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MS 261 C-M

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

Product Description

The MS 261 C-M has all the same great features as the MS 261 – low exhaust emissions, high fuel efficiency and robust performance – but also features the advanced STIHL M-Tronic™ engine management system. With STIHL M-Tronic™, an onboard microprocessor digitally monitors and automatically compensates for changes in your work conditions including elevation, temperature, fuel quality, varying octane levels and dirty air filters. The end result is maximum performance across a wide range of cutting conditions without making any manual adjustments. The MS 261 C-M also features redesigned cylinders and a slimmer, ergonomic housing for an impressive power-to-weight ratio.

Model Features

  • Reduced-Emission Engine Technology - Caring for Nature
    The STIHL Inc. “Caring for Nature” seal identifies its powered products that are more environmentally conscious, producing zero or low exhaust emissions. STIHL Inc. defines “low exhaust emissions” as being cleaner than EPA and/or CARB exhaust emission standards.

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  • Built in the USA
    Indicates products that are built in the United States from domestic and foreign parts and components.

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  • STIHL M-Tronic™ 
    This product features M-Tronic™ (M) - a new generation of Intelligent Engine Management that eliminates the low and high speed carburetor adjustment screws, compensates for dirty air filter and changes in elevation and fuel quality for optimum engine power at all times.

    See it in action!

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  • Pre-Separation Air Filtration System
    This time-saving technology boosts the efficiency of the engine’s filter system, doubling the time between air filter cleanings. Air drawn into the engine is first separated via centrifugal force, ejecting the heavier dirt particles before being routed to the air filter. This pre-separation means less dirt to be captured by the air filter, resulting in less frequent cleaning and maintenance.

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  • Anti-Vibration System
    STIHL has developed a system for minimizing the vibration levels of handheld outdoor power equipment. The STIHL anti-vibration system helps reduce operator fatigue and provides a more comfortable working experience.
  • Decompression Valve
    The decompression valve, also referred to as 'deco' or 'deco valve', vents compression in the cylinder for easier starting. The decompression valve temporarily reduces the compression in the combustion chamber during cranking and helps reduce the effort needed to pull the starter rope. It is opened manually and closes automatically as soon as the engine fires.
  • Side-Access Chain Tensioner
    The side-access chain tensioner makes it much more convenient for the user to adjust the saw chain with a bar wrench as opposed to the typical location of the guide bar adjustment screw.


50.2 cc (3.06 cu. in.)
3.0 kW (4.0 bhp)
4.9 kg (10.8 Ibs.)
500 cc (16.9 oz)
270 cc (9.13 oz)
26 RM3
GUIDE BAR LENGTHS (Recommended ranges)
40 to 50 cm (16" to 20")
STIHL recommends #3634 (26 RM3 67) OILOMATIC® Saw chain and 16" 3003 008 6813 Ematic™ guide bar combination. The actual listed guide bar length can vary from the effective cutting length based on which powerhead it is installed on.

Important Information

WARNING! The occurrence called “kickback” can cause serious or fatal injury. Always read the instruction manual carefully before using your saw. STIHL uses a green and yellow color-coding system to help you select a powerhead, bar and chain combination that complies with the kickback requirements of ANSI Standard B175.1 (gasoline-powered saws) and §30 of UL 1662/ ANSI Standard B175.1 (electric chainsaws). Ask your STIHL dealer about safe operating procedures and the advantages of the STIHL Quickstop® chain brake, STIHL Quickstop® Plus (Q) additional chain braking feature, STIHL reduced kickback bars and STIHL low-kickback saw chains.

STIHL recommends the use of green reduced kickback bars and green low kickback chains on all STIHL chainsaws.

* The actual listed guide bar length can vary from the effective cutting length based on which powerhead it is installed on.

WARNING! Improper use of any power tool may cause serious or fatal injury. Read, understand and follow carefully the operating and safety instructions in your instruction manual before using such products.

STIHL products sold through U.S. STIHL Dealers are for distribution in the United States only.


