I don't know who makes what anymore, only a Winchester is a Winchester no matter who makes it. I know they aren't made in China but what's the difference between something made in a factory in China or by someone from China working in a factory in Seattle. Well, frankly, it isn't that simple. There are still differences (in the product, I mean).
I've only owned one Marlin and six Winchester lever actions. The Winchesters were very nicely sized carbines but I swear you could make the screws loosen just by staring at them hard. None ever fell out, though. And the levers were all looser than it seemed like they should have been. The Trapper model was the handiest and I should have kept it. One was a Model 95 that was the second longest rifle I ever had, which surprised me when I realized it. Very, very nice rifle but I found it hard to load. I didn't care for the sights on any of them, however, and for that matter, on none of the other rifles I've owned except for a No. 4 and a No. 5 Lee-Enfield.
I'm no expert but it's hard to generalize. The older ones that I've examined but didn't own had much nicer wood-to-metal fit. Never having seen a brand new old one, I'm not sure about the other aspects but some of the newer ones had pretty nice wood and the finish usually seemed more practical (not an oil finish). Same with the Marlin.
Why did they have to quit making them anyway?
Shoot low, sheriff. They're riding Shetlands!
Underneath the starry flag, civilize 'em with a Krag,
and return us to our own beloved homes!
Buy War Bonds.