MS 261 C-M - $549.95 DSRP



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

The MS 261 C-M features low emissions, high fuel efficiency and the advanced STIHL M-Tronic™ engine management system. STIHL M-Tronic™ helps deliver maximum performance across a wide range of cutting conditions. The system digitally monitors changes in elevation and temperature and automatically adjusts for fuel quality, varying octane levels and dirty air filters. The MS 261 C-M also features red...Read More
Print Spec Sheets
MS 261 C-M Specifications
DISPLACEMENT 50.2 cc (3.06 cu. in.)
ENGINE POWER 3.0 kW (4.0 bhp)
POWERHEAD WEIGHT 4.9 kg (10.8 Ibs.)
FUEL CAPACITY 500 cc (16.9 oz)
CHAIN OIL CAPACITY 270 cc (9.13 oz)
OILOMATIC® CHAIN 26 RM3
GUIDE BAR LENGTHS (Recommended ranges) 40 to 50 cm (16" to 20")
STIHL ROLLOMATIC® E
POWER SOURCE Gas
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.
Model Features
  • Zoom
    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.
  • Zoom
    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.

    More Information

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

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  • Zoom
    Toolless fuel and oil caps with retainers
    Simply lift the lever and twist the caps to remove or tighten. There‘s no need to use a tool to tighten or loosen.
  • Zoom
    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.

    More Information

  • Zoom
    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!

    More Information

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

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.
Click to view the STIHL Limited Warranty Time Periods
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    Bar and Chain Oil
    STIHL Bar and Chain oil is formulated to adhere to the bar and chain, and to reduce wear. Special agents in the oil formulation help keep sap and pitch from clinging to the bar and chain.

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    Complete Filing Kits
    Kits available for the following chain types: STIHL PICCO Mini; 1/4" pitch chain; .325" pitch chain; 3/8" pitch chain; .404" pitch chain.
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    Chain Pitch File Diameter File Guide
    Part Number
    Sharpening Kit
    Part Number
    in. mm in. mm Part Number
    3/8 PMN 9.32 5/32 4.0 0811 411 8073

    5605 750 4327

    5605 007 1026

    1/4
    3/8 PM
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    5605 007 1027

    0.325 8.25 3/16 4.8 0811 412 8088

    5605 750 4328

    5605 007 1028

    3/8 9.32 13/64 5.2 0814 243 3384 5605 750 4329

    5605 007 1029

    0.404 10.26 7/32 5.5 0811 412 8108 5605 750 4330

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    Pro Mark™ Chainsaw Boot
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    Pro Mark™ Hi-Vis Zip Chap

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Are You Ready for a STIHL?

