Home Page Hard Times Survival Hard Times Recipes Gardening Tips Firearm Facts Economy Book Reviews Search Website
Wilderness Survival Christian Poems Bible & Prophecy Other Information Product Links My Books

Henry AR-7 US Survival Semi-Automatic 22LR Rifle

Copyright November 1, 2014 by Robert Wayne Atkins, P.E.
All rights reserved and all rights protected under international copyright law.


History of the AR-7

Henry AR-7 US Survival Rifle Disassembled and Stored
Rifle Fully Assembled and Ready to ShootDisassembled and Everything Stored inside Stock

In 1959 the prototype of the AR-7 was developed by ArmaLite for the U.S. Military. It was designed to be used by U.S. Air Force pilots and their crew as a survival weapon for foraging small game animals in an emergency survival situation. However, the military only purchased a few of these rifles and the rifle was never issued to the military in quantity. Therefore ArmaLite made a few minor changes to the design of the rifle so it could be sold to civilians.

In 1997 Henry Repeating Arms acquired the rights to manufacture the rifle. However, before beginning production Henry reverse engineered the rifle and they corrected a few minor problems with the original design. Henry also decided to use superior quality materials to make the different parts of the rifle. When they began production of the rifle in 1998, the new Henry AR-7 gradually began to build a reputation for being a reliable firearm (unlike its predecessors).

The AR-7 rifle is now called the Henry US Survival Rifle.

This rifle is currently marketed to boaters and campers who desire a lightweight takedown semi-automatic rifle that can be carried inside a small compact waterproof case. The advertised primary purpose of the rifle is to provide wild game meat in an emergency wilderness survival situation.

In order to maximize the overall performance of the rifle, Henry recommends that high velocity 22LR ammunition be used in the rifle.

The Henry website states that the rifle will maintain its original accuracy even after it has fired several thousand rounds of ammunition.


Specifications for the Henry US Survival Rifle

Henry Model Numbers:

AR-7 Disassembled H002B = Black, suggested retail price $290.
H002C = Camo, suggest retail price $350.
Note: The black rifle is currently available for sale at some gun shops for between $249 to $269.

The Parts of the Rifle:

The "Made in America" Henry US Survival Rifle consists of four major parts:

No.WeightPart Description
1. 18.5 ounces ABS plastic stock, impact resistant, water resistant, with removable butt piece (shown below stock).
2. 19.5 ouncesTeflon coated steel receiver, with 3/8 top groove for mounting a scope, and adjustable rear peep sight with two sight holes.
3. 3.0 ounces Two 8 round steel magazines (1.5 ounces each).
4.10.0 ounces16 inch coated steel barrel, with adjustable orange plastic front blade sight, and rear screw-on threaded steel collar.

ABS Plastic: Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) is a thermoplastic that costs about twice as much as polystyrene. It has superior hardness, gloss, impact resistance, and toughness. It is also relatively light weight and it is resistant to alcohol, mineral, and animal oils.

Magazines:
The rifle is sold with two 8 round magazines.
Additional 8 round magazines, or a 5 round magazine, can be purchased directly from the Henry Repeating Arms website at the following web address:
http://www.henryrifles.com/product/henry-us-survival-ar-7-magazine/
November 2014 Magazine Prices at the above website:
Two eight round magazines = $39.90
One five round magazine = $19.95
Flat Rate Shipping = $7.50

A magazine can be removed from the receiver by pressing forward on the magazine release tab located on the front left of the trigger guard.

Note: Most areas require that big game animals be hunted with a centerfire rifle with a magazine capacity limited to five rounds. However, many areas that permit the hunting of small game animals with a 22 rimfire rifle do not have a maximum magazine capacity limit for the 22 rimfire rifle. Therefore you should verify the hunting regulations in your area before you purchase extra magazines for a 22 rimfire rifle.

Safety:
The safety lever is on the right side of the receiver above and behind the trigger. It can be pushed backwards with the right thumb to lock the trigger so the rifle cannot be fired. It can be pushed forwards with the right thumb to unlock the trigger so the rifle can be fired.

AR-7 Storage Compartment inside Stock Length:
The length of the fully assembled rifle from the end of its stock to the front of its barrel is 35 inches.
When the rifle is disassembled and stored with a maximum of three magazines inside the rear stock then the rifle measures 16.5 inches long.
The picture on the right shows all of the parts stored inside the waterproof ABS plastic stock.
Two of the loaded magazines are visible in the picture. The third magazine is still attached to the receiver and that magazine can't be seen in the picture.
The butt piece is placed over the orange plastic and it forms a waterproof seal that protects everything stored inside the stock.

Weight:
The assembled rifle with two empty magazines weighs approximately 51 ounces (or 3.2 pounds).
The assembled rifle with three loaded magazines containing 24 rounds of ammo weighs approximately 54.6 ounces (or 3.4 pounds).
The assembled rifle with three loaded magazines and an attached scope weighs approximately 67.4 ounces (or 4.2 pounds).
An additional 500 rounds of 22LR ammunition will weigh approximately 65 ounces (or 4 pounds) depending on the grain weight of the bullet and the type of container used to enclose the ammunition.
Therefore the rifle, scope, and 524 rounds of ammunition will weigh approximately 8.2 pounds.

Balance:
When the rifle is held in the right hand with the right thumb on the left side of the stock, and the right forefinger lying straight alongside the right side of the receiver, and the remaining three right fingers grasping the right side of the stock, then the rifle is perfectly balanced in the right hand. It is not front heavy or rear heavy. This makes it very easy to carry the rifle in your hand because you do not have to use your muscles to compensate for the weight of either end of the rifle.

