Make no mistake about it, the BEST lever action rifle is the one that feels good on your shoulder and sights to the target.
Remember a lever action rifle that is pretty and fancy but does not feel right will not get shot.
Like the old saying "My favorite rifle is the one I got with me".
Winchester and Marlin and Rossi and what ever others are out their all have their good and bad points.
I have marlins and winchesters but no rossis. I like each of the enought to keep them in the safe. But to choose a BEST of is next to impossible. I have had some of the same make and model that just did not feel right when they hit my shoulder. The guns just did not have the umph that the others possessed.
If you want to know what is the BEST lever action, then ask your friends if you could shoot their rifles. When you find one that feels like a long lost friend, then you have a good candidate for BEST rifle. But then go to the gun stores and handle as many of that make and model as you can, and again, when you found your long lost friend, then you have your rifle.
It is like finding a wife, you dont really know her until you meet her and hold her. But in the back of your mind, you have a little red flag that says this one is a keeper.