Welcome, I would have to say as a semi Newby myself, that as an entry level rifle. My recommendation would be a percussion rifle. And there are LOTS of sidelocks (traditional) available both new and they are EVERYWHERE USED. Thompson Center, CVA, LYMAN, CABELA'S (INVESTARMS), and others. They are all reasonably priced even new. And as far as cleaning, its really no big deal. Give them a bath in HOT SOAPY water, rinse, dry, and oil em up.
"I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery."
- Thomas Jefferson