How Has The AR-7 Changed?

Upon discovery of my love of firearms and my passion for survival, everyone always asks the inevitable question: What do you recommend for a wilderness survival weapon? Well, you just had to open that can of worms, didn’t you?  That would be like asking me what kind of knife I use in the kitchen!  Am I slicing tomatoes from the garden, slicing bread, cutting through a rack of ribs, making a pb&j?  My point is that there is a perfect tool for nearly every job.  If I am in hostile territory and may encounter several ne’er-do-well individuals, I’d really like to have my M-4.  If I can pick the terrain of the encounter, I might like to have my M-110, or if they have light trucks and heavy weapons, then I’d prefer my M-107 .50 BMG.  All of that being said, for a good, all around wilderness survival rifle, that you can pack small, take anywhere and put meat on the fire with, I’d recommend the Henry U.S. Survival rifle. It’s the current version of the Armalite AR-7 survival rifle that was developed from the AR-5 used by USAF pilots way back in the 1950’s.  The AR-7 has gone through many changes since Eugene Stoner (moment of silence) invented it back in the late 50’s.  It has been manufactured by Armalite, Charter Arms and currently Henry Rifles has the rights to the AR-7.

Recently the AR-7 stock has gone from plastic to polymer and the newest versions can hold three, yes three, 8 round magazines in the stock.  The current version of the AR-7 also has a picatinny style rail system grooved into the top of the receiver to accept optics.  Keep in mind if you mount an optic, it will no longer fit in the stock for storage.  Also as you see from the pictures, my AR-7 is camo, the current version sold by Henry Rifles comes only in black.  The reason I recommend this little survival rifle for everyone is its size, simplicity, accuracy. Also because it fires .22 LR (long rifle).  One can carry a plethora of ammunition for just a little added weight and minimal cost.  The .22 LR may not be ideal for a sustained firefight with hordes of zombies, but it will surely put food on the fire spit.  Rabbits, squirrels, birds and even varmints of the two-legged variety can be put down with an accurate placing of a 36 gr hollow point through the left eye socket or chest cavity.

Size: The Henry U.S. Survival rifle is just over 16 inches long when stored in it’s stock. That will fit in a ruck, under the car seat, in the boat, in your aircraft storage bin, just about everywhere you like.  After all the first rule of a gunfight is: Have a gun.  So by being so compact, you can assure yourself that your Henry Rifle will always be handy.  It weighs less than some backpacking tents and is Teflon coated for resistance to corrosion.

Simplicity: To get the Henry Survival Rifle into action, pull off the cover from the stock, pull out the receiver, the barrel and a magazine.  The configuration of my AR-7 rifle allows for storage of a magazine on the receiver while in the stock, with one spare.  As I stated earlier, the newest version allows for a magazine in the receiver and two in the stock.  Attach the receiver to the AR-7 stock via the thumb screw on the bottom, align the notch on the barrel with the grove in the receiver and tighten the barrel retaining ring.  That’s it, you are done.  Fill magazine with ammo, and put supper in the pan.

Accuracy: The AR-7 Henry Survival Rifle is not going to win any awards at the international sniper competition.  But it will darn sure put down a rabbit or other tasty critter well within stalking distance of said critter.

As you can see by the targets, at 25 yards, (yes it was, my laser range finder said so!) the Henry Survival rifle is well capable of putting lead on target.  The first target is for illustration only, I know where my rifle shoots but I shot that target with a center hold, and the second using the required hold to put most of the rounds (yeah, yeah, 7 out of 8, I’m getting old!) solidly into the 3 inch target.

As I said, these were shot at 75 feet, so if the furry, soon-to-be supper is in the top of a 50 foot tree, guess who is eating well tonight? I only shot 25 yard targets, if you had a good 4 power scope, you might even get supper out to 100 yards.  Just remember, at 100 yards with a .22LR, you can expect about 5.5 inches of drop, so dial in your dope or hold over.

To sum it up, the AR-7 Henry U.S. Survival Rifle is a good little rifle for backpacking, camping, to throw in the plane, the boat or the truck. It needs very little space to occupy, it won’t weigh you down and you can carry plenty of ammunition.  The AR-7 will put food in the pan and it can be effective at behavioral correction in humans.  At around $250.00, the Henry U.S. Survival Rifle won’t break the bank either.  Don’t just take my word for it, do your own research, ask around.  Remember, the first word in Self Reliance is “Self”.  But if you decide I’m right: You’re welcome.

Author: This post was written by Tony, you can see another great article that Tony wrote about how to Avoid a Car Jacking by clicking this link: . You can alsop see Tony’s bio by clicking here:

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I’ve thought several times about getting an AR-7, simply because it stores so neatly and would fit inside a bug-out bag with no dramas. If I have to , my plan is to make our family look like a bunch of refugees, drawing as little attention to us as possible. That being said, the ability to hide weapons inside our bugout bags for the initial leg is vital. The only reason I haven’t bought the AR-7 yet is that the Ruger 10/22 is just marginally longer when taken out of its stock, which also fits inside my bugout bag quite nicely and has more aftermarket support. Remove one screw from the 10/22 and it slips out of its stock leaving you two roughly 20″ pieces. Another alternative for y’all.

I do not know when you wrote this article, but since the new ar-7’s have come out, there are not just in black, there in mossey or realtree,which ever you want to call it type camo and has been that way since they came out wth the new ones

I have had the Henry survivor for about 4 months now. Have probably put around 1000 shells thru it.

Dis/assembly is simple and quick. Cleaning is easy. Storing is easy.

I’ve had good results with accuracy out to about 25 yards or so also. I’ve shot farther, but with just the open sights my accuracy goes way down. Still managed to put 2 out of 8 on a silver dollar target.

I have the newer model, one mag in the receivor and 2 in the stock for storage. Simple safety and simple mag release.

Overall a good value on every point.

I would have to agree! The only thing I don’t like about the new models is the high vis orange plastic front sight post. It worries me that it will snap off in the brush or something. But other than that I love take down guns. Cheers JJ

Good Point!

JJ, your review is spot on. I’ve put a few boxes through my AR-7, and it’s a great ‘first rule of gunfighting’ gun. Getting the crude sights adjusted is a little tricky, but as you say, the gun puts rounds where you point it. I’m going to pick up several more to spread around various BOBs and caches.
I also like your plan to make your family ‘refugee-like’ to avert undue attention. Ol’ Selco at has a lot of great advice on this, as he lived in Georgia for a year after that government (civilization) went kablooey.
I’m glad I found your site! Keep up the good work!

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How Has The AR-7 Changed?

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