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Despite perceived bias against firearms-related subject matter, social media has a special place for every firearms enthusiast.

I am a member of several dedicated firearms-related groups on Facebook, including the 28 Gauge Society, The Browning Shotgun Owners Group, The Ruger Owners and Collectors Society, and my favorite, the 16-Gauge Traditions Society. If you really want to go micro, you can join the specialty groups devoted to rifle cartridges, like 7mm-08 Shooters and 25-06 Remington.

Undeniably, 16-gauge shotgun enthusiasts are just plain good folks. We recognize and appreciate fine things, but fine things are not always expensive or exclusive.

We post a lot of photos of our 16-gauge shotguns, almost always with game we have taken. The group's membership is worldwide, so we see photos of photos of partridge taken in Ireland, hares taken in Scotland, pheasants taken in the Midwest and dove and squirrel taken in the South.

You'll see every kind of 16 in the spectrum, from exquisite Winchester Model 21 side-by-sides to Browning BPS pump guns to break-action single shot models. It's a happy place populated by people who love and appreciate an under-appreciated shotgunning option.

We share reloading recipes, and we share the news if a retailer runs a special on 16-gauge ammo. We even post photos of old ammo boxes we obtain.

The 28-gauge page, on the other hand, is a snooty place where snobbery sometimes bleeds into boorishness. It's a bragging board where people show off their expensive shooting irons. One guy called them out on it recently and asked if anyone was allowed to post a photo of a 28-gauge that cost less than $10,000.

Several members chastised me when I posted a photo of my well-traveled, hard-used Harrington & Richardson single-shot. I taught my kids to shoot with that gun, and it probably has more history afield than any 10 of the museum pieces on display collectively.

Probably no group of gun owners is more loyal to a brand than Browning owners, and their devotion certainly shines on the Browning Shotgun Owners Group. If you love classic Browning shotguns, you can share plenty of experiences with Auto-5s, Citoris, Superposed, 725 and the spectrum of Browning obscurities, like the Double Automatic, Twelvette, Fusion and the great but unloved B-80, which was a Beretta in Browning clothes.

The Ruger Owners and Collectors page is dominated by Blackhawk revolver enthusiasts, especially those that own the old three-screw varieties, as well as Mk. II semiautomatic loyalists. It's also a great place to learn about upcoming special editions, like the special run of 77 high grade Model 77 bolt-action rifles to commemorate the M77's 50th anniversary.

The micro-specialty pages devoted to individual cartridges are interesting places. It is curious to read the thoughts of otherwise rational adults that geek out over a brass cartridge with the fervor of the most devout Star Wars disciple.

I once visited a pet store in Arlington, Texas, where all of the parrots and cockatoos were uncaged and had free rein in the store. The blue macaws all inhabited a perch in one corner of the store, and the scarlet macaws inhabited another corner. The cockatoos gathered in yet another corner. All the birds were happy until a cheeky cockatoo flapped over to a macaw perch. The screeching uproar was ear splitting, and chaos reigned until the provocateur returned to its proper perch.

That's how it is on the 7mm-08 page or 25-06 page when somebody extolls the virtues of the 6.5mm Creedmore. The name-calling and cattiness is unbecoming, but kind of funny, too.

Of course, there's always "That Guy." If you've ever visited any online firearms forum, you know him. Somebody will post something like, "I'm looking to load some deer rounds for woodland shots under 175 yards, and I've narrowed my choices to 139-gr. Hornady SST and 140-gr. Nosler Partition. Any thoughts?"

"That Guy," 13 of them actually, couldn't stay on topic.

"Accubond for me!"

"Nosler Ballistic Tip!"

I counted the irrelevant posts and attributed them collectively to "That Guy." I was the cockatoo that invaded the macaw perch.

I felt vindicated when a number of subsequent trolling posts appeared. One said, "Getting ready to load Hornady SST or Nosler Partition. Looking forward to all the posts about stuff I don't care about."

"That Guy" didn't take the bait, and variations of that theme were kind of goofy for a couple of days.

Sports on 12/13/2018

Print Headline: Social media a place for gun lovers

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