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MS 261 C-M

The same great MS 261, but with advanced STIHL M-Tronic™ technology for optimized performance in various conditions.

MS 261 C-M
MS 261 C-M is rated 4.7 out of 5 by 148.
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Finicky! I wish I would have dispensed with all the C-M baloney and just focused on weight and reliable starting
Date published: 2017-09-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great all-around saw This is my first Pro-grade saw. I watched countless youtube videos on the entire lineup and Stihl's direct competitors before making my purchase. I feel that the features of the Pro Series saws are worth the added expense over the Homeowner and Ranch/Farm grade saws regardless of how little you might use one. I enjoy the lighter weight (sub 11 lbs), M-tronic features, decompression valve, tool-less filler caps for the bar oil and fuel, and the fact that they are easily rebuilt for many years of service. The power to weight ratio on this saw is excellent in comparison to the Ranch Series saws of this size that easily weigh 1.5-3 lbs more and are made of a less durable polymer and case that's more difficult to rebuild/replace. I went with a 20" bar and while it runs it with no issue, I believe the perfect combo for this saw and its power is a 18" bar. Since this purchase and the recent events of Hurricane Harvey in my area, I have become saw obsessed and I am nothing more than a weekend-warrior, that said, I am already considering the purchase of a 461 or 661 for my next saw. I guess you can say that I have been bitten by the saw bug.
Date published: 2017-09-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from MS 261 C-M I have had several Stihl saws from my first an 028 to the largest MS461. In this mix of saws I have a MS 260 Pro. I really didn't need a new saw I really wanted to see what the C-M was all about. A"smart saw"? I have been using this saw to fell and buck trees for firewood about six months. In that six months I have processed about six cord and about three of that with this little saw with an 18" bar and chain.The first use I was working a locust tree that had blown over. The base of the tree was approximately 18" diameter while the length was 60-70' and not many branches. The power of the saw was quite evident as it had no problem cutting this tree up. There was no bogging down of the saw with a new chain(yellow). I did however have trouble starting the saw after shutting it down for a bit. I had flooded it. That was my fault though. I failed to read the manual before using. After all I have been using Stihl saws for forty years, I should know how to operate them. I was using the on/run/choke switch like a conventional saw. With the M-tronic one doesn't have to work the switch in the same manor. After I learned that I had no other issues with the MS 261 C-M. I ran the MS 260 Pro 16" bar and the MS 261C-M 18" bar on the same job to try and get a fair comparison. The 261 wins in all categories. It is faster, stronger, and more fuel efficient. I am glad I purchased this saw only time and usage will solidify that thought.
Date published: 2017-09-16
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Worst Experience Ever I bought this saw early in the year when a big oak fell at my church. I'd owned a Stihl before that I'd purchased from eBay. I never had a problem with that one, but it was stolen. I'd heard about the Stihl MS-260 from Wranglerstar on YouTube for years, so I took the plunge to buy it, knowing that as often as trees go down at my church, I'd need a heavy duty saw. The saw worked fine through that tree, but then, later this year as we started preparation for our annual Youth Camp, it stopped running mid-cut. I took it in and was told there was a known engine problem. They said it would take six weeks to repair. I couldn't be that long without a saw, so I went ahead and purchased a MS 170, the humblest of all Stihl's saws. We were clearing new land for the church, so that little saw got a huge work-out, but it never quit. Camp prep took about four months, so I eventually got my 261 back. Put it back in service, and the same thing happened again after a few days. I took it back in, and this time they replaced it within a week or two. Brand new saw. I put that in service, and probably put thirty hours on it before camp prep was done, without a problem. Then hurricane Irma blew in and took out seven trees at the church. I grabbed my 261 and headed for the church. A tank and a half in to the first big oak and my saw stopped again. I took it directly to my Stihl dealer, then went and got my 170 to continue work. That is a work in progress, barely started, because fuel is scarce still here in Florida, especially the ethanol free, which is all I run in my saws. Yesterday, I got a call from the Stihl dealer that Stihl had determined that my saw had been run "out of spec" because the chain on the saw was dull. I'd sharpened it before I started on Tuesday as I always do, but I'd put a tank and a half through it and I'm sure it was getting dull when it quit. Sawing fallen oak is a tough job for a saw, which is why I'd bought a pro model. I was told they would not honor the warranty. The head is cracked. I'm heartsick about this total loss. I admit that I work my saws hard, but isn't the logical thing to do if you have a tough job to get a saw that is rated for tough work? Perhaps I'm some kind of saw-killing nincompoop, but I never had a problem with the used Stihl I purchased used or the MS 170 I bought as a stand-in for my 261. I wish I'd sprung for the next model up. I can't afford that now, and I've lost confidence in the Stihl pro line. Impossible for me to recommend.
