ended up getting the lee challenger breech anniversary kit, after doing alot of research I decided I wanted to start with a single stage press. With the quick change bushings die changes take only a matter of seconds and while you can definately pump out more rounds with a turret press, even a complete beginner like myself can easilly load 50 rounds per hour with the single stage, that includes weighing every 5th charge with the included balance beam scale.
Ended up spending alot more than I had anticipated, total bill came out to $360 including tax. That included 2000 primers at $35 per 1000, 500 bullets at $41, and a pound of bullseye for $20. I can get the bullets for signifigantly cheaper online and will be placing an order in the near future, but even at those prices I can load 50 rounds of 357 mag for $7, $18 cheaper than walmart prices. However, I did not get a tumbler, instead I handwashed them with dawn dishsoap in hot water and it worked surprisingly well. I will definately be getting a tumbler in the near future for the convienence, but I don't feel its a necessity to get started.
As far as equipment, the brakedown is as follows.
$99 + tax -lee started kit.
$6 + tax -357mag case length gage
$8 + tax -2 extra quick change bushings (kit came with 3)
$30 + tax -lee carbide 3 die set in 38sp
$18 + tax -lee factory crimp die in 38sp
$9 + tax -universal loading tray
$25 + tax -digital caliper
$18 + tax -bullet puller
grand total of ~$230 including tax. Could have gotten some of the stuff cheaper, but I wanted to get started asap. All I have left on the equipment side to purchase is a tumbler which I found locally for $40. Also a 45acp die set and more quick change bushings. For the time being I am just going to load ALOT of 38sp and 357 mag.
I just finished loading my first 50 rounds of 38sp using federal cases, and a 158g SWC pushed by 3.5g of bullseye. Everything went without a hitch, to anybody considering this, I would highly reccomend it. Even if I only shoot a box a week of 38sp it will have payed for the equipment AND I will save another 300 on top of that. Thats factoring in paying local retail prices on components, if I buy in bulk online the savings will be even higher.
Not to mention I am in all likelyhood loading a higher quality of ammo than I can buy on the shelf at walmart. For the expensive calibers like 38sp, 357mag, and 45acp it just makes sense. Plus its extremely addicting! I can't wait to load the other 250 38sp cases I have.
Haven't gotten to test my rounds yet, experiencing 40mph gusts at the moment, I still might get out there and endure the elements.