MS 261 C-M

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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.

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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 261.
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent saw with 20" bar and chain I purchased a Stihl MS 170 16" saw earlier this year for work in the woods out of state. An excellent saw. I needed to drop a large tree in my own yard so using the 16" Stihl and another 20" that I already owned I began dicing up and dropping the tree. The 20" saw took as much time adjusting and servicing as it did "in the cut". Totally fed up with my 20" and needing to cut the stump to ground level I purchased the MS 261 C-M. The new Stihl was lighter, more powerful, and easier to wield than my previous 20" saw and diced up the stump like butter. I am now confident that I will only own Stihl products in the future.
Date published: 2019-10-10
Rated 1 out of 5 by from only when it starts with in 2 weeks in was in the shop, after 1 tank of gas it would start until the next day. The next day in would not stay running and again would not start after one tank
Date published: 2019-10-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Power to weight ratio is very good. Saw is very powerful for its weight. Robust air filter is easy to clean and doesn't clog up. Very easy to start and chain brake activates when you let go of the trigger. Well worth the price.
Date published: 2019-10-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent power easy starting. Great saw so far easy to start great power and light weight. Very happy with it hopefully it lasts as long as my 25 year old 029 did.
Date published: 2019-10-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A great light weight high power saw Have owned this saw about 9 months I use it weakly about 10 hours a weak for a 50cc saw I’m very satisfied with it it’s a nice in between saw for me smaller and lighter than my 441 bigger then my 180 it pulls hard through any wood is light and has been very reliable it did take about 4 tanks for it to come in to its own and I had to recalibrate the m tronic but that’s no big deal now that it’s broken in I couldn’t be happier with it
Date published: 2019-09-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from First time chainsaw owner I bought my MS 261 C-M two years ago. I grew up around Stihl saw. Before i bought this saw i did look into the other competitors saws that does the carb "tuning" automaticaly. after approximately 4 hours or more of research i settled on this saw due to some specific detail. one: i like that you could only buy from a local dealer, this may be a down side to some people but i do prefer to support my local person. two: I also prefer the choke/run switch better. three: i like the fuel/oil caps. There may be a few other reasons but they evade me as i write this. I chose the pro model due to to long term longevity and ability to rebuild it. From my research, the homeowner saws can be harder or more expensive to repair in comparison to the pro model. I live in Montana and chose the 20" bar. i have only come across a couple of standing dead that maxed my bar out. i came across these tree at about the time my saw was finished with its break in period. It handled it pretty well. a bigger saw would have made the felling a d bucking a little quicker and easier but was not needed. i also do like the M-tronics. i prefer to not have to worry about adjusting my carb manually. i remember my dad spending time fine tuning his saw and it just seemed like a wast of time. One think to note is after reading some review, is that some people have had trouble with the M-tronics. This device automatically adjust based on fuel, airflow and elevation. From my experience if you go from full throttle then straight to the kill switch the M-tronics remembers that setting and it made starting my saw very difficult even thought it was still hot approx one minute after shutting it off. i was able to get it started with some effort. After this experience and researching the M-tronics more, i let my saw idle after a final cut for one -three second. since i have done this i have not had this issue. i recommend looking up videos on how to reset the M-tronics if you ever have issues with it. On most summer days i can cold start this saw without choking it. i did run the Stihl fuel during my breaking in and warranty period. This is just a preference. i now mix my own fuel with 91 oct non ethanol and the Still premium oil mix. i also hand sharpen my chain and clean my saw after every use.i also flip my bar when i switch chains or after im done for the day. i also wear the chaps, helmet, and earplugs when using my saw.
Date published: 2019-09-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I love this saw! I bought the 261 C-M about two years ago, and it has operated flawlessly. I also have an older saw, and I was forever needing to fool with the carburetor adjustments to get it to run right. The M-Tronic system is just awesome. It starts easily and always idles perfectly. That's worth the price of admission right there. If I was a serious logger, I'd probably want to invest in something further up the line that is bigger and had more power, but this one is more than sufficient for my business. I do tree jobs from time to time, but do not run a dedicated tree service. I highly recommend this saw, and will never have another saw that doesn't come with the M-Tronic system!One note: The instructions say to engage the choke every time you start, even if it is hot. This is not true, and will cause more problems than it solves. It starts hot flawlessly on the first pull about 98% of the time. For the 2% of the times it doesn't, flip the choke and it'll fire right up. Happy sawing!
Date published: 2019-08-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great saw! This is my second Stihl saw and first professional series! Coming from big box saws that you replace every other year, I never realized how much they beat you up after running them for a while. The MS 261c runs like butter. It absorbs the bumps and vibration, decreasing user fatigue. It eats everything under the bar. Its been a pleasure to use. While a bit expensive for someone who cuts firewood, it has cut my time by a fraction and has been fun to use. I would buy again without a second thought.
Date published: 2019-08-11
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Standard Features

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

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