? How about Husqvarna?
View Quote
I have been happy with my husqvarna 142 (I think that's the model)
I would also suggest buying from a dealer. I am convinced many manufacturers have different models they supply to the big box stores (Home Depot, lowes) that are a little less quality.
Link Posted: 8/22/2017 3:42:03 PM EST
My father's chainsaw is an ms290. He cut many trees down with it.

Although I dont have much experience in other brands id still recommend Stihl.

From the town i live near (population 20k) to the population i came from (3000) there was stihl dealerships and repair places.

I dont recall seeing much for Husqvarna and other brands.

There must be a reason why many forestry departments use Stihl
Link Posted: 8/22/2017 5:41:43 PM EST
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Originally Posted By superspud:
thanks for the feedback guys.

right now I'm 100% looking at Stihl but is there any other brands I should be checking out? How about Husqvarna?
View Quote
Huqvarna makes a great saw. I have an Echo I love, too. I would certainly suggest you factor in what the good dealers are in your area. That makes a differrence.
Link Posted: 8/22/2017 9:31:30 PM EST
decided on the Stihl for sure. There is a very reputable Stihl dealer here in the area that my dad and several friends have been using for years.


Its a tossup between the 271 Farm Boss and the 261 C-M at the moment. I won't be using the saw all the time but I certainly want to get something that will last a long time. we shall see.


Thank you all for the suggestions and help.
Link Posted: 8/23/2017 7:36:11 AM EST
261 C-M seems like a no brainier if those are what you have narrowed it down to.
Link Posted: 8/23/2017 7:41:17 AM EST
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Originally Posted By 1Zach1:
261 C-M seems like a no brainier if those are what you have narrowed it down to.
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Well it cost 50% more so thats certainly something to consider, but yes I'd rather have it. We will just have to see how I'm feeling about it in the next week or so.

Remember, I'm not living in the forest where I will be using it all day every day. Just need it to help me clear some land at first, then will only be using it on rare occasions if a tree or limb falls.
Link Posted: 8/23/2017 7:43:01 AM EST
ms362, 24 inch bar
Link Posted: 8/23/2017 7:55:09 AM EST
I honestly think the farm boss is fine for your needs. Spend the extra on another bar, chains, and PPE.

My ms270 is not a pro series, runs just fine, and had likely seen more cutting than your saw ever will.

Personally I would save the difference. Oh our local dealer will double your warranty if you buy a six pack of Stihl premium oil. Do that. Damn good oil too.
Link Posted: 8/23/2017 8:38:38 AM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Rat_Patrol:
I honestly think the farm boss is fine for your needs. Spend the extra on another bar, chains, and PPE.

My ms270 is not a pro series, runs just fine, and had likely seen more cutting than your saw ever will.

Personally I would save the difference. Oh our local dealer will double your warranty if you buy a six pack of Stihl premium oil. Do that. Damn good oil too.
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X2 I hate to admit it but the little small 14"170 stihl is the most used saw on the place. It's 15 years old and gets pulled out for limbing roads blow downs clearing fences etc. And It's Light. I'd get the farm boss and the 171 and use the small saw while the big saw cools then swap back cause heat is the enemy of a small engine. Plus that little saw is a whiz for pruning fruit trees with it's narrow kerf.
Link Posted: 8/23/2017 8:53:59 AM EST
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Originally Posted By superspud:


Well it cost 50% more so thats certainly something to consider, but yes I'd rather have it. We will just have to see how I'm feeling about it in the next week or so.

Remember, I'm not living in the forest where I will be using it all day every day. Just need it to help me clear some land at first, then will only be using it on rare occasions if a tree or limb falls.
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Honestly that's all the more reason to get a pro grade
Link Posted: 8/23/2017 11:58:23 PM EST
Who doesn't like more HP in a lighter weight package? Pro saws run at a little higher rpm too.
Link Posted: 8/26/2017 5:22:02 PM EST
The Farm boss with 18" bar is all you need.
Link Posted: 8/27/2017 7:29:29 AM EST
I like the husqvarna 572xp 24" bar. 72cc engine great saw I use that more than my 450 rancher I have a STIHL 026 that never wants to run for crap I do believe it needs a carb to tune it up a bit
Link Posted: 8/27/2017 11:26:37 AM EST
[Last Edit: 8/27/2017 11:27:09 AM EST by superspud]
pulled the trigger on the 20" MS 261 C with a few accessories. unfortunately, its probably going to be getting some use real soon with this storm.


