Poulan 306 Chainsaw Review: “I Rent My 306A Out For Halloween”

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The Poulan 306 chainsaw has garnered a reputation for being incredibly durable and powerful for its weight.

Many users have reported their 306s running strong for over two decades, emphasizing its reliability and enduring quality. It outperforms other models of the time, such as the Homelite Super XL and the Stihl 041 Farm Boss.

Known for its reliability and robustness, the 306 became a go-to for those who demand a tool that can withstand years of hard work and still deliver excellent results. Even after the wear and tear of rigorous usage, many users find that simple maintenance, like replacing the muffler, can bring the machine back to life.

However, it is most well known as the chainsaw Leatherface used in the first Texas Chainsaw Massacre film. For this reason, it’s a highly sought-after model by fans of this film franchise, and it can sell for big bucks on eBay.

One 306 owner said on FB “Believe it or not, every year around Halloween I have people wanting to rent my 306As out for their haunted house.” There aren’t many saws you can do this with!

Poulan 306 Versions

poulan 306 manual oiler
Image: chainsawcollectors.se user cut4fun – the 306 base model

There are multiple versions of the Poulan 306:

  1. Poulan 306 – base model with manual bar oiler
  2. Poulan 306A (or ‘automatic’) – with an automatic oiler
  3. Poulan 306SA – with an automatic oiler and Powersharp system

The Poulan Powersharp feature was a chain-sharpening device inside the clutch cover. Today’s Oregon chainsaws have a similar “self-sharpening” feature. The 306SA also has a decompression button, which the other versions do not have.

Other helpful notes about the different 306 versions…

From Chain Saw Collectors Corner:

Saws below serial number 541551 were equipped with automatic compression release valves that activated with the throttle lock while saws above serial number 553210 were equipped with a manual compression release valve.

Model 306SA saws were equipped with a .325 pitch Powersharp style chain and a 9 tooth sprocket and chain sharpened built into the clutch cover.

After 1978 the saws had electronic ignition and a quieter stamped metal muffler.

This is the Poulan 306A with an automatic oiler.

Poulan 306 chainsaw models
Image: chainsawcollectors.se user XL-130 – the 306A

Next, this is an early 306 with a yellow casing rather than lime green. User Modifiedmark said, “Here is a very early model 306A. Notice how the cover decal reads “thirty O six” and how the paint is the lighter yellowish green.”

first edition poulan 306
Image: chainsawcollectors.se user Modifiedmark – early 306

Modifiedmark also shared this version, stating “Here is a very late model 306A. It came with a electronic ignition and what I refer to as the “one screw” tin muffler. This saw is all original, not restored.”

306 with electronic ignition
Image: chainsawcollectors.se user Modifiedmark – late 306A

And Modifiedmark, a true Poulan 306 collector, also shared his 306SA version.

poulan 306 SA version
Image: chainsawcollectors.se user Modifiedmark – 306SA

And this is the Poulan 306A with a bow saw.

nib nos poulan 306 chainsaw
Image: chainsawcollectors.se user trx680 – 306A with bow saw

A 306 with a bow saw is rare and can fetch a high price on eBay and other online marketplaces. User trx680 acquired this NIB/NOS Poulan 306A!

Comments on the thread include this one from Modifiedmark:

Very nice to see that time capsule. She’s a beauty and legend.

For your own information, that saw is one of the very last 306A’s produced. You can tell by the fact that it is a electronic ign and the type of muffler thats on it. The lower bow guard is mostly seen in the later years also.

The starter handle is a sight to see, as its not usually seen on that model saw as that is the type that first came out on the 3400 and some other countervibe saws.

That proves that the handle was standard on at least a few of those.

And the same user later shares:

Looked up a bunch of serial numbers. That number [705291] is the highest that I have seen so far. I have what I know to be a very late 306A and yours is higher then it by a bit.

I also found that the numbers appear to be started in the 1968 200 series saws and that there also intertwined with the 245A saws as well.

So unless you would have a serial number list that is broken by years, (that Poulan may or maynot have/had) I don’t see how it is possible to use the serial numbers to pinpoint a year of production.

Poulan 306 Reviews

is the poulan 306 valuable
Image: chainsawcollectors.se user XL-130 – the 306A

All versions of the Poulan 306 are decent chainsaws for their time, and they’re still popular for use and collectors today.

Compared to modern chainsaws, their power-to-weight ration is poor, and things like the non-existant anti-vibration system can’t compare to modern saws, but for a piece of memorabilia or a weekend firewood saw, it’s good.

