I had an uncle who owned a Marlin in 444. I borrowed it a couple of times to deer hunt with but never killed one with it. I later bought a Marlin in 35 Rem which I did kill several deer with. I owned several lever actions both Marlin and Winchester over the years in calibers from 22 to 45 70 but never owned a 444. I like the Winchesters in handgun calibers but for big game I'll go with the Marlin.
I have a Marlin 30/30, have had it for 40 years and never a problem.
I kinda like the BLR, myself. The one in .325WSM is pretty nifty, but I don't hunt anything that needs that much killin'. :D I've always thought it'd be a good brown bear protector on Kodiak island, or something, I mean, if I live there, which I don't, just sayin'....:rofl:
Since the Marlin .444 has been mentioned a few times I am going to share the experience a friend of mine had. He graduated from Law School in the late 1970's and he spent quite a bit of time working up some reloads that he would be comfortable taking to Africa on Safari. Bullet selection was terrible at the time and generating enough horsepower was a bit of a concern. In fact at one point the Big Marlin created enough pressure that the lever wouldn't budge and additional leverage and a plastic mallet was required to get the action open. After all summer testing the .444 he decided that wasn't what he would take to Africa. He then tried the Marlin in .45/70 and that wasn't going to Africa either. Then he found a Winchester 1895 that was the take-down model in Teddy Roosevelt's favorite caliber the .405! Reloading for the .405 was no easy task in those days. Brass was imported from Australia, powder was off the shelf at the local gun shop bullets were a different story. He made phone calls to multiple bullet makers and the only one that had solids for the .405 was Fred Barnes. A few days after placing an order over the phone for some bullets they were delivered and a note with loading data was inside the box in Fred's hand!
He finally settled on the rifle and load he would take to Africa. He hired a Professional Hunter before he left home and the .405 was in the carry-on luggage. He took two weeks off work and harvested an Elephant, Cape Buffalo, Zebra, Leopard, Wart Hog, and I don't know what all. He had a fun time and the PH told him there had not been a lever gun hunting big game in Africa since TR! Some years ago I scanned all the photos he took and they are on my old computer hard drive that I need to get retrieved by a computer professional. When I get those photographs from that old computer I will post a few here for you all to enjoy.
I've owned a couple of Marlin 1885 in 45 70. The gun is super strong and can handle loads approaching 458 Mag if your a person that enjoys pain and bruises. In my younger more macho years I loaded some of those hot loads trying to get the rifle to shoot a little flatter. When I got knocked out of my tree stand shooting at a crossing buck I began to realize maybe I didn't need all that power just to kill a whitetail. "But" if you feel you have a rifle that will take down anything on the planet then the 45 70 can be hand loaded to do so. The selection of jacketed .458 dia bullets from 300 to 500 gn is good and if you shoot lead cast it is even better but your limited by what will cycle in your rifle.
Meh, I'll keep my 7 mag Savage 110, thanks. :D If I wanted to go to Africa, well, I'd buy another bolt rifle or, heck, if I could afford to go to Africa and hunt stuff like Elephant, I could afford a double rifle in .600 Nitro Express or something. I mean what's a $100K rifle compared to a half million dollar elephant?
I no longer have my Marlin 444. I bought it back in 1972 when I was stationed in New Mexico. I paid the princely sum of $125 for it then. I wish I still had it today considering what you pay for one now. I used mine hunting in Lincoln National Forest and it was death on Mule deer with 240 grain SWC gas check hard cast bullets.