MS 261 C-M is rated 4.7 out of 5 by 172.
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Ms261c Awesome saw, starts right up every time!Power to weight on this saw is perfect for cutting firewood and more.
Date published: 2018-01-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from FIRST PROFFESSIONAL SAW This is the first professional saw I have purchased, The fit and function on this saw is great, starts like it should every time.I have used this saw to cut some oak and it chews through it like a big saw, fuel economy is great.I can cut all day with this saw and I know it wont beat me up like a higher cc saw will do.I recommend this product.
Date published: 2018-01-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Easy to start, runs all day, easy to maintain! Since I am a first time saw owner all I can say is... I love this saw! I figured that the professional level would be a better choice for me. I needed a saw that would handle the job since I live on the side of a mountain, was also light enough to haul up and down the step mountain side, as well to and from the house. The saw fires right up and works all day. I have owned the saw for one year now and haven't had a single issue even after a tree trunk landed on the motor housing. I then walk right over and fired it right up! Both 16 and 18 inch cuts are plenty for what I need and I also added the extra spikes on the opposite side, too. Cuts like better with the electronic ignition! Awesome product and would never ever consider owning another brand!
Date published: 2018-01-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The real deal I have owned this saw for 8 months and use it a lot. The more I use it, the more impressed I am. Zero problems so far. Starts easily, simple to maintain and plenty of power. I use the 18 inch bar and it does just about everything I need. This is a saw of the highest quality and meant to last. I now have two saws with the M-Tronic system and they have performed flawlessly in a wide range of conditions.
Date published: 2017-12-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from MS 261 C-M / THOR !!! I have had many saws over the years and my Stihl's are my go to saws. (3) 250,311,390 are my past saws. I have cut down to just two. My new 261c-m (THOR) & 461 (HULK) I name all my saws.Have leaf blower,weed eater,tiller all STIHL all good equipment !!!.After doing countless hours of research on which saw to buy, I choose the MS 261c-m, and am I ever happy I did. Amazing power for a 50cc saw. Just a well balanced and designed saw. I can see were this saw will be worth just as much as I paid for it in 15 years time.I have never had a prob. with any of them. If I did I would take it to my local Stihl dealer here in COLUMBUS NE. Reardon Lawn & Garden Equipment. They have great Service. Not that I NEED it because they converted all my power tools to STIHL !!!
Date published: 2017-11-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best of class. The old saying they don't make them like they use to,not true here this saw is better.Lighter,more torque and power,better fuel economy.
Date published: 2017-11-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great power to weight ratio I do not use this professionally but wanted a powerful, lightweight, reliable saw. This is all of those. I love the ease of use. It starts really easy and is a joy to use. My buddy just bought a comparable orange saw and is always complaining about how it floods all the time. This is not a problem with this saw.
Date published: 2017-11-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from You will not regret buying 4 years ago I was newly responsible for a family farm in Southern Ontario. I was also a relative novice at using a chainsaw. I bought a Craftsman's 50cc saw with the 20 inch bar. I have deadfall issues every spring. I read and follow manuals but couldn't keep that Craftsman running and returned it after 1 weekend. I vowed to buy the best I could afford. Upon my Stihl dealers recommendation I bought this saw with an 18 in bar. Since then it has helped me to steadily improved my chainsaw and tree felling skill set. This saw is easy to use. Very power full. It cuts through all the cedar, hickory, ash, maple, elm, red oak, pin oak, and occasional horn beam that I can find with ease. It only slows or bogs when I screw up technique. I use premix because there can be long gaps between uses. In warm weather I use any bar oil. But only Stihl's in winter. The only negative is it tends to vapor lock when you stop after say your second or third fueling that day. Not a big issue I need the break anyway so I stack or putter for 20 or 30 minutes and she fires right back up. I recommend this saw because it is an excellent balance between power and weight. I am a desk jockey in my 50's, this saw was the perfect fit. This weekend I used this saw to remove a pair of hung trees one 14 in dbh and one 22 in dbh. This saw had them down and bucked in 2 days running the saw from 7 to 5. Other than the periodic vapor lock it ran beautiful. Incidentally the powerline guys in my area referred to ther 261's as their pruning saw!
Date published: 2017-11-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great saw This saw is light and powerful I cant wait to see what it does when fully broken in
Date published: 2017-11-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from replaced a super 28 with this saw good power. starts easy. weight is ok for a saw this powerful, rev's to the moon. I don't know how high this saw rev's but its fast.
