This original article has been updated to reflect the review of Tom Rutherford.
Whenever I use a chainsaw, I think of those nameless loggers in old photos. They are standing around a monstrous felled tree, holding axes and long, two-man whipsaws. Was that a day’s work? Or could they cut through a tree that big before knocking off for lunch? If only those guys could see the tools we have today! Gasoline-powered saws with bars up to 7-feet long can do the work it would take a whole crew to do in the old days. Of course, most of us aren’t loggers and would have no need for such beastly saws. But their smaller brethren are eminently useful if you’ve got a bit of wooded property to maintain. And I have some of that at a cabin in the mountains of Georgia. Now, I’ll probably never star on Ax Men or fell a tree three times my height in diameter, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have plenty of sawing to do. Today, I’ve got the Husqvarna 460 Rancher Chainsaw to help me do it.
Husqvarna needs no introduction. Its deep bench of tools is ubiquitous and generally excellent. And they’ve been making tools in one form or another for hundreds of years. That’s right – Husqvarna’s been at it for centuries. As Daniel Elms explained in his review of the K 760 Power Cutter , “the company made rifles in the 1600s, sewing machines in the 1800s, bicycles at the turn of the 20th century before turning its focus to lawn mowing and demolition robots. Husqvarna has manufactured more varied products than most.” So the company has a bit of experience!
Husqvarna 460 Rancher Features
Husqvarna offers enough chainsaw models to fell an entire forest! Seriously, there are 27 permutations of Husqy saws. Fortunately, the company published this handy application reference guide:
You’ll see Husqvarna’s saw categories vertically on the left and the applications across the top. So the Husqvarna 460 Rancher Chainsaw is a bit more than an entry-level, homeowner saw but not quite a semi-professional saw. It might be a little hard to define a semi-pro chainsaw, but at least we don’t have to for this review! But the Farm and Ranch, Landowner/Rancher category is just what I need.
Engine, Starting, and Mechanical
The Rancher is outfitted with Husqvarna’s X-Torq engine, designed to use fuel efficiently and reduce emissions. It pumps out 3.62 horsepower using a 3.68 cubic inch displacement. As they say, ain’t no replacement for displacement! This saw has ample power to make short work of big wood. It uses a forged, three-piece crankshaft.
That all sounds good, but it isn’t worth a hill of beans if it doesn’t reliably start. We’ve all had those gas engines that just won’t seem to fire up. Sometimes they fail when it’s cold. Sometimes they won’t restart when they’re hot. It’s frustrating, especially if you’re out in the woods without tools.
Fortunately, the Husqvarna 460 Rancher Chainsaw boasts several features to aid in starting. First, there’s a combined choke/stop control which is supposed to reduce the risk of flooding. Helpfully, the choke automatically places the on/off switch in the “on” position.
An air purge removes air from the system to help with start-up, too. A compression release button definitely seems to make start-up easier as well. It’s all part of Husqvarna’s SmartStart engine and starter design. I will note, however, that I noticed that it sometimes takes several pulls on the cord to restart the chainsaw if its
Interestingly, the oil pump is adjustable so you can modulate it depending on the weather conditions and the application.
In addition to the air purge feature, the Husqvarna’s air system uses centrifugal motion to remove particles before they reach the air filter. The idea is that you don’t have to clean the air filter as often, and better airflow means extended engine life.
When it does come time to clean the filter, a quick release is designed to make it easy.
Maybe we were tougher in the old days (or maybe we didn’t know any better) but today, we know vibration isn’t just annoying – it can be very harmful over time. So anti-vibe technology has become part of many tools, including the Husqvarna 460 Rancher Chainsaw. Husqvarna calls it LowVib and it keeps the front handle vibration at 3.8 m/s² and the rear handle at 6.9 m/s².
As far as the actual cutting of this tool felt, I’ll say this: the ergonomics and the general balance of the saw help to keep the cut straight, flat, and uniform when you have to tackle a log from both sides. I experienced no lateral travel. Additionally, the kickback feels very controlled; Husqvarna did good work here. Plunge cuts are a breeze with the Husqvarna 460 Rancher. Large dog ears have a lot of bite to them, and they offer good leverage.
Other Notable Features
There’s easy access to the side-mounted chain tensioner for the times you find it dangling a little lower than you’d like. Felling marks allow you to direct the fall of the tree you cut. I’m also happy to see some substantial bucking spikes. Back when Michael Springer performed a big battery-powered chainsaw shootout, bucking spikes were a point of interest. These are teeth that bite the log for control and leverage while see-sawing – or bucking – the saw back and forth through a log.
The whole package weighs in at 12.79 pounds excluding cutting equipment. Not too shabby.
- X-Torq Engine – Delivers lower fuel consumption and reduced exhaust emission levels
- Air Injection – Centrifugal air cleaning system removes larger dust and debris particles before reaching the air filter.
- LowVib – System designed to reduce vibration levels to the operator, which lessens fatigue.
- Adjustable Oil Pump – Allows you to control oil flow depending on application and weather conditions.
- Quick Release Air Filter
- Side-mounted Chain Tensioner
- Front Handle Ergonomics – Better grip and a 7° offset handle reduce fatigue.
- Felling Marks
- Three-piece Crankshaft – Forged three-piece crankshaft for maximum durability for the toughest applications.
- Inertia Activated Chain Brake – Reduces the likelihood of injury due to kickback.
- Combined Choke/Stop Control
- Smart Start – The engine and starter have been designed so the machine starts quickly with minimum effort.
- Air Purge – Removes air from carburetor and fuel system for easy starting.
Husqvarna 460 Rancher Chainsaw Specifications
- 966 04 83-20 (20-inch bar)
- Cylinder displacement: 3.68 cubic inches
- Power output: 3.62 hp
- Maximum power speed: 9000 rpm
- Fuel tank volume: 0.9 US pint
- Fuel consumption: 437 g/kWh
- Idling speed: 2700 rpm
- Spark plug: Champion RCJ7Y, NGK BPMR7A
- Electrode gap: 0.02 inches
- Torque, max.: 3.4 Nm
- Recommended bar length, max: 24 inches
- Recommended bar length, min: 13 inches
- Pitch: 3/8″
- Speed at max power: 65.62 ft/s
- Speed at 133% of maximum engine power speed: 87.27 ft/s
- Weight (excl. cutting equipment): 12.79 pounds
- Oil tank volume: 0.7 US pint
- Oil pump type: Automatic
- Pump capacity Max: 17 ml/min
- Pump capacity Min: 6 ml/min
- Equivalent vibration level (ahv, eq) front handle: 3.8 m/s²
- Equivalent vibration level (ahv, eq) rear handle: 6.9 m/s²
- Sound power level, guaranteed (LWA): 114 dB(A), measured 112 dB(A)
- Sound pressure level at operators ear: 104 dB(A)
- Price: $515
Editor’s note: This review originally published on February 12, 2018.