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Decent chainsaw?

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Jan 14, 2020
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Hi, I hope it's ok to ask about this in this forum. I have a battery powered chainsaw, which ... is convenient. But really not for going through anything 5" or more. I see on craigslist here a stihl ms 250c says it's in good working order. for #250. I really don't know much about gas chainsaws except that stihl is a very good company. Is this a decent machine and price?
thanks,
R
 
Joined
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I have that same Stihl. It has been a great saw for me. From memory it is the biggest "homeowner" saw, and a step below a Pro. Has done everything I've needed it to do - when the chain is sharp.

Condition dictates price, but $250 is a reasonable starting point, for sure. Think MSRP is 350-400 on that saw. If you need a saw and it is close and in good shape it's worth firing it up. Mine has a soft start feature which is fantastic.
 

Dave Landers

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I have a MS 270. Great saw. Had it for about 12 years and have had no issues. Starts up every time. That saw has been carried thru the woods and canyon lands, felled countless trees and cut who knows how much wood. Just keeps on going.
For me, an 18" bar is just about right for general use. The 250 has a slightly smaller power head than mine (10 lbs vs 12 / 3 bhp vs 3.5) but lighter is better on your body and should be just fine for processing turning blanks.
If it's in good shape and has been cared for well, that seems like a good price to me.
 
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Well that is very encouraging. Could you point me to some indicators of it's general well being? i.e. how do I know if it's been treated well.
Thanks!
 
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Body should be reasonably clean and not greasy. Any writing on tags should be legible etc. Does the bar have more wear than it should? How easy is it to start? Did owner have it running 5 mins before you got there, or was it cold? cold start IMO will give a better sense of how easy it is to fire.

Take a minute to remove the chain and bar to see under the covers.

Probably will be obvious once you are there in person though.
 
Joined
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Chainsaws are one item I would buy new unless I knew its history, That said, to assess a used one:

look at the general condition- is the air filter clean, is the bar blued or badly worn, is the chain sharp, the tool covered in oil and crud? is there crap in the carburetor throat inside the air filter? all signs of maintenance or lack thereof.

does it start cold? does it restart when hot? idle evenly? does the chain spin when revved up?

does it run evenly when tipped to either side?

with a sharp chain, will it rip through a hardwood bolt as thick as the bar length without bogging down or overheating?

at high revs does oil come off the bar tip? (it should)

does the chain brake work?

If that all checks out, pull the muffler to see if the piston is scored, and do a compression test.

pull the chain cover and wiggle the clutch to see if the crankshaft bearings are cooked.

I have a Husqvarna 353, 52 cc's and about as small as I would recommend .
 
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Joined
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The Alaska shows have Stihl saws being used in the boonies. Good saw. I would spend the $$$ for a decent new saw with warranty instead of a used saw with no guarantee.,
Story- my father bought a boat and the guy gave a 90 day warranty on the motor. Lower unit froze up on Day 91!
 

Roger Wiegand

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Chainsaws seem to fall in two classes -- beaten to death, and virtually unused. If this one seems to fall in the latter class then it may well be a good deal. Perhaps needless to say, no one who uses chainsaws a lot is likely to sell one before it's on its last legs. Given the potential for abuse unless I knew the owner and history I'd opt for a few more bucks and a new Sthil or Husky. I'd also assume that a new bar and chain were probably going to be required, but they are ordinary wear items anyway. With these modern small saws you don't need to bind the bar in a tree very often before they are bent or crimped.

My first saw back in the early '60's was a Pioneer with a 36" bar that weighed 45 lbs. I don't miss those days!
 
