Lot of good info here for you, plenty to ""sift" through. Only thing I'd like to add is that a cheap gun is... well... cheap. Made up of cheap materials and put together as cheaply as possible. They do, for the most part, work. Just don't really expect any longevity with heavy use. Some will agree, others will disagree. Just like all of this stuff, no matter the method, you can make it whatever you want it to be. As simple or as complicated as you'd like. Personally, my opinion, use the best equipment you can afford. Totally sucks when you're out at it and you have equipment failure.
Enjoy your time out there going at it!
I agree with this. While the Traditions was a nice, accurate rifle, it had some quality issues. Fit and finish was as you'd expect on a gun that cost around $450. Brass to wood fit was kinda rough. The ramrod was kind of whippy. It worked, but it had a lot of flex. The nipple wasn't quite square to the hammer face and the drum was not easily adjustable. (My Pedersoli has a drum that can be turned a couple of degrees either way to square up the nipple, but it came perfectly squared. A good feature if you want to switch to a musket cap nipple and need to make a very minor adjustment without meaningfully altering the flame hole to bore alignment.) And while not a quality issue, the barrel diameter was singificantly less than on my Pedersoli. IIRC, the powder charge limitation was 100 grains. More than I ever used. But the Pedersoli is 120 grains.
If you can pay in the $600-$900 range, you can buy a very, very nicely made muzzle loader.
It seems everyone that says they want to try muzzle loading but may not stiuck with it, ends up sticking with it and loves it. Might as well buy the best you can afford right off the bat, as Dean says.