An iconic ‘prepper rifle’ or ‘survival rifle’ of the last 60 years received a face-lift and has been embedded into a Henry Repeating Arms survival kit. The rifle is the AR-7. It is manufactured as the Henry U.S, Survival AR-7.
Three James Bond movies featured the original. It is entirely possible someone who owned on during the past 60 years told you about it. Depending on the rifle, what you heard could be good or bad.
It remains virtually unchanged but offers some contemporary refinements. The AR-7 appears to be a significant improvement on the basic model. A great rifle was made better. The original version was deemed a MIL-spec rifle at a time when the term meant something. The U.S. Air Force did not adopt the gun as some believe.
The AR-7 may be the most popular survival rifle ever created. It was initially designed by Eugene Stoner, creator of the M16. The gun did see service with U.S. Air Force aircrewmen and pilots.
Perhaps the most notable feature is being able to disassemble two eight-shot magazines, receiver, barrel, and action then store them inside the hollow ABS-synthetic stock. The interior is foam lined, and the removable rubber buttpad creates a water-resistant seal when it is installed. Those characteristics have led to the manufacturer’s claim that the stock can float.
- 8-round clip
- Blaze orange front sight
- Easy to shoot
- Limited moving parts
- Packs small
- Reasonably priced
- ABS plastic construction
- Bulky stock
- Provides limited power
- Great backpacking rifle and the end cap is really tight. Mag fits nice and snug. It is super fast breakdown and reassemble. It slides easy and the site setup is accurate and set up well. It is well worth the price.
- It is a nice little compact rifle. The aiming system is different and takes some getting used to. It is pretty accurate once you figure it out. Takes about 3 minutes to put together. I like it.
- Real fun gun to shoot. I threw some old Remington rounds through it and no jams. 35 years and good grouping and zeroing. It has a nice orange target and makes it easy to see down range. Putting it together is a whim and everything fits nice and perfect. It is a great hiking rife or for personal defense, easy and quick to get out.
- I like taking this with me hiking and killing small game. It is so compact and fun to shoot. It is priced good. The smaller parts are susceptible to corrosion so grease her up good.
- Super light and compact gun. Seems to be really well made points real naturally downrange. I really am enjoying it and prefer it over my takedown rifles any day. It also takes pretty much any ammo I put in it.
- It has never jammed on me. I enjoyed it a lot before selling it. One of the mags had a time staying in but overall, it was a great plinking rifle. Loved taking it out with the kids.
- This is a bug out rifle for sure. It is very original and compact. The sight is different and just high viz not tritium. I am able to take my glasses off and still get a good visual of where that bullet it going. Perfect gun for survival training.
- I bought this specifically for off roading and backpacking for a quick snack. I have never had it jam or malfunction on me once. It is for emergencies for sure not a gun to take to the range.
- I have had a few of these over the years and not one issue. They are made to shoot right out of the box. Henry is known for its quick shooting and assemble. It is a perfect emergency gun to have around for a break in or for small game when your hiking. I love this little thing.
- I was surprised how dead on the sights were out of the box. It is light and compact. There isn't much to say about it but how great it is. I would recommend buying it for sure.
- Henry has really good quality rifles. This isn't a plinker gun but great for small game when your out in nature. It is affordable and functions really well.
- This gun is so easy to break down and put back together. Perfect little compact .22. It is strictly a survival rifle. It has a great sight, no need for fancy stuff with this little guy. It isn't made to replace your 308 or anything. Just a simple little gun.
- Took it out grouse hunting and it is so dang accurate. I threw a lot of ammo through it super easy and no malfunctions. It actually fits in the bladder part of my backpack. Nice and compact and light. Perfect for what it was made for.
- The sites are a bit difficult to use at first, takes some getting used to. I have had the gun over 6 months and have put thousands of rounds through it without tons of misfires. I’d say buy it if you are on the fence. It truly is a great little gun.
- It is a ell made, compact, lightweight rifle. To be expected from Henry. They are good quality for the price. The trigger has a bit, not something to play with. It is super accurate for what it is. These are perfect for a boat or a day backpacking. I’d buy it again.
- Super accurate and fun to shoot. Super easy to breakdown and reassemble. I like taking it out on the kayak and I go hiking a lot, I just throw it in my sack and later I have dinner. Super happy I bought it.
