Stihl MS271 Review
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    WifeSaidOK's Avatar
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    Stihl MS271 Review

    My Dolmar PS420 with 16” bar has become a bit undersized for my needs. It struggles cutting through larger logs.
    So, I fixed that little problem by picking up a new Stihl saw. I was going back and forth between the MS251 and MS271. I looked at both closely, and ended up buying the 271. It is a little bit heavier, but has a bit more power than the 251. I spent just over $500 for the saw, spare chain, bar oil, a gallon of Motomix, and the 6 pack of 2 stroke oil to double the warranty.

    Brought the saw home and fired it up. No better time to test it than right now! I had a poplar tree come down a couple weeks ago that still needed to be cut up. This saw is the nuts. Went right through that hardwood like nothing. I am really impressed with it. It did get a bit heavy after a couple hours, but I don’t handle a chainsaw all that frequently so I expected that.
    I would definitely recommend it.
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    Congrats on the new saw. I have an older MS271 from approximately 2008. It was a good saw in the beginning however over the years it seems to lack any real balls. It just can't pull fresh chains even with a fresh bar. Seems to under oil when I'm trying to cut a tree down. I just got it back yesterday from a buddy that said he cleaned it out and it runs well. I haven't had a chance to call him to ask if he opened the top end to inspect the piston and rings. It just felt like it was severely under powered.

    Needless to say my xmas list had a MS362CM on the list and my wife changed her mind last minute. I don't need a huge saw but I need a reliable one that can do a little bit ever everything well.
    rtgt and Old Cajun like this.
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    IndianaJim's Avatar
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    I used to have little use for a saw. Even then, I had a Husky 55 Rancher.
    Now that Im in the middle of the woods, and every time the wind blows, something falls and needs cut up, not to mention all the dead Ash trees that need to come down, Ive gotten a lot more knowledgeable about saws over the last 3 years.

    My neighbor has an MS270. Its a nice saw. They are in the homeowner line, which isnt a bad thing, especially if you dont use it much.
    He uses his a LOT, but its still going strong. The only issue hes every had was the intake boot was torn, twice now.
    Last Summer (or was it the Summer before?) he took it to our local Stihl dealer and they had it 4 times, for a total of 3 months and couldnt figure it out. After contacting Stihl, they sent him to a different dealer, and they had it diagnosed and repaired in 3 days. Its been great ever since.
    He has several smaller saws, but thats his "big" saw. It wears an 18" bar, and gets the most use.
    Its an early 2000s saw, so you should get a good long life out of your 271. He uses only Stihl oil in the mix, but whatever bar oil is cheap.

    Too much information follows....

    Being out here in the woods, I found that a single saw owner can get in trouble quick. If your saw gets stuck, how do you get it loose? Well, he got me looking at different saws.
    I found out that its a great idea to have a few different sizes.
    In general, the "best" plan (I used "" because this is from another forum, and their opinion based on their experience, which as we know varies), was to have at least two saws of different sizes. Their opinion was that skipping a size was best. So if you have a 40cc, you get a 60cc. If you have a 50cc, you get a 70cc.
    I didnt take that, as I saw no need for a 70cc saw out here. I went 50cc and 60cc. But I went or will go pro level too, which also makes a bit of difference I think.

    My 55 was my "little" saw. 60(ish)cc isnt a little saw, and I found that out. Its also not a big saw, unless its a pro level saw and you dont need a 70+cc saw, and I found that out too.
    In the last year and a half Ive added two saws, one of which Ill sell and upgrade, hopefully this year.
    I first bought a Husky 359 that had some work done. Its a beast. Its also VERY loud. I ran the 55 without hearing protection for a long time before this, now of course Im older and wiser and rarely run anything that loud without my ears in.
    Anyway, it is, to me, annoyingly loud, but thats what muffler mods do. That along with the other mods made it behave like a bigger saw, but at the added cost of sound.
    Its going to go to someone who doesnt mind that and get replaced with a Husky 562XP.
    Id get the Stihl, but should I have a problem, I cant say I trust my local dealer to fix it right.
    This past spring I bought my new favorite saw, a Husky 550XP. For a small saw, its got a ton of power.
    My eventual plan is the 550XP and 562XP will see the majority of work, with the 55 as my backup.