Date published: 2017-09-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best saw ever I just purchased this saw for a major project and it performed better than expected, the power was unreal and the weight was comfortable I used it all day on wet wood and it never complained, I must say it was worth the extra money! wow I am sold on this saw, way to go Stihl, I love my saw.
Date published: 2017-09-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I love this saw This is my kind of saw. It has lots of power and cuts like a saw should. I use this saw from 7000 feet to 10,000, at 10,000 feet it starts on the 4th pull when it is cold and starts very easy on one pull when its warm. My old saw was hard to start cold and wouldn't start warm. It is a delight to use, it is light for its horse power and will last me for years to come. Thank you Stihl.
Date published: 2017-09-12
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Nice machine, but hard to cold start I used a neighbors old MS 034 pretty extensively, and was sold on Stihl quality, verses other saws tried. I read and watched a lot of reviews, and settled on the MS 261 C-M, and eventually got one. I like the design, build quality, and 'feel' of the machine very much. I like the pro-grade features. And I especially like the power:weight ratio of this machine. That was the main deciding factor for me in model selection.However, I have two 'cons' to share:(1) it is much harder to start than I had hoped - especially in a machine that is supposedly designed for easy starting (re: the M-tronics and decompression button). Takes about 12 pulls for cold start (1-2 at full choke, until decompression button first pops out; then about 10 more pulls, at half choke again using the decompression feature.) Usually stalls then too, after initial cold start. But will start more easily after that. (So much for M-tronics!) Note too, that you really need to use that decompression button on this model. Else the pull is almost impossible - very stiff and jerky. Warm starts are very good - one pull only (at run position works best on my machine, not on half choke as expected).(2) I am also a bit disappointed in the manual - both paper copy received, and on-line .pdf versions I have found. They are pretty good in most respects, but lack sufficient detail for things like carburetor tuning. There is even confusion about whether the manual received is really for the machine that I have. Which manuals, and which text and pics in the manuals, pertains to the MS 261 vs the MS 261 C-M vs the MS 261 C-MQ is unclear.I would probably still make the same choice again. But my new owner experience, getting acquainted with and comfortable with this machine, is more involved than expected. Am still hopeful that Stihl quality, reliability, and usability will prevail, once I get more familiar with this particular machine.
Date published: 2017-09-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great firewood saw I needed a new saw that could handle large elevation changes. First time out I was up at 9200 ft and I had no issues. The Mtronic system worked great. I cut dead pine and the saw had no problem pulling an 18 inch bar. Light, powerful with the latest technology. Stihl has real winner with the 261 C-M.
Date published: 2017-09-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from This is a great saw that is replacing my old 026 and I really like it's lightness and easy start. The guys at d &b supply help me find the right saw for getting firewood! This is easy to,start, light weight and had all the power I need for cutting firewood . I also like the fingers only to open the fuel and bar oil caps.
Date published: 2017-08-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from awesome midsize saw. if you want one saw that will probably do everything you need it to this is your saw. I also have a MS460 and a 066.
Date published: 2017-08-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Favorite saw from stihl Our company uses nothing but Stihl saws, wanted a new mid range saw so decided to try this one, was not dissapointed, not to heavy or cumbersome, but also has the power to go through the big stuff, in our opinion best all around saw we've tried in Stihl, highly recommended
Date published: 2017-08-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I like it I bought mine with a 20" bar and even the dealer looked at me like I was crazy.With the 20" bar pine is no problem and it went end to end on the bar through oak better then I thought it would.I will be purchasing a 18" bar thou for the smaller stuff.I have had no problems so far but I am not using it every day like some do out there but I am happy I finally bought a saw I don't have to fight to start.I also love the easy access covers on it and chain tightening is so easy. There is no reason to be putting away a dirty saw after the day is over.
Date published: 2017-08-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best mid size saw in the market I was sceptical about this computer carb but I got used to it.Read the cold start manual before you start writing reviews guys.I'm an arborist difficult to impress me.I've had mine for over a year now.Over 389 take downs with it.Falling trees I am less fatigue and that gives me more productivity.Bucking on this saw is kind of tricky but the key is to not force the saw.The ergonomic on this saw is great.We'll balanced.Clutch cover is genius.Makes it lightning fast adjustments or replace the chain.Power is just out of this world.I have dropped oaks and buck them with this saw and never had oil problems nor over heating.Yes live oaks completely dismantled by this saw.Rigging with this saw is heavenly.I have never seen a saw take so much abuse and still starts all the time.My groundsman love it.Best and my onlyMid size saws.I run my 261 cm 18" bar full chisel Run non ethanol and stihl mix grey bottles.Stihl bar oil.Great job guys.
