Smallish Saw Rec

Dan Cobb

Branched out member
Location
Hoover
I'm considering a new saw to fill the gap between a 194T and an 041. My little MS170 (I heard those laughs!) I have been using is becoming uneconomic so I'm considering a new saw. My saw use is sporadic. I did 4 removals and 2 prunes in a week last month, but may go a month without doing anything. I don't buck cords of wood or routinely cut stuff over 20". I'm inclined to get another Stihl since my saw, blowers and trimmers are all Stihl. I'm considering another 170 (cheap, light and weak, but have the old saw for parts) or maybe biting the bullet for a 261, which really is more than I want to spend. Seems like the 261 would be a lot closer to the 041 than the 194T. And M-tronic or not? Or maybe split the difference with something like a 251. I'm too old to require a saw that will last 20 years, but don't want a maintenance headache either. What do the saw gurus recommend?
 

Jehinten

Carpal tunnel level member
Location
Evansville
I almost bought a 170 a few years back for my (now wife) gf at the time who was helping me. She looked it over and decided on the 180 instead. Steel dogs vs plastic, touch more power, not much more in price. It's not been a bad saw, and I even run it once in awhile.

As for the 261, I just got my first one about a month ago. It's a MMWS, so it's a bit hopped up from a stock saw, but it's currently my favorite saw to run. Starts easy, lightweight and plenty of power.

You mentioned your age, if you get to the point where you no longer want to run a saw, that 261 will hold its value and likely sell faster than a 170 or 180 would.
 

Dan Cobb

Branched out member
Location
Hoover
The 261 is an excellent saw, I would not hesitate to buy one. It will outrun and far outlast your 170, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed either.
Have an opinion on M-tronic? Dealer just down the street has a non M-tronic in stock. Guy there recommended against M-tronic. Said they have to service too many, but sounded like many are due to workers who don't follow the proper procedures. Also seems like many of the bad reviews for M-tronic were on the earlier versions. I'm assuming version 3 is the one to get if getting M-tronic.
 

Reach

Been here a while
Location
Atglen, PA
Have an opinion on M-tronic? Dealer just down the street has a non M-tronic in stock. Guy there recommended against M-tronic. Said they have to service too many, but sounded like many are due to workers who don't follow the proper procedures. Also seems like many of the bad reviews for M-tronic were on the earlier versions. I'm assuming version 3 is the one to get if getting M-tronic.
I am a bit old school and so I like the more simple older style saws. However, the new M-Tronic saws seem to have fixed the issues the early models had. We have half a dozen of the newer M-Tronic saws, and haven’t had a problem with any of them since they were new; they’re all six months to two years old at present.
 
Mtronic / Autotune is great imho. A guy that cuts timber for a living and is a ways from civilization might favor an “old-school” carb saw ‍
 

GregManning

Super Moderator
Staff member
Location
Chardon, OH
... Hotwoods ported 241c with 16” bar / 63ps picco chain. This saw will spank a 550xp or a 261c
I was given a new Stihl 241 CM. I have been very please w/ its performance.
I am not a pro, but have never been a fan of modifying.
It just seems that it would reduce the life, and reliability.
 

Jehinten

Carpal tunnel level member
Location
Evansville
I was given a new Stihl 241 CM. I have been very please w/ its performance.
I am not a pro, but have never been a fan of modifying.
It just seems that it would reduce the life, and reliability.
From my research, it's actually the opposite. A properly modded saw actually reduces temps which prolongs the life of a saw. My 261 is my first modded saw, so we'll see if that's true.
 

Jonny

Been here a while
Location
Buffalo
I love my 241cm. It’s a lot of fun to use, and performs flawlessly. Sees more use in the ground than any other saw I own. That being said, if I could only own two or three saws, and one was already a 194T, I’d probably want a 50cc or 60cc next. Something that’ll pull a 20” bar and chain with no problem.
 
I was given a new Stihl 241 CM. I have been very please w/ its performance.
I am not a pro, but have never been a fan of modifying.
It just seems that it would reduce the life, and reliability.
A saw that is built for work should last as long as a stock saw and give 20%+ gains in cutting speed ... A saw incorporating machine work , using tight squish and much higher compression (155-165psi static stock vs 200psi+ static modded) on the razors edge can last as little as 1/2 of that. “Race saw” techniques are fine for someone who is racing. For someone earning their living with a saw whether full or part time cutting speed / torque is important but so is longevity. I can build saws using an expansion chamber that are upwards of 12hp and they will cut cookies like nobody’s business. Would I use that piped saw to fell trees and buck logs? Nope ... could I remove the pipe , reinstall modded muffler and retune carb and go cut wood ? Yep
 

27RMT0N

Carpal tunnel level member
Location
WA
Back to the topic at hand, if one has an MS170 and an 041, honestly I think a 261 would basically replace both of those saws. It's not as light and easy to use as a 170, but it will be worlds more friendly to use than the 041 dinosaur. I've got one, an M-Tronic, and it's one of my favorite saws (haven't run a 550XP). It may not be 'cheap' but it's a solid professional quality saw that should run for as many years as you want it, and hold its value if you sell it. I've used a 251 briefly and while it works just fine, at the end of the day it's a homeowner saw and it feels like one, just not in the same class as the 261 at all.
 

hseII

Participating member
Location
United States
... Hotwoods ported 241c with 16” bar / 63ps picco chain. This saw will spank a 550xp or a 261c

I’ll see your Ported 241 & raise you a Ported 261.

13ec04d0ac5c002466d8e64d6f997c04.jpg


81dl .325” with an 8 pin rim.

I was advised to sharpen the .325” with the 13/64” or 7/32” files by another member & it works wonderfully well with this saw.

Regular 3/8” seems to load it more with a 20” than I like: the .325” seems to load it well but not overload it.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
 

hseII

Participating member
Location
United States
Have an opinion on M-tronic? Dealer just down the street has a non M-tronic in stock. Guy there recommended against M-tronic. Said they have to service too many, but sounded like many are due to workers who don't follow the proper procedures. Also seems like many of the bad reviews for M-tronic were on the earlier versions. I'm assuming version 3 is the one to get if getting M-tronic.

MTronic is not a problem on the current 261CMs.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
 
I’ll see your Ported 241 & raise you a Ported 261.

13ec04d0ac5c002466d8e64d6f997c04.jpg


81dl .325” with an 8 pin rim.

I was advised to sharpen the .325” with the 13/64” or 7/32” files by another member & it works wonderfully well with this saw.

Regular 3/8” seems to load it more with a 20” than I like: the .325” seems to load it well but not overload it.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
I’ll see your 261 and raise ya a 660 piper... wanna race for pinks ? ...
 

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