    The reason I mentioned pro saws above was that they are generally much lighter.
    If you dont use one much, this isnt an issue. This is where the pro saws come into their own.
    You end up with, in my case, a saw weight 2 pounds less than the comparable homeowner saw. 550XP vs MS391, while having the same power. Stihls 261 has even more power, so the gap widens some.
    The 562XP has 4.7hp, which is on par with some 70cc saws.
    So, I get the weight of a 40cc, power of a 50cc with one saw, weight of a 50-60cc, power of a 70cc, so Im covered for most situations that I could ever come across out here.
    The trouble with doing what I plan to do is of course cost. Pro saws can be quite a bit more money than the others.
    I got REALLY lucky and found a smoking deal on the 550 or I wouldnt have bought it. I was looking at the 261, when funds allowed, but when I saw the 550, that was the end of that.
    Now if I can just find the same kind of deal on a 562, Ill be all set, LOL!
    Jim B.

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    I purchased a Stihl MS271 with 18 in bar 2 years ago. When cutting locust with the chain that came with it 3689 005 0074 26RM3 74. which was new. I was smoking the chain/bar with each cut. I switched the chain to the yellow full chisel 3639 005 0074 26RS 74 and it just flew through the locust NO smoke.

    I have included some information on the chain. Some people say it dulls faster, I have not found that to be the case. There is more kick back and you need to have a good hold of the saw as it really digs in.

    RAPID Super (RS) | Extremely Fast-Cutting Saw Chain | STIHL USA

    I have been very happy with it, a few weeks ago cut down and cut up a 23 in dia maple that was 100 feet tall. The saw handled it with easy.

    I found the service manual for it on Arboriste.com.
    Old Cajun and Gebada22 like this.

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    I agree on the chain, with one exception.
    Full chisel requires special care and special files to sharpen properly. You can do it with a standard file, but it doesnt turn out as good as new.
    If you are already set up to file full chisel chains, obviously ignore this.
    Semi-chisel cuts fast enough most wont know the difference unless racing, but also stay sharp longer. That was the consensus over on the Arboristforum, and my experience as well. That of course has qualifiers too, if you are cutting clean wood, its not going to be much difference, its the dirty wood where the semi-chisel wins. Shagbark Hickory for example...or anything laying on the ground.
    The semi chisel are the RM chains, yellow link/box. The green RM are the standard chains, that have the longer and wider depth gauges to limit the bite of the cutter.
    glc, Old Cajun and Gebada22 like this.
    Jim B.

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    Congrats on the new 271!
    You should get many, many years of good service from her with proper care.
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    Be careful with the Stihl bar oil. They have recently changed it and the new oil is very thick. There are several YouTube’s of folks totally trashing thier saws and bars with the new oil in cold weather.

    It gust doesn’t move when cold and leaves you running oil free and the bit of goo coming through turns into gum in the clutch assembly.

    I guess they didn’t account for the weather with the more viscous formula. I have a now old 310 with a 32 inch bar and she hums through anything. You will enjoy the saw.
    Last edited by MeagerHair; 01-01-2019 at 08:02 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MeagerHair View Post
    Be careful with the Stihl bar oil. They have recently changed it and the new oil is very thick. There are several YouTube’s of folks totally trashing thier saws and bars with the new oil in cold weather.

    It gust doesn’t move when cold and leaves you running oil free and the bit of goo coming through turns into gum in the clutch assembly.

    I guess they didn’t account for the weather with the more viscous formula. I have a now old 310 with a 32 inch bar and she hums through anything. You will enjoy the saw.
    They sell a Winter mix too, so maybe thats why its a bit thicker. It doesnt make it right though.
    I used to be a Husqvarna bar oil snob, because it was good stuff and worked, and was about the same price as any of the other big names, until this past year.
    It seems Husky did something similar. Even in 50 degree temps, I had flow issues. I thought I had an oiler problem last year because of it. Put a new pump in my 359, and while it helped a very little bit, it wasnt enough. Unless its mid-Summer, that stuff doesnt flow well, even when the saw is hot.
    Anyway, once my last gallon was gone, I went with CAM2 bar oil. Its about 1/3 the cost per gallon (5.99 last time I bought it, sometimes on sale for 4.99), and flows well when cold.

