12 and 20 gauge are fairly hard to save real money on. Just Google up Shotshell reloading cost calculator. Plug in what you will pay for components and you will have your answer. If you can purchase components at or near wholesale and avoid hazmat fees, you can save some money.
Shotshell is easier than metallic, I do both. Shotshell is strictly a cookbook approach. Once you have your machine dialed in it's actually pretty boring.
It's the cost of shot that really makes it tough to save money. I just paid 34 bucks for a 25# bag of #8 and that is a very good price....gulp
I just started loading shotshells about three years ago. When I started I was paying 23 bucks for that same bag of #8 shot.
For low volume a MEC 600 jr. is hard to beat. Besides, for buckshot a progressive does not help much at all.
If you get in to the clay target sports a progressive is the way to go, provided that you can buy the components right.
We do group buys through my club for components, if it was not for those group buys I would be buying my target loads by the flat.
Freedom is not free