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):