I have great admiration for anyone who approaches collecting as opposed to merely accumulating guns. It requires the acquisition of knowledge, the time required to research and turns this into an intellectual pursuit.
I find myself at this stage of my life as more of a dabbler, acquiring those guns that have an interest to me. I may get more serious about it in time, but for now I am satisfied to simply hold them, clean them and, most importantly, shoot them!
A year ago, I started off with a Ruger P95. Then a MK III 22/45. Followed by a CZ82. I traded the CZ 82 for a pristine S&W Model 10-5 with a 4 inch tapered barrel because I wanted to try a revolver in .38. Earlier this year I found an inexpensive High Standard R-100 .22 revolver. Last week, I traded the P95 in on a SR9c. So I find I now have wheel guns and bottom feeders in similar calibres. At least that's an emerging pattern.
I also have a 70 year old Mossberg 44US .22 military trainer left to me by my late father in law along with his old boyhood Stevens 12 gauge double barrel shotgun. These are really the only two I don't believe I'll part with. Although I'd probably add the Model 10-5 to that protected list.
I've enjoyed learning about the guns that I possess as well as others I do not. And I am having a blast shooting them. I am by no means a collector. But I sure as hell am an enthusiast!
Good luck on all your collecting endeavors. Maybe one day I'll find out that I have become a collector too. Until then, I'll look forward to learning from all of you!