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Stihl MS260 vs. Stihl MS310

Discussion in 'Chainsaw' started by BBush, Oct 29, 2007.

  1. BBush

    BBush ArboristSite Lurker

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    I am looking at purchasing a new Stihl chainsaw in the near future. I have been looking at Stihl's product line and was kinda leaning toward the MS310 model. I went to my dealer to see if he had one of the 310's in stock. After talking to him for a few minutes, he told me that the 310 was a good saw but that it falls into Stihl's "mid-range" class and is not anywhere near the caliber of saw that the "professional" class is. The nearest saw in the professional line to the MS310 as far as price is concerned is the MS260. After looking at the specs, I notice that it is not near as powerful as the MS310, however my dealer says that it will keep up or possibly out-cut it. How can this be possible? My dealer tells me the 310 revs to 13,000 rpm while the 260 revs to 15,000 rpm...is this really true? Also, what is so much greater about the professional line of saws over the mid-range models. Do the professionals really last that much longer or cut that much faster? Are the professionals really put together that much better. If one is simply looking at price, then the professional line is a lot more expensive. Since I am not in the timber business, I feel that the MS310 will serve me well. I am just trying to decide if I really need to go up to the professional line. I just want to purchase a saw that has plenty of power to tackle the bigger stuff while lasting me for a number of years. I plan on putting a 18 or 20 inch bar on whatever model I decide to purchase.
     
  2. davefr

    davefr Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Get the MS361 if you want a great saw to run 18-20" bars. It's lower weight, higher output and better quality then the MS290/310 pigs (woops I meant saws). The extra $'s is very well spent.

    If approx. $400 budget is important get a Dolmar PS5100. It's superior to MS290/310 in power to weight ratio. The PS5100's sweet spot is an 18" bar IMHO.

    The MS260 is a great saw but it's sweet spot is 16" (maybe 18" is softwood).

    I just don't see the value proposition with MS290/310.
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2007
  3. 2000ssm6

    2000ssm6 Stihl User

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    If you have the $$$ and want to stay with Stihl go with the 361.

    However, it sounds like a 390 would be a good saw for ya. The pro saws are built better and eaiser to work on but you gots to payyyyyy:)
     
  4. 441_Stihl

    441_Stihl Banned

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    if you can get a pro quality saw.Anyones pro saw is better than like the 310
     
  5. woodchuck361

    woodchuck361 AboristSite Guru

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    Man if your look'n for a good get it done saw at a good price and your NOT going to cut regularly get the 290 or 310. IF you are going to use the saw EVERYDAY then get the pro saw. The line between weekend wood cutter and I'm making a living with this saw Gets blurred a lot here. just my .02
     
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  6. Lakeside53

    Lakeside53 Stihl Wrenching

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    What woodchuck said....


    The 310 is a fine saw... do I have to say it ..."for its intended purpose!"
     
  7. adkranger

    adkranger Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Bbush, what is your intended purpose for your new toy, er mean tool? A little more information on what you intend to do with the saw will enable us to give more informed feedback.

    Woodchuck may be on point with that post, if you're just cutting firewood seasonally and using for occaisional storm cleanup the 290/310 are fine saws and will last years with common sense maintenance.

    If you desire Pro quality and want to spend the bucks for it; the 260 is a great small wood and limbing saw, happiest w/16" b/c. For general all-round cutting in average wood the 361 is a beast.

    The 260 v 310 in head to head? Dunno, different beasts. Personally I wouldn't even compare the two. The 260 is more nimble, ergonomic, optimum b/c setup smaller, faster chain speed, mag case, pricey for homeowner general use. The 310 probably more at home blocking medium wood, could wear longer b/c, better buy for general use, plastic case, consumer grade saw. In certain conditions either could probably win in the cut.........
     
  8. bcorradi

    bcorradi Arboristsite.com Sponsor

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    What they said....I think a 310 will suit you well. Maybe this will clear up a few of your questions?
    1) Is it a pro quality saw? No, but it is plenty durable and will last you many years.

    2) What is so much better about a pro quality saw? It has a magnesium crankcase, non modular motor, more receptive to modding, and has a better power to weight ratio. I don't think any of these factors should be given much weight in your situation.

    3) How many hours will it last? A few thousand without a problem. The washington forestry service used and probably still uses MS290's and they are extremely hard on equipment. I've boughten a few of these saws as parts units and its amazing the abuse these saws were put through. The MS290 which is in the same family as the MS310 is Stihl's best selling saw.

    4) Is the MS260 higher revving than the 310? Yes, but it won't outcut a 310 in larger wood because of the higher displacement of the 310.

