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Author Topic: Official MS261CM vs 550XP test  (Read 19369 times)

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Online HolmenTree

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Official MS261CM vs 550XP test
« on: June 06, 2017, 10:46:34 pm »
Well it's only official in my books  8)
I recently bought a brand new 32 week of 2016 Husqvarna 550XP which at the moment has 1 hour and 40 minutes on it. Reason why I know the exact time on it is because my dealer's tech had to reboot the Auto Tune today. Saw has run off and on good to terrible.

So while at the dealer who also sells Stihl I bought the latest edition MS261CM.
So starting tomorrow hopefully I'll be commencing with years to come of service from these saws within  my tree service company.
All my saws only use Shell non ethanol 91 octane premium gasoline mixed with Stihl Ultra full synthetic mix.

The 550 is running the H30 .325 narrow kerf chain which I like very much on a 50cc saw. Too bad Stihl doesn't make a similar semi chisel .325NK chain.
But the 261 will be sporting a chain similar if not better in performance... the 63PS MS261 Tuning Kit .
This kit sold here in Canada is 3 loops of 63Picco Super 16" sawchain. A 3/8 Picco rim sprocket and a Stihl 3003 mount 16" Picco sprocket nose bar.
The 261 came with a .325 23RS chain. The same chain I run on my Husqvarna 562XP.
Stay tuned.
 

 
Making a living with a saw since age 16.

Offline John Mc

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Re: Official MS261CM vs 550XP test
« Reply #1 on: June 07, 2017, 09:57:09 am »
If you can't run the H25 on your MS261, can you run the 63PS chain on your 550XP?
If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.   - Abraham Maslow

Offline nativewolf

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Re: Official MS261CM vs 550XP test
« Reply #2 on: June 07, 2017, 10:32:56 am »
Finally a real world test to answer questions we'd all like to know.  Thanks

Do they have the same length bar? 

Everyone says that with the new Stihl autotune you have to run several tanks of gas to really get the tuning finished so it will optimize performance.  Do you expect the same with the Husky?

Offline John Mc

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Re: Official MS261CM vs 550XP test
« Reply #3 on: June 07, 2017, 10:40:39 am »
Everyone says that with the new Stihl autotune you have to run several tanks of gas to really get the tuning finished so it will optimize performance.  Do you expect the same with the Husky?

I've found on every saw I've owned, the saw needs a few tanks of gas through it before it really "wakes up". I've yet to own an autotune saw, but everything I've heard about the Husky autotune system says that you do need to run it a bit to get the autotune dialed in properly (I didn't realize the autotune part took several tanks of gas, but perhaps it's responding to the other changes the saw is going through as it breaks in?)
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Online HolmenTree

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Re: Official MS261CM vs 550XP test
« Reply #4 on: June 07, 2017, 12:23:40 pm »
If you can't run the H25 on your MS261, can you run the 63PS chain on your 550XP?
John, you can get either b/c to fit either saw with a simple modification to the Husky bar slot or a stud adapter to fit the Stihl bar to the Husky.
But there is no Picco or lo profile rim sprocket available to fit the Husky small 7 spline clutch drum. So the 63PS chain can't be run on the 550XP.
Making a living with a saw since age 16.

Online HolmenTree

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Re: Official MS261CM vs 550XP test
« Reply #5 on: June 07, 2017, 12:43:36 pm »
Finally a real world test to answer questions we'd all like to know.  Thanks

Do they have the same length bar? 

Everyone says that with the new Stihl autotune you have to run several tanks of gas to really get the tuning finished so it will optimize performance.  Do you expect the same with the Husky?
Hello nativewolf , yes they are both 16". Perfect fit for my application of using a 50cc saw.
At one time a few years back Husqvarna recommended owners to run in the AutoTune new out of the box for a steady 5 minutes at WOT under load on biggest possible wood. I just made downward rip cuts through a round of firewood standing on its end.
Now they no longer recommend that.
Like you said just run them normal for a few tanks.

This morning I was busy stump grinding stumps.  Just having lunch in my truck and then will get onto this dead poplar to finish the day.
Probably won't let the 261 cut today as I got to see how the 550 runs after the dealer tech rebooted it's Auto Tune. The saw only has 1 hr and 40 minutes on it.
Will be using the Husqvarna T536 Li XP battery saw to aerial disassemble it on spurs. Then the 550XP will block it up. If it can't finish the job then the 261 will take over.
 

 
Making a living with a saw since age 16.

Offline khntr85

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Re: Official MS261CM vs 550XP test
« Reply #6 on: June 07, 2017, 05:09:53 pm »
Awesome, can't wait for your review of the 261....

