I started handloading with a Lee Loader in about 1960. I see they still make the Lee Loader, a set of hand tools that is used with a rubber mallet. Primitive, but similar to the Wilson dies that benchrest shooters use with an arbor press. My first loads were the .44 Magnum for a Ruger Deerstalker semiauto carbine and Super Blackhawk revolver.
I use a Lee Hand Press today so I can sit at the kitchen table and deprime only or size and deprime brass while watching TV (I don't allow electronics in the loading room). It is also handy for taking afield to reload ammo if I run out. The press is slower than a bench mounted model, but faster than the Lee Loader or Wilson dies and an arbor press. You can also use carbide dies in the Lee hand Press to avoid having to lube handgun cases.
If you use nickel plated brass for the .357 Magnum, cases will wipe clean after firing using a patched moistened with non ammonia powder solvent such as BoreTech Eliminator. In fact, even brass cases can be wiped clean before the carbon hardens. I wipe all carbon off the necks of rifle ammo and then use a quick twist with a towel to dry at the range bench. You do not need to clean straight walled cases to get started. Lee sells a primer pocket cleaner for a few bucks, which is about the only area of concern. The other alternative is to polish the deposits off the brass with a wad of fine steel wool.
Just about any small tool box will work for storage, but keep primers and powder separate. When I started out I couldn't afford more than a couple of trays of primers, a pound of powder and single box of bullets (100 bullets then cost about $2.00). After mastering the Lee Powder Dipper measuring system, purchasing a powder scale is the next step upward.
Any of the manuals will teach you the basics, and RCBS has free videos as does some other web sites.
Last edited by Wrangler John; 11-12-2012 at 9:12 AM..