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Ms661 vs ms880 on 36”mill

regulate34

regulate34

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Im looking to step up my milling.

Currently run a ms460 with some light port/muff work done. On a 24” mill.

I mill Fir and Pine for building various things in the property.

I have access to endless wood really. So I am looking to invest a bit and up my production.

I want to go to a 36” mill and a bigger saw. Break down into big cants. (Ex. 6”x25”) then use the ms460 to rip 2”x6”s off the cant.

My question is on a 36” mill will the 880 be much faster then the 661?

Either saw will have porting and tuning done.

I can see the 880 winning a grunt match when the bars get long. But 36” and under I wonder if the chain speed on the 661 will take the win? Especially in softwoods.

Any input would be awesome.
 
andy at clover

andy at clover

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If you have the option, 880 all the way.
Will run with less effort and give more "headroom" for oiling bigger bars if you do need.

My trees run are similar to yours as our region is the same (Doug, Western Cedar, Western Maple).
I ran a 661 for a while and although the AT is great and saw has plenty of power and adequate oiler to 36"bar .... I run a 3120 now and it just feels effortless.
After a Muffler mod,...An MS880 would run with less effort and last longer... Also, it would have the "rear end" if you run a longer bar (I run a 62" at times and the big saw oils it!)
Not sure I would port it for milling. There are some threads about on things to do to set up an MS880 for best running... I've read they are piggies out of the box and need some setting up.

Cheers!
 
regulate34

regulate34

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If you have the option, 880 all the way.
Will run with less effort and give more "headroom" for oiling bigger bars if you do need.

My trees run are similar to yours as our region is the same (Doug, Western Cedar, Western Maple).
I ran a 661 for a while and although the AT is great and saw has plenty of power and adequate oiler to 36"bar .... I run a 3120 now and it just feels effortless.
After a Muffler mod,...An MS880 would run with less effort and last longer... Also, it would have the "rear end" if you run a longer bar (I run a 62" at times and the big saw oils it!)
Not sure I would port it for milling. There are some threads about on things to do to set up an MS880 for best running... I've read they are piggies out of the box and need some setting up.

Cheers!
From what I’ve read the ms880 needs the muffler opened up and the unlimited coil from the 088s at the minimum.

I found a shop that dose the 880 up with ceramic coated bearings and the works. Might be the route I go “buy once cry once”.
 
BlackCoffin

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I run a porter ms661 with a 36” bar for milling. Anything over that I run the ported ms880 up to 72”. I’m in the PNW also and it really depends on the wood. Maple I would run the ms661 all day, but fir is nasty In chains and a .404 chain setup will last longer than a 3/8 chain so the 880 would pull that better.
To the not porting reference, that is a very vague term and misleading. Mine are all woods ported and run cooler since all I’m doing is introducing a larger charge of fuel and air. Compression is around factory levels so the added heat of more compression isn’t a factory. I have 3 years of milling in the 880 and the internals look great. I run big muffler mods and max flow air filters in all my saws. With the white foam element it really helps keep the fines out from milling.
The 661 will do you fine, but if you can afford it you’ll enjoy running the 880, and it also doesn’t limit you to large wood found in our area. Either option you choose get a woods port done on them with muffler/air filter mods and they’ll treat you well.
 
BlackCoffin

BlackCoffin

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From what I’ve read the ms880 needs the muffler opened up and the unlimited coil from the 088s at the minimum.

I found a shop that dose the 880 up with ceramic coated bearings and the works. Might be the route I go “buy once cry once”.
Unlimited coil is an option, but for milling you’re never at a high rpm anyway so really pointless money spent. The bearings might be worth looking into, but unless it’s supported with other modifications may also be pointless money spent. Almost an all in or nothing kind of thing. Muff mod would be a mandatory minimum option, second would be widen the ports for more air/fuel and enhance the intake system. They really turn into new machines after that. If you wanted porting done to a level where a squish band was cut and compression increased then the unlimited coil would be a smart route.
 
andy at clover

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I run a porter ms661 with a 36” bar for milling. Anything over that I run the ported ms880 up to 72”. I’m in the PNW also and it really depends on the wood. Maple I would run the ms661 all day, but fir is nasty In chains and a .404 chain setup will last longer than a 3/8 chain so the 880 would pull that better.
To the not porting reference, that is a very vague term and misleading. Mine are all woods ported and run cooler since all I’m doing is introducing a larger charge of fuel and air. Compression is around factory levels so the added heat of more compression isn’t a factory. I have 3 years of milling in the 880 and the internals look great. I run big muffler mods and max flow air filters in all my saws. With the white foam element it really helps keep the fines out from milling.
The 661 will do you fine, but if you can afford it you’ll enjoy running the 880, and it also doesn’t limit you to large wood found in our area. Either option you choose get a woods port done on them with muffler/air filter mods and they’ll treat you well.
RE: No Porting

I'm not much of a wrench. My comments on porting milling saws come from experience here on AS.
The 3120 I have is a MMWS. Occasionally I have trouble with over-rich conditions... it just does not always want to run lower rpm's.
My Carb has a high jet installed which the new "factory" 3120's do not and still I can't seem to rich it up without some boggy issues some days.
The solution I've had recomended is to swap out the Jug at some point, have the new jug "decked" if need be and that's that for milling.... run it stock with existing Muffler mod and unlimited coil.
Regardless of Stihl or Husky,...The big Saws are made by hand from what I understand. They have fewer milling flaws but are set up pretty "Flat" for epa purposes(supposedly).
 
