Husky vs Stihl vs Echo for Milling

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Ethobling

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Hey folks. Hope you are well.

I have a question, but first, a small amount of info on where I'm at...

Recently, I purchased an Alaskan Sawmill (36") and a 462 for milling my own lumber. I didn't want to shell out the cash for a bandsaw sawmill, especially seeing how many are on backorder for many months. Also, I wanted to have something dual purpose and easy to move around, so a chainsaw mill fit the bill.

I am running the 462 stock. 40:1 mix using Stihl premium oil and 89 octane ethanol-free gas. 25" bar or my 36" bar if necessary (I realize this is significantly larger than recommended, but it is working fine so far).

My question: I am big on planning for the future. I expect this 462 to last a few years (especially with good maintenance), but I am considering buying a new, probably bigger saw and using the 462 more as a felling saw.

Which saw should I get? Brand doesn't really matter to me. I have all 3 brands (Echo CS400, Husky 440, Stihl 194t, 029, 462) and like them all, even if the 440 is kinda meh. I'm considering the Husky 395, the Stihl 661, and whatever comparable saw Echo carries (which I don't think they have). I want to carry a 36" with ease. Bigger if necessary.

I value durability over everything else. With that, parts availability for the foreseeable future is also a big factor.

I've read rumors that Stihl is focusing more on power to weight ratios instead of durability, but it's probably just rumors.

Thanks in advance!
 

ammoaddict

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Of course Husqvarna is the best, in my eyes anyway. Lol. Seriously you can't go wrong with any of those three. I guess it would come down to price, availability and which one feels best to you. There are a lot of the holzfforma clone saws being used for milling with good results for a fourth of the cost.
 

J D

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Don't have any experience with the larger Echo's, but if you go with a 661 get the non-mtronic version so you can tune it a tad rich for milling. I believe the 395 has a bit more torque & is a bit better suited to milling, but the front chain adjuster can be a bit awkward on the mill
 

Ethobling

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After watching a video Ironhorse did on the 395 Holtz clone, I am inclined to go the Holtz route. I'm thinking their "660Pro" since he tore down their 395Pro and was impressed with how far they had come with build quality.

I mainly lean 660 because I already have a bar and 2 chains that will fit (coming from the 462). I also theorize that the 660 pulls a chain faster (albeit with less torque than a 395) which may result in a smoother cut.

What do y'all think?
 

fields_mj

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I'll preface my post with the fact that I do not own a mill of any kind, and never have. I've been researching bigger saws for a few years because of a 60" oak in my back yard that was dying. I have a well used 064 already, so I bought a 42" bar for it and dropped the dead tree at the end of Feb. The trunk produced 4 ten foot logs. I had to mill each one in half to get them light enough to lift onto my trailer. I burned the 064 up milling the first (s.allest) log. I will rebuild the saw because it's light weight, but in the mean time I purchased a new G660 for $321 delivered. That price includes the premium i paid to get the saw from US stock. I had the powerhead in 2 business days instead of having to wait 2 to 3 weeks for it to arrive from the plant. It needed about $50 worth of parts right off the bat,including a high output oil pump, but now it appears to be a real screamer, all be it a heavy one. I finished milling the last log in golf with it last weekend, and I've noodles a lot of big limbs (including the top to logs from the trunk) down into firewood that I can lift on my splitter. I've run around 6 gal of fuel through it esing the 42" bar and it's doing great.

I know you listed durability as your top priority, and readily admit that the Chinese saws are likely the least durable option, but hear me out. My understanding is that milling is really hard on saws to the point that the power heads are somewhat of a consumable item. If thats true, why spend over 400% more on something that is only likely to last 50% to 100% longer? Buy 2 G660s instead. One to run, one for a backup so you can continue to run while the first one is being rebuilt. Your into it for less than half the cost of one new MS661, or obout the cost of a well used MS660.

Any way, just a thought to consider from a guy who honestly has no idea what you really need.

Good luck, and God Bless.
 

Ethobling

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I would have to go with the G660, simply because Holtz doesn't have a "pro" model of the 395. It was a "pro" saw Ironhorse reviewed and said was a very good saw for the money. I don't know if the non-"pro" saws they carry have the quality described by Ironhorse.

Holtz has a "pro" 660 and a "pro" 372. I suspect the 372 wont fit the bill for me, since it's the same CC as my 462, so I would default to the 660 "Pro".

It seems logical to do the Holtz route, seeing how they have consistently improved their saws over the past few year and the price is still quite amazing. And a new non-Mtronic 661 (I will probably never buy an M-tronic saw) is like $1500. $500for a G660? I can buy 3 of those "Pro" G660s for the price of a new 661! AND I can use any genuine Stihl parts on it? Seems like a good deal.

I wish they had a "Pro" 395. I'd go that route in a second, especially if it was orange, lol. Not a huge fan of the fuax carbon fiber look.

Does anyone know if the non-pro Holtz saws still have good enough quality to be worth getting? The non-pro 395 is $360. Have they made the piston rod harder on the non-pro saws?

Thanks for all the input so far!
 

ammoaddict

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All of the current ones are better than the older ones. The pro ones have a meteor piston, caber rings, an Italian made cylinder and walbro carb. That's about the only difference. Yes any OEM part will fit either one. I don't really like the carbon fiber look either. They do have an all orange 395. There are a couple video reviews of the 395. Personally I don't have faith in anything iron horse says. There are reasons I say that and will just leave it at that. I have a 660 that I built from a kit years ago. It had it's share of problems. It runs good now but still a little hard to start. I also built one of the 365 kits. I only had to replace the decomp, oil pickup hose, starter rope and buy an oring that was missing. It starts, runs and oils very well. If I wanted the 395, I wouldn't hesitate to buy it. But you have to make the decision that you feel the best about. Post some pictures of whatever you decide to get. Good luck sir.
 

