My "first time" ................(damn this sounds like a high school -under the bleachers conversation) was after receiving my invitation to compete in the SE Asia War Games with pop-up shoot back targets.
I was in the 82nd with orders for the 101st in 1967. We used M14s so we had to go to a formalization course on the M16a1. The poor range officer tried to do it by the book, but we wanted to play. We let 'er rip, we fired every round we could steal (and they had lots of them) full auto. Didn't hit much but we had fun.............what could they do to us? Send us to Vietnam??
Now if you want to shoot "full auto" try the "mad minute" drill. I was infantry, and when we came in from the field we got rid of our old ammo and replaced it with fresh stuff. So we got on line, and tried to see how fast we could get rid of our ammo.
Later after I got out of the Army I joined the Alaska National Guard, the 38th Special Forces company. I was put in the weapons Sgt slot and was in charge of our foreign weapons, (and old WWII US weapons). I got more then my share of full auto practice in teaching foreign weapons to others.
Later when I took over the State Marksmanship Unit I ordered a bunch of M14s to issue to BN teams to practice for a chance to make the State Rifle Team.
Several of these were the full auto versions and before I converted them to semi only, we took them out to play. Couldn't hit crap with full auto M14s but it was fun.
I graduated to the theory that semi is better in a rifle. (and sub machine guns). I use to put on demonstrations showing a guy with a semi M14 could put more rounds on target (to 600 yards) faster then someone with an M60. And a guy with a 1911 can put more rounds on target, faster, at 50 yards then a guy with a sub gun.
But if you don't have to buy or reload the ammo, they are fun to shoot.
Reloading is a different matter. I was suppose to instruct some Native (Eskimo) guard units on the M1919a4 & BARs but couldn't get any ammo. I had to load about 3000 rounds. We were shooting on the ice on the coast near Nome. I wanted to keep the brass so set next to the gun with a ruck sack catching brass as it came out. My hearing has been shot every since. (some dummy didn't have ear protections).
CPT USAR Ret
USAMU Sniper School Oct '78
Distinguished Rifle Badge 1071