    You can add a bit of Kerosene to the oil to thin it some, but Id rather not have to do that.
    It seems to me, with an adjustable oiler, that in Summer, when its thinner, I could turn it down a bit and in Winter, if Im running the oiler all out, I should be ok, but that wasnt the case.
    Live and learn!
    Oddly enough, when I was doing some looking over on the arboristsite.com and forestryforum, most of those guys use what ever is cheap. It seems like very few people run the Stihl oil, even though they love the saws.
    glc and rtgt like this.
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    glc
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    WifeSaidOk, it is an awesome saw for sure! I got my Farm Boss in March last year. I put it to work right away cutting two Ash trees!
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    Quote Originally Posted by IndianaJim View Post
    I used to have little use for a saw. Even then, I had a Husky 55 Rancher.
    Now that Im in the middle of the woods, and every time the wind blows, something falls and needs cut up, not to mention all the dead Ash trees that need to come down, Ive gotten a lot more knowledgeable about saws over the last 3 years.

    My neighbor has an MS270. Its a nice saw. They are in the homeowner line, which isnt a bad thing, especially if you dont use it much.
    He uses his a LOT, but its still going strong. The only issue hes every had was the intake boot was torn, twice now.
    Last Summer (or was it the Summer before?) he took it to our local Stihl dealer and they had it 4 times, for a total of 3 months and couldnt figure it out. After contacting Stihl, they sent him to a different dealer, and they had it diagnosed and repaired in 3 days. Its been great ever since.
    He has several smaller saws, but thats his "big" saw. It wears an 18" bar, and gets the most use.
    Its an early 2000s saw, so you should get a good long life out of your 271. He uses only Stihl oil in the mix, but whatever bar oil is cheap.

    Too much information follows....

    Being out here in the woods, I found that a single saw owner can get in trouble quick. If your saw gets stuck, how do you get it loose? Well, he got me looking at different saws.
    I found out that its a great idea to have a few different sizes.
    In general, the "best" plan (I used "" because this is from another forum, and their opinion based on their experience, which as we know varies), was to have at least two saws of different sizes. Their opinion was that skipping a size was best. So if you have a 40cc, you get a 60cc. If you have a 50cc, you get a 70cc.
    I didnt take that, as I saw no need for a 70cc saw out here. I went 50cc and 60cc. But I went or will go pro level too, which also makes a bit of difference I think.

    My 55 was my "little" saw. 60(ish)cc isnt a little saw, and I found that out. Its also not a big saw, unless its a pro level saw and you dont need a 70+cc saw, and I found that out too.
    In the last year and a half Ive added two saws, one of which Ill sell and upgrade, hopefully this year.
    I first bought a Husky 359 that had some work done. Its a beast. Its also VERY loud. I ran the 55 without hearing protection for a long time before this, now of course Im older and wiser and rarely run anything that loud without my ears in.
    Anyway, it is, to me, annoyingly loud, but thats what muffler mods do. That along with the other mods made it behave like a bigger saw, but at the added cost of sound.
    Its going to go to someone who doesnt mind that and get replaced with a Husky 562XP.
    Id get the Stihl, but should I have a problem, I cant say I trust my local dealer to fix it right.
    This past spring I bought my new favorite saw, a Husky 550XP. For a small saw, its got a ton of power.
    My eventual plan is the 550XP and 562XP will see the majority of work, with the 55 as my backup.

    The reason I mentioned pro saws above was that they are generally much lighter.
    If you dont use one much, this isnt an issue. This is where the pro saws come into their own.
    You end up with, in my case, a saw weight 2 pounds less than the comparable homeowner saw. 550XP vs MS391, while having the same power. Stihls 261 has even more power, so the gap widens some.
    The 562XP has 4.7hp, which is on par with some 70cc saws.
    So, I get the weight of a 40cc, power of a 50cc with one saw, weight of a 50-60cc, power of a 70cc, so Im covered for most situations that I could ever come across out here.
    The trouble with doing what I plan to do is of course cost. Pro saws can be quite a bit more money than the others.
    I got REALLY lucky and found a smoking deal on the 550 or I wouldnt have bought it. I was looking at the 261, when funds allowed, but when I saw the 550, that was the end of that.
    Now if I can just find the same kind of deal on a 562, Ill be all set, LOL!
    The skipping CC sizes is the same thing that I was taught as well. The pro saws also are built a little stronger and are much less plastic. I'll try to keep my MS271 for limping and cutting up smaller logs but I plan on letting the MS362CM i'm going to purchase be my primary saw. No need for a 25" bar, a 20" will be perfect for 90% of my work.
    Gebada22 likes this.
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