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MS 362 vs. MS 391

Discussion in 'Chainsaw' started by AustinPSD, Apr 18, 2010.

  1. AustinPSD

    AustinPSD ArboristSite Lurker

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    With the MS 362, Stihl offers a 59cc saw, rated at 4.6bhp, with the power-head weighing in at 13 lbs.

    The mid-range MS 391 comes in at 64.1cc, 4.4bhp, and weighs in at 14.1 lbs., without the power-head.

    I'm going in to the dealer tomorrow to talk about both saws - the price difference is approximately $125 (20" 3/8 bar/chain combo).

    Most of the time, I need to run a 20" bar. There are a few trees (probably less than 10% of what I cut) that need a 24" or larger bar.

    I'm interested in a saw that can be maintained, rebuilt relatively easily, and can pull a 24" bar (even though it might be a little slower) on occasion.

    On the face of things, I'm a little surprised that the extra 5cc of displacement on the MS 391 doesn't translate into a bit more horsepower, but I realize there is a difference between the "pro" and "mid range" saw line.

    Based on evaluating the Stihl web site/literature, there doesn't appear to be a lot of difference between these saws other than the black handle on the MS 362 and the better spec.

    Before I talk to the dealer, a couple of questions:

    - does the MS 391 have a vertically split case like a "pro" saw?

    - has anyone used a 24" bar on the MS 391, and if so was the performance satisfactory?

    I'm OK with the price differential on the MS 362 if it translates into better long term performance and cost of ownership. I cut mostly cedar elm, poplar, a variety of oak, an bald cypress. Most of what I cut are diseased or damaged trees in clearing and reclamation projects, averaging two to three trees, including felling, limbing and bucking on a daily basis. The trees range in diameter from twelve inches to thirty inches or slightly larger in a few cases, particularly cypress and some of the older live oak.

    My employer provides a Stihl MS 230, running an 18" bar. It is underpowered, and under-length for most of the work I do. I have to re-hab saws of my own, a Stihl 011AVT, and a Husqvarna 142e that I use for limbing and trimming, as well as bucking some smaller wood. I'm ready to step up to a pro, or at least more appropriate saw as the current stable is inefficient, and in some cases inappropriate/dangerous for the work I have to do.

    This has increased in priority, as I'm now going to be cleaning up after significant flooding in the upper Guadalupe River basin after this week's flooding event. I decided to go bite the bullet tomorrow, and am leaning toward the MS 362, even with the higher cost....

    I'd appreciate any guidance or wisdom from those who've used either saw.

    Stihl is better supported in my locale than Husqvarna, and Dolmar/Makita, Jonsred, and others are next to non-existent, so Stihl is probably the best choice relative to local parts/support.
     
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  2. BloodOnTheIce

    BloodOnTheIce Account Hold

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    I've run both, not much on the 391, and a decent amount on the 362, and power and weight wise they are virtually identical. If you're going to run it several days a week and make you living with it, get the 362, if your an occasional user using it to cut some firewood, you'll be happy with the 391.
     
  3. Jtheo

    Jtheo Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Check with the dealer, but I am reasonably sure that the 391 does not have a vertically split magnesium crankcase. If so that saw will more difficult to re build.

    The 362 has received some very good reports here on AS, and would be my choice if I were buying a Stihl.
     
  4. kodiakyardboy

    kodiakyardboy ArboristSite Operative

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    I had a 390 and I just bought a 362. The 390 was a really great saw but a pain in the butt to work on. The 390 made some great power after a muffler mod. Granted, it is not the 391 so it is a different saw. The 362 is a very well built saw, easy to access the air filter, spark plug, and cylinder. It isn't even broken in yet and the power is great. For $125 difference, step up to the 362. Pro vs. homeowner models are worth the extra coin. This of course is my opinion, so do what makes sense to you.
     
  5. rattler362

    rattler362 Addicted to ArboristSite

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    I have run about 3 gallon of gas through mine and i am pleased with it i like the air filter on it better then i did the 290 i had i have never run a 391 so i cant help you their but i am happy with the choice i made.

    Mike
     
  6. billmartin

    billmartin ArboristSite Operative

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    I havn't run either one. That being said, it sounds like you will be working the saw hard enough to justify the expense of the pro. As a plus if it ever crapps out on you the extra coin spent will translate into easier repairs:cheers:

    Have fun:chainsawguy:

    Bill
     
  7. AustinPSD

    AustinPSD ArboristSite Lurker

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    Thanks for the feedback - I'm going the 362 route, now i need to find a reasonable dealer... the local "Elite" dealer is asking an elite price - $20 over MSRP, with no room to deal, no extras...

    They don't stock the 362, too new, and still have an inventory of 361's at $10 over the old MSRP...
     
  8. AustinPSD

    AustinPSD ArboristSite Lurker

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    Thanks for the heads-up - I'll give 'em a visit tomorrow.
     