Date published: 2017-11-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Awesome saw! Great saw with plenty of power. 20 inch bar perfect for all tasks.
Date published: 2017-10-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An Engineering Marvel with Legendary Performance First, I’ll mention that this is the third piece of Stihl equipment I’ve purchased. I an say that I am proud of all the Stihl equipment I own, and when you can take pride in your work AND your tools, that’s a great feeling. I bought a home with about 3/4 of an acre of land that has a very mature landscape. My trees are mainly sweetgum and poplar with a maple and sycamore here and there. Last year I bought a BR 350 backpack blower and a FS 90R string trimmer. Both are at the lower end of the professional line of equipment and they have been the best pieces of equipment I own. I run the blower a lot more than the trimmer because of how many leaves I deal with! Its crazy! Anyway, I held off on a chainsaw because at the time I didn’t need one except to clear dead limbs and brush piles from the previous owner. So I bought a small electric saw from the hardware store and it got me by. It serves its purpose.But now, I’m doing some thinning and clearing of the bigger trees. Plus, when tropical storm Irma (tropical storm by the time it got to my area in Georgia) came through, a few of my neighbor’s trees fell due to wind. The electric saw wasn’t up to the task, which isn’t its fault. It wasn’t made for this.Today I went back to my dealer and bought this saw, the MS 261 C-M with a 20” bar. I ran a full tank of fuel through it cutting mostly poplar trees and it made a believer of of me. It easier to control, it cuts faster, its oil system is superior, the antivibration system makes it a pleasure to use, and the M-tronic system is the neatest system I’ve ever seen on a small engine. Now, I was leery of the M-tronic stuff. I’m old school when it comes to that sort of thing and I believe that less is more in that regard. But when you buy from the best chainsaw manufacturer in the world, it has to be tough, right? Well, it gave me no problems whatsoever. None. When you start it you can hear it playing with the settings to adjust itself by listening to the engine. In a few seconds at idle, it is ready to go and man alive does it go! If you are a homeowner, and you need to cut trees on occasion, the homeowner and farm/ranch saws are excellent as well. But if you have the resources, go to the professional line. I tried the MS 362 C-M as well and it’s just a bigger more powerful version of this one. For what I do, this 261 is way more saw than I need...today. Tomorrow that may change. Do yourself a favor and buy as much as you are skilled to use and can afford. You won’t regret it.As for cleaning, I ran this saw for a few hours today and it was not nearly as gummed up with crud as my electric saw gets after cutting a stick! The chip control is so much better, the internals are so much better, the chain cover (magnesium by the way, not plastic) with captured bar nuts is easy to clean out...everything about this saw is engineered to perform. The quarter turn fuel and bar oil caps do not leak at all and they are easy to use with a gloved hand. Professionals I’ve spoken to all hold this saw in high regard. And many have told me that this saw is their personal favorite because it’s powerful and lightweight and high quality. After using it today, they were right and I’m so glad this MS 261 C-M is my newest addition to my Stihl family. You will love how much you can accomplish with this saw. And the peace of mind you will have knowing you bought the best chainsaw on earth will be a feeling you get every time you grab the grips and take it to the field. Thank you, Stihl, for yet another excellent tool.
Date published: 2017-10-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The 261C-M is a quality chainsaw. I have had many Stihl products in the past and still do. My last saw a Stihl 031 lasted me 36yrs. My new saw a 261 seems to be built to last as long if not longer. I love Stihl products.
Date published: 2017-10-18
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Just ok I've had some problems starting it and I was very careful to follow the break in instructions and the re-calibration procedures.
Date published: 2017-10-18
Rated 1 out of 5 by from This product is garbage it blew up after 4 hours of use. I bought this saw brand new. I bought it on a Tuesday. I used it sparingly tuesday and wednesday for less than 4 hours. It blew up. It would not start or run. I brought back. They rebuilt it. They had it until the following friday. At that point they had it for twice as long as I did. They refused to give me my money back. They refused to give me a new saw. Now I am stuck with an already broken not sounding correct chainsaw, that I am actually afraid to use. I own three other stihl saws, (none of them commercial grade) the big commercial trimmers, blowers. I am appalled. I will not be buying Stihl products anymore. At least with the cheaper brands they will give you new unbroken equipment or refund your money. I can actually go through two cheaper saws and stihl be ahead of the game.
Date published: 2017-10-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Just go and buy one ! Seriously, this chainsaw is sooo good in EVERY way possible.I've had nearly all the other "lesser" home owner Still chainsaws and this is justsuperior in every single way. It's so easy to start, it idles very smoothly, the power and torque are exceptional and it's very nicely balanced.The M Tronic system is just outstanding. I've got a 16 inch bar and the Pico Duro carbide chain. This combination makes for effortless, safe and super fun cutting.Do not economise for the sake of a couple of hundred dollars - This is my go to chainsaw every chance I get. I always use Stihl Motomix pre mixed fuel - using regular gas and adding oil is just stupid these days because you will get problems coming at you fast.Best model chainsaw ever, ever, ever !