BlackCoffin

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Mastermind can build a mean saw, but don’t think he has much experience with milling or building a saw geared towards milling. I think going as serious as he does on a saw may be better for fields of work other than milling. I believe the simple woods porting is as extreme as I would go on a work saw in this field. Not altering factory numbers this way and they run all day and last a long time setup that way. Not saying other forms of porting won’t do the same, but milling is tough on saws!
 
andy at clover

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Mastermind can build a mean saw, but don’t think he has much experience with milling or building a saw geared towards milling. I think going as serious as he does on a saw may be better for fields of work other than milling. I believe the simple woods porting is as extreme as I would go on a work saw in this field. Not altering factory numbers this way and they run all day and last a long time setup that way. Not saying other forms of porting won’t do the same, but milling is tough on saws!
You may have a point although this is a "woods" Port saw as well (but Randy's woods port :D ).
I traded my 661 for this saw as it sits. The work done is really nice. The carb high circuit looks and functions like factory.
Still very, very happy with it and won't make any changes until the day it needs a re-fresh.

OP, The more I think about it the more I recall how hard the 661 seemed to work with 30" of bar sunk into a fir for 10' runs... I would seriously go after more cubes if you plan to up your milling workflow.
Also, you might consider a 48" rail set and 42" bar..... My trees are constantly pushing the limit of the 36" mill or I'm having to shave the butt log. You'll add a bit of weight but not too much... a 36 is already heavy.
If you're just milling for dimensional lumber ok but for big Live edge slabs... well,... you see what I'm saying.
Dimensional lumber is relatively cheap..... I can't get the math to work well to making it with a Chainsaw Mill.
 
foeke

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Is a mobile bandsaw an option? So much quicker, and so much less wast. And quite affordable.
 
regulate34

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You may have a point although this is a "woods" Port saw as well (but Randy's woods port :D ).
I traded my 661 for this saw as it sits. The work done is really nice. The carb high circuit looks and functions like factory.
Still very, very happy with it and won't make any changes until the day it needs a re-fresh.

OP, The more I think about it the more I recall how hard the 661 seemed to work with 30" of bar sunk into a fir for 10' runs... I would seriously go after more cubes if you plan to up your milling workflow.
Also, you might consider a 48" rail set and 42" bar..... My trees are constantly pushing the limit of the 36" mill or I'm having to shave the butt log. You'll add a bit of weight but not too much... a 36 is already heavy.
If you're just milling for dimensional lumber ok but for big Live edge slabs... well,... you see what I'm saying.
Dimensional lumber is relatively cheap..... I can't get the math to work well to making it with a Chainsaw Mill.
Lumber is not too cheap here in Canada. I use mostly big beams or I just slab a 12-14” log flat top and bottom. Make great for a bridge bace.

I did a bunch a 2”think live edge slabs and used them as decking to make a dock.

Sometimes we don’t ship the oversized at work. And it gets chucked in the cull pile. Even a 42” tree squared up will fit in a 36” mill I think. Trees don’t get much bigger then that this far in land.

Not to mention a fir that big i
Has 3”+ thick bark.
 
regulate34

regulate34

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I run a porter ms661 with a 36” bar for milling. Anything over that I run the ported ms880 up to 72”. I’m in the PNW also and it really depends on the wood. Maple I would run the ms661 all day, but fir is nasty In chains and a .404 chain setup will last longer than a 3/8 chain so the 880 would pull that better.
To the not porting reference, that is a very vague term and misleading. Mine are all woods ported and run cooler since all I’m doing is introducing a larger charge of fuel and air. Compression is around factory levels so the added heat of more compression isn’t a factory. I have 3 years of milling in the 880 and the internals look great. I run big muffler mods and max flow air filters in all my saws. With the white foam element it really helps keep the fines out from milling.
The 661 will do you fine, but if you can afford it you’ll enjoy running the 880, and it also doesn’t limit you to large wood found in our area. Either option you choose get a woods port done on them with muffler/air filter mods and they’ll treat you well.
You have a point about the 404chain. It’s actually cheaper to buy 404 then 3/8 around here. I think it’s because all the processors around here run 404.

