Well, here is my final build. It is a new Marlin .44 Mag carbine. I have always wanted a pistol caliber lever carbine to compliment my revolvers.
It is topped with a Leupold VX-R 1-4X20 with firedot reticle. The heavy Marlin trigger was replaced with a Wild West one piece that drastically improved trigger pull. It groups into 1 1/2 minutes at 100 yards so should be a good deer thumper.
I raised the comb to give me perfect scope acquisition and natural point of aim. The scope is a little higher than I wanted but it gives me plenty of room to pull the hammer with my gloved nub of a right thumb.
I made the sling from a piece of 1" nylon strap with slider to further reduce weight. This should be a good combo for hunting small tree stands in the thick Georgia woods.