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When i started i used ms180 as its a low powered,light weight and easy to look after and also let me get use to what a chainsaw feels like as I was a little scared of it If you wont to go in to a 50cc saw go for a ms260
Depends if you intend to learn for say 1 year and then upgrade or to buy a saw now and keep it for three years. As a starter the MS 170 0r 180 or Husky 141, if you want to buy and keep then the MS260 or Husky 346 are fine machines, if you dont have spare cash then the Husky 345 is a good saw IMO.
Hey, welcome to the forum. When i did my 30/31 there was a guy who had a stihl ms230. The instructor looked at him gone out when he saw it. We all turned up with brand new 346's and felt like kings, but the 230 did a brilliant job!! Sounded alot more powerful than it was. If you are considering these kind of saws then the money sounds like it won't be a problem. I would go for a more pro build saw, the 346/260/261 would be ideal. Personally, if i was looking at a 50cc class then i would opt for the new ms261. A bit heavier than the 260, but way better air filtration, new technology engine and bang up to date. the 260, although it is a proven workhorse is a 20 year old design. I would definately go for a 50cc pro class saw with a 15inch bar.
Good luck with your 30/31, i really enjoyed doing mine!
Don't go for a non pro saw I spent £150 on one thinking when I have earned a bit of money from it I would buy a better one, I sold it after 4 months just had no guts and frustrating to use. and yes its the user not the chainsaw that is dangerous