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Help I’m going bar length crazy

johnsayen

johnsayen

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Joined
Nov 9, 2020
Messages
33
Location
Upper Michigan
Hi all

Recently upgraded from an ms251 with 18” bar to an ms261 with 20” bar. Huge step up to a professional saw that weighs the same but produces more power. I felt like the 20” bar was a little long and decided based on a bunch of searches here to buy a 16”. It’s been great but feels a little nose lite, wondering if I should now get an 18” to try out?

I realize opinions are all over the place and everyone has one. What do you think?

Also to add fuel to the fire, I temporarily had remorse that I should have bought a 362 instead of the 261 but after much more reading now I’m thinking maybe a 462 and 261 are the best path forward. Two saws!
 
Patrick62

Patrick62

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Jun 13, 2005
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2,215
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Colorado
the beginnings of CAD. Chainsaw Acquisition Disorder.
Yes a 70cc saw is a excellent match with the 261 and it's 50cc
One saw is excellent at blocking, the other is lovely for limbing and smaller stuff.
I run my 260 with a 18" and a .325 chain. Years ago I tried it with the 3/8 chain and did not really like it. Was trying to maintain compatibility with the larger saws. Not worth it, run the smaller chain.
 

U&A

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the beginnings of CAD. Chainsaw Acquisition Disorder.
Yes a 70cc saw is a excellent match with the 261 and it's 50cc
One saw is excellent at blocking, the other is lovely for limbing and smaller stuff.
I run my 260 with a 18" and a .325 chain. Years ago I tried it with the 3/8 chain and did not really like it. Was trying to maintain compatibility with the larger saws. Not worth it, run the smaller chain.

My mut saw that kevin put together and ported is a 50cc and its a screamer. I still only run an 18” .325 chain.

I think 50cc are better suited with .325.


JMO


Sent while firmly grasping my redline lubed RAM
 
kevin j

kevin j

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Jan 14, 2008
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Minnesota
026 with 20 .325. For reach not bend so much.
Built a ported and deleted 026 for my son, 16 inch that handles 3/8 chain OK. My stock 026 same 16 bar 3/8 chain was too much..
 
farmer steve

farmer steve

outstanding in my field, 5150
Joined
Feb 8, 2013
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17,872
Location
Stihl, PA
Hi all

Recently upgraded from an ms251 with 18” bar to an ms261 with 20” bar. Huge step up to a professional saw that weighs the same but produces more power. I felt like the 20” bar was a little long and decided based on a bunch of searches here to buy a 16”. It’s been great but feels a little nose lite, wondering if I should now get an 18” to try out?

I realize opinions are all over the place and everyone has one. What do you think?

Also to add fuel to the fire, I temporarily had remorse that I should have bought a 362 instead of the 261 but after much more reading now I’m thinking maybe a 462 and 261 are the best path forward. Two saws!
I have the 261 cm and love it. Pretty much my go to saw unless I need the 462 for big wood. Running the .325 yellow chain on the 18" bar. I haven't tried my 16" bar on it but I'm sure it wood really rip.
 
sirbuildalot

sirbuildalot

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Dec 16, 2015
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842
Location
New England
If you were only going to have one saw a 60cc class saw like the 362 makes sense. Since you already have the 261, Id get the 462 and be done. A 50cc and 70-80cc class saw are the perfect two saw combo. Personally, I'd run a 16" on the 261 and have a 20" and 28" for the 462. Those should cut basically any tree or log that crosses your path.
 
rancher2

rancher2

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Dec 31, 2008
Messages
865
Location
malcoln NE
I bought a 261 late summer early fall this year as we were going to be bucking up a lot of smaller hedge. Have run about 15 cords of wood with it. I am running a 16" bar on mine. So far I am really liking the saw. It would probably pull a 20" bar but when your only cutting hard wood and use to a 461 for all my larger wood. I find even when the logs are a little bigger I almost am ready to crab the 461 even when the 261 with the 16" will handle it. When you are use to a larger saw a small one with a bigger bar just doesn't cut it.
 
MNGuns

MNGuns

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Aug 3, 2008
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Princeton MN
I run 261 with a 16" 3/8 x .050.....it's a good combination for me. I like to use it for cutting tops or working up smaller stuff. Balance is not an issue IMO.

I'd say pick a bar and run with it. Near splitting hairs swapping bars 2" at a time.
 
Philbert

Philbert

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Joined
Nov 25, 2006
Messages
17,291
Location
Minnesota
Welcome to A.S.!

The MS26X / MS46X is a very popular combination. And it is always better to have 2 saws, in case one gets stuck, or has 'issues'.