Joined
Feb 28, 2021
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Roulette, PA
As a former dealer for Echo, my first question to anyone that came to my shop looking for a chainsaws is: What will you be using it for? Stihl used to be an excellent brand, but the last several years, their consumer level models such as the MS250 have gone downhill fast, and these days are not much better than what you might buy at wal-mart.. the last few I had in the shop for repair before closing the shop, looking real close, I regularly noticed the words "Made in China" on may lower end (I.E. cheapest model they could get in the bar size they wanted) Stihl models , and the construction and quality of those really showed through.. If you were to get an older "REAL" Stihl before they started the MS- labels (Such as an 025 or 026 which should be relatively comparable to the MS-250) then I'd be less hesitant to recommend them.. but those are hard to come by any more... Similarly with the low end Husqvarna models (Husqvarna bought Poulan-Weedeater, and most of their consumer models were nothing more than an orange colored Poulan you can buy for less at Home Depot) Echo is still made in USA (though Japanese owned) last I knew of, and decent (Such as Timberwolf) firewood saws.. Even their smallest model (at the time I sold them) the CS-210 with a 14 inch bar was more than enough for a lot of my customers that just cut smaller poles for campfire wood...and they sold for $199 - less than a used MS-250.. and around here, there is absolutely NO WAY I would ever pay $250.00 for ANY used chainsaw unless it was one of the professional models and I was allowed to give it a good run through its paces - I'd sooner buy new (In fact I am considering one of those chinese 52cc models with 20 inch bar on Amazon.. I'd be getting roughly the same quality as any of the box-store saws, but for a LOT less.. only caveat with those is, there's no where really to get warranty... I wouldnt even worry about parts availability - by the time you had a dealer put in a carburetor rebuild kit, and give it a good tune-up, chances are you'd have spent another $250 just in repairs... (which is usually why these are up for sale - they need work that'd cost more than replacing the saw)

In a nutshell, if you wanna spend $250 on a chainsaw, whatever you do don't let the brand name dazzle you... Consider what it might cost to fix them up (some saws, only place you can get repair parts such as carburetor is from the O.E.M. Dealer, and in some cases, new carburetor cost almost 3/4 the price of a whole new chainsaw... I'd recommend (highly) foregoing the used saw market (unless they're running, fully working, not stolen, and under $100) and just buy a new one - at the $250 price point, brand isn't really gonna matter... there'll be little if any difference in quality... (Though, if you go to an Echo dealer with a good reputation, their 5 year consumer warranty is solid - I've twice replaced the broken saw with a whole new unit under warranty from Echo, as a dealership for them, so I know the factory DOES back up their warranty.. though some dealers have been known to arbitrarily just say it isn't covered by warranty (because they rather just sell you a new one)

But in a nutshell, the first thing before offering suggestions would be to determine just what you want to use the saw for, what you expect to accomplish with it, what size bar do you really need (I use a 40v Wen cordless with 16 inch bar, and it works beautifully for the most part, though processing big logs for bowl blanks, I can only manage 1 or maybe one and a half 20 inch logs before needing to recharge for a couple hours) and how much you really use the saw in any given session...
 
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I've been using the Greenworks 16 inch chainsaw for a couple of years now and it's great. It's a tough little saw, and it usually runs out of bar oil before the battery dies.
 
Joined
Jan 14, 2020
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Austin, TX
Right. Well y'all are too slow! I done already bought it. But I will say the following. The thing looked very clean. tags all in good shape, filter very clean, relatively new chain. The guy bought it back in 11. I don't know if that's long enough ago to be before the great decline. He had used it on his property. Tending to his trees. Down here in austin you don't cut much firewood so I recon it saw fairly light use. We had a wicked freeze this winter and he was gonna have a number of trees to take down so he's gonna get a bigger one with a longer bar. Plus he was nice. :) I gave him 200 for it. I think it'll serve me well.
It has this "soft start" which in this thread two people said they really liked. I think. I find it pretty strange. But I don't need to do more work than necessary. Hell my car has a video camera on it so I don't even need to turn my head to reverse! It's these little things that will keep me alive till I'm 100!
Anyway, thank you all for the info. Heck at the least I now know what sorts of things will ware on a saw and what to mind when I'm taking care of it.
Thanks again.
R
 

brian horais

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Hi, I hope it's ok to ask about this in this forum. I have a battery powered chainsaw, which ... is convenient. But really not for going through anything 5" or more. I see on craigslist here a stihl ms 250c says it's in good working order. for #250. I really don't know much about gas chainsaws except that stihl is a very good company. Is this a decent machine and price?
thanks,
R
I bought my Stihl model 290 chainsaw over 14 years ago after going through a series of less expensive chainsaws that were not reliable. The Stihl is the most reliable 2-stroke device I have ever owned. Great power, very well made and it starts right up even if I haven't used it for over a year. If you have found a good used one, make sure it starts reliably and then buy it!
 