Attachment Attached File
Link Posted: 8/27/2017 12:26:52 PM EST
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Originally Posted By superspud:
pulled the trigger on the 20" MS 261 C with a few accessories. unfortunately, its probably going to be getting some use real soon with this storm.


https://www.AR15.Com/media/mediaFiles/327444/chainsaw-291752.JPG
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Link Posted: 8/27/2017 12:36:01 PM EST
Would be good idea to run the first couple tank fulls with quality pre-mix during break-in. Then Stihl Ultra oil unless the $20+ a gallon for pre-mix doesn't concern you.

Use good gas +oil and keep the air filter clean and you'll never wear it out.
Link Posted: 8/27/2017 2:24:01 PM EST
Looks good glad to see you sprung for a case. I like to catch the leaks before they make it to the shop floor. Yeah use good quality gas oil mix and mix small amounts so it does't sit in the can.
Link Posted: 8/27/2017 6:05:00 PM EST
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Originally Posted By superspud:
pulled the trigger on the 20" MS 261 C with a few accessories. unfortunately, its probably going to be getting some use real soon with this storm.


https://www.AR15.Com/media/mediaFiles/327444/chainsaw-291752.JPG
View Quote
Great choice!  What is your plan for sharpening chains?
Link Posted: 8/27/2017 8:07:44 PM EST
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Originally Posted By Pavelow16478:

Great choice!  What is your plan for sharpening chains?
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none as of yet. its on the list of things I'm going to start researching.
Link Posted: 8/27/2017 8:18:09 PM EST
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Originally Posted By superspud:
none as of yet. its on the list of things I'm going to start researching.
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Originally Posted By superspud:
Originally Posted By Pavelow16478:

Great choice!  What is your plan for sharpening chains?
none as of yet. its on the list of things I'm going to start researching.
I use this with Stihl files.  Easy to use, gets the chains very sharp, repeatable, and removes very little material.

Amazon Product
  • PROFESSIONAL FILING GUIDE
$40.13
Link Posted: 8/27/2017 9:11:51 PM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Pavelow16478:

I use this with Stihl files.  Easy to use, gets the chains very sharp, repeatable, and removes very little material.

www.amazon.com/dp/B071SD5R99
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Those are $20 at Menards.
Link Posted: 8/27/2017 9:12:07 PM EST
The best $30 I ever spent regarding chainsaws. Literally couldn't live without it.

Granberg Chain Sharpener
Link Posted: 8/28/2017 6:36:03 AM EST
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Originally Posted By Rat_Patrol:
Those are $20 at Menards.
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Originally Posted By Rat_Patrol:
Originally Posted By Pavelow16478:

I use this with Stihl files.  Easy to use, gets the chains very sharp, repeatable, and removes very little material.

www.amazon.com/dp/B071SD5R99
Those are $20 at Menards.
Menards sells the "consumer" grade one where a lot of the parts are plastic.  It's the one I use now, works well but not as rigid as the one I linked.  I wasn't paying attention and bought the wrong one 

The Granberg on another poster linked works great as well.  All metal construction.
Link Posted: 8/28/2017 7:50:53 AM EST
I got the stihl 2 in 1, like that it fits in my carhartt hammer pocket and I can hit a few links if I'd idiot it into a rock or it starts cutting slow.
Link Posted: 8/28/2017 7:25:44 PM EST
Timberline Chainsaw Sharpener is the way to go.
No guessing and it is quick.

Link Posted: 8/28/2017 7:59:00 PM EST
For sharpening chains I've settles on two items. The Pferd 2 in 1 file system (identical to Stihl). It is fast and sets the depth gauges at the same time you're sharpening the cutter.

For a quick touch up, I use a Granberg stone on a dremel. I use the Pferd every third sharpening or so to keep the rakers in check.

This is way quicker than the Timberline (yes, I have one), way quicker than an off the bar grinder (yes, I have an Oregon one), and it is one step instead of messing with a seperate depth gauge and flat file.

2-3 minutes a chain. No reason not to keep them very sharp.
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