Hearing a bunch of "saw one...didn't like it" and "I hear they suck cuz..." Well folks, let me offer something sorely missing from this thread. FIRST HAND and INDEPTH/EXTENDED observation. Here's the data:
Date Purchased: Sep '08
Rounds fired: 35 (all same as below)
Ammo: Hornaday LEVERevolution 160gr.
Days in Field '08 Seasons: 17
Days in Field '09 Seasons: 8 (and counting)
Season 1 Report:
Bought a few weeks before moose season last year. Wanted to try it without sling & scope, as my heroes of the yesteryear did. As such, I spent all 17 days afield in '08 without scope or sling. I didn't even check boresighting that year... just took it to my local 100yd range and made sure I could consistently hit 6" diameter targets at 100yds. No problems on range, and no misses or 2nd shots needed during the season. I always sight/train with the same ammo I hunt.
Season 2 Report (mid-season):
This year, I added a sling and a Bushnell Trophy 3-9x40 scope. It comes tapped for weaver (h3) mounts and rings...so that was much easier than most lever's around. With the scope I bore sighted and then took it to the range for tuning. The bore sighting (laserlyte) was set to 3in low at 20yds. With live ammo at 100 yds, I was still about an inch low. but no windage changes needed. After tuning elevation I saw 1.1 to 1.9 inch groups the rest of the session.
Thusfar, I've had no problems with feeding/cycling. 25d afield in the rocky/brushy slopes of vermont and it's held up very well. The blueing is actually better than most rifles I've owned. I oiled the wood after last season and it looks great. I'm not so happy with my scope mounts/scope (too bulky and overkill in function). So after the season, I'm going to swap the scope for a 4x32 with decent eye-relief and the detachable see-thru mounts, so that I retain the irons sights as optional.
In fact, I've had so much fun with this lil' bugger that my m77 mkII .308 hasn't been out at all in 2yrs. One of the things I've come to really appreciate (thinking ahead about my growing fast-growing boys)... are the redundant safeties. Tang safety, hammer and the lever-pressure safety are not at all cumbersome in the field (I thought the lever-pressure safety would affect my trigger squeeze but it hasn't noticeably).
Ultimately, this is not a junk gun at all. It may not yet have the collector's value of the winchester's or marlins, but it's just as solid, reliable, accurate and a surprisingly fun rifle to take afield and will likely have a home in my gunsafe for many years to come.