Many years ago I got a replica "1851 Colt" - percussion of course - and was hooked right away. Not for the impatient and hasty
I think its better to ease in with percussion, and the Italian replicas (Uberti, Fratelli Pieta) are reasonably priced and very good quality. I stayed with mid 19th century for now, and have a fair collection (including a 10 gauge shotgun... now thats
a gun) but will certainly go on to flintlocks and such as soon as time and opportunity allows.
Building from a kit can be very satisfying too - but not necessarily a budget matter (price differences are not very big). Building from near scratch would be an 'ultimate achievement' - someday.