And you are right. That big thick Fir bark is hard on chains. Especially if the wood was skidded. Luckily I run a forwarder. So I keep my wood clean. Lol.
 
andy at clover

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Yup larger beams are worth the time.
You mentioned 2x6 in your original post ... which may not be worth the time :)
 
Husky Man

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I don't know if you are limiting yourself to Stihl, but Dave "thechainsawguy" here on AS, sells the Husqvarna 3120XP NIB, PHO shipped, for $1399, hard deal to beat for an Excellent Milling saw.
I would also suggest a 48" mill, and I have been very Happy with my 44" Husqvarna BRANDED Titanium Alloy Bar by GB, I don't know the current prices, but mine was IIRC $235, and the 60" was $300, from Alamia, in Denver

Just MY thoughts on spending YOUR Money ;)


Doug :cheers:
 
regulate34

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Yup larger beams are worth the time.
You mentioned 2x6 in your original post ... which may not be worth the time :)
Well a 12ft 2x6 is like 8-9$ here.
A nice 24”-26” log. Give you what?
3x 6”x18” Cants
That’s 8 2x6/cant
24 x 8$ea 192$ in lumber
I could rip 2x those in a day with the set up I have now.

Lots of labor you are right.
 
regulate34

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I don't know if you are limiting yourself to Stihl, but Dave "thechainsawguy" here on AS, sells the Husqvarna 3120XP NIB, PHO shipped, for $1399, hard deal to beat for an Excellent Milling saw.
I would also suggest a 48" mill, and I have been very Happy with my 44" Husqvarna BRANDED Titanium Alloy Bar by GB, I don't know the current prices, but mine was IIRC $235, and the 60" was $300, from Alamia, in Denver

Just MY thoughts on spending YOUR Money ;)


Doug :cheers:
I have bought a few things off Dave over the years. He’s actually based out of Canada. As am I. His price is decent.

The fixed jetting in the 3120 kinda turns me away.
I’ve read that they both need to tweaking from stock form to really run sweet. But the 880 runs stronger in the end. Maybe I’m misinformed?

Truth be told I have owned a lot of stihl products and use them for work. Been very happy. The husky’s I’ve ran 372 365 355R and a couple old 266 and 288s. Have been great.

I guess I like my orange a little on the lighter side? Lol.
 
andy at clover

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I have bought a few things off Dave over the years. He’s actually based out of Canada. As am I. His price is decent.

The fixed jetting in the 3120 kinda turns me away.
I’ve read that they both need to tweaking from stock form to really run sweet. But the 880 runs stronger in the end. Maybe I’m misinformed?

Truth be told I have owned a lot of stihl products and use them for work. Been very happy. The husky’s I’ve ran 372 365 355R and a couple old 266 and 288s. Have been great.

I guess I like my orange a little on the lighter side? Lol.
There is a solution for the missing high circuit and it works quite well.... my carb has been modded.... it works like a factory adjustment.
Both the 3120 and 880 are truly great big saws.
The main difference is going to be initial cost and dealer support.
If you don't have a Husqvarna dealer near by it makes Stihl more attractive. (my other saws are stihl for this reason).

As to cost, you can set up a new 3120 with tuning and a Bar for the cost of entry for PHO of an MS880. :/
 
SeMoTony

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I have bought a few things off Dave over the years. He’s actually based out of Canada. As am I. His price is decent.

The fixed jetting in the 3120 kinda turns me away.
I’ve read that they both need to tweaking from stock form to really run sweet. But the 880 runs stronger in the end. Maybe I’m misinformed?

Truth be told I have owned a lot of stihl products and use them for work. Been very happy. The husky’s I’ve ran 372 365 355R and a couple old 266 and 288s. Have been great.

I guess I like my orange a little on the lighter side? Lol.
I run Stihl with 3/8 .063 loops up to 60" bar so far. 5 foot bar is less a challenge with maxflo, muff-mod 72 cc PH by using skip chains. Part of the resistance is there isnot room for chips in a long cut with standard chain. Ported, max flo, muff-mod on, 661 runs semi skip with 8 pin drive fine thru maple.
Also it's a bit lighter than an 880. Makes a difference after the 1st hour each use.
I bought a 661 used by a feller, to have a rebuild with a 660 crank for 6.3more cc's at the same weight. CAD? yep curiosity also. More torque from a longer stroke @ same weight is very tempting whatever the cost.
Mill safe
 
IyaMan

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With unlimited wood, and a desire to upgrade in order to mill more, have you considered investing in a small bandsaw set up? Yes more expensive (usually $2000+), but much more efficient than a chainsaw in just about every way. Outside of small scale lumber, going big with a saw is usually only needed for slabbing big wood for table-tops, etc. but not really the best way to go for lumber production.
 
andy at clover

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The 3120xp also has a chain tensioner that gets blocked on the mill? So I’ve heard.
Not blocked fully ... it’s actually no worry even with the mill on unless ...you’re mid cut on a log which is going to be rare.

When I first used that Husky “ front” chain tensioner coming from a Stihl “side” tensioner I was suspicious.
Fact is the front tensioner is more direct and less fragile.
I’ve had a stripped pawl on my 661 and 441 where the 3120 is much burlier.
I’ve come to prefer the more direct front tensioner for longer chains.
 
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