- I switched my single shot rifle for this one when I go grouse hunting. This is the perfect companion for this. It kills right out the box, super accurate.
- I bought this out of pure curiosity and I am in love. It is so fun to shoot and super light and accurate. Break down is super easy and it fires flawlessly. Had the retaining pin come loose but they replaced it no issues. I like a rifle that is easy to maintain and this is it.
- Everything about this gun got my attention. The size is perfect, no bulky bag to carry when I just want to go out in the woods for a couple days. I am able to throw pretty much any ammo in it and it fires great. I think it fits great in my collection.
- This is a jamming machine. I have read how much it doesn't jam, well, i found that to be a complete lie. No matter how little or how much oil I put on this thing, it jams every 30 rounds or so. I am not happy with it. I contacted Henry, waiting on a reply. I wouldn't count on this for survival the way it is working for me.
- I bought one to see what all the fuss was about and I am sorry I did. It fails to load and feed regularly. It also doesn't seem to like the last bullet. I have tried so many different types of ammo and nothing seems to satisfy it. It is so annoying. Based on all this I would definitely NOT recommend wasting your money.
- I don't recommend buying it. I can't go through a magazine without a malfunction. And one of the mags just won't stay in. It’s a no go for me.
- I couldn't get 2 rounds through without it misfiring. I really do like Henry guns but this is just a fail. I had one 12 years ago and it would fire at least 3 before giving me a jam. Haha. But seriously there is way more better functioning survival firearms out there.
- It is just a low quality rifle. I have had it 3 years and do not use it muc because of it issues. One, it has a bad site. Not easy to get used to when firing. Ammo doesn't seem to like going through it. Jams all the time.
- Seems to be an issue, but all the ammo I put through this thing jams. The site slides way to easy nd I couldn't really count on it. The barrel seems to be a bit loose as well.
- I shot about 150 rounds and then the pin fell out. I cannot fire it without a pin. One of the cartridges is malfunctioning too. The other one is fine. Not really sure if I want to keep it around.
The trigger is not particularly onerous. The take-up is a bit longer. It is a minimalist survival gun with the intended purpose of being a match-grade rifle. Truck drivers, campers, boaters, the Israeli Air Force, and bush pilots in Alaska have stowed the little guns for decades.
The rifle was initially meant to be a survival tool used by pilots. It is best suited to serve as a tool for emergency survival. The gun is supplementary gear needed in tough times such as getting lost backpacking through the sparsely populated wilderness; the car radiator explodes, or the engine fails while stranded 100 miles from home and piloting untamed landscape in a bush plane over Alaska. The Henry AR-7 is not the most capacious, modular, or powerful gun, but it is the rifle most likely to be carried when a long gun is cumbersome. It is the ideal bug-out bag, truck, or boat gun.
A rail was added to give the user an option to mount a scope. It is not a Picatinny rail but rather a 22 tip-off type. The ⅜-inch rail accepts red-dot sight or conventional riflescope rings. It is recommended to leave the AR-7 in its assembled position if optics are to be added instead of taking it down. Zero will be lost. The threaded barrel of the 21st-century version adds a lightweight rimfire suppressor.
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The black colored stock remained, and hard chrome plated, and woodland camo were added. Survival Arms of Cocoa, FL have manufactured the rifle; AR-7 Industries, LLC of Meriden, CT; and Henry Repeating Arms Co. of New York.
In 2004, Armalite, supposedly, bought out AR-7 Industries but did not manufacture a new AR-7. There have been been changes made to the original AR-7 design. The stock underwent the most significant change.
It has a hollow stock. Rather than a slick, fiberglass design, a textured matte finish having grip area grooves was added. The change offered improved handling characteristics. The redesign included storing three magazines inside instead of one. There is no room for an optic on the inside of the stock.
An emergency Datrex 1000-calorie food packet that contains four, all-natural, 250-calorie bars is also included. It is certified to stay fresh for at least five years. The pack is sealed in a package made of polymer foil.
The Datrex bars are a novelty. Henry has also added a Life Straw Water Filter to the Survival Pack. It is rated to remove nearly all waterborne protozoan parasites and bacteria from as much as 264 gallons of water.
