If you shop around for components you should be able to load .38 for under .09 per round. My wife and I shoot bullets loaded similarly to Randy, but with 2.7 of Clays.
The Dillon 650 is easy to operate and easy to maintain. Once you get used to it you should be able to do 600 rounds an hour pretty easily. You can go faster, but my experience has been poor once you are pushing 700 or so rounds an hour. Just over 2 hours a month gets me the 1,400 or so rounds my wife and I use each month.
The auto indexing feature isn’t that challenging in my experience. If you suspect something went wrong just STOP, pull the pins and inspect each cartridge. Hurrying during reloading is a bad idea.
Although technically this is ‘rocket science’ my experience has been that it’s just not that complicated. Many shooters are very OCD about reloading, and that’s fine. I take a more casual approach.
I set COAL initially by setting my reload next to some Georgia Arms ammo I knew fed well and placing a bubble level across both. When they were level I knew my seating die was set correctly. I set the crimp using my finger to feel the seam. I set the bell visually. No crushed mouths or lead shavings and you’re good to go. I stick with the minimum bell needed to increase case longevity . I check for split cases by grabbing a handful of brass and shaking it before throwing it in the hopper. If you have a split case you’ll be able to hear it if your hearing is near normal.
I use Clays and don’t have a powder check. Never had an issue with bridging and in 9 years have never had a squib. I’ve had two split cases get through during that 9 years.
I don’t trim brass nor inspect it other than as I’m loading at the LT. when in doubt I toss it. If the occasional .357 gets through you’ll see it when you place the bullet. You can toss it then and you’re out a penny or two for the primer.