Date published: 2017-08-09
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Over engineering on a great saw First saw had a computer problem, blew up with 1 hour. Second saw, is working fine. This is a super fast saw! Reminds me of an electric saw. Very, very fast! But during short plunge, saw bottoms out a lot faster then my other 261's. So it's fast on surface, stops fast deep. This is due to increased speed. I can feel the difference right away in the saws. Don't buy the CM. But, the 261 is a great saw. Also, both saws you can not stop the saw with your thumb. Which to me is a safety issue. Again this is a great case for, if it's not broke don't fix it! I buy all stihl products for my business. I highly recommend buying the standard ms261.
Date published: 2017-07-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Worth the investment I was looking for a midsized saw that didn't wear me out, yet had some power. I looked at different brands and every model, but I was leaning Stihl due to parts availability. Weight to horsepower was a key factor. After weighing the pros and cons, and reading reviews, I opted for a 261cm. It has surprising power for its size. Light, powerful, well built, easy to start. I'm very, very happy with it.
Date published: 2017-07-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great saw This saw is a beast. Starts easy, and every time. On lighter side with huge power for its class. Makes cutting wood not a chore. Eats it right up. Love the M Tronic, no need to mess with carb. Thanks Stihl!
Date published: 2017-07-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from My wooding cutting friends are always asking to use my saw I bought a professional level saw what a great saw. I use it for getting firewood . Starts great, runs great and has plenty of power. It makes getting wood so much easier than using a home-owners type saw.
Date published: 2017-07-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from great saw!!!!!!!!!!! I have owned professional saws my whole life as I worked for years as an arborist in one capacity or another. I started using homelites back when they were above average, next came jonsereds when they were highly rated, moved on to (I was stopped from mentioning a competitor brand name here which makes me suspicious any reviews are real!!!) and one big dolmar but always wanted a stihl. I have the 261 c and at this point in my life it is all the saw I will ever want or need. cuts everything and fast! so did the others but this one seems better. if satisfaction counts for anything this saw is better. it is definitely the fastest saw of the neighborhood but that may be because I know some sharpening tricks from my years of experience. buy with confidence this saw is great!
Date published: 2017-07-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The little saw that thinks it's a big saw I bought the MS 261 C-M because I wanted to stop lugging my 20 year old Stihl 026 between two locations. My 026 has been such a strong and reliable runner for the last two decades I didn't even consider saving a few bucks by switching brands. I didn't think the new saw could best my old favorite (which runs better than new) but, after three days of firewood cutting, I have a new favorite. The M-tronic engine is awesome! Anyone who claims the EPA is "choking" up new saws doesn't know what they're talking about. The 261 C-M bests the venerable 026 by much more than the extra couple of cc's would suggest. Particularly noticeable is the superior torque. When the saw gets deep in the middle of a big cut you can feel the torque kick in and grunt through without bogging down. This is high praise because my 026 regularly out-cuts every other 50cc saw I've tried as it's a particularly strong runner. The MS 261 C-M takes a couple tanks of fuel to enter it's element. The first tank I was concerned I had made a big mistake. The engine had disconcerting power variations in the middle of a cut and made me feel disconnected from the throttle. By the third tank of fuel, the engine was steady and powerful. I chalk this up to normal break-in process combined with the M-tronic brain "learning" and adjusting to the saw as it broke in. Now it cuts steadily and powerfully through the cut and has instant throttle response.I've run my MS 026 hard in demanding tasks for 20 years on 50:1 gas/oil mix (Stihl synthetic for 18 years) and it has been flawless so I plan to do the same with the new saw. Don't think you're doing your saw a favor by giving it a bit of extra oil. It only needs 50:1 and more oil reduces fuel octane and creates unnecessary and undesirable carbon deposits. The M-tronic engine adjusts for fuel quality so you get the full potential w/ the optimum fuel/oil mix.Starting couldn't be easier. The M-tronic system allows you to start the saw exactly the same every time, hot or cold, low or high altitude, just push the lever to start and pull the starter cord (which has extra smooth action). It starts first or second pull when cold and first pull if a little warm or freshly hot. When it fires up, blip the throttle one time and it's ready to start cutting. The saw is equipped with a compression release but it is unnecessary on a saw that pulls this smoothly and easily so I've stopped using it.The new air cleaning system is quicker and easier to maintain and cuts an impressive amount of wood with minimal loading of wood chips. The centrifugal air cleaning system really does work.You can spend a lot less for a 50cc saw but will it be this good? No, it won't. This saw is light for a 50cc saw but has the cutting performance of many 60cc saws. And that's a big win in my book.