Here are user reviews from the Poulan Chainsaws FB group

Tony said:

They are great saws, tough as nails. Also thats the saw used in the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre (there’s some debate whether it’s a 306 with a 245 tank or it was actually a 245) but fans of that movie pay good money for them sometimes.

is the poulan 306 good

It’s a saw that is worth fixing up, as Ralph posted:

Little project I just finished, Poulan 306A. Rebuilt top end, carb kit and some elbow grease with some fresh paint and decals. Good running saw.

In the comments, Ralph shared these restoration tips:

  • “Sugar Creek Supply for decals.”
  • “I also used this clear coat that has a Hardener in it so it will make the finish gas and oil resistant. This clear coat can be bought right on Amazon but I got it at the auto body place.”
  • “I had the paint matched to the side cover, most auto body supply stores can make what you want in a spray can. This is the paint code you want.”
paint code for poulan green restoration
Image: Poulan Chainsaws FB group user Ralph

Other 306 reviews:

  • “Just good strong old reed valve power saws, not particularly the speed-cutting type but they pull strong and don’t tend to bog in gnarly thick wood. And a 306/245 frankensaw was the original Leatherface saw.”
  • “And aside from the movie, they’re a darned good saw.”
  • “The 306A and 261 are from the early 1970s and have horizontal cylinders, no anti-vibe, and loud mufflers.”

Specs And Features

Manufactured By POULAN (BEAIRD POULAN), SHREVEPORT, LA U.S.A.
Year Introduced 1971
Year Discontinued 1980
Engine Displacement 3.6 cu. in. (59cc)
Number of Cylinders 1
Cylinder Bore 1.788 in. (45.41mm)
Piston Stroke 1.437 in. (36.5mm)
Cylinder Type Chrome plated aluminum
Intake Method Reed valve
Weight 12-3/4 lbs.
Operator Configuration One Man operation
Handlebar System Rigid
Chain Brake none
Clutch Centrifugal
Drive Type Direct
Construction Die cast magnesium
Magneto Type Phelon
Carburetor Tillotson HS-59A, B
Major Repair Kit RK-23HS
Minor Repair Kit DG-5HS/T
Air Filter System Flocked screen
Starter Type Poulan automatic rewind
Oil Pump Automatic
Maximum Engine RPM Approximately 6,500
Ignition Timing fixed
Breaker Point Setting 0.015 in. (0.38 mm)
Flywheel/Coil Air Gap 0.012 in. (0.30 mm)
Spark Plug Type Champion CJ8
Spark Plug Gap 0.025 in. (0.51 mm)
Crankshaft Main Bearings Ball and caged needle roller
Fuel Tank Capacity 18 fl. oz.
Fuel Oil Ratio 32:1
Recommended Fuel Octane Regular
Mix Oil Specification Poulan two-cycle mix oil
Chain Pitch 3/8 in.
Chain Type Poulan P-72
Bar Mount Pattern 10 link
Shortest Guide Bar Supplied 16 in. (40 cm)
Longest Guide Bar Supplied 24 in. (61 cm)
Color Scheme Poulan Lime Green with Black top covers

Price And Parts

poulan 306 chainsaw reviews
Image: chainsawcollectors.se user XL-130 – the 306A

At the time of writing, there are no complete Poulan 306 Chainsaws for sale on eBay, but Halloween is just around the corner. However, there are plenty of parts available, though they are pricey.

Some guys build 306s completely from parts. Josh said:

I built mine. Both the 306a and the 245a. I took the time to get the right parts, the stuff needed to paint it, and everything else, and I’m just now trying to start the 245a. It costs more for the “collector value” but parts are all over eBay.

As for price, it depends on location and condition. It’s not unusual for a tidy 306 to sell for more than $300.

Tony, discussing pricing on FB, said:

A completely locked-up 306 will still sell for $150 all day long on eBay to the movie nuts. That’s the saw they used in Texas chainsaw massacre so those guys buy ’em up like candy.

If you want to make money selling second-hand chainsaws, seeking out 306s and then selling them to “movie nuts” could be quite profitable, especially around Halloween!

Parts for the Poulan 306 (all versions):

Poulan 306 A Chainsaw

The Poulan 306 has a lot of merit as a chainsaw, even outside of its use in the movie.

While there is a lot of demand from those who want to “play Leatherface”, there are just as many guys who have never seen the movie and just like the chainsaw for what it is outside of that.

If you have used the Poulan 306 or have any other experiences with it, let us know your thoughts in the comment section below. How does it compare to other saws from the 70s like as the STIHL 031 or McCulloch 610?

Images in this article come from this thread on the Chainsaw Collectors Forum.

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