  As some one else said my ms461 gotnstronger tonupwards of 15-20 tanks....I know it sounds hard to believe....I could actually feel the compression in the pull cord go up!!

Offline gspren

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Re: Official MS261CM vs 550XP test
« Reply #7 on: June 07, 2017, 07:20:29 pm »
....I know it sounds hard to believe....I could actually feel the compression in the pull cord go up!!

  Over the past 10 years all of my rope start equipment has gone up in compression, even my ancient 041 Farm Boss.  :D :D
Stihl 041, 044 & 261, JD 2355 4X4 w/fel, JD 620, Yamaha Kodiak 400 & trailer, Kubota 400 RTV,  P&M OWB, 75 acres to play.

Online HolmenTree

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Re: Official MS261CM vs 550XP test
« Reply #8 on: June 07, 2017, 11:26:32 pm »
Well the 550 managed to get that poplar bucked up this afternoon, just barely.
I took it back to the dealer and the tech is looking at it plus I brought him some bigger wood to test it out on.
All he had yesterday was a little 6 inch diameter log that he cut 6 cookies off with the 550.

Long story short the 550 has a severe lean condition with a really bad bog while reving it up. Which eventually goes away.
Appears the old flooding problem with the old AutoTunes doesn't apply to this 31 week of 2016 model.
Now it needs to be choked to restart it even when fully warmed up.
I suspect the carbs inlet needle is not set at the right height.
Will be using the MS261 for its first time  cutting wood tomorrow while the dealer sorts out the 550.
Here's a few pics from that poplar removal this afternoon with the T536 Li XP and 550XP.
Last pic shows 5 Swedes and 1 German in the back of my pickup. :D
 

  

  

  

 
Making a living with a saw since age 16.

Offline ButchC

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Re: Official MS261CM vs 550XP test
« Reply #9 on: June 09, 2017, 07:09:38 am »
I am not sure that there is any difference between a 3/8 LP and a regular full size 3/8 drive rim but you may be right?  Years ago I made up a Carton N1C 3/8LP x .050  chain and threw it on my 036 just for giggles and it ran just fine after I replaced the worn rim with a new one. It cut real fast too. But it sure stretched quickly and really needed a narrower bar.

Will be interesting how the shoot out turns out. I have never ran a 261 but we have a very late 260 that was a dealer  hold over after the 261s came out. I also own the very first 550 that my Husky dealer sold. It will run circles around the 260 in any circumstance (that is when running correctly)  and is just plain a better saw all around (and I am a Stihl guy!)  Mine suffers from none of the known 550 tuning or starting malady's. It does have "quirks" that are mainly due to my saw operating habits. I dont habitually run my saws wide open out of the cut and the 550 needs to see that now and then to tune itself. Seems like If it doesn't see red line RPM now and then it leans itself out trying to achieve them and will get to the condition you describe where it it is so lean it doesn't run right. It goes against my grain but holding it wide open out of the cut for 10 seconds or so resets it and it goes fine once more. 

Few years ago we were at the Paul Bunyan show early on the first day and at the Husky display one of the  reps was starting saws and just flat footing them for like 60 seconds, I wanted to go over and bend one of the bars over his head for being an idiot but gave him the chance to explain what he was doing, which was setting the tunes on the saws so when people wanted to test them they would be at optimum. 

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Re: Official MS261CM vs 550XP test
« Reply #10 on: June 09, 2017, 09:54:50 am »
Thanks Butch for the good post.
Lots to report from yesterday  but was our 15th wedding anniversary so my wife and I were out late so no time to report.  Will post more tonight as I'm on my way to work.

Here's a little from yesterday.
The 550XP is still out of commission at the dealership so I had a whole day devoted to the MS261CM making its first cuts in wood.
Now to remind everyone this is not the same saw as the old 260/261.
The saw started and ran perfect throughout the day. It's master control switch makes the 550's switch look outdated. One push down on the 261's switch puts it in choke mode. No primer bulb to fiddle with. Couple of pulls on the rope and immediately squeeze the throttle trigger to bring it to idle.
There's no fumbling with the switch like on the 550 to put it on fast idle and then restarting the saw.
The 261 also has the Auto on switch mode. Just tap it upwards and it shuts off then ready again for the next startup.
When you remove the one piece top cover with the three 1/4 turn screw locks which is so easy to use plus when reinstalling it takes a bit of torque with the scrench to relock them. So no worries about them shaking loose.

