Originating in the late 50’s, the Henry U.S. Survival AR-7 rifle was designed by Eugene Stoner who was known as the father of the AR-16. Eventually, the design was sold to other manufactures. Today’s AR-7 .22 is manufactured solely in the U.S.and has evolved in many ways. Its design changes and updated manufacturing controls have provided advancement in this unique rimfire. Some of the improvements include a new barrel bushing which has increased the feeding reliability. In addition, the magazines have been upgraded which also improves feeding. The magazines are now manufactured from steel and have an eight-round capacity with a feed ramp that guides each round into the chamber.
Acquired by Henry Repeating Arms in 1997, the U.S. Survival AR-7 has a long list of benefits that make it one of the first choices in survival rifles. The president of the company states that the new version is the most reliable of the AR-7’s. As far as strict versatility, besides carrying the most popular cartridge in the world, it has many other outstanding qualities.
While there is no single best weapon for every situation, the .22 rifle is the perfect survival weapon for the majority of circumstances. First of all, you probably can’t find a more accessible gun in the U.S. or Canada. Most shooters learn on a .22 and are familiar with how it works. Since it is so common, it doesn’t have as many restrictions as other caliber weapons. Any place that sells ammunition, you are going to be able to find .22 rimfire ammo.
Some of the other features that make it an ideal survival weapon are that it requires less cleaning and maintenance than a centerfire. How many of us have left a .22 sitting in a closet and pulled it out years later. It still works! In addition, the low weight of both the rifle and its ammo are a definite advantage. You can carry 500 .22 rounds for the same weight of 25 12 gauge shells. It does its job on any small game as well as animals the size of large deer. There are reported accuracy shots of 300 plus yards and it has enough retained energy to neutralize prey.
Let’s talk about convenience in dismantling and stowing. The .22 AR-7 can be dismantled quickly and without tools. The main components are the barrel, magazine and receiver. These can be stowed in the ABS plastic stock which is both waterproof and dust-resistant. The receiver is made of aluminum while the 16-inch barrel is made of a steel liner cased in a composite housing. The rifle can be stowed in a backpack or in the trunk of a car, all wrapped up neatly in its polymer stock.
As far as ease of shooting goes, the sights on the AR-7 are easy to see due to their bright orange color. The rear sight has a tube built into the receiver. If it was alone, it would work like a ghost ring, but it has a cap which is similar in size to a Popsicle stick, that screws into the back of the receiver. It can be flipped so the two holes, one set wider and one set narrower, can be used. It can also be adjusted for personal preference either up or down.
Stacking against Other
Ease of handling, reliability, easy break down and good shooting, how does the .22 AR-7 stack up to other survival rifles? On the higher end, there are several rifles that will cost you 2 to 5 times as much as the AR-7. Starting in the $700 range is the Armalite AR7. The Armalite Explorer runs in the $800 range. Your Windham Weaponry runs in the high $800’s and the POF Upper DPMS Sniper Stock will set you back $1,500, just to list a few. The disadvantages of these weapons is that there are many restrictions buying not only the guns but the ammo as well. They are difficult to break down and store and they require lots of maintenance. They do not store easily, are not compact, and the weapons and the ammo are heavy. One more advantage of the .22 AR-7 over the other guns is that there is no recoil. It can be handled by someone with health issues or by novices.
When it comes to pest control, a good air rifle is good enough to scare off rodents. However, you can fire your .22 and scare off even medium sized animals with a few well-placed shots. Sending a safe warning shot off in the correct direction will discourage poachers or thieves without spending money on high-cost ammo. Remember to respect the gun laws and don’t fire in any situation that goes against gun regulations. However, in the case of having to put down a wounded animal, butchering, or a mercy killing of a sick animal, the AR-7 fits the bill for all those scenarios.
The AR-7 survival rifle has been the first choice of the U.S.Air Force pilots since 1959. They knew this small-caliber rifle could be counted on for survival in remote areas. It has built its reputation on ease of operation, portability and reliability. It is a favorite for backpackers, adventurers and even bush pilots. It is an all-purpose, affordable, easy to use and effective survival rifle.
Story by J Hines
Photos by Wiki
Source: Hickok45 Youtube and Wiki