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Joined: Jan 2012
Posts: 30
Likes: 1
Novice
I need to buy a chainsaw to cut down and cut up 13 large trees on the south coast of NSW, on my land. The trees are 10mtrs plus in height and up to 700mm dia. The removal of these trees are all approved under a current DA.

I'm looking at 2 saws, the Stihl Farmboss 391 and the Husqvarna Rancher 460.

Which one do you recommend I buy and why?

Cheers Steve

Membership information
Joined: Jan 2016
Posts: 7,427
Likes: 135
SENIOR TECHNICIAN
Hi Steve,
I bought a Farm Boss in the early eighties and it has never let me down so I am a bit biased towards the Stihl but that was forty years ago, but that doesn't define what Stilh are today. I think the expensive Stihl products would be top quality but the Husqvarna saws have a good reputation as well. I think both machines are in the top end of saws

Joined: Sep 2015
Posts: 1,996
Likes: 137
SENIOR TECHNICIAN & HISTORIAN
G'day Steve and Norm

I'd go with the Husqvarna from what I've read.

With the old saws I too liked Stihl but some people that like Stihl saws will tell you Husqvarna saws are garbage and some people
who like Husqvarna saws will tell you Stihl saws are garbage.

The only way to know is if you tried both saws and picked the one you prefer or trust someone else to have the correct facts about the saws.

One review I read said the gripe about the Stihl MS 391 is how complicated it can be to start especially when warm. It is also prone to flooding when cold which can require you to remove the plug and make sure it is dry.

The 460 ​like all the Ranchers has a Husqvarna X-Torq engine. The X-Torq line of motors cut emissions by almost seventy percent and reduce fuel consumption by twenty. They are also CARB compliant for emissions.

Starting wise you have a couple of helpful additions to help start the 460 especially when warm. There is "Smart Start" ​which reduces the resistance on the starter cord making starting a little easier on the arm. And when the engine is already warmed up there is a decompression valve and an air purge diaphragm. 

The recommendation was to buy the Husqvarna Rancher 460

They felt that the Stihl was the more powerful saw but does suffer from a few issues. It is heavier and can be tricky to start.​ When warm it has a rather complicated starting procedure that really does take some time to get the hang of. 

https://woodworking-tool-guide.com/stihl-ms-391-vs-husqvarna-460/

https://www.arboristsite.com/threads/ms-391-or-husq-460.179247/

Some reviews here https://www.productreview.com.au/listings/stihl-ms-390-farmboss

https://www.amazon.com/Husqvarna-Ra...btm?ie=UTF8&reviewerType=all_reviews

https://www.google.com/search?clien...IwQBSgAegQICRAB&biw=1366&bih=643

Cheers
Max.

Joined: Jul 2014
Posts: 110
Likes: 8
Apprentice level 2
The most important consideration when buying a new saw is the quality of the dealership - modern saws all work well enough but if they do play up and you can't fix it yourself then you are dependent on the dealer.

Joined: Apr 2014
Posts: 219
Likes: 10
Apprentice level 3
Husqvarna and Stihl are the only saws worth buying if you have serious work to do.

As above choose the brand with the best dealer, both brands are going to do the job.

You’ll need a few extra chains, a spare bar and a selection of other spare bits and bobs along with a means of sharpening. The stihl hand sharpeners that automatically do the rake teeth simultaneously with the cutting teeth are the bomb. If you haven’t got a lot of experience sharpening a chain then I’d highly recommend these. They allow relatively inexperienced people to get a dull chain back to top performance in situ in less time than it takes to take out that dull chain, clean the casing, swap in a new chain and adjust the bar.

You don’t say whether you’re just felling and burning or whether you plan on turning the trees into firewood or timber. If you’re planning on firewood then that’s a lot of work and you’d probably be better off considering a professional saw as opposed to the “landowner” ranges.

I’ve spent a lot of time behind saws and the difference between a pro saw and the others is night and day. Yes it is $300 more (for the same cubic engine capacity) but you get much better power to weight, responsiveness and serviceability. From the very first cut all the way through to the end of a day you really notice it. After a few days work that $300 will be long forgotten. Also, if you sell a pro saw on the second hand market retained value is much better.

If the trees might be suitable for timber then I’d get in touch with a contractor. There are small scale loggers all over the country on the lookout for suitable trees as there’s a national shortage and craftsmen are crying out for usable timber. While you may not make a lot of money, the blokes involved do all the work for you.

