I am a green horn by some accounts, started casting in about 98-99.
Grab any and all alloy you can get your hands on, now! What to do with it can be worked out later.
Ken, aka 45nut at the "other" site was my go to for a large amount of my questions. He and I had exchanged emails and yahoo chat for a while and years after that. The one local gent that said he was a caster, was for the lack of a better term, just a lead melter. Caused me more grief than help.
I started with a borrowed Lee 10lb pot. I then acquired my own pot, also a bottom pour. It may have just been a 5lb pot as it was smaller than the Lee 10lb. I soon had issues with it, and I found myself filling it more than I did casting with it. A 20 lb Lee was ordered. I used it for a long long time. I purchased a well cared for RCBS. I won't say it's a Cadillac but a fair bit better than the Lee.
As to pots, get what you want, but I highly suggest nothing smaller than a 20lb, unless you are casting for 22-6.5 mm and nothing else.
Invest in a PID. I don't have one but have used one. Fantastic.
I have amassed a fairly large amount of molds of various makes and sizes and designs.
Do as you wish, but after going around and around chasing molds, go custom and get what you want, not what you get or they think you need. I like NOE and Accurate molds. You get what you order,and if you don't you will be taken care of.
Lube sizer-lube- powder coating.
I have three Lyman luber sizers. I have a size able number of dies for these and find myself loading for a lot of different sizes.
I think the star is a dandy and if I had started with one I would only need or have one.
Lee push through dies have their place at my bench for certain things.
If you can cast bullets, good ones. You can make excellent lube.
Powder coating PC
I tried it. Maybe I didn't give it a chance. I had no problems with leading to begin with. Others swear by it. I got everything to do it but thought it to be a pita. More so than lubing and sizing. I do my final cull when sizing and lubing.
If you can buy used as you find it, you can save some money.
Read. Then read some more. Then about the time you think you have it all figured out, there will be a glitch of some type. Then you will learn some more.
Keep notes. Good notes. I have found casting with certain designs may have a preference others do not. Some alloys and mold combos may run better hotter or colder.