    5) Are many people on AS going to agree that you should buy a MS310? No...there are very few people on here that will ever recommend a non professional saw no matter what its intended use is. The recommendations that will follow will be the Stihl MS361, Husky 357 & 359, and Dolmar 5100.
     
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  9. bluequill56

    bluequill56 ArboristSite Operative

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    +1

    Welcome to AS! Run! Run quickly! This is addicting! Well anyway, I had a 310 as my only saw for a long time before the bug bit me and I started aquiring new saws. I cut a lot of wood with it, then sold it to a friend who still uses it regularly. Neither of us had the first problem with it. Not as much power pound for pound compared to pro saws, but for week-end use or for firewood, it's a good saw that will last you for many years if you take care of it. If I still had it as my only saw, I'd still be doin just fine. Since I now have a 260 pro I can give you a fair comparison. The 260 is light, has good power (after muffler mod!), and handles great. But it is a tic or so behind the 310 in cutting. The 260 may out rev the 310, but the 310 has a bit more umph in the bigger stuff. BTW - 15,500 is pushing it a bit for a 260. Don't think you'd kill it, but it wouldn't last as long. 14-14,500 is 'bout right. The 310 could handle a 20" bar if needed, but I'd never ask the 260 to do that. 18 is about max for the 260. So if the wood you want to cut is smallish - 16-18", go for the 260 and you'll love it. If the wood is up to 18-20" or so, and you just want a saw to get the job done, go for the 310. I tried it on some 30" DBH oak with a 25" bar burried. Once. It did it but it was asking a bit much out of it. So..... If the wood is bigger OR you are wanting a saw for the fun factor, get the bigger pro saw like the MS361. Or bigger if your budget/desire supports it. :chainsaw: Before long you'll be on your way to the 5-saw plan!
    As to your question on pro saws vs. the 290/310/390 family: Pro saws are lighter, have a bit more power/torque and have easily removable cylinders and can be easily rebuilt. The 290/310/390's are a pain to do major repairs on and are considered by some to be throw-away's after they wear out. But again, if you take care of it and don't use it day in/day out all year, you shouldn't have to worry about that. Hope that helps. Let us know what you get and how you like it!
     
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  10. ralawler

    ralawler ArboristSite Operative

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    I owned a 390. Its 1 saw above the 310 in the midrange class. This saw was run almost every day for two years as we were clearing 16 acres of hardwood. I sold it to my neighbor for cash to buy the 460. He ain"t complained yet.
     
  11. windthrown

    windthrown Addicted to ArboristSite

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    The 310 will do you fine. I have a tempramental 026 and a great running 361 and 290, the little brother to the 310. The 290 is 5 years old now and stihl running strong. I am a big advocut for that saw. Many here on AS call it a boat anchor. The 310 will do 90% of what the 361 will do. Will it last as long? Probably not. Is it lighter? Nope. It also vibrates more, but if you are not using it for more than a few hours at a time, that is not a big issue, nor is the difference in weight. I run a 20 inch bar on the 290 here most of the time. No problem, mostly for doug fir. I also cut madrone with it, and that is about as hard as any wood gets. I have skip chain if I want to keep the revs up cutting it. In oak and larger diameter heavy wood, the 310 will bog more than the 361. Compared to the 260???... different class saw, but the 310 will outcut a 260. The rev comparison is a sales gymik. The 310 will push a longer bar. The 260 is a good old saw, but it is an older model pro saw. If you are cutting smaller diameter and lighter stuff and doing a lot of limbing, I would get the 260. If you want an all-around saw for base cutting, limbing, bucking and all around firewood cutting? I'd get the 310 (or the 361 if you have the money, I also like that saw a lot).

    While the 260 and 361 will last a lifetime for an occasional user, chances are that you will not need the saw for the rest of your life, nor do you need to will it to your children. The 290/310/390 saws will last you 10 years and cut a heck of a lot of wood.:chainsaw:
     
  12. Brushwacker

    Brushwacker Addicted to ArboristSite

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    The 310 if you run 20 inch bar . It balances better with it and the suspension (mounts) handle the weight better. 20 on the 260 is pushing it s suspension and it balances much better with an 18.Use what you need and feel more comfortable with. You have less resistance with a 16 inch bar so you have a slight gain in power. If your racing its slightly quicker. Longer bars help my back stay strait and feel good at the end of the day. I see a lot of pros using 310's and they make them money. If you can try the saws out , you might like one over the other. If you end up wanting a differant saw after buying one of these, they sell very good used , so its not hard to recover most of your investment.
     
