My per cartridge cost is about $50 per 1,000. I cast my own lead. The casting set up cost me less than the price of 500 cast lead bullets.
$25 or less for the mold
$5 for a bottle of Lee Liquid Alox
$5 Lee Lead Laddle (or what ever it is called)
$2 cast iron skillet at a flea market, with the corn bread pan for an ingot mold
$20, and a 12 pack of iced down beer at a tire shop netted a full 5 gal bucket of wheel weights. Showed up at 10 minutes till closing time on a hot Friday afternoon.
If you melt down the weights do it outside, or else your house will smell like burned tires for a week or more.
I learned the hard way.
I traded for a Lyman Big Dipper melting pot. If I were buying I would buy the Lee for around $60 +/- a few dollars depending on which supplier you buy it from.
For a single stage at the lowest cost for a tight budget.
$30 or less A manual (Lyman Pistol and Revolver 3rd Edition is a great one, has a section on casting lead as well. It cost me about $15 at Cabellas a couple of years ago.)
$59 Lee Breach Lock Challenger single stage
$20 Lee Perfect powder measure
$25 or less Dial Caliper that measures to the nearest .001 of an inch
$25 or so for a digital scale that measure to +/- 0.1 grains (Or $50 or so for a beam scale by RCBS/Ohaus)
$20 Lee Auto Prime XR
$15 Set of shell holders for the Auto Prime XR
There are more options that I can list for a bench. Though it can be done on the cheap.
Prices are round about guestimates on the high end on most things.
I use the Lee single stage press. I batch load.
Start with a 3 pound coffee can of fired brass on one side, and empty 2 gal wash pail on the floor by my foot. I size/ deprime. Drop the sized, decapped case into the bucket. Repeat till all are done. Pour the brass back into the coffee can. Change to flaring die. Flare, drop into bucket. If case mouth splits, or cracks I have a scrap bucket for it. When done I grab my hand primer, and then Prime them. I put a lid on the primed brass.
When ready to load I set up my scale, and adjust my powder measure. When I get to where I can get less than 1 grain of deviation from 10 throws I start charging cases, and then put them into loading trays. When they are charged I set up my seating die. I then start seating bullets. After that I insert the FCD then crimp. I put the loaded finished round into a jar. When going to the range I put the jar in my range bag.
When I have every thing set up, and brass prepped. All I have to do is charge, seat, crimp. I can do 200 rounds in an hour at very slow pace.