Light 04 and PRO Chains Review
- April 25, 2023
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Is the 1.3mm .325″ Chainsaw Chain Becoming a New Favorite?
I have come across Stihl’s new system, the narrow kerf segment, which has become popular in Sweden. The system features saw teeth that cut with a width of just 1.3 mm and .325″. Stihl previously only offered the ⅜ split (Picco) for their cutting system, but with the new PRO chains of Light 04, they are now entering new territory and competing with established products like Husqvarna SP33 G X-cut and Oregon 95TX SpeedCut.
What sets these products apart is their narrow kerf width, making them lightweight, more efficient, and often faster at cutting. The new Light 04 system is already available for purchase in stores.
The new system has undergone testing in about 40 different projects, including thinning, windthrow, and edge felling, with impressive results. The system has exhibited high quality and top-notch durability, with no signs of wear and tear.
Comparative tests were also conducted, running the system alongside the X-cut/X-force and Rollomatic/Picco. Interestingly, both of those bars ended up with their tips broken during the testing, while the new system held up well. It’s unclear whether this is a coincidence or not.
For this particular test, a professional was given the opportunity to try out the new system. After having previously tested clearing saws, the individual was able to run through a few tanks using the new system and was left highly impressed with its capacity and performance.
Lengths of the saw bar?
During the test, the team measured the actual cutting length of the saw bars. Upon reviewing the full video of the test, it was found that neither Stihl nor Husqvarna was able to cut as far as the length of the bar indicated. The Stihl 14″ saw bar cut at 13.4″ (34 cm), while the Husqvarna 15″ saw bar cut at 13.8″ (35 cm). Although there is an inch difference in bar length on paper, the practical difference is only 1 cm. Even after removing the bark supports, both saws still fell short in terms of actual cutting length, with the Husqvarna 15″ falling behind the first bar nut.
It’s cutting time!!
During the trial, two types of cutting tests were conducted, one on fresh birch and the other on fresh maple. The tests compared the RM-Pro and RS-Pro to the SP33 G X-cut and the RS-Pro to the older RS chain with a 1.5 mm gauge. The tests can be viewed in the accompanying video.
Overall, the RM-Pro and SP33 G were found to be almost equal and both are semi-chisel chains. However, the RM-Pro appeared to slip in the video due to trunk movement during the initial cut. In contrast, the RS-Pro proved to be significantly more efficient, as it is a full-chisel chain. Test #2 compared the RS-Pro to the 1.5 mm RS .325” chain, and the RS-Pro was much faster in fresh maple.
Wich is more milder .325” or the ⅜”?
I noticed that the .325 chain was less aggressive compared to the Picco chain which measures ⅜”. We didn’t make any direct comparisons between the two chains, but during our testing, the Full-Chisel .325” chain felt less aggressive. It didn’t bounce as much when inserted and it worked better against the trunk when delimbing. We couldn’t help but wonder if the split size had anything to do with it.
Efforts were made to subjectively measure the effective kerf, and the results indicated that the RS-Pro chain had the least visible effects. While the figures in the picture are not scientifically accurate, they can be used for comparison. According to Stihl, the PRO chains have a 6.8 mm cut, while the RS/RM .325″ 1.5 mm has a 7.7 mm cut. This suggests that the PRO chains require 12% less cutting, making the process more efficient.
As mentioned earlier, the new cutting system is now available in stores and is expected to be very popular. It’s easy to use, maintains high quality, and its teeth remain sharp for a long time despite its very effective cutting capabilities. The Light 04 saw bar is priced similarly to comparable competitors, making it a great option for those looking to try it out. However, it’s important to note that it’s likely only suitable for Stihl’s own chainsaws, specifically the MS261 and MS271.
According to Stihl, the PRO chains will be available in different lengths, so it’s possible that someone may try them on a saw other than a Stihl. Customers who previously used the Picco may switch to the Light 04 with PRO chains when it’s time to replace their old system. Based on tests, it’s believed that customers won’t be disappointed if they make the switch. It’s important to change the drive wheels and use a 4.8 mm file to sharpen the PRO chains.
Various types of files were used for sharpening the chains during testing, but it was found that Stihl’s COMFORT file works best for their chains. It’s specifically designed to fill these chains and is not too aggressive.