I purchased an M1 carbine (which I loved to shoot), in the middle `60s, from Rays on Singleton in Dallas but I didn't like shooting military surplus ammo (which was fairly available in the 60s) and newly manufactured ammo was expensive. So I went back to Ray's and bought a Texan press kit and C&H dies and shellholder for the .30 M1. The Texan kit contained the press, a balance scale, loading block, lube pad, and lube. I later picked up an RCBS Uniflow Powder Measure, and a few other tools like a small primer pocket cleaner etc. Around 1975, I bought a "Tack Driver" (Remington 700 ADL) .308 Winchester from Gibson's on Gus Thomasson in Mesquite. I bought a set of C&H dies and shellholder for .308 Winchester at Ray's and began loading the "necked down" rifle cartridges.
In the middle 80's my eyesight got so bad (had been wearing bifocals for a while) that I couldn't see the sights and target to shoot accurately so I put away the rifles and loading equipment. In subsequent years the handloading equipment was passed down to my oldest boy, John.
In 2004 I had cataract surgery in both eyes hence I can see without glasses again (both sights and target). Its wonderful!
Last year Betty and I were at John's house when he brought out a 1911 and a polymer Ruger .45 he had been shooting. I was pleasantly surprised to learn he had been loading his own using the old Texan press. Betty was excited about the pistols and on the way home I learned that she had kept an old .38 special revolver in her house for years but didn't know how to shoot it. She asked if I would teach her to shoot.
Betty had given the .38 special to her grandson so we had to look for something to shoot. I had always admired the .45 ACP so I purchased a Ruger knock off (similar to John's).
I am retired so I realized that ammo would be expensive for us to learn to shoot. I was never very good with a pistol, preferring a rifle (what I was brought up with). I looked around and decided to get the Rock Chucker Supreme Master kit from RCBS. I got a set of RCBS .45 ACP carbide dies (wonderful improvement for loading, no lube and clean steps).
After a couple of trips to the range, Betty loved to shoot but was having trouble cocking the 1911 and with all the safeties (the Ruger had 4). We went back to the gun shop (Saw's) and traded the 1911 for a S&W M&P .45 which Betty liked much better, but she still had problems cocking it. Back to Saw's, and found a real deal on a S&W 325 (1917 type revolver) which shot .45 ACP (with moon clips) or .45 AR ammunition. Betty loved this revolver and it became known as "Old Blue" in our house. Next we got a S&W M&P Compact .40 S&W which Betty could cock much easier. We occasionally took the M1 carbine and Betty shot it also. By now I am loading .45 ACP, .45 AR, .40 S&W, and .30 carnine ammo, I also had the .308 Win Remington 700 and dies (even though I haven't shot it in a while).
We were going to the range about once per week shooting 200 - 250 rounds each (400 - 500 tot) and I was spending about 3 or 4 days afterward reloading when I started thinking about faster ways to reload.
I looked at the progressive loaders but my take at the time was it was gonna be expensive to set up for all the different calibers.
So I decided to try the RCBS Turret press.
BTW, all my existing dies, even the C&Hs from the `60s still fit in modern presses.
I was excited, loading was way faster with no constant resetting dies between batches, in fact no batches, changeover time was mostly adjusting the scale and powder measure after the quick turret swap. I never did make the primer tool on the RCBS Turret press work well, so I abandoned it and got a RCBS universal hand primer tool. I also noticed that the RCBS Pro 2000 progressive had a Uniflow mounted on it with an automatic actuator (Case Presence). I searched around and couldn't find it for sale without buying a Pro 2000, but I did notice Hornady had a nearly identical Case Sensing and powder die combo, so I sprung for it. Again, powder measures are standardised, so it all works together. It worked great with the Uniflow, so no more batches at all.
I clean the cases when we get home from the range by the sequence: tumbling, depriming / resizing, ultrasonic cleaner, and fan dry. The cleaning process takes several hours but you don't have to be there all the time so you can do other things like cleaning the guns, eat lunch, etc. Next day I set up a caliber on the turret, then: pick up a cleaned case, prime it, place it in the shellholder, charge it, seat a bullet, crimp the bullet, then place the finished round in the ammo box, ready for the range. I can do a sustained 200 rounds per hour. I repeat this for each caliber.
One day at the range we met a nice guy named Kevin who had a couple of Springfield XDms and he let Betty shoot them. Well Betty fell in love with another handgun so off to Saws we go When I shot it I really liked so we ended up with a 9mm and a .40 S&W XDm, these are the two guns we qualified with.
I really like the 357SIG round so I got a Glock 33 but was disappointed that the slide continually cut the top of my thumb when it recoiled. I was looking for a small carry gun so I traded the Glock for a S&W M&P 357 compact. Now I'm much happier.