I "missed your point" because there was no point evident other than trashing flintlocks.... go read what you wrote as it is written. I don't want this to be a urination contests between us, I want to present the FACTS.
I'm tired of people using the term "entry level" when it comes to shootin' irons because NOTHING does more to discourage new black powder shooters than a piece of crap gun and it doesn't matter if it's flint or percussion. There are only two types of guns: Good and Junk. I started shooting BP thirty years ago with a junk CVA because that was the only thing I knew was available. There was no internet and if BP/ML gun rags existed, they didn't exist where I lived so it was flying blind with only the gunshop gossip to work with. I made that CVA work because I had the desire to see it through and spend nine months working on it just to make it half-way reliable. By the time I was done, I had completely re-worked the lock & trigger because they were totally useless the way they came out of the box. There was nothing "right" about it and had I not been intent on hunting with a flintlock, I would have tossed it to the scrap pile and never realized the world of BP & ML shooting & hunting.
Yes, a few years later T/C started appearing in gunshops and yep, everyone said these were the thing to have so I bought one paying three times what the CVA cost me only to find that the lock was just as slow and the spark as unreliable, it too required a considerable amount of work to make it as right as it could be. Once the lock issues were addressed, then there came the sight issues, the hideous giant size of the front blade and rear notch making any hope of accurate sighting mere pipe dream.
As time goes on, one begins to understand stock geometry, balance, weight distribution and all the other things required that make the distinct and considerable difference between what feels and handles like a sack of potatoes hanging off a mop handle and what feels and handles as a gun should. More than a decade after starting my adventure into flinters, I bought my first hand-built semi-custom rifle made with quality parts and the difference was incredible not only in shootability but also in feel - The difference was as that of night and day or in gun terms the difference between a Savage 311 and a Krupp.
As for cost, you get what you pay for - money spent foolishly is money wasted but money invested wisely will return more than is invested. You spend $720 on a .50 flint T/C hawken today, try selling it tomorrow and you'll be hard pressed to recover 60% of what you have in it. Invest in a high quality hand-built custom or semi-custom and it'll continue gaining value with age .... thus the difference between "spending" and "investing".
Let's go one further ... you "spend" top dollar on a production built gun and either live with the slow rough lock or "spend" another $50+ having it tuned and if the trigger sucks, there's another $30+ gone. You can live with the giant-size inaccurate sights or "spend" another $20+ to replace them with decent sights. If the geometry of the lock to the touchhole is wrong, you either live with the unreliability or there's a lot more money "spent" repairing or re-stocking the parts. Don't forget the barrel, do you want shallow broach/button rifling that was ripped into the barrel by brute force or deep grooves gently created by a single point cutter?
One need not invest a fortune on a hand-built semi-custom gun, there is a cost difference between high quality parts and crap but the cost difference is not as extreme as the quality difference. The biggest cost difference comes with the choice of options where one can choose a $100 piece of wood or a $800+ piece of wood; basic iron mounting or a full German silver/brass mounting; patchbox or no patch box; carving; inlays; engraving ... options are just that, options.
If you want to discuss reliability, just look back at history. Flintlocks prevailed right through the time of percussion guns because they were far more reliable. In many areas flintlocks remained as the primary reliable weapon choice well into the centerfire age. This was not because the other options were not available but because they were the tried, true and proven reliable performers. Even today, many matches are still won by flintlocks shooting against not only percussion but also cartridge rifles.
"Carry the battle to them. Don't let them bring it to you. Put them on the defensive and don't ever apologize for anything."
Harry S. Truman