How does the gauge of the chain effect the drive sprocket?

I bought a new bar and chain, the pitch is .325, the sprocket is .325 and gauge is .063, but the number of links is 81 instead of 74.

Will it work?

  • If you are using the old bar the new chain will be too long. But it can be shortened to 74 links by a shop that works on chain saws
    – Jack
    Jan 24, 2015 at 7:38

4 Answers 4


Gauge is the thickness of the drive tangs on the saw chain. Chain gauge must match the groove width on the bar.

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The only effect chain gauge will have on standard spur sprockets is the contact area it presents on the spur teeth, thicker gauge = wider contact area.

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Rim Sprockets use a pocket that must be wide enough to allow the drive tangs to seat.

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Pitch is the length of the links that make up the chain, basically the distance spanned by three rivets divided by 2 and chain pitch must match the sprocket pitch so the chain is properly driven.

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The reason for measuring over the span of three rivets and taking the average to calculate pitch is that the drive link has the rivets closer together than the tooth and span links.

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Where the pitch matters, as shown on the simpler spur sprocket chain drive mechanism on an electric pole saw. Chain drive tangs must be the right distance apart to engage the sprocket teeth properly.

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This leaves the remaining variable which is the number of links. More links, longer chain which must of course be accommodated by having a longer bar. Since the chain is seven links longer (81-74), the chain will be about 2.3" longer. If the bar nose radius on the new bar is equal to that of the old bar, your new bar should be about 1" longer.

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Also, there are different geometries on saw bars that can be used to take up that extra length which only can be seen by comparing the old bar against the new bar.


Presumably the new bar is either longer or wider or both than the old bar? Number of links is to fit the bar - pitch is to fit the sprocket.


Since the number of links is larger(81 instead of 74), there is low chance that it would fit properly.

What I suggest is to check the chain details(gauge,pitch and drive link) before you get one. You can find the details printed on the bar or in the manual.

If not, take the chain with you to a local hardware store, they can tell you all the details just taking a look at the chain.


My friend I just spoke with who cuts trees for a living and has more chainsaws and buys his chain in bulk. The Drive Links are the length. IF your BAR calls for say 45 DL then you should get that. HOWEVER if you can get a 44 to fit and not be too snug, that will give you more adjustment as it stretches. The Pitch (the distance between 3 rivets divided by Two) and the Chain Gauge; the part that runs in the bar Groove are crucial and need to be adhered to. So like me who bought an Eblay combo pack where the unit is made in Japan and comes with a chain and the Bar coding makes no sense like say a domestic Echo, Stihl, etc. For all I know the manufacture threw a 45 on a 12" bar because of the "deal" they got for bulk from a supplier and a 44 fits much better. The 45 on it is almost at the end of the adjustment tang. I got two trees trimmed and am out of stretch. The New 45 is only 1/4" shorter than the NON usable stretched unit it came with. I hope this helps if you are trying to learn like I did about Pitch, Gauge and Drive Links to figure your Chainsaw Chain.

  • This reads like spam but without a link or company name. Please feel free to edit your answer to actually answer the question. If you'll take the tour you'll get a better idea of how things work around here.
    – FreeMan
    May 26 at 10:48

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