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Cheap (but decent) backup saw?

Oatmeal

Oatmeal

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Hi all, I'm new here. :D

Actually I'm a long time reader, but just finally registered an account. Great forums you have, I basically learned how to safely fell trees and heat my home from reading here the last 5-6 years.

With that out of the way, I'm looking for suggestions for an inexpensive but decently reliable small backup saw.

I cut about 5-6 full cords per year with my 1970s era 041AV. I love it. But, things break sometimes. I have access to another saw but it's not mine and I hate having to leave to get it if something happens. I'd like to find a smaller, less expensive but decent saw to keep in the truck. Something that can at least pull a 16 inch bar, if not great but can step in if needed.

I've looked at a lot of the older small Stihl saws and honestly they are out of my price range for something that I may not use very often. I love chainsaws, but I can't afford to take a $200+ saw for pickup rides all year, if that makes sense.

I've run across a few Jonsereds but the models I find are all made by Poulan and I've had bad luck with anything that says Poulan on it. Just my experience. I see craftsmans and old remingtons etc, but I don't know enough about them to know what is and isn't a decently reliable, and readily available saw to look at.

I did find a McCulloch 310 a while back that I thought about but everything I read says run away from that particular model.

Can anyone give me a few suggestions? Something I can expect to find used for around $100 (or less) that is known to be a good choice? Am I asking for a unicorn?

Thanks!
 
TRamsdell

TRamsdell

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I have a husky 440/jonsered 2240. Pulls a 16 pretty well. Fairly light. Super cheap. Never had a problem running it. Yeah, its plastic. As a backup id just fill it with some of that canned fuel. Thst saw loves canned fuel btw, runs fine on gasoline but damn, i usually run a can through in the spring to knock the cobwebs out of it.


Edit: just saw the budget. Thats a tall order. Maybe a yard sale poulan/craftsman? Find a fixer upper ?
 
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Deleted member 149229

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Keep your eyes open for a used Echo 400. Mine wears an 18” and does great. The first 2 years I heated with wood that was the only saw I had, then CAD hit and things got weird. The last 400 I bought used and with the parts I needed to get it 100% only cost me $75 total.
 
Hand Splitter

Hand Splitter

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For a decent quality saw for $100 I’d say you are looking for a unicorn. They can be had if you constantly check CL for deals, but they are hard to come by and may require travel, which of course cost money. Just saw a great deal in my local CL for a Husqvarna 435 for $100, I’d buy it all day long, but I can’t justify another saw on the shelf, somebody will get a great deal.

You should be able to find I nice Stihl 026 for $200 that will serve your needs well for a long time.

Good luck and let us know how it turns out!
 
Ketchup

Ketchup

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There are tons of good saws out there cheap if your willing to turn some bolts. You probably won’t find a 461 for less than $200, but there are mountains of dead 40 to 60cc saws that can live again for a little time and some cheap parts. It seems like you’re already watching and doing your research. Wait for a model that has good parts availability, ideally a pro saw, that doesn’t run. You won’t make any money flipping dead saws from the 80’s but you can have a reliable saw for some time and very little money.

Some that I would watch for:
Jonsered 630/670
Jonsered 49sp
Stihl 024/026
Husqvarna 55 or 61
Mac 610, 700, or 10-10
Homelite 1000xl (or several other similar)
Husqvarna 350 (or similar)

All fair to good saws that will run reliably but aren’t worth squat unless they run. If you can find several of the same model, all the better.
 
mountainlake

mountainlake

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Keep your eyes open for a used Echo 400. Mine wears an 18” and does great. The first 2 years I heated with wood that was the only saw I had, then CAD hit and things got weird. The last 400 I bought used and with the parts I needed to get it 100% only cost me $75 total.


Right , get a CS400 Echo, muff modd and tune good. It will most likely be your favorite saw. Around $225 brand new off Ebay, most used runners are $150. Steve
 
kevin j

kevin j

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another thought is to bump up your budget to 200 bucks or a little more look for 50 or 60 cc used 026 or something similar to that in the Husky echo and use that as your primary saw. relegate your 041 to the backup. your arms and back will thank you
 
jrs_diesel

jrs_diesel

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Poulan Wild Things are numerous and cheap, and given some semblance of care are good performers. Simple to work on as well.

That said, I agree with a couple of posts above recommending the Echo CS-400. I've had mine for about 5 years now and it is built well. Out of the box it was good, but I recently got around to doing a muffler mod, as well as re-tuning the carb. That saw runs great now!
 
Oatmeal

Oatmeal

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Thank you all for the suggestions, this is exactly what I was hoping for.

Another thing I might just end up doing is buying another 041AV off ebay and fixing that up. It's a pretty heavy saw compared to a lot of others I've picked up, but maybe having the same thing around would be a good idea too.

What I really want is an 026 pro, and maybe I'll just have to explain to my wife just how absolutely necessary it is. :D


On the Poulan front, it sounds like maybe I've had worse luck than normal with them? Or are there just specific models that are decent saws?
 
lil171

lil171

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While still new to all of this, I have a Stihl MS171 with 16" bar and chain and it does well. I would think you could find a used Stihl MS170 or MS171 somewhere with a 16" bar and chain in the $100 range. Sure, it is not that powerful, but as a cheaper back-up saw, I think you would be alright.
 
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