Date published: 2017-06-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The perfect saw for home firewood. After 34 years of cutting I finally purchased the perfect chainsaw. Retired the 028 Super. I have nicknamed my 261 "The Wood Beast" for its performance and reliability around the house. Firewood cutting is enjoyable and virtually effortless. Look no further, spend a little extra, and buy this beast. Your wood burner and family will thank you for it come winter.
Date published: 2017-06-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from awesome saw! The stihl 026 and ms260 saws were legends and this one continues to carry the torch for the future of superior saws. Better fuel consumption and antivibration along with less smoke to breath in. If batman carried a chainsaw it would be the ms261 for sure!
Date published: 2017-06-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The go to saw I own 6 Stihls, 011, 023, 025, 261, 044, 660 and out of these saws I must say that my go to saw now is the 261 with an 18" bar as it runs perfectly and has plenty of grunt for most trees, you can use it for hours without getting fatigued due to weight and vibration. Awesome saw
Date published: 2017-06-14
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Saw ran good for awhile... Saw was great for a year and a half (occasional use). Ran the saw the other day and after i shut it off, it was hard to start. Once started, it would idle but would die when trying to rev up. Used only ethanol free gas and only the Stihl premium oil for the life of the tool. Taking back to the dealer, since its still under the 2 year warranty. Will report back on findings.
Date published: 2017-06-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Pro saw I've had the regular carbed 261, the original 261cm and now the updated 261cm. I muffler modded the 261, had the first 261cm ported and they both were good runners that were fun to use. This 2017 261cm is excellent without any mods. Use a non safety chain like the full chisel RS or semi chisel RM and you're good to go. I wouldn't go over an 18" bar in hardwoods though. Great little saw that's gonna last a long time. Good job Stihl.
Date published: 2017-06-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Terrific Saw Starts easily, love the decompression valve, and it's a lot lighter than other saws for the power output (one lb plus lighter, a big difference over a day). As a strong woman, I can handle this saw just fine, a 271 or 291 is a bit too much. Just wished I would have purchased it sooner. Handles anything I need, got an 18" bar.
Date published: 2017-05-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from weight to power ratio is excellent Been using Stihl since the 1970's. 031, 036, and 041 and now ms261c. Power, well balance and light. Starts easily even in cold weather. What more can you ask for in a saw?
Date published: 2017-05-22
Rated 3 out of 5 by from MS 261 average 18 bar ~ lacks power good for cutting limbs 261 LikesCustomer Service ~ bumped me up to a bigger saw from a 261 to a 362261 DislikesPrefer manual oiler system261 engine 50 cc is to small to cut a sized treesmall fuel tank, bar tankengine would bog when using full bar...lacked the cc and powerA standard chain dull very quickly when using full bar...The good news ~ yes a 7 day satisfaction policy bumped up to a bigger saw 60 cc more of saw I'm used to.
Date published: 2017-05-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from bought this saw used. this has been the best chainsaw that I have ever owned. I have owned a lot. I tried to enter it in a woodcutting contest at a carnival in ak. they wouldn't let me use it because dealers were showcasing their new saws. it would of put them to shame, and they knew it. it cuts like butter. kind of a showoff saw really. fun to use. kind of hard to start, and is cold blooded. but when it gets hot, watch out and hang on. it is a very hot 2-cycle engine. it ripps. I will never have to purchase another chainsaw, and I wont ever have to worry about anyone cutting faster than me...
Date published: 2017-05-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Awesome saw Once I put a non safety chain on it. It is a terrific saw
Date published: 2017-04-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Light and Powerful I used to have an 039 that ran like a top and would cut through anything. I gave it away a few years ago when I thought I was done running a saw. Eventually, I got to the point of needing one again. Liked the power of the 039/MS391 series, but did not want that heavy of a saw with my old back. The MS-261 C-M has almost as much power and is a whole lot lighter saw. Cuts through anything a 20 inch bar can handle without and fuss.
Date published: 2017-04-17
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