After I got the 261's top cover off I saw the full HD canister air filter that also screws off with a 1/4 twist.
Very impressive looking cylinder design with a intake setup that looks very high tech to me :D
The oil and fuel flippy caps worked really nice, much improved over the olders one on my old MS200T.
I'll find more to report as the season goes on but I really like the new design of the MS261CM. The 550XP is now "old technology". Husqvarna has some catching up to do with a new redesigned 50cc saw.
The new edition MS261CM looks like a small version of the new highly anticipated MS462C

The 63PS Picco 3/8 chisel cuts good with a narrow 0.300" kerf. Its .325 23RS has a wider 0.400" kerf. Both chains have the same cutter length for equal sharpening life.
But Stihl needs to make a 6 tooth mini 7 spline rim sprocket. The 7 tooth Picco rim is actually larger in diameter then the standard 3/8 7 tooth rim at 1.432"  The standard 3/8 is 1.382"
The Picco needs to get down to the smaller size of the .325 7 tooth rim at 1.250"
I know the MS241 and saws like the MS250 also have the Picco 7 rim and that's way to big for those small saws.

 

  

  

 

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Online HolmenTree

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Re: Official MS261CM vs 550XP test
« Reply #11 on: June 09, 2017, 03:28:01 pm »
Spike60 just sent me a message this morning. I'm sitting in my truck have a late lunch. Here is what Bob said:

Willard, does your dealer keep up with his service bulletins?

All 2016 550s with the AT-12 carb need to have the firmware updated and the fuel settings reset. I'm doing this at the time of sale, not waiting to see if a problem exists and make the customer drive back.

Something changed with the new carb and some new fuel parameters are needed. Very simple to do. Just update the firmware and then hit the default reset on the fuel settings. "L" values will show 90 and you're good to go. Funny that I noticed this thread cause I have to do 10 of them this morning on a fleet deal for a tree company..These 550's run the way they should have from the beginning.

And Happy Anniversary!
Making a living with a saw since age 16.

Offline khntr85

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Re: Official MS261CM vs 550XP test
« Reply #12 on: June 09, 2017, 04:50:06 pm »
Thanks Butch for the good post.
Lots to report from yesterday  but was our 15th wedding anniversary so my wife and I were out late so no time to report.  Will post more tonight as I'm on my way to work.

Here's a little from yesterday.
The 550XP is still out of commission at the dealership so I had a whole day devoted to the MS261CM making its first cuts in wood.
Now to remind everyone this is not the same saw as the old 260/261.
The saw started and ran perfect throughout the day. It's master control switch makes the 550's switch look outdated. One push down on the 261's switch puts it in choke mode. No primer bulb to fiddle with. Couple of pulls on the rope and immediately squeeze the throttle trigger to bring it to idle.
There's no fumbling with the switch like on the 550 to put it on fast idle and then restarting the saw.
The 261 also has the Auto on switch mode. Just tap it upwards and it shuts off then ready again for the next startup.
When you remove the one piece top cover with the three 1/4 turn screw locks which is so easy to use plus when reinstalling it takes a bit of torque with the scrench to relock them. So no worries about them shaking loose.

After I got the 261's top cover off I saw the full HD canister air filter that also screws off with a 1/4 twist.
Very impressive looking cylinder design with a intake setup that looks very high tech to me :D
The oil and fuel flippy caps worked really nice, much improved over the olders one on my old MS200T.
I'll find more to report as the season goes on but I really like the new design of the MS261CM. The 550XP is now "old technology". Husqvarna has some catching up to do with a new redesigned 50cc saw.
The new edition MS261CM looks like a small version of the new highly anticipated MS462C

The 63PS Picco 3/8 chisel cuts good with a narrow 0.300" kerf. Its .325 23RS has a wider 0.400" kerf. Both chains have the same cutter length for equal sharpening life.
But Stihl needs to make a 6 tooth mini 7 spline rim sprocket. The 7 tooth Picco rim is actually larger in diameter then the standard 3/8 7 tooth rim at 1.432"  The standard 3/8 is 1.382"
The Picco needs to get down to the smaller size of the .325 7 tooth rim at 1.250"
I know the MS241 and saws like the MS250 also have the Picco 7 rim and that's way to big for those small saws.

 

 (Image hidden from quote, click to view.) 

 (Image hidden from quote, click to view.) 

 (Image hidden from quote, click to view.)

Well darn I can't wait til that husky is right....I can't wait to hear how they compare when they are both running up to par!!!

  Glad you are liking the 261 so far, does it have decent power even though it ain't broke in yet...

  I also want to say I am glad there are still a few honest people out here...it's obvious you run mainly huskys, but for you to give the Stihl a fair shake says a lot about you, your honest flat out.....even thought it's the faceless Internet, some traits are still noticeable, thanks agian sir, I always look forward to your post!!!!!

Online HolmenTree

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Re: Official MS261CM vs 550XP test
« Reply #13 on: June 09, 2017, 10:45:38 pm »
Khntr85, thanks for the good words.
I have run Stihls exclusively for years in the past. The whole decade of the 1980's and 1990's.
 Besides the models of MS200Ts I've bought in the past decade,  my last bigger Stihl I bought was my 066 Arctic Magnum in 1992.

