Appropriate chain saw size
I was wondering what size chain saw I will need when I start cutting my own wood for firewood. I am 5'10" 140lbs, I'll be cutting trees mostly about 12-14" across but some as large as 18" or so. My dad gave me his Poulan 2375 (WildThing) and I'm putting a chainbrake on it, it was an older model without one. So for now thats what I have. It is 42cc w/18" bar and it seems to cut well. There was a 17" pine that, when the bar was all the way in the tree, it bogged down on.
I'm thinking of upgrading next year when I get a house. I'm expecting I'll be cutting between 4-6 cords a year. This includes felling and bucking. I'm thinking something around 45-50cc and an 18" bar would do it for me and then I could put a 14" bar on the Poulan and use it for light work.
A couple saws come to mind but I'm not sure if I want a "mid grade" saw or a high end consumer saw. Would the latter make it through 10 years of cutting or so?
The saws I've been looking at mostly are the Echo CS-520 and the Stihl MS-270. They both cost about $360 and look like sweet saws. But I wonder if a MS-250 or CS-440 would do it, both of which are about $300. Maybe I'm looking at the wrong saws altogether, let me know.
For now the little Poulan is working well, even though the carb needs tweeking every few hours of use. And since this year I'm just cutting down trees and stuff around my parent's place it's no big deal. I just like to have all my ducks in a row ahead of time so I know how much I will be spending next year. This year I'm going to be sinking a little over $100 in PPE so I can have a helmet, ear protection, screen and chaps. I've got some gloves and I'll get steel toed boots before I start felling a lot of trees.