I built my first. I bought a rifle kit from PSA which has everything except a stripped lower, and bought a spikes stripped lower. I read the stickies on here and watched the youtube videos on putting the lower together. Was pretty simple. I just took my time and watched the videos step by step. I am currently building my second. I wouldnt go as far as a full build(stripped upper plus barrel and so on). I think there is too much that could go wrong.
Many here have built their first. Not as difficult as you think, they all use the same basic parts so everyone that has built one can relate. If you choose to build there are many here who can help. Take a look at some of the threads on building, many successful builders started out with zero AR knowledge.
As far as building the upper for a first I might suggest passing on this. The tools and parts will cost u a lot more than buying a pre built upper. I just did
my first compete upper as I have been slowly buying a tool with each new order I place . Building the lower is really very simple. It will be scary the first time dumping out those 31 parts on the table. But the wrong parts won't fit in the wrong holes . The first time might take u a while but after the first couple it will turn into a 10-15 minute deal start to finish
Built my first one, and to be quite honest, will probably never buy one outright. It's just too enjoyable not to build and with the current buying frenzy it actually comes out cheaper if you shop around.
"Has anyone ever built an ar15 without ever owning one first?"
If you have some patience a few minor tools, can watch videos and follow the instructions, you can do it.
That said, I would opt for a completed upper. Not that you and I can't put it together but with out the 'block' to hold the upper receiver while torquing...
The lower isn't that much of a problem. It does take three hands when putting pins and detents in the stripped lower (watch out for flying pins and springs).
Building, putting it together is more correct, 'it' yourself is very satisfying and gives 'you' a working understanding of just what is inside.
From your question I must determine that you don't have an AR. Remember that ARs run better 'wet'. I use Mobile One on my bolt carriers, wet with it. After a couple of shots, the excess will be blown away.
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