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Review...Stihl MS250C

6995 Views 13 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  leolav
I have wanted a chain-saw for quite a while. I have a Craftsman 3.5hp electric with a 16" bar, but I wanted a REAL screamin' 2 stroke, chew 'em up saw. A few weeks ago I got my chance.

We had a few trees that were dead or dying and needed to come down. We were afraid they would come down in the middle of a storm in a place we didn't want...namely on our roof, the neighbors roof, the barn or through our fence. So I had a tree service drop 5 trees, 2 alders and 3 hemlocks. It was then up to me to trim and buck them up for firewood. Everyone knows you need a good gas powered chain saw to do it! I explained to my wife how much money we could save by just having them dropped and I do the rest. I got more of a ...I guess so..rather than a...Sure, go ahead..but that's all I needed. I went to my dealer down the road and proceeded to get one. I wanted one that had good power but was light and easy to use. Ease of starting was also a necessity.

I looked at the MS250, the MS250C and the MS290. The Primer bulb for starting and the Quick Chain Adjust (QCA) feature of the 250C quickly eliminated the standard 250. I was really drawn to the 290 from it's reputation and power, 3.75hp. (the MS310 has 4.1hp with the same weight as the 290 but costs a bit more.) The 250C with an 18" bar was the same price ($349) as the 290 with a 20" bar but the 290 was 3lb heavier than the 250C, almost 1/3 more. The shortest bar available for the 290 was a 16" while the 250C has an optional 14". The 290 also did not have the primer bulb or the QCA.

In the end, I decided on the MS250C and I am very satisfied with that decision.

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The trees I had to trim and buck were from about 12 to 20 inches in diameter and were about 60 to 80 feet tall.

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The MS250C comes with a 45.4cc, 3.0hp engine and an 18" bar with a .325 2RM2 68 tooth chain. It took me a while to get used to starting it quickly but following the instructions in the manual, and talking with actual users, I have it down pretty good. My arms and shoulders aren't what they used to be. I really think the primer bulb makes starting a cold saw much easier.

The QCA feature makes keeping the chain at the correct tension very easy. Just unscrew the large pressure knob, move the thumb-wheel adjuster for the proper tension and re-tighten the pressure knob. To change the bar/chain or to clean the drive sprocket area of the saw, simply unscrew the pressure screw completely to remove the side plate. Then turn back the adjuster wheel and the chain loosens and the bar and chain can be easily removed.

The QCA side of the saw. The primer bulb is next to the handle.
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When ever using a chain saw, safety is of upmost importance. I bought and use leather boots, safety chaps, leather gloves, ear protection, eye protection and also a helmet.

Ready to go (Tommy goes in the house..doesn't like the noise)
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The 250C comes with a "low kick back" bar and chain. While I was trimming off limbs I caught the nub of a limb and it kicked off the chain. The chain dropped and I turned off the saw. Re-attaching the chain was a quick procedure. Back in business, the saw cut through the trees very quickly and smoothly. I didn't rush the job but was finished with 2 trees in one day. Another day and I had 2 more trees bucked and stacked.

The bottom of the stack is 3 deep.
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The 3.0hp and a sharp chain cut right through the large tree, making nice stepping blocks.
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All in all the MS250C had all the power and torque to handle this cutting project. I am getting the optional 14" bar for easier handling during the trimming jobs I have.

When I bought the saw, Stihl had a case special of a carrying case, extra chain and a Stihl hat for $25, half regular price. The case will hold the saw, spark plug wrench, quart of bar oil, gas oil, wedges, a tip scabbard, spare spark plug, extra chains and a pair of gloves.

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The Stihl MS250C is a great saw for the homeowner with firewood/cutting/trimming jobs. I would highly recommend it.

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Thats Great

Your post makes me want to go out and buy that chain-saw good job with the post and pictures:fineprint :thumbsup:
Top notch review there! What a way to show us every aspect of the unit including personal photos in action! GREAT JOB.

Great review Greg!

Very thorough, very informative. Good Job!! :clap:
Thanks all,

It was fun putting it together. I do need to work on the pics, though. I'll try to update it when I get my 14" bar and maybe another one on my Oregon Chain bar mount sharpening jig.


Get good with a file. I use my saws a ton and I use a file,one pass, every time I fill the fuel tank. I stopped using a file guilde a long time back. It seems easier with just a wooden handle on the file.Equil number of strokes on each toothe every time you sharpen. When the rakers get too tall knock them down a bit with a flat file. I can work a blade down to nubs for teeth and never take it off the saw until it is worn out.

I do have a file for "field" sharpening. I like to use the guide, though, in the shop when I'm done for the day.
have not

Used a grinder on a chain in a long time.
I don't have a grinder, just a jig that mounts on the bar and has a file attached. Adjust the angles, swish...swish...and pull the chain to the next link. Also has a guide for filing the rakers.

Give that man a prize!!!!

Great post, great content. Thanks.

Two things;
Keep it out of the dirt
make sure you warm the saw on cold days so oil flows to the chain
and thirdly;
watch how your sharpening guilde works and practice that same thing free hand ,you will thank me later,if you use your saw a lot
Yup, chainsaws cut through wood, then they can cut into dirt, but then don't cut much of anything after that.
Thanks slip,

I'll follow your advice.

I learned that lesson a few years back. Keep it out of the dirt. Otherwise, you spend more time sharpening and less time cutting.

I have a Stihl 025. Only gripe I have with it is that the oil cap and gas car seem to be poorly designed. They tell you to tighten them by hand and then with the sparkplug wrench (screwdriver end) . After you stuck it in the end and tighten, it sometimes cracks. I had all the oil drain out of my saw and toast the chain without me realizing it.

Replacements are about $5 per pair. Other than that, it is a top notch saw.
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