  9. Andyshine77

    Andyshine77 Addicted to ArboristSite

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    If you can get one for $640.00 you're doing good, that's what I paid before tax.:cheers:
     
  10. indiansprings

    indiansprings Firewood Purveyor

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    I'm interested in a saw that can be maintained, rebuilt relatively easily,


    With that said it's a no brainer, buy the 362. Although I have not run a 362 I have run a 390, decent saw espcially for the guy who cuts his own wood.
    A real pita to work on, the 290,310,390 are all the same chassis, with just a bigger jug and slug attached as they step up in displacement. Clamshells, you can do a search, Thall just did a fantastic thread on how to rebuild one.
    The 361 rips a 390 imho, I would imagine a 362 is an improment over the 361 in all aspects but weight. Most on here say it is offers more torque and an improved power band. The way we use saws we don't even hesistate to pay the extra for the "pro" saws, if you divide it out by the lenght of time the saw will last and perform its pennies a day.
     
  11. Trigger Man

    Trigger Man Addicted to ArboristSite

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    You might want to check out Thall's thread on rebuilding a ms290, dosen't look that hard to rebuild at all, time consuming maybe but looks simple, much easier than splitting cases apart in my opinion.
     
  12. caotropheus

    caotropheus ArboristSite Operative

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  13. Trigger Man

    Trigger Man Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Did'nt I just post the samething prior to your post?
     
  14. dingeryote

    dingeryote Blueberry Baron

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    I talked with a gent this afternoon who is of the same mind as you on the comparison between the two, but as he runs a Landscape and tree service outfit with 30 some saws in the inventory, he buys the 390's and runs the crap outta them, then dumps 'em on flea bay every other year.

    I was kinda shocked untill he explained that when a saw is down and bieng serviced, it costs him money either way, and the 390 has been as solid as the the 361s for the ground guys. He even went on to lament the demise of the 390 and crossed his fingers in hope that the 391's he's got on order hold up.

    It sorta sucks cuz I was hoping to Vulture any dead saws he had, but there aren't any.LOL!!

    There's no flys on that 390.
    The 391 is a different critter, and only time will tell.

    If you think you can wear out a 362 with Honest use, it might be worth the price difference and slight bit of power.;)

    Stay safe!
    Dingeryote
     
  15. happy camper

    happy camper New Member

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    362 vs. 391

    Wow was I happy to find this thread. I have also been trying to decide between the two. I also think I am going to go with the 362. I like reliable, easy to work on, time tested gear. I am used to the 441 from work (FS fire) and am a big fan of Stihl. After reading this thread I think I am going out to buy as soon as Ace opens in the morning. Thanks for all the info gents!
     
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  16. LHJim

    LHJim ArboristSite Operative

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    buy at Ace?

    I doubt Ace has any Stihl but I coulda be wrong. I see you are in Montana so maybe Ace carrys everything? Welcome to forum!
     
  17. chevyman

    chevyman ArboristSite Operative

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    There is an MS440 in the trading post for $350. That is what i would do.
     
  18. SawTroll

    SawTroll Information Collector

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    Sure they are - the 391 makes no sence at all to me, with a price difference that small! :givebeer:

    To the OP; If you can find a 361, consider going with that one!

    Some members seem to believe it is "manly" to not care about weight and bulk differences - but most of us will notice the differences between those models after some hours of cutting, they are not small, even if the 362 and 391 weight specs are true......:censored:

    Also, the 361 is a proven design, while the others are totally new designs.
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2010
  19. 7sleeper

    7sleeper Addicted to ArboristSite

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    It is always a good idea to listen to what Sawtroll has to say!

    I would also strongly consider a pro saw for your use as far as I have understood you will be using it daily. As Sawtroll mentioned I would also stay away from a brand new introduced product for at least a year and strongly consider the 361. The story of the the Dolmar 5100 is in the memory of many here. UUPPSSS maybe I shouldn't have mentioned that.

    Well I usually try to stay away from new products for at least a year because I hate the idea of being the tryout troup.

    If you have problems getting one give Thall(THALL10326) a call. Don't visit, I repeat DON'T, visit his shop(If you do NEVER complain about Elvis!). You might go home with more than you wanted :laugh:, but his prices are supposed to make you smile!

    Good luck,

    7
     
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  20. AustinPSD

    AustinPSD ArboristSite Lurker

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    Again, thanks to all for the solid advice and counsel...

    I ended up with the MS 361 - a banner day today on many fronts, not the least of which was my employer purchasing the saw for me as a reward, and gift for working hard around here.

    Yesterday I was able to strike a cash deal with a dealer, on an MS 361 (one of a couple they had in stock). The MS 362 is still a new saw to them, and would've been a ten day wait for it after ordering, with not much of a price break.

    The MS 361 came with a 20" bar, 2 loops of 20" chain, and a 25" bar and two loops of chain, a couple of bar scabbards (too short, but they'll do for now). All in, right at $600 including the saw, the bars and chain, and sales tax...

    My employer came in late today and surprised me with a brand new saw, before I had a chance to go finalize the deal tomorrow...

    I'll try to get a couple of pictures posted tomorrow before the saw sees first wood... It is one beautiful saw!
     
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