Marlin rules the roost as far as precision goes...take a look at any SASS/Cowboy shoot and you'll see the top ten using Marlins.
Their barrels have always been what made them more precise...button-rifled...
and the Marlins are built like WW2 Tiger Tanks...tougher than most folks who carry 'em
And Marlin has sold far more lever-actions than Winchester...the numbers are there for anyone to look at.
You want the leader, get a Marlin.
You want a safe queen, get a Winnie.
But that being said, get an older one...pre-2005 for certain,as there were a LOT of disgruntled workers after the initial sale announcement in 2005.
And if you don't like crossbolt safeties, go pre-1992...although there is a nifty conversion which turns the safety into a Saddle Ring holder
I've got a 1952 Marlin 336RC in .30-30
With regular irons its a solid 150-yd shooter, and with Creedmore tang peep up to 500+, no problem.
it is the Perfect deer & hog rifle, it'll take any game in North America, as long as the shooter does their part.
Except the Waffle-top versions, they can all be scoped with ease...since mine is a waffle-top...no scope...
I ain't gonna mess up the value for a scope...especially when my eyes are still good and a peep will do