I've since figured out that if I reload my clip then the clip I had swaps into the inventory and I end up with partial clips. I've been in the habit of reloading when almost empty so that I don't run out, but doing that in DayZ means I end up with clips that have only a few bullets left in them - not good in a firefight!
At one point I was in a warehouse at night and there was a sudden lightning flash and I thought I saw somebody at the other end. I think it was just the shadows, but I consider that a testament to immersion.
And yeah, filter 188.8.131.52 and just be patient - that seems to work with regards to finding servers.