Lightning Performance

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All of the current ones are better than the older ones. The pro ones have a meteor piston, caber rings, an Italian made cylinder and walbro carb. That's about the only difference. Yes any OEM part will fit either one. I don't really like the carbon fiber look either. They do have an all orange 395. There are a couple video reviews of the 395. Personally I don't have faith in anything iron horse says. There are reasons I say that and will just leave it at that. I have a 660 that I built from a kit years ago. It had it's share of problems. It runs good now but still a little hard to start. I also built one of the 365 kits. I only had to replace the decomp, oil pickup hose, starter rope and buy an oring that was missing. It starts, runs and oils very well. If I wanted the 395, I wouldn't hesitate to buy it. But you have to make the decision that you feel the best about. Post some pictures of whatever you decide to get. Good luck sir.
That was another great post in this thread. Take heed to what he said about Tin Pony. Many could give two about what he thinks about anything. Don't waste your time there OP.

Everyone has hit the key points about longevity of parts based on their original production materials and processes. The OEM road grows grey as the years pass. Things are not so this vs that anymore. The playing field is much less of a mountain now if you have been doing your homework yourself. About ten other key points should come up for discussion here that I'm not going to cover.

Decide first how much your willing to do on your end. If your not a builder do you seek one out or go with the NIB offerings? Custom maybe with everything you want in it or just, not?
A brandy new 2K plus power head isn't always going to be the answer here.

Second how much serious cutting will it go through? Milling big chit? Big chit is hardwood over three feet in any direction around here. That is just your own judgement call. Do you like maintenance or hate it?

Third is your support. Will it be Amazon, a local dealer, mail order, used, new, new AM or OEM?... decide first. Some have all these options and others not so much based on location and budgets. I'm currently focused on milling big chit. I want it all and being a builder I can have it all and more with more power.

I can't overstep my bounds here or say anymore really as far as having one built by anyone not being a sponsor or in a clique. I'm not currently offering anyone anything. Just doing my thing over here in five foot oak. No worries though someone will be along shortly to dump on me or my stuff.

Good Luck on whatever way you decide to go. Pulling big chain in big wood isn't easy to do well and have little service issues or breakdowns. The CSM is a whole nuther kettle of fish to fry and taste good with the right batter. It's not always about the recipes you have to start with the right ingredients then practice your best blending skills :cool:

What are your specific worries and how, who or what could fix them.
Sorry there was no magic bullet answer for you or a specific chainsaw to pick out.
 

J D

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If it's going to be on the mill the majority of the time the 070 they offer could be another viable option.
With either the 395 or the 070 you could put a meteor cylinder & piston kit on them & have spent less than their 660pro offering. The 070 could also be bumped up to an 090.
I also theorize that the 660 pulls a chain faster (albeit with less torque than a 395) which may result in a smoother cut.
What you want for a good finish milling is smooth & consistent travel, this is easier to achieve with torque as opposed to rpm.
If you have the torque you can always run a larger rim sprocket to up the chain speed (if you have a rim drive setup)
 

Karrl

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I’m not saying not to get a clone, but I will throw out there that you can still buy a new 395 but probably not for much longer. They also hold their value well, especially if taken care of.

If you are are going to get a clone RedneckChainsawRepair is a member on here who has a lot of experience with the different clones and even has a new 395 already.
 

sean donato

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I run my 394xp converted to 395xp top end on my 36" Alaskan mill. No issues oiling the bar. The front chain adjuster is a bit of a pain, but nothing that bad. The 660 is a fine saw just more expensive all around then the 395xp and isn't that much better in a cut imo. The 395xp dies have the oiling advantage over the 660. Can't advise on the clone saws, haven't used any of them.
 

j-jock

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You can get an adapter on eBay to run Stihl bars on Husqvarnas for about 10 bucks.
You can wrap a cotter pin around the pins of the Husky, and run a Stihl bar with no issues. This technique works for several different saws. By doing a little grinding with a Dremel type tool, you can also run a Husky bar pattern on a Mac. You also have to slightly increase the size of the adjustment hole.
Bob
 

j-jock

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My favourite saw for Alaska milling, is the Husky 2100. I ran both single and dual power head saw bars, and preferred the feel when cutting with Huskys over the Stihl. I also liked the fact that both the gas and the oil fittings were accessible without having to pull the saw out of the cut to service it.
 

ammoaddict

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You can wrap a cotter pin around the pins of the Husky, and run a Stihl bar with no issues. This technique works for several different saws. By doing a little grinding with a Dremel type tool, you can also run a Husky bar pattern on a Mac. You also have to slightly increase the size of the adjustment hole.
Bob

Interesting. So you're saying wrap the pin around the bar stud and cut it off so it basically forms a circle, similar to a split washer?: Would you happen to have any pics of this?
 

j-jock

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Interesting. So you're saying wrap the pin around the bar stud and cut it off so it basically forms a circle, similar to a split washer?: Would you happen to have any pics of this?
The way I learned to do it, was to straighten the cotter pin enough, where one end forms a hook that wraps completely around the first pin. The remainder of the cotter pin, makes a diaganal, from the bottom of the first pin, to the top of the second pin. The remainder of the cotter pin wraps around the second pin, almost forming a figure 8. No cutting involved, and the Stihl bar fits the Husky pins, just as if an adapter was used.
I have have the Stihl to Husky adapters, but can never seem to find one when I need it. This cotter pin adapter works just as well, and can also be used to adapt the Stihl bars to other old saws.
There is a youtuber called, Buckin Billy Ray, that I have seen use this trick, I will look for a link. I found a link for you, the technique is mentioned and demonstrated at approximately 8:50 into the youtube.

Bob
 

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