Date published: 2017-10-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Nice light saw Bought to cut smaller diameter trees and bust up slash piles. Power is about as expected for a 50cc saw. Have a 90 cc saw for most other work. No problem starting and good acceleration unlike other competitors small computerized saws. Ran about 7 tanks gas thru it so far.
Date published: 2017-10-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Lightweight work horse I have a Farm boss MS290 that we have used reliably for years. This saw met our need but as we moved to the mountains and put in a wood burning stove, we needed a new saw that was lighter and with good power, not only for felling but bucking as well. We had a tree service come and take down a damaged 80' maple and I saw that their "go to" saw was the MS261. We purchased one and never looked back. Great saw, highly recommended.
Date published: 2017-10-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Simply the Best I have owned many saws over the past 30 years and I was hesitant to try the M-Tronic but boy am I glad I did. This is the easiest starting and smoothest running saw I have ever used. The power is unreal for a saw this light too. It flat out eats and begs for more. I'm very very impressed. My MS460 magnum is for sale because It's not in this saws league as hard as that is to believe.
Date published: 2017-10-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great all around saw! I purchased this saw to use around the house and to put in my RZR for when my wife and I are out riding trails. I have medium sized diameter tree's around my house that needed cut back and this saw did that with ease. We also have a wood burning fire place in our home, so, next fall I will be looking forward to putting this saw to work. Easy starting, doesn't get finicky at elevation. I went with the professional series just because I know that they are built a little stouter and have nicer features to them. If someone is wanting a saw for around the house or something that is easy to carry on a side by side or ATV that is dependable and built well, I highly recommend this saw to you! It's well worth the extra money over the 241!
Date published: 2017-10-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from New to Chainsaws I bought this chainsaw just before Irma hit. In Inverness Fl at Ace Hardware. Great crew of people there. First chainsaw I've ever purchased. I used it a few times to cut up some large oaks that had fell during the storm. I took it back once because I didn't think the chain was being oiled properly. The folks at ACE took it out back and put it through it's paces and showed me how the oil system worked. I think it was a little clogged but it's been working fine since then. After returning to Key West I've been using it daily to cut up softer wood. For me it starts cold in 1-3 pulls and usually one pull after being warmed up. I'm still getting used to the saw and as I stated it's my first saw. I've used a few others in my life. This one feels great as far as vibration and seems to cut anything I put in front of it. I haven't noticed a need for more power but I'm sure folks that use these on a daily basis might require more? I'm very happy so far with the purchase and would buy another Stihl product.
Date published: 2017-10-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Tool This is about the lightest chainsaw I have ever operated.Very agile and can cut through an oak tree in no time.Very impressed and the quality is above reproach, STIHL has succeeded with this great tool.
Date published: 2017-09-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Perfect Starts easy, nice balance, cuts like a dream. Very happy with our purchase.
Date published: 2017-09-24
Rated 2 out of 5 by from "Upgrade" downgraded This is my second MS261CM. The first one was stolen and it ran like a scolded dog. This new one with a facelift surges and I'm pretty sure the bar isn't perpendicular to the powerhead. I can also feel exhaust coming out of the head. Needless to say it's going back to the dealer. Not impressed. I wish I had my old saw but unless it's found I'm stuck with this over priced MS271. Wait a couple years for the bugs to be worked out.
Date published: 2017-09-19
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Finicky! I wish I would have dispensed with all the C-M baloney and just focused on weight and reliable starting
Date published: 2017-09-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great all-around saw This is my first Pro-grade saw. I watched countless youtube videos on the entire lineup and Stihl's direct competitors before making my purchase. I feel that the features of the Pro Series saws are worth the added expense over the Homeowner and Ranch/Farm grade saws regardless of how little you might use one. I enjoy the lighter weight (sub 11 lbs), M-tronic features, decompression valve, tool-less filler caps for the bar oil and fuel, and the fact that they are easily rebuilt for many years of service. The power to weight ratio on this saw is excellent in comparison to the Ranch Series saws of this size that easily weigh 1.5-3 lbs more and are made of a less durable polymer and case that's more difficult to rebuild/replace. I went with a 20" bar and while it runs it with no issue, I believe the perfect combo for this saw and its power is a 18" bar. Since this purchase and the recent events of Hurricane Harvey in my area, I have become saw obsessed and I am nothing more than a weekend-warrior, that said, I am already considering the purchase of a 461 or 661 for my next saw. I guess you can say that I have been bitten by the saw bug.