Other items in the kit are an ESEE Fire Steel and an H & H Myler Emergency Hypothermia Blanket with the dimensions of 84 inches long and 56 inches wide. A Buck Rival blade that measures 2.75 inches, with one-handed thumb stud opening, a pocket clip, and a black nylon handle is also included.
It may not be one’s first choice, but it easily clips inside and is there if needed. The knife is separate from the typical EDC knife needed to skin game. In case of emergency, Henry included a SWAT-T tourniquet that stretches, wraps, and tucks that can double as an elastic covering wrap and a pressure bandage. It is pack-friendly and lightweight. The survival kit provides protection and an ability to find food until rescued or out of danger.
They are over 3½ inches at 50 yards and 2¾ inches at 25 yards. A heavy trigger, a 40+-year-old barrel, and poor ergonomics are the culprits. The best group was shot with the CCI HV. Three eight-shot groups measured between 1.25 and 2.45 inches from a distance of 50 yards. A U.S. Marine tells us the AR-7 is very accurate. When the right rounds are found, the rifle is reliable.
Mounting a rimfire scope to the rail would tighten the groups. The scope provides adequate magnification for harvesting small game or defensive use at intermediate ranges. Henry AR-7 is a joy to shoot. With the scope, range performance is excellent perfectly reliable and decent accuracy.
There is a significant amount of take in the AR-7 trigger which poses a challenge when testing for accuracy. It is somewhaton the heavy side but has a clean let-off. When lightweight lead-free bullets are used, the rifle does not perform as well.
Groups fall in a range from 1.35 inches to 3.90 inches at 50 yards. Small game can be harvested at close distance with that accuracy. The rifle returns to zero after disassembly. The inability to adjust the heavy trigger of the gun is a tester complaint.
The eight-round magazines lack a floor plate that is removable. A flat blank is folded and welded into the shape of the magazine. The practice worked well on older 1911 magazines until they got dirty. The few times that an AR-7 is used should not cause that cause.
The receiver is attached to the stock, and the set screw tightened until the receiver is anchored. The barrel is inserted into the receiver end. The receivers aligned with the post on the barrel top. The barrel nut is screwed until it bottoms against the receiver. Cycle the action to load a round.
Assembling and disassembling can be compared to playing with Legos. One tester described the trigger of the AR-7 as relatively stiff and narrow. Using the go pedal consistently and smoothly is challenging.
He also felt the sights were problematic. Only the rear blade sight is adjustable. The plastic sight in front is not. It is an adequate setup but not very useful for long range. At short range, the AR-7 is capable of accurate fire. It can harvest small game. The AR-7 is a better option than a defensive .223. A little animal shot with a .223 will be in no condition to become a nourishing meal.
One evaluator decided to test the rifle under adverse conditions. He described the skies as opening up with biblical force. Accuracy was a challenge — the aperture filled with water. The gun shot 350 rounds of water-logged ammunition. Rainwater had to be dumped out of the receiver multiple times.
Five failures occurred, all with Remington Thunderbolts. The shooter took responsibility for some of the misfeeds due to putting too much pressure for the follower spring to resist tension. Five out of 350 rounds is a remarkable record when the bad reputation (due to previous manufacturers) of the AR-7 is taken into consideration.
* 8-round capacity
* 14-inch pull length
* 16⅛-inch barrel
* 22 long caliber
* ABS plastic stock material
* Blade front sight
* Comes with two magazines
* MSRP $290
* Overall length of 35 inches
* Peep rear sight
* Rubber buttplate/pad
* Weighs 3½ pounds
* Windage and elevation adjustable
Included in the concept of the system are some practical emergency items to accompany the rifle. Those items do not include additional ammunition, a signaling device that pilots would find useful, or a small lighter.
The Henry name has been sullied in some circles due to misconceptions about its purpose and poor quality control by previous manufacturers. The inexpensive, modular rifle suits various purposes. It is a back-up rifle that is kept handy when a better option is not available. The gun fits a small niche perfectly.
When rated on a five point scale, a tester graded the gun in the following categories: Ergonomics (3½), Customization (4), Accuracy (3), Reliability (4½), Overall (5). The compact carbine is awkward at first, but the magazine release is easy to reach and can be activated from both sides.
The trigger is a bit heavy. The AR-7 functions nearly flawlessly even in heavy rainfall. The U.S. Henry AR-7 does what it is designed to do, serve as a last resort. Its price, water resistance, and weight are its best feature.