Bob Marvel 1911 class

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Bob Marvel 1911 class

Post by TexasShooter on 4/18/2017, 8:46 am

I apologize in advance for the length of this post but reviewing an 8 day class takes some space…

A while back I picked up a Nelson .22 conversion. I started out by swapping it out with the regular slide on my Range Officer but it wasn’t long before I decided I wanted a dedicated lower. I thought it would be a good learning experience to build it myself. I didn’t know squat but I got all the parts, a couple of good books recommended by some of the folks here, and had a long conversation with KC Crawford (an outstanding resource), and got after it. It didn’t take long for me to figure out that I wanted to know a lot more.

Among his many other accomplishments Bob Marvel designed the Nelson conversion and a few times a year Bob teaches classes on building 1911’s. Hosted by Deep River Customs in NC, the class is eight days (10+ hour days) of in-depth instruction and hands-on learning, building a 1911 from scratch under Bob’s step by step guidance.

You start with a box full of raw parts (no such thing as “drop-in”). Most of the work is done with hand files and sanding sticks. You learn very quickly the importance of accurate measuring, and to think in thousandths of an inch, and measuring some more, and then you probably want to measure again. Slide to frame, extractor and breech face, fitting the barrel, cutting the lugs, trigger, sear, sear spring, sights – every part of the gun is tuned and tweaked and fitted. By day 8 you're at the range testing your fully functional, incredibly smooth and tight, custom made 1911. Eight days in a classroom isn’t going to make anyone a master gunsmith (or a gunsmith of any kind) but you leave really understanding how the 1911 works and how all those parts work together.

THE GOOD & BAD
Just because someone can do something doesn’t mean they can teach it – teaching well is an art form unto itself. Bob’s accomplishments as a gunsmith are well known…but it turns out he’s also an excellent teacher. Bob explains some pretty complex concepts in ways that even I can grasp but this isn’t something you can learn just by listening or watching – you have to actually cut some metal. Bob explains (not just how but also why), demonstrates, answers questions, makes sure you understand…then gets out of the way to let you do it (even if it took us a hours to do something he can do in minutes). It’s kind of cool that my gun was built under the guidance of someone of Bob’s renown, but it's MY gun - what I’m proud of is that I built it.

There really wasn’t any bad, just minor things that might have been nice. This class is about learning and to maximize that everyone starts with the same box of parts. All top quality but some of them aren’t exactly what I would have chosen for a Bullseye gun. Not a big issue because I’m now confident I can change anything I want different. More written materials to bring back as reference would have been nice but to be fair I could have taken more notes.

GENERAL NOTES
Who’s the class for? Pretty much anyone that wants to learn about 1911's. I mostly like to shoot and like to learn stuff. No training or experience in metal work or gunsmithing, but Bob made me 100% comfortable and confident. We had one guy that owns a 1911 but had never dismantled it, we had a couple of guys with considerable gunsmithing experience.

Bob is a down-to-earth, very likeable guy. Like many folks of great skill and knowledge he has some strong opinions and occasionally voices them. He doesn't mind making it clear which manufacturers impress him (not many) and which to avoid. Respectfully, not based on personalities but on quality, his opinions are backed by decades of testing and experience so well worth listening to.

We had a nice bonus - Larry and Kevin Nelson of Nelson Custom Guns stopped by and chatted for a while. It was a pleasure meeting and talking with them, and putting faces to the voice on the phone.

All in all, this class gets a big from me...

Clay

TexasShooter

Posts : 74
Join date : 2014-01-26
Age : 58
Location : Midland, TX

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Re: Bob Marvel 1911 class

Post by willnewton on 4/18/2017, 9:11 am

More in depth review I posted of my experience from last month's class on 1911pro.com[img]

http://www.1911pro.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=4827

[/img]
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willnewton

Posts : 222
Join date : 2016-07-24
Location : Eastern NC

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