Cheers

Ironbark

Joined: Sep 2015
Posts: 1,996
Likes: 137
SENIOR TECHNICIAN & HISTORIAN
After reading the reviews on the new Stihl Farmboss 391 ,I wouldn't want one if it was given to me for free.

Most of the reviews say they flood and the only way to start them is to remove and dry the plug then install and start.

One guy said when the saw isn't running he has to store the chainsaw on its side so the motor doesn't flood .

Another problem with the Stihl is you can only buy a Stihl saw from a Stihl dealer so if you are not close to a Stihl dealer
it could be a problem.

Cheers
Max.

Joined: Jul 2018
Posts: 2,082
Likes: 80
SENIOR TECHNICIAN
I'd go the husqvarna every time. Again as others have mentioned, you need to be confident in the backup service.

Stihl are getting complacent in having 'the best' name in chainsaw in my opinion.

Joined: Jan 2016
Posts: 7,427
Likes: 135
SENIOR TECHNICIAN
Stihl did damage their brand name with some of their cheaper products that the put their name on

Joined: Feb 2006
Posts: 4,670
Likes: 163
SENIOR TECHNICIAN
Don't forget Husquvarna heave commercial grade vs domestic range. Very different grades where they may as well rename the domestic ones.


Ahh, if only victa had kept producing the thumblatch catcher series, they would be in better shape today!
Joined: Apr 2014
Posts: 219
Likes: 10
Apprentice level 3
We seem to have lost our original poster. I was initially considering not posting on this topic because it had the flavour of something put together to court controversy, the ford vs Holden type debates. However, the weird thing is I was given one of these larger capacity Stihl “landowner” range saws.

A relative whom I was close to passed away and, a little later, his widow decided to sell their property and we were all invited back to the old place to say goodbye to a spot that held strong memories. There were a few things earmarked for certain people, among them this saw that had maybe been used twice. In her words “I asked him what he wanted a new saw for at his age and he said he had a couple of jobs but it was really for you, so please take it”. Embarrassed, I initially tried to leave it behind but when I came back later after running some errands she repeated her instruction and gave me one of those looks that said I wasn’t to argue.

I took the saw home and as we’d had a few big stringybarks and peppermints come down in a storm I thought I’d use it for the cleanup job. A sort of “memorial cleanup”, exactly the sort of thing the bloke who’d bought the saw would have thought it’d be used for. These were decent sized trees, I measured one at just over 30metres, and there were enough of them that it was going to take some time. The saw performed without fault. A day and a half cutting a mix of dry and green eucalypt, hardly the easiest of work, it did a great job.

This, however, is partly where my comment about the contrast with a professional saw comes from. On that second day it started to spit a bit of rain and working on the slope I was conscious that my pace was slower and that I’d been working pretty hard. Around lunchtime I went back up to the house and grabbed one of my professional saws and used that to finish the job.

I’ve used professional saws from Husqvarna and Stihl for the great majority of my cutting over recent years. It’s been mostly Stihl, initially because my grandfather, who worked in the timber industry for more than 60 years and my father had Stihl saws. However, my local Stihl dealer has been as solid and dependable as anyone could hope for and that’s why I’ve kept going back.

The saw I was given didn’t do anything wrong, far from it, and if I’d not had a list of other jobs as long as my arm I would have continued using it. However, I knew that there was a lighter, more powerful saw sitting there. That saw let me get the rest of the work done in a day. When, if I’d kept going with the other saw, it would have been at least an extra half day on top of that. As important as the time saving was the reduced fatigue. Working on steep slopes and with hung up trees can be tough work, you really need to keep your wits about you or you can end up in a real pickle.

Anyhow, maybe this saw I have is from a different batch or something but there’s certainly nothing wrong with it. I was thinking that for someone like me it’d be ideal as a saw on a secondary property, so you didn’t have to cart your main saws to and fro unless you had a big job on. For the moment it’s sitting with my other saws.

Joined: Sep 2015
Posts: 1,996
Likes: 137
SENIOR TECHNICIAN & HISTORIAN
I just haven't seen any reviews in the past few years that recommend the Stihl Farmboss 391 over the Husqvarna Rancher 460 .

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2020 review.png (36.24 KB, 15 downloads)

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