Over At Gun-Tests.com: Marlin the Best .44 Magnum Rifle
I am disappointed with the ratings on the .44 Mag rifles in the January 2006 issue of Gun Tests.
The two with "Don't Buy" ratings are the same two that had no reported malfunctions, while the one that malfunctioned three times is the one you picked. It is possible that the Trapper would operate perfectly with a perfect operator, but if you have trouble when shooting at a target, then someone else will have the same trouble in a high stress situation.
While all three guns were reported with adequate safety and accuracy, the one with malfunctions should have a Don't Buy rating if it won't operate reliably as a system with the shooter.
Apparently you downgraded the Marlin only because its price was higher. But the price difference was less than 30%, and for that you get several features including soft butt pad, longer barrel with an extra round in the magazine, and (for your shooters) better reliability.
If two guns have equal features, which was not the case this time, your rules that you usually follow call for the one that is substantially overpriced to be given a "Conditional Buy" rating, not "Don't Buy". And usually you consider substantial overprice to be double the price, not 30%.
Other than the ratings, I appreciate the information provided.
Benjamin M, Virginia