MS 261 C-M is rated 4.6 out of 5 by 252.
Rated 4 out of 5 by from just needed some exhuast work when i first got the saw it just seemed a little under powered and sluggish, so i ran it for the break-in period and it got a little better with time. nut i was still not very happy with it, would stall with a 16" full comp chisel chain(stihl). so i opened up the exhaust and now its a amazing saw with plenty of power to pull a 20" bar and aggressively ground full comp chisel chain thru some willow( a soft wood to be sure but it HAULS through it). never had any issue with oiling so long as you keep it clean and seems to not wear spark plugs like a carb unit does. all in all its a powerful workhorse in a light weight package, that will start in 5 pulls no matter what, . would be 5 star but the lack of power out of the box was a little disappointing for a saw of this price. to sum it up it is a great saw for someone who was looking for something better that the 271 series and something lighter weight than the 300 series saws, basically something i can cut as much fire wood as i have gas for and something i don't have to deal with carb tuning issues.
Date published: 2019-07-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Medium Sized Monster I have two of these saws and they are unstoppable w/20" bars. The decompression feature is a life saver, especially as I get older. It makes it so easy to start. Nothing stops this saw except ME. I wish that you added this feature to your whole line. I have used this model saw for 4-5 years, I even gave one to a good friend.
Date published: 2019-07-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Stihl 261 with M-tronic Very pleased with 261 CM. Very powerful for its light weight. Set it up with 3/8 .050 with 18” bar. Cuts like butter through 16” white oak. No vibration at all, amazing...Starts on 2nd pull when cold and 1st pull when hot. Very good on fuel and oils very well. No regrets would highly recommend this saw.
Date published: 2019-06-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Plenty of power and light weight. I have had the opportunity to fell a few trees since my purchase, all I can say is money / investment well spent. Ms 261cm plenty powerful, light enough and starts very easy.
Date published: 2019-06-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Love the M-Tronics with altitude changes Generally not a 'reviewer' but had to comment on this product. Had to replace my older 4 Stihl saws of different sizes after they (and off grid remote property) got burned up in forest fire:( ... and my remaining truck saw (Stihl 230c) started suffering unreliability issues due to overuse/multiple parts failure. Eventually shop was able to get 230c running ok again, but in meantime I picked up this Unit due to promises of easy starts and ability to compensate for altitude better without screwing around with carb adjustments. Seemed like a good compromise for an all purpose truck saw.Although other saws were always used regularly for firewood, trail clearing, felling, building, etc....this one with 18 inch bar gets used very intermittently and for short times at altitudes ranging from 5000 ft to 12000 ft to remove downed obstacle trees (2"-24" diameter) while cruising 4WD back roads. Especially a problem in last few years with all the bark beetle dead trees in Colorado/New Mexico. A little PM wind will give you a few obstacles in your path in AM. One down tree in non yankable/winchable location needing an ax (forget that bs) or saw (hand saw-lazy-no way) can screw up your trip or make you take a very long reroute or force you to break out backup hatchet:( Impressed with M-Tronic ability to adjust for altitude/temperature to keep Unit running well. Seems like it always fires up easily even though I always just leave the Stihl premix fuel sitting in it for months at time between uses and it gets rattled around constantly bouncing around in truck. Truly pleasantly surprised at ease of use. Great Capable Power Saw.
Date published: 2019-06-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great new addition I wanted to wait till I had put some hours on my new 261 before I posted my findings. This saw is a great saw. More power then my ms 290 and more fuel efficient to.At 2 lbs lighter then the 290 it's much better when working for long periods over the 290. The air filter design is also much better and doesn't need cleaning near as much as the 290 does. I may just sell my 290 and get another 261. It's that good. I cut over 100 cords of firewood a year so I do a lot of cutting.Oh, the throttle response is much better as well.
Date published: 2019-06-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent power to weight ratio Bought this saw to replace my 30 year old 024 a.v. .Was kind of skeptical of the new mtronic carbs but this thing has been flawless so far . When I purchased it it was labeled as having a 16" bar but after a couple days of cutting with it I realized it had an 18" one on it. I had several new 16" chains for my 024 so I took it back to my dealer and showed them the bar mistake. They gladly gave me a new 16" bar and chain since it was marked that way. It cut really good with the 18" bar as well as the new 16" one.
Date published: 2019-05-28
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Does not like hot starts When it's in the cut, it is fantastic. But if you stop to take a break or refuel, you will have issues getting it started again. do a web search for m-tronic hot starts and you will find thread after thread about hot start issues on these saws.
Date published: 2019-05-14
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Standard Features

  • Common Features for Chainsaws
    View the features common to many STIHL chainsaws.

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