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  13. pbuehning

    pbuehning ArboristSite Operative

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    + 1 on all the previous posts. The 290/310 IS a good running saw and will last a long time for your uses. Its a question of $$ and reality regarding how you will be using the saw.
     
  14. SawTroll

    SawTroll Information Collector

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    Bottom line; if you need the capability of the 310, the 260 can't fully replace it, even though it is a much nicer saw.

    What you really want is of course a MS361....:)
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2007
  15. Jack_Shaft

    Jack_Shaft ArboristSite Operative

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    This is the most rational thread I have ever seen on AS.

    Thank God you guys are sticking to the point; the guy is an occasional woodcutter and the 290/310/390's are just for that. Yes the 260/361 Pro saws are far superior in build, but not everybody needs that.

    One thing I am not so sure I agree on is the repair/rebuild difficulty of the orange handle vs. white handle saws. The 170/180/210/230/250/290/310/390 with the modular motor is a breeze to work on. Yes, you have to remove the handle before you can haul the engine out, but if you have to change out a crank/brgs/seals on one of these saws, the motor just pops out with four bolts, then the crank just drops out. I have rebuilt many of these and I still haven't figured out exactly how to split the case on a 260!!
     
  16. pigsitter

    pigsitter ArboristSite Lurker

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    I fall into the occasional user category and use an MS290 and am well pleased with its performance and would expect you to be just as happy with the MS310.I've got both a 20" bar and an 18" narrow kerf bar,it will pull the 20" without much trouble but it really likes the narrow kerf setup! I'm not sure of the price difference between the 260 & 310 but if it's very much I'd go with the cheaper as both will do a fine job.
     
  17. computeruser

    computeruser Addicted to ArboristSite

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    310 would be a very good choice for ya. 260 is a great limber and a superb all-around saw in softwood, but not a saw that I would personally want to run a 20" bar on in hardwood. Having used a 290/20"/325" setup for a number of years, I can assure you that the 290/310 will get the job done and I would honestly prefer one of these to a 260 for an all-around firewood saw. Keep it clean, keep it well fed, and keep that air cleaner clean, and you'll be a happy cutter.

    And yes, this is probably one of the most rational, most hype-less threads I've encountered in a long time. Everyone who posted above me deserves kudos - y'all are restoring my faith in AS as a source of good advice!
     
  18. 2000ssm6

    2000ssm6 Stihl User

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    See there are a few good ones left:D

    I used a 029 for about 6 months, great saw. I cut right along with a 361...

    Then as the funds were avaliable, I bought a 044. Once I picked up the 044 and compared it to the 029, the choice was certain. I then sold the 029 for $200 more than I paid for it. Now funds are getting low as more saws come in:(
     
  19. redwing2

    redwing2 ArboristSite Operative

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    I have an 026 pro and everyone said it right, pulling a 20" bar in the hard stuff is a bit taxing on the saw. I found this out on a tree that was taken down at my inlaws a 30" hard rock maple 3 or 4 cuts into this tree and I joined this site, and they set me on a path to the three saw plan.
    Hang around long enough and you will see for yourself.
    I looked at the 310/390 and with the help of most of the guys that have answered your question, I ended up with a Husky 365 as my cutting needs are a bit different than yours.
    IMHO you will be served well by the 310,,, then the plan will kick in!:rock: good luck on your choice whatever you decide on.
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2007
  20. Dibbs

    Dibbs AboristSite Guru

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    I'm an occasional user and cut about 50 Full Cords this year with my father in law for personal use between 3 households. (A lot I know but better looking at it than looking for it!)
    I have the 3 saw plan in effect MS200T for climbing and small diameter limbing,
    An 028 WoodBoss for general limbing and an MS440 for the big stuff. I know an MS440 sounds small to the "West of the Atlantic Folk" to give it the "Big saw" label but the largest I ever need to deal with is 30" dense hardwood.

    It's hard to justify the 028 anymore as I'm young and the MS440 doesn't feel heavy (yet) to be using just on a Saturday, but, the 028 was my first ever saw and it would be a shame to see it go.

    Yes, I have a Husky 338XPT and an 038 FarmBoss but they were bought to fix and sell on, I just haven't got round to letting them make it to the Classifieds yet. They even get the odd outing to "see" some trees now and again!

    My Father has an MS390 and is a very occasional user, but when he needs a saw it performs well even in the "big" (up to 30") stuff, It may even be all the saw I need, but I enjoy the ones I have too much to settle for just an MS390.

    Everyone here has an opinion, some from personal taste, some from brand loyalty, some from what they have read and some who actually know what is what.

    So, the question is how much you intend to cut, the depth of your pockets and most importantly what you and you alone like best.
     

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