Stihl MS 261 Chainsaw Review

Stihl MS261 Chainsaw studio image

The Stihl MS261 first appeared in the catalogue around 2010. The MS261 was the intended replacement for the enormously popular MS260 and does seem to have met the needs of it user group.

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Who is the Stihl MS261 Suitable For?

Designed with the professional user in mind, the Stihl MS261 is perfect for mid-range work. It’s pitched at a medium price point so it might also interest domestic users looking for a more robust saw.

Stihl MS261 Chainsaw Features

Power-packed, eco-friendly, light and compact, the MS261 is considered one of the most revolutionary professional chain saws manufactured by STIHL.

Designed as a step up from the popular MS260, this upgraded model claims improved features like low fuel consumption, reduced exhaust emissions and great ergonomics.

The early MS261 featured carburetor heating, manual adjustment of bar oil delivery, a master start/stop control and tool free filler caps.

It lacked some of the modern refinements that now feature in the MS261 C-M and MS261 C-M VR. The MS261 has benefited from a technology upgrade in the form of the M-Tronic electronic metering system. A high tech addition that all but eliminates manual carburetor adjustment. Later models also feature heated handles; a valuable improvement for winter work.

More MS 261 Chainsaw Features

Featuring an Ematic chain lubrication system with variable-displacement oil pump the Stihl MS261 decreases the use of bar oil up to 50% so saving you money.

The STIHL MS 261 was created for effortless handling and maintenance because an easy to use, easy to maintain saw is a popular choice for anyone’s toolshed!

Performance elements include the new HD2 long life air filter system and air intake pre-separation. These features reduce the frequency of replacement air filters, and help prevent maintenance issues caused by debris in the intake, so saving you money in the long run!

Ease of use features include:

  • Captive nuts keep the bar nuts in place within the sprocket cover at all times. A useful feature because it prevents you from accidentally from losing them!
  • Single-lever master control which makes it easier to operate the saw. Which saves you time and effort while you are working.
  • Side chain-tensioner.
  • Tool free filler caps, so you can refuel without wasting time finding a tool to get the filler cap open!

Owners would also appreciate the MS261 cold weather features. Carburetor heating that prevents the carburetor from freezing up in sub-zero temperatures, and heated handles for operator comfort and safety.

In short, the STIHL MS261 is a utility-type petrol chain saw that is ideal for any professional.

Stihl MS261 Availability and Spares

The MS261 is available to buy brand new from the current Stihl catalogue.

If you prefer to save some cash and buy a used machine, there are dozens listed on eBay at the time of writing.

A Stihl MS261 should give you good service for many years to come. For repair and maintenance needs there are over 1000 spares and accessories listed for sale on eBay, so you’ll never be short of a part to keep your saw running.

Replacement Parts on Ebay

Stihl MS261 Cylinder and Piston Kit
Cylinder Kit
Stihl MS261 Carburetor
Stihl MS261 Air Filter
Air Filter
Stihl MS261 Ignition Module
Ignition Module
Stihl MS261 Bosch WSR6F
Bosch WSR6F
Stihl MS261 Bosch WSR6F

Stihl MS 261 Manuals

Stihl MS261 C-M Operators Manual
MS261 C-M Operators Manual
Stihl MS261 Operators Manual
MS261 Operators Manual
Stihl MS261 Workshop Manual
Workshop Manual
Stihl MS261 Parts Manual
Parts Manual

Stihl MS261 Chainsaw Specifications

Model NameStihl MS261
Engine Typesingle-cylinder two-stroke
Engine Capacity50.2cc,
Engine Power3.0kW, 4.1bhp
Cylinder Bore44.7 mm, 1.76 in
Piston Stroke32 mm, 1.26 in
Ignition TypeElectronic (breakerless) magneto
Spark Plug TypeBosch WSR6F ( check on EBay ) or NGK BPMR7A ( check on EBay )
Spark Plug Gap0.5 mm, 0.02 in
Carburetor TypeZama C1Q-S178B
Zama C1Q-S179B
Zama C1Q-S180B
Zama C1Q-S229B (M-Tronic)
Fuel Tank Capacity0.5 litre
Fuel Mixture50:1 with Stihl two-stroke air-cooled engine oil
Weight4.9kg to 5.2kg (feature dependant)
Chain Lubrication TypeAutomatic oil pump with manual adjustment
Oil Tank Capacity0.27 litre

Positive comments about the MS261

  • The MS261 is a good choice, light with good power.
  • If I was restricted to just one 50cc saw my Stihl MS261 would be it!

Negative comments about the MS261

  • Early models sometimes suffer an issue with the chain brake. This issue can be a symptom of a worn clutch needle bearing. Be aware of this because unattended that issue can create a more serious, and expensive condition of wear on the end of the crank shaft.
  • Later models can suffer fuelling issues caused by calibration drift in the MTronic electronic fuelling system. The operators manual gives (fairly) clear instructions on how to re-calibrate your saw.
Stihl MS261 Chainsaw environment image