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Stihl MS-261 CM

Discussion in 'Gear and Accessories' started by NavyCuda, Jun 11, 2017.

  1. NavyCuda

    NavyCuda Grand Nagus Staff Founders

    I'll start by saying that after today I really feel as though I got my monies worth buying this saw.

    The MS-261 CM is the entry level professional grade chainsaw from Stihl. C stands for commerial, M for microprocessor controlled. I have to admit that my knowledge of chainsaws and the operation of them is lacking. I spent a fair amount of time researching on the internet as well as talking to helpful salespeople who were willing to spend the time to explain the differences between the commercial saw and the home/farm saw.

    The gist of it is that the the MS-261 CM is manufactured in a way that is designed to be rebuildable and robust. It has addition vibration dampening, steel chain guides, beefier clutch assembly. It also has a microprocessor that is constantly adjusting the carburetor to the situation at hand. So no carb adjustments is nice.

    I'm badly out of shape, drogers and I did about 2 solid hours of cutting with our saws today and by the end of it I was near to puking. I'm not very impressed with myself. Every time I had to pickup drogers saw and move it from one spot to another I noticed how much heavier it is than my Stihl. He has a nice Husqvarna that has a bit more power than my saw but also is ~2 lbs heavier. When I was in my shit kicked state, those two lbs made a huge difference between being able to still use the saw to finish the remaining cuts and barely being able to carry it around.

    The following is just generalization of my experience with the saw and not specific to today's operation: I can't say I'm too happy with myself though. I'm making some mistake in operating the saw and somehow I'm flooding it or getting vapor lock with it after getting it hot. I've also managed to ruin the original chain that came with the saw in what I would call a freak derailing. Totally unexpected but the round fell in a way that it pinched the chain as I just went slack throttle and it derailed and wrapped up on the chain catcher. The inside of the chain was just mangled up enough I couldn't use the chain again. ~2hours on that chain. I put my spare chain on and with less than 15 minutes on it I clipped some pavement chopping up rounds and dulled the chain completely. Took 20 strokes with the file and guide to get a good profile back. I'd estimate 10% of the chains life removed.

    So I do need to get some more spare parts for it. A couple chain catchers, two spare chains a spare bar and two spare spark plugs. Oh and experience. I need lots more experience.

    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 12, 2017
  2. NavyCuda

    NavyCuda Grand Nagus Staff Founders

    I don't understand why those pictures are rotated like that. On my PC they're in the correct orientation.

    Fixed pictures - TS
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 12, 2017
  3. Ken

    Ken Crossbow Man

    Were you wearing plaid?
    Cause if not, that's why you were so tired
    Plaid is mandatory when lumberjacking
  4. NavyCuda

    NavyCuda Grand Nagus Staff Founders

    No, navy blue coveralls. To be honest I was not wearing sufficient PPE for the job. I was low visibility and didn't have proper head gear for the job at hand.
  5. drogers33

    drogers33 Longbow Man Founders

    I quite like my saw and I've used it for around 10 years. The weight difference is huge when you have comparison.

    The starting issues with yours seem like something to look into and figure out. If it was a standard carb I'd say it just needs adjustment.
  6. NavyCuda

    NavyCuda Grand Nagus Staff Founders

    I think it's something I'm doing more than an issue with the saw itself.

    I like your saw, but I did notice how much 2lbs more really is when my arms were limp spaghetti noodles.
  7. Shawn

    Shawn Moderator Staff Founders

    If your tired or not used to using a chain saw. Dont push it, accidents with chain saws are like being pregnant. Either you are or your not, there is no middle ground or in the case of the saw either you loose a limb/bleed out or dont.

    Also get good chaps they will save your life.

  8. drogers33

    drogers33 Longbow Man Founders


    Navy should have added that I did the last of the saw work while he packed branches. I was sold on chaps after watching a couple videos demonstrating how effective they are. My pair aren't expensive so they are hotter than the nice ones but they still work.
  9. NavyCuda

    NavyCuda Grand Nagus Staff Founders

    This is a very good point and one I should have been more clear on. I was at what I considered my maximum level of exhaustion where I could still safely operate my saw. The last, extra cuts drogers did was because I refused to cut anymore as I didn't feel I could safely operate my saw anymore.

    So my above commentary about the weight difference between the saws reflects how close I was to my limit and how the extra 2lbs on his saw was beyond my limit at that point in time.

    Safety with a chainsaw cannot be stressed enough. I was raised and taught to run a chainsaw the old school way, buck wild. With that limited PPE education, the focus became even more critical to know your limit and the cut you're getting into. Quite a few times I made drogers perform the cut or instruct me due to my limited experience.

    A chainsaw will not give you a second chance and there is a tremendous amount of energy in that chain at maximum velocity.
  10. Shawn

    Shawn Moderator Staff Founders

    I figured as much, but it was worth mentioning. Chain saws are scary


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