28 December 2013

After-Action Report: the M1 at the Range

At the range:  it was 17° F. when we arrived at the range, with variable NE winds at 10. The range faces NNW, so it was a right-to-left wind, but not a major factor.

The M1's action was stiff (proving the manual's advice about not using grease in cold temps), but manageable.

First shots were a foot low, and a couple inches to the left. Playing with the windage & elevation knobs was easy, since they're in 1MOA increments. Well, it would have been easy, had I been able to feel anything with my fingertips.

I'm nearing the end of a year since I had the cardiac artery stents inserted, and have been taking blood thinners all that time. That, I believe, is the primary contributor to my poor cold fingers. And I've shot in colder temps, with less discomfort, in the fairly-recent past.

But that 12-month course of treatment is nearly over, and I'll be taking the last of those pills in about 30 days. After that, my hands should stay warmer. I hope.

The most difficulty from the cold lay in loading clips & working the bolt; it didn't want to close. My fingers were so cold, at the beginning, that I had no feeling in my fingertips. Couldn't feel the trigger, nor the rounds as I tried to stack them in the clips. I worked out a system, but was glad we were there early - there was no one to watch me dropping cartridges & otherwise fumbling my way through the first few loading cycles.

The bolt wouldn't close until I manually pushed it forward with the heel of my hand. Once inserted, the rifle worked the way it should.

I fired from the bench, since this was the initial outing, but didn't use a rest. I fired from my elbows, mainly wanted to get a feel for the hold (great balance!) and recoil (pretty mild for a .30-'06, due to the weight of the rifle.

We sent a total of 28 rounds downrange (Older Daughter fired 8 of them, just because she wanted to see what it would do). The final four shots were in a four-inch circle, and the last shot was on the crosshairs. That tells me the large-ish grouping is me & the cold, rather than the rifle.

After the range: we stopped at a couple of stores, as my daughter is shopping for AR-15 parts, to build her own. One of her fellow Appleseed instructors is a recently-discharge Army type, a company armorer, and he's talking her through it.

So I asked at the first place about ammo prices, and while they had five different brands and varieties available ... wow.  Lowest price was $26 (for 20 rounds) of standard Remington ammo, and one was $51.75 for 20.

No, thank you!

But the sales clerk did provide a handy tip: he said that he uses aircraft grease in winter, with a rating of "guaranteed flexible to -33°". That could work.

Then we went to the little hole-in-the-wall shop in west Anchorage where we like to poke around & find things. They had Prvi Partizan .30-'06 for $16.95 for 20. So I bought eight boxes, a metal ammo can, and an M1/M14 cleaning kit. Oh yes, and a tube of Tetra gun grease.

In summary, it wasn't a spectacular display of shooting prowess, but it was deeply satisfying. Now I just need to schedule another trip.

And one more thing: there were several other shooters there with various AR-15/M-4 clones, and my M1 had everyone's attention. In fact, the first guy who saw it said, "Now there's a rifle."

I'm a happy camper!

* For those of you who don't know, M1 rifles use clips, rather than magazines.
This is an M1 clip:

and this is a magazine an AR-15 (the civilian version of the modern US military's rifle platform):


PioneerPreppy said...

All I can say is gratz again and I am envious :)

Rev. Paul said...

Come on up, Preppy, and I'll let you shoot it. Heh.

Sunnybrook Farm said...

I can't afford to shoot my M1, it is a 1943 with original rear sight locks and the butt plate has been worn smooth, it has been used somewhere pretty hard as it had been in storage at the MA state police since the mid 50s. They are fun to shoot and just feels good.

Rev. Paul said...

Mine's in pretty good shape, but I certainly understand why you wouldn't want to shoot yours, which sounds like a WWII/Korea veteran.

Mine, manufactured c. 1955 (just like me), was probably not fired in anger.

Well Seasoned Fool said...

Carried an M-1 in Basic Training. I'll lug that eleven pounds anytime.

I use Slipstream lube. Zero malfunctions at +5 degrees F. My son used it in Afganistan with zero problems with his M4.


Rev. Paul said...

WSF, I now know what you mean - it's a sweet rifle.

Slipstream is great stuff, too. Thanks!

Old NFO said...

Yep, in Korea they were using Singer sewing machine oil... And you DO have to be aware of the cold and impact... Preloaded clips are a godsend! ;-)

Rev. Paul said...

You're right, of course, NFO. I should have preloaded clips instead of waiting until I got there.


Keads said...

I am trying to get another M1 from the CMP. I love them! Even with the issues you were at a range shooting something. A good thing!

Rev. Paul said...

Very true, Kelly. It was fun!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a terrific time!


Rev. Paul said...

It was indeed, Guffaw. I'm still grinning.

Murphy's Law said...

Sounds great. Need pics now. And I've been using Tetra grease for winter shooting since the old days when we shot Hi-Power matches in Michigan in Dec. and Jan. It'll do ya fine, heat or cold.

Rev. Paul said...

No pics available, this time - the sky was only just getting light when we left at 10am. And thanks for the endorsement on the Tetra Gun grease; good to know.

drjim said...

Good to hear you enjoyed shooting your M1.

Hopefully I'll be headed to the range this week with mine.

Rev. Paul said...

Thanks, drjim - what's not to like? :)
I hope you can get to the range, too.