Date published: 2017-09-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from MS 261 C-M I have had several Stihl saws from my first an 028 to the largest MS461. In this mix of saws I have a MS 260 Pro. I really didn't need a new saw I really wanted to see what the C-M was all about. A"smart saw"? I have been using this saw to fell and buck trees for firewood about six months. In that six months I have processed about six cord and about three of that with this little saw with an 18" bar and chain.The first use I was working a locust tree that had blown over. The base of the tree was approximately 18" diameter while the length was 60-70' and not many branches. The power of the saw was quite evident as it had no problem cutting this tree up. There was no bogging down of the saw with a new chain(yellow). I did however have trouble starting the saw after shutting it down for a bit. I had flooded it. That was my fault though. I failed to read the manual before using. After all I have been using Stihl saws for forty years, I should know how to operate them. I was using the on/run/choke switch like a conventional saw. With the M-tronic one doesn't have to work the switch in the same manor. After I learned that I had no other issues with the MS 261 C-M. I ran the MS 260 Pro 16" bar and the MS 261C-M 18" bar on the same job to try and get a fair comparison. The 261 wins in all categories. It is faster, stronger, and more fuel efficient. I am glad I purchased this saw only time and usage will solidify that thought.
Date published: 2017-09-16
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Worst Experience Ever I bought this saw early in the year when a big oak fell at my church. I'd owned a Stihl before that I'd purchased from eBay. I never had a problem with that one, but it was stolen. I'd heard about the Stihl MS-260 from Wranglerstar on YouTube for years, so I took the plunge to buy it, knowing that as often as trees go down at my church, I'd need a heavy duty saw. The saw worked fine through that tree, but then, later this year as we started preparation for our annual Youth Camp, it stopped running mid-cut. I took it in and was told there was a known engine problem. They said it would take six weeks to repair. I couldn't be that long without a saw, so I went ahead and purchased a MS 170, the humblest of all Stihl's saws. We were clearing new land for the church, so that little saw got a huge work-out, but it never quit. Camp prep took about four months, so I eventually got my 261 back. Put it back in service, and the same thing happened again after a few days. I took it back in, and this time they replaced it within a week or two. Brand new saw. I put that in service, and probably put thirty hours on it before camp prep was done, without a problem. Then hurricane Irma blew in and took out seven trees at the church. I grabbed my 261 and headed for the church. A tank and a half in to the first big oak and my saw stopped again. I took it directly to my Stihl dealer, then went and got my 170 to continue work. That is a work in progress, barely started, because fuel is scarce still here in Florida, especially the ethanol free, which is all I run in my saws. Yesterday, I got a call from the Stihl dealer that Stihl had determined that my saw had been run "out of spec" because the chain on the saw was dull. I'd sharpened it before I started on Tuesday as I always do, but I'd put a tank and a half through it and I'm sure it was getting dull when it quit. Sawing fallen oak is a tough job for a saw, which is why I'd bought a pro model. I was told they would not honor the warranty. The head is cracked. I'm heartsick about this total loss. I admit that I work my saws hard, but isn't the logical thing to do if you have a tough job to get a saw that is rated for tough work? Perhaps I'm some kind of saw-killing nincompoop, but I never had a problem with the used Stihl I purchased used or the MS 170 I bought as a stand-in for my 261. I wish I'd sprung for the next model up. I can't afford that now, and I've lost confidence in the Stihl pro line. Impossible for me to recommend.
Date published: 2017-09-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best saw ever I just purchased this saw for a major project and it performed better than expected, the power was unreal and the weight was comfortable I used it all day on wet wood and it never complained, I must say it was worth the extra money! wow I am sold on this saw, way to go Stihl, I love my saw.
Date published: 2017-09-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I love this saw This is my kind of saw. It has lots of power and cuts like a saw should. I use this saw from 7000 feet to 10,000, at 10,000 feet it starts on the 4th pull when it is cold and starts very easy on one pull when its warm. My old saw was hard to start cold and wouldn't start warm. It is a delight to use, it is light for its horse power and will last me for years to come. Thank you Stihl.
Date published: 2017-09-12
  • y_2018, m_2, d_20, h_1
  • bvseo_bulk, prod_bvrr, vn_bulk_2.0.7
  • cp_2, bvpage2n
  • co_hasreviews, tv_0, tr_172
  • loc_en_US, sid_ms261cm, prod, sort_[SortEntry(order=FEATURED, direction=DESCENDING), SortEntry(order=SUBMISSION_TIME, direction=DESCENDING)]
  • clientName_stihl