Joined
Feb 28, 2021
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Roulette, PA
Right. Well y'all are too slow! I done already bought it. But I will say the following. The thing looked very clean. tags all in good shape, filter very clean, relatively new chain. The guy bought it back in 11. I don't know if that's long enough ago to be before the great decline.
Should be fine.. Wasn't really until the more restrictive EPA rules kicked in (2012 production) that smaller Stihl models (and not just stihl, but other once-solid brands that still offered low-end consumer models) started to decline..
 
Joined
Jan 23, 2020
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Hoodsport, Washington
I have a 35 year old Echo that has been run hard and only tune ups done. Echo CS-620pw is my main saw now. Bought it in the box on ebay for 400.00. I have no reason to think it won't last the rest of my life. Echo all the way, they use commercial motors.
 
Joined
Mar 21, 2021
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Burbank. WA
To the OP I think you did fine should be a great saw for years to come. I have heard the same reviews about Stihl that Brian mentioned, it's unfortunate that a company known for great products has fallen off in quality. I have a Stihl weed whacker that must be 30 years old and it's still running.
 
Joined
Feb 12, 2018
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Millington, TN
Something to think about for others looking at this thread. Problem with Stihl is finding parts online. Stihl primarily sells OEM parts through their distributors only which means the markup on parts can be as high as 100% when your only choice is to pay the dealer’s full MSRP price or higher. Also, some of the local Stihl distributors are clueless especially the ones without a repair shop like Northern Tools. Not saying you can’t find some Stihl OEM parts on eBay, but the selection is very limited unless you want the cheaply made after market parts.

For this reason, I owm several Husqvarna and Stihl chainsaws (24 to 36"), but I prefer my Husqvarna saws for parts availability and fewer starting problems. Just stay with the higher end consumer saws (I.e. Farm & Ranch saws) or the pro saws (starting with 3 or 5) If you plan on doing any milling. Stihl or Echo chainsaws would be a close second especially if I found a decent used one Like the OP.
 
Joined
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As for taking care of them, a few things. Have at least one spare chain, and several is better, of course that depends on how much you use it. If you can tune it up yourself, it needs it once a year, no matter what, and that includes changing the filters. Learning how to sharpen helps for touch ups, and if you practice, you can do it by hand rather than taking it to the shop. Run clear gas in it, not just premium. They really do run better with the clear unleaded gas. Side benefit is that even if the gas degrades a bit in between uses, it isn't as bad as leaded gas. You can buy individual quart sized cans at some of the big box stores. When starting, ALWAYS start it on the ground, with the chain brake on. Yes, the pros can do the drop/pull start, but if the chain isn't locked, the saw can pivot and there goes your leg..... Biggest kick back problem is the nose of the saw. ALWAYS cut with the flat of the bar, not the nose. Yes, some pros will do plunge cuts with the nose, but that is pro level. Some times it isn't the log you are cutting that gets the nose to kick back, but the log or stick sitting on the away side of the log you are cutting. Have a flat even surface to work on. I have had people ask me to fall trees for them. Knowing what I know now, I could probably do it, but I tell them to type in 'tree falling accidents' on You Tube to explain why I won't do that. You will want to have a sledge and plastic wedges. I have had the bar get stuck more times than I can count.... There are probably more..... Protective gear can help. Minimum is safety glasses and ear plugs. Chaps and full face shield, which you most likely already have in your shop can help too. Oh, get to know the local repair shop, for multiple reasons....

robo hippy
 
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There's a common saying among woodturners that goes something like this, "Use sandpaper like someone else is buying it". Well I think that applies even more to chainsaws. Even with the best setup, cutting wood for turning blanks with a chainsaw is torture on your body. No doubt you can find good used saws out there, but if you don't know much about chainsaws you can buy someone else's abused saw just as easily. Buy a new saw, take care of it, learn to keep it sharp and your back will thank you, along with your ears and your neighbors.
 

Dan Crafton

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I recently upgraded my Stihl 023 to a 261 pro saw. Costs a bit more but if it lasts as long as the 023, it’s only a couple extra bucks a year. the saw has more power and handles so much better than similar size saws.
 
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Feb 25, 2018
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I just bought a new Stihl MS 250-18" bar from my local dealer. Stihl ran a special for $299.99 vs. regular price of $379.99. Special has been running for at least a month or so, I was able to snag the last one that my dealer had. I see beat up/abused MS 250s on FB marketplace for $250 so a few more $ for new saw was worth it. It states it was made in USA from US and foreign components - no different than anything else we buy now.
 
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