Bar length is up to you and what you cut. Different bars balance differently. No reason that you can't have both a 16" and 20" bar for your saw, although, that would mean keeping track of different chains. Having a second bar is also good if your saw gets stuck: pull the powerhead, mount the other bar, and cut the first one out.

Odd thing about switching from the MS25X to the MS26X is that they use the same chain (.325 pitch, .063 gauge around here), but, since they are different bars, use different drive link counts. We upgraded from MS250's with 16" bars (62DL) to MS260's with 16" bars (67DL). It was about that time that I bought a chain spinner and breaker set.

Philbert
 
lone wolf

lone wolf

MS 200T King
Joined
Oct 5, 2009
Messages
57,843
Location
Prowling The Pine Barrens
Hi all

Recently upgraded from an ms251 with 18” bar to an ms261 with 20” bar. Huge step up to a professional saw that weighs the same but produces more power. I felt like the 20” bar was a little long and decided based on a bunch of searches here to buy a 16”. It’s been great but feels a little nose lite, wondering if I should now get an 18” to try out?

I realize opinions are all over the place and everyone has one. What do you think?

Also to add fuel to the fire, I temporarily had remorse that I should have bought a 362 instead of the 261 but after much more reading now I’m thinking maybe a 462 and 261 are the best path forward. Two saws!
18 would be just right on the 261.
 
Whinbush

Whinbush

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Joined
Jan 20, 2019
Messages
774
Location
Ireland
Enjoy your 261, a good saw by all accounts, a 16 is spot on, and the 20 for when you need it
and to avoid stooping down which saves the back.

462, another fine saw by all accounts, I had a new 362, got rid of it, you also have the viable
option of the MS400, its lighter than the 362, and a good bit stronger, 67cc.

Will depend on what you want to cut and how quick you want to cut it.
 
johnsayen

johnsayen

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Joined
Nov 9, 2020
Messages
33
Location
Upper Michigan
Odd thing about switching from the MS25X to the MS26X is that they use the same chain (.325 pitch, .063 gauge around here), but, since they are different bars, use different drive link counts. We upgraded from MS250's with 16" bars (62DL) to MS260's with 16" bars (67DL). It was about that time that I bought a chain spinner and breaker set.

I agree this was an odd thing when I learned it. Good thing chains are not as expensive as these saws!
 
johnsayen

johnsayen

ArboristSite Lurker
Joined
Nov 9, 2020
Messages
33
Location
Upper Michigan
Enjoy your 261, a good saw by all accounts, a 16 is spot on, and the 20 for when you need it
and to avoid stooping down which saves the back.

462, another fine saw by all accounts, I had a new 362, got rid of it, you also have the viable
option of the MS400, its lighter than the 362, and a good bit stronger, 67cc.

Will depend on what you want to cut and how quick you want to cut it.

Is the ms400 coming to the US? It doesn’t look to be on the Stihl USA website.
 
Jakers

Jakers

Owner - Arbor Jake's Tree Service, LLC
Joined
Jan 5, 2012
Messages
2,327
Location
Fergus Falls, MN
I run 261 with a 16" 3/8 x .050.....it's a good combination for me. I like to use it for cutting tops or working up smaller stuff. Balance is not an issue IMO.

I'd say pick a bar and run with it. Near splitting hairs swapping bars 2" at a time.
2" can make a big difference, just ask a woman ;)

I personally run a muffler modded 261C with an 18" with 3/8 chain. I did it for chain size compatibility so I only stock one pitch of bulk chain. It isn't slow by any means but does get a little doggy with an old chain that has been hastily sharpened a few times and maybe cuts crooked. In my experience that can happen with any saw/chain. Honestly, the 261 is my go to saw for most cutting once the tree is on the ground.
 
Xmaniac

Xmaniac

New Member
Joined
Sep 28, 2020
Messages
1
Location
California
Hi all

Recently upgraded from an ms251 with 18” bar to an ms261 with 20” bar. Huge step up to a professional saw that weighs the same but produces more power. I felt like the 20” bar was a little long and decided based on a bunch of searches here to buy a 16”. It’s been great but feels a little nose lite, wondering if I should now get an 18” to try out?

I realize opinions are all over the place and everyone has one. What do you think?

Also to add fuel to the fire, I temporarily had remorse that I should have bought a 362 instead of the 261 but after much more reading now I’m thinking maybe a 462 and 261 are the best path forward. Two saws!
261 recommended bar length is 18 or 20". 462 is good with a 28". What is important is chain speed! Running longer bars, heavier pitch chain, will decrease chain speed, make the saw work harder and cutting efficiency. Porting and other mods can help increase performance, chain speed.
 
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