Noodling hardwood with a 54cc saw is extremely impressive indeed.
I know blokes (rellies) who do that down around Mt. Gambier & they use an MS880 & a 394XP.
Not sure I'd even want to be doing too much of that type of work with a 7901 lol!
You probably already know this Tony, but if you just noodle down on the log a short way with the chainsaw, then hit the log in those shallow cuts with the block splitter, it should split OK.I only noodle when I have to. I have a Fiskars X27 which does an excellent job usually. it's just the big knots it has an issue with. Last trip in to collect wood I didn't have a lot of choice - very little left - so I took what I could, and there are a couple of pieces I'll have to noodle. Since they're only about 50cm across, my MS180 shouldn't have too much trouble. I can't (yet) justify getting a larger saw.
You probably already know this Tony, but if you just noodle down on the log a short way with the chainsaw, then hit the log in those shallow cuts with the block splitter, it should split OK.
The MS180 is a very good saw! It cuts well above it's weight. Much better than the newer model, which is strato.
If you ever do feel the need for a bigger saw, I'd skip the 45-60cc range if it were me. I own three 36cc saws these days & used to have both a 52cc & a 45cc saw as well (MS260C & a Husky 345). My next saw up was a 7901 Makita. The jump in power between the 36cc saws & the 1st two was very, very small & the weight difference is significant. I found myself going straight from the 36cc saw to the 7901 when the branches got too big for the small saw. I sold the 260 & the 345 & have never missed them.
Food for thought on buying a larger Chinese chainsaw; I helped someone assemble the 72cc version he'd bought on Ebay. I'd rate it no more powerful than a MS260 & a whole lot heavier. The chain that came with it was junk. Once blunt, good luck on getting an edge on it again. He sold it.
Like I said, I needed a new bar & chain for another saw & the Chinese saw I bought came with an Oregon bar & chain for less coin than just buying a bar & chain, so I bought it. I doubt I'd do it again though.
Yeah, I hear what you're saying about an 880! I've never owned anything bigger than a 660 & I cut trees for a living! No longer even have a 660, as 99% of the trees in domestic gardens can be brought down with a smaller saw. The guys I mentioned above are farmers. In fact, the guy with the 394XP hardly ever uses it any more because it's too heavy.I'm happy to resist generic branded chainsaws.
The MS391 (64cc) looks to be the one that has an engine powerful enough to do what I want, with a full sized chain. I replaced the chain in my MS180 with a slightly wider one (same length) and the chips eject much better now, but it's still a "low profile" chain so the cut isn't as fast as it could be and applying pressure to the saw just causes it to struggle, heat the chain and stretch it without cutting any faster.
I don't think I need an MS880. I doubt I'll ever see timber here large enough to warrant such a big saw. The biggest diameter log I'm cutting (and doing ok with the MS180) is about 0.8m, which my saw only just manages to reach from both sides.
Ahh, bucking spikes. The yanks call them "Dawgs" (dogs) They're for "bucking" logs. They help prevent/reduce kickback when using a huge saw.I don't know what to call the spiky teeth that grip the log while you're cutting through it. The MS180 comes with plastic ones moulded into the body, but has two screw holes to allow for a metal plate with the spikes to be attached. This guy grabbed one off another saw and put it on mine.
Since I just cut firewood from fallen timber, I just cut segments that are 300-350mm long and load them in the ute, and split them after I get them home.