What Does Magnum Mean On Stihl Chainsaws?

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What does Magnum mean on Stihl chainsaws?

The tricky thing is that sometimes it doesn’t mean anything and sometimes it does.

For example, all of the 440s and 441s were Magnums. There were no non-Magnum versions and the label didn’t really mean anything.

However, in the case of the 038, 044, and others, the Magnum label meant it was a more powerful chainsaw than the base model. 

Here’s a breakdown of those saws that are Magnums and mean bigger and those that are “just marketing”, as many describe it.

Stihl Magnum Meaning

what does magnum mean on stihl chainsaws

What’s the difference between a Stihl Magnum Chainsaw and a non-Magnum?

As a general rule, the Stihl MS series chainsaws with a Magnum label are no different from those without. In this case, they are all Magnums.

And again, as a general rule, the 0 series chainsaws with a Magnum label, prior to those with an MS model name, are more powerful chainsaws.

Let’s take a look at some examples.

1. Stihl 038

difference between magnum and non-magnum chainsaw

This screenshot is from the 038 manual.

You can clearly see the differences between the 038 S (Super) and the 038 Magnum – though they do both weigh the same!

The 038 Magnum has a larger bore than the Super. The Magnum has a 52 mm bore while the Super has a 50 mm. This results in the Magnum being 72.2 ccs to the Super’s 66.8 ccs.

It’s a big difference between the two versions.

2. Stihl 044 

stihl magnum specifications
Click to zoom in and read

The 044 is different again, though the specs look the same.

Both saws have these identical specs:

  • 4.3 cu in, 70.7 cc
  • 5.36 hp, 4 kW
  • 13.5 lbs, 6.24 kgs

Everything is the same. 

The base model is said to have a 50mm bore and 36mm stroke, and while I can’t find a manual for the Magnum, we can safely assume this is the same because the displacement is the same.


They state in the description above that the Magnum “Delivers 5% more power than the previous model.”

This is what we shared about it in our 044 chainsaw review:

It’s hard to find solid info on the actual differences, but there are a few ideas floating about out there.

Likely differences are:

  • The Magnum is dual ported; much stronger but the same 5.4 bhp
  • Magnum has a decompression valve and crankshaft that were changed to incorporate a larger wrist pin
  • Different timing and coils

Ultimately, Magnum here likely means a more powerful chainsaw.

3. Stihl 056

stihl 056 vs 056 super
The Stihl 056

The Stihl 056 is another saw we’ve covered on the blog.

In this case, the differences between the base model, Super version, and Magnum version are easy to find out.

Compare specs to see the extra power of the Magnum.

Stihl 056 056 S 056 Mag
CCs 81 ccs  87 ccs 94 ccs
Bore 52 mm 54 mm 56 mm
Stroke 38 mm 38 mm 38mm
Weight 18 lbs 18.1 lbs 18.52 lbs

The 056 Magnum has the largest bore of all the versions making it a bigger and better saw (at least in my opinion)!

4. Stihl MS440

stihl 440 chainsaw review
An MS440 without the sticker

I spent a decent amount of time looking at the old Stihl website in the Wayback Machine (an internet archive).

I never saw the MS440 listed as anything other than Magnum – it was always the MS 440 STIHL Magnum Chain Saw.

Stihl MS 440 Magnum Specs

In this case, as in the case of the MS441, Magnum is just a label or marketing term that means “big, powerful, Stihl chainsaw.”

If you look on your local Stihl website today, you’ll see there is no MS661 and 661 Magnum. There’s just Magnum.

5. Stihl MS880 

stihl 880 magnum meaning
The Stihl MS880

All Stihl MS880s are Magnums as well – you can see how cheap and casual the sticker is on the top cover.

Most people find these stickers come off pretty easily which is why you’ll see 880s without a Magnum label. It’s just something that makes the chainsaw sound a bit cooler – not that it really needs it.

Magnum today just means it’s a forestry or logging chainsaw or the best of the best Stihl chainsaw. They’re not for beginners!

Stihl Magnum Chainsaws

So that’s the story with Stihl Magnum chainsaws.

Before the MS model chainsaws the Magnum label meant it was a bigger saw. At least in all the saws we’ve researched that’s the case. We’ve yet to find an 0 series saw where the Magnum sticker was “just a label.”

But with the MS series saws, Magnum is just tacked onto the big saws. You’re not going to find it on an MS180, but only on the pro-level logging chainsaws like those we’ve shared here and others like MS460, MS461, MS441, MS881, and so on.

Let us know if you have anything to add in the comments below.


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