Here's the rave review you've been looking for Pawnshop. I spent all day gettin pissed off at rocks and hauling machines around I'm dizzy. Okay so I spent 8 hours setting rock for a retaining wall job that we've been hired to do. Didn't get done, but I've spent enough time in the seat of the 304.5 that I can give an honest opinion. The machine, being at least 3 years old, is quite a performer. It is fairly quick, not smokin' fast, but fast enough. It will lift A TON. If you're looking for alot of lift capacity, this machine has it, no problem at all lifting 900 pound rocks over the side, 3 feet up and 8-9 feet out, facing downhill even and then swinging uphill. But while I was out setting this wall, I'm only about halfway done with it, I realized all the trouble it was to get the 4 loads of rock that was needed to build this thing. The quarry is about 10 miles away from town, we have to haul the excavator out there with our gooseneck trailer, go get the dump trailer, drive back to the quarry, and then make as many loads necessary to get all the rock to the site, then go pick up the machine and haul it to the site. In theory, this works pretty well, but we can't haul mre than about 9K pounds in the trailer so it takes quite a few loads and the place is pretty far from town. Also, I realized today that setting a wall is frustrating. Sometimes it seems that you just can't ever get the rock you want to fit just right and I tend to have a short fuse. So, the whole idea of us buying a machine that is larger than a 303CR was to enable us to do these rocks walls, which in fact take so long and are quite aggrevating I don't know if I want to do very many of them. I think I've decided that with the $10K we save by buying a 303CR instead of something larger, we'll use that cash to pay for rentals on a larger machine if and when we need to build a wall, which won't even come close to 10K. So, in all, I think the 304.5 is an awesome machine. It digs well, lifts well, and all around performs awesome. If it wasn't for my lack of patience on building walls, we'd probably be doing more of them in which case we'd absolutely need a large machine, but I think we'll end up with a brand spanking new 303CR about the middle of next month.