I've suggested the lee kit to a few guys and all have been happy as a starter kit. That being said, as mentioned above you'll probably up grade some of the equipment if you get into it and enjoy the benifits. Worse case you use the press etc. for pistol rounds once upgraded to beefer press. If ya can swing the RCBS kit I highly recommend it. My Ohlin(SP?)scale and RCBS press, dies, shell holders, are from mid 70's and still going strong. They were passed down from dad to me and probably to my youngest. Or ya can check ebay for guys that are getting out of loading.
I bought a kit for one reason and one alone. The local gun shop had the old rcbs kit with the regular rockchucker in it for under 300 with the scale, trimmer, and powder measure.
You need a press, trimmer, scale(and dipper), and method to prime. You should also have a powder measure, caliper(or case length gauge), primer pocket cleaner(jeweler's driver will work here in a bind), and tumbler(or steel wool at a minimum) to clean brass with. From there on out it's toys to make your stuff better.
You can find the most of the needs at gun shows and local gun shops used for 1/2 off of new or more-- it never wears out if cared for well so you aren't buying a lemon with used. The scale is the only thing I'd buy new.
If you've really gotta buy a kit, I'd still go with rcbs or redding.
Thanks for the list Lefty. Going to try and price out all the components.
Good luck man. Stay on the forum for questions as you get moving on this hobby too. Some here aren't so thrifty, but a lot of us don't have the extra cash for toys that we may not need. I'm in the latter group. I've got the pesos for a toy or two a year and enough components to keep them firing, and that's about it. I try to save with sales and buying bulk when I can.
I've bought some blem bullets, but the last ones I got had to be sorted to get some bent tips out, so I'm not quite as froggy on that one anymore; it may be a somewhat false value. Once sorted, however, they shoot good, and they were a significant discount.
Press: I have done a lot of accurate reloading on a cheap lee with no complaints. If I had it to do all over again I would upgrade to a Rockchucker or even a coax style.
Primer intalation tool. RCBS is ok there are probably better and some are mounted on your press.
Redding Body die
Lee Collet neck sizer or
Redding or forester bushing dies (All case necks should be turned to same dimmension)
Case cleaner, trimmer and assorted deburing tools.
Optional; Tumbler. Seen some cool homemade stuff using the new stainless pin method.
Trimmer, Most work OK
VLD inside and outside champher tools by lyman
Carbide primer pocket uniformer bit (use in cordless drill)
Flash hole deburr tool.
Electronic: don't do cheap.
Beam: RCBS 5-10 is good enough. Keep 'em clean and out of the humidity.
Dispenser/ powder throw: Minimum RCBS
You will need a trickler
Extras that you will find usefull if you are looking for those tight groups.
Hornady / Stoney point overall length gauge
Hornady L_N_L headspace gage and bullet comparitor inserts.
3 or 4 powders to get you going.
Buy whatever makes you feel good. Forster stocks a national match .308 die set if that matters much. I happen to think the Forster Co-Ax press is the best press money can buy, but once again others will argue that statement. If your loading a hundred rounds a year, and your press is pretty square then don't worry too much about it.
Some guys like the Redding bushing die, and other are also not in love with it. For a factory chamber the Forster is over the top. Here's why: Most posts you see on here are from guys trying to make a bushing die do something it's not capable of doing. (OTW's a factory chamber or with a standard neck diameter).
In otherwords unless somebody sells brass with an oversized neck diameter, you wasting time. You want a piece of brass that completely fills up the seater die in the neck area, and I don't care what brand you use. I like the Forster full length die due to the way it's made alone.But that don't make a Lee bad. You can have a perfect press and junk dies to build junk ammo.
I use a Harrell measurer. Others like a Lee, and others yet like a Redding. All are pretty good, but for what I like I know upfront the Harrell is the Cadillac. You probably will never need one. Sinclair sells the best priming toll period. I use a K&M that's maybe 98% of what the Sinclair is for other reasons. Seaters start with a Forster and end with a Forster unles you go with a Wilson. I kinda like to think that you get what you paid for in the area of reloading.Guys will tell you to run out abnd spen five hundred dollars here and there, and see less than zero gain.
Buy good struff from the start, and never look back. But think about it first!
The Lee breach lock challenger kit for $117.39 is a great kit to start with on a tight budget. Get a set of lees deluxe rifle 3 die set with the collet neck sizer for $31.72 and you are on your way . Got the prices out of midsouth shooter supply. A dial caliper, a trickler , and hornady lock-n-load bullet comparator set and the OAL guage are also needed. The comparator was stoney point and is the only tool by hornady that I would recomend. I have had very poor performance from thier tools and dies. I can't tell you how good it feels to watch your groups shrink with the ammo you crafted. It really added to my hunting satisfaction when I started killing with my own rounds.