This new series of MS261CM and soon to come MS462C is a total game changer in design. Very innovative user friendly saws .
Right out of the box the MS261CM is a strong smooth performer.  So light and ergonomic with a nice top handle to hold onto. I'm still undecided what to do with the sharp stainless steel dogs. Works great but I may switch it out for a aluminum smooth bumper like I did to the 550.

Too early to say but the 261 doesn't seem to have the spool up capabilities of the Rev Boost of the 550. But the 261 does have very quick throttle response to WOT.
I think more hours on the 261 plus maybe a mild muffler mod enlarging the exhaust will do the trick.
Plus the bigger diameter 7 T Picco rim will effect the 261's throttle response too most definitely.
The 550's smaller .325 7 tooth rim with H25 NK chain definitely improves throttle response.

I'll  have to try the 261 with the .325 7 tooth rim and 23RS chisel chain and makes some times cuts between both saws with their respective bar/chain setups.
Clean 10"x10" spruce, a steady hand and a stop watch doesn't lie. That will come later this summer with some more hours on  the saws.
Making a living with a saw since age 16.

Offline ladylake

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Re: Official MS261CM vs 550XP test
« Reply #14 on: June 10, 2017, 05:30:54 am »
 

 If one or the other is a second or 2 behind the other in a longer cut no big deal, I'm guessing they will be close.  I'd get the more reliable one.  Steve
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Offline khntr85

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Re: Official MS261CM vs 550XP test
« Reply #15 on: June 10, 2017, 02:11:37 pm »
Khntr85, thanks for the good words.
I have run Stihls exclusively for years in the past. The whole decade of the 1980's and 1990's.
 Besides the models of MS200Ts I've bought in the past decade,  my last bigger Stihl I bought was my 066 Arctic Magnum in 1992.

This new series of MS261CM and soon to come MS462C is a total game changer in design. Very innovative user friendly saws .
Right out of the box the MS261CM is a strong smooth performer.  So light and ergonomic with a nice top handle to hold onto. I'm still undecided what to do with the sharp stainless steel dogs. Works great but I may switch it out for a aluminum smooth bumper like I did to the 550.

Too early to say but the 261 doesn't seem to have the spool up capabilities of the Rev Boost of the 550. But the 261 does have very quick throttle response to WOT.
I think more hours on the 261 plus maybe a mild muffler mod enlarging the exhaust will do the trick.
Plus the bigger diameter 7 T Picco rim will effect the 261's throttle response too most definitely.
The 550's smaller .325 7 tooth rim with H25 NK chain definitely improves throttle response.

I'll  have to try the 261 with the .325 7 tooth rim and 23RS chisel chain and makes some times cuts between both saws with their respective bar/chain setups.
Clean 10"x10" spruce, a steady hand and a stop watch doesn't lie. That will come later this summer with some more hours on  the saws.

I am anxious to see if the Stihl or husky had more low end power once they are both broken in...I know people say that the husky revs higher, faster....

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Re: Official MS261CM vs 550XP test
« Reply #16 on: June 10, 2017, 09:31:41 pm »
I made a few cuts this evening with the 550XP since the dealership's tech reset its fuel settings.
Works like a charm now, no more bog and smooth quick throttle response.
Thanks again to Bob aka Spike60 for the much appreciated advice!
Making a living with a saw since age 16.

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Re: Official MS261CM vs 550XP test
« Reply #17 on: June 10, 2017, 10:17:26 pm »
I made a few cuts this evening with the 550XP since the dealership's tech reset its fuel settings.
Works like a charm now, no more bog and smooth quick throttle response.
Thanks again to Bob aka Spike60 for the much appreciated advice!

Sweet now we can get a fair comparison....I like Stihl butbiblike thenlooks of that husky!!

Online HolmenTree

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Re: Official MS261CM vs 550XP test
« Reply #18 on: June 10, 2017, 10:35:24 pm »
Yep the little Husky is a nifty streamlined little saw.
But the 261 is basically the same dimensions except has a wider top handle.
I find the 550's top handle is too skinny and slippery to hold on to.
261 handles have a real nice feel to them.
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Re: Official MS261CM vs 550XP test
« Reply #19 on: June 11, 2017, 07:23:00 am »
  When I got my 261 it was partly because it just felt "right" in my hands, the huskys not so much.
Stihl 041, 044 & 261, JD 2355 4X4 w/fel, JD 620, Yamaha Kodiak 400 & trailer, Kubota 400 RTV,  P&M OWB, 75 acres to play.