If you add a scope to the rifle then the rifle will be slightly heavier on the barrel end of the rifle by a few ounces. However, this is not a major issue and it should not discourage anyone from adding a scope to the rifle.

Top  View of Stock Right-Hand Design:
The rifle is designed to be easily and quickly disassembled and stored inside the hollow rear ABS plastic stock. In order to minimize the total disassembled length of the rifle, the hollow stock has the receiver slot on the right front side of the stock as shown in the picture on the right. This allows the steel barrel to be stored inside the entire left side of the plastic stock.

Since the receiver and the trigger are on the right side of the stock, the rifle is extremely comfortable to hold and aim for a right-handed shooter.

I could hold and aim the rifle with my left hand but it did not feel as comfortable to me because the trigger was too far away from the natural curve of my left index finger. If a person has longer fingers then this may not be an issue for that person. But if a left-handed person has fingers of normal average length, then they should pick up and hold the rifle before making a decision to invest in the rifle.

Since approximately 90% of us are right-handed this is not a shortcoming for us but it may be a disadvantage for a left-handed person.

Training Rifle:
The light weight of the fully loaded rifle (approximately 3.14 pounds) makes it a reasonable training rifle for a young person, or for an older petite person who does not have a lot of upper arm strength. If you have watched a younger person, or a weaker individual, struggle with the front end weight of a normal 22 rifle, then you can appreciate the advantage of a light weight rifle for training these individuals to shoot and to hit a target bull's-eye.

One Hand Operation:
Because the rifle is well balanced at the hand grip, and because the rifle is extremely light weight even when loaded (approximately 3.14 pounds), the rifle can be aimed and fired using one hand. This could be very important to anyone who has any type of problem with one of their arms, because that person could aim, control, and fire this rifle with their good arm.


Accuracy

Target I carefully examined a Henry AR-7 rifle at two different gun shops and both rifles had the front orange blade sight permanently mounted at approximately a one-degree angle tilted to the left. However, I easily fixed this problem by using my finger to push the front sight just a little to the right so the top of the front orange blade sight aligned perfectly in the center hole of the rear sight.

The adjustable plastic rear peep sight is attached to the rear of the receiver with a single screw. When the screw is loosened you can move the rear sight up or down to correct for elevation. When the front screw is removed from the receiver you can rotate the plastic rear sight so the smaller hole at the bottom of the rear sight is now on the top. At my age I prefer the larger peep hole in the rear sight so I left the rear sight as it was originally mounted on the receiver.

I then tested the rifle. At 75 feet the rifle was consistently shooting a little low. After I loosed the rear screw and moved the rear sight peep hole up just a tiny bit, and then retightened the rear screw, the elevation problem was corrected.

After I had the front sight and the rear sight adjusted, I fired three rounds at the center of the bulls-eye on the target in the picture on the right. The distance to the target was 75 feet (or 25 yards). I was kneeling on one knee and I did not have any type of support under the front barrel of the rifle, except I was holding the magazine with my left hand in order to keep the rifle steady so I could aim the rifle. After firing three shots I was satisfied with the performance of the rifle and I stopped my field test because I did not want to waste the small amount of 22LR ammunition that I had. Since I am only an average marksman I did not believe that I could significantly improve my shooting performance from a kneeling position using the plastic sights that were attached to the rifle.

The target in the picture has a black bull's-eye that is one inch in diameter. Each of the circles around the bull's-eye are one inch apart. My shooting test of this rifle resulted in all three shots being within a maximum distance of 2.6 inches from one other. When measured from the exact center of the black bull's-eye, the furthest shot was 1.75 inches from the exact center of the black bull's-eye.


Rifle Scope

Rifle Scope See-Through Scope Rings
Rifle Scope - Cost $30See Through Scope Rings - Cost $12

Scope Recommendation:
If you wish you may add a rifle scope to the AR-7. A rifle scope will enhance the visibility of the target and it will increase the effective accuracy range of the rifle.

The top of the AR-7 rifle receiver has a 3/8 grooved top receiver so a set of 22 rifle scope mounting rings will work with this rifle. Due to the limited lethal range and accuracy of the 22 LR bullet it is not necessary to invest in an expensive scope for this rifle.

The Bushnell 22 rimfire rifle scope ($30 at Walmart) in the above left picture is a reasonable choice for this rifle. It will increase the effective range of this rifle out to approximately 150 feet (or 50 yards) if you are an average marksman. Scope mounting rings are included in the package with the scope along with a hex wrench for mounting the scope on the rifle. The scope also has plastic protective coverings for both ends of the rifle scope to protect the optics from being accidentally damaged. The ends of the plastic coverings are clear plastic so you can actually see through the scope with the protective coverings still attached to the scope if you need to.

However, I suggest the purchase of the Weaver See Through Steel Scope Rings ($12 at Walmart) in the above right picture for mounting the scope on the rifle. "See through" scope rings allow you to see the original sights on the rifle below the scope if you need to. The Weaver rings have 2 screws that attach each ring to the receiver groove, or a total of 4 mounting screws. The Weaver rings also have 4 screws that attach the scope to each ring, or a total of 8 additional screws. This means the scope will be securely fastened to the rifle with a total of 12 screws. Since 22 LR ammunition has very little recoil there is almost no chance of the scope gradually working itself loose from the rifle during normal use. The reason I suggest the "see through" scope rings is because they give you the option to use the original plastic sights on the rifle if the situation should require it. This is an option that I personally do not wish to sacrifice just to save the $12 investment in "see through" scope rings.

AR-7 with Rifle Scope Receiver with Scope
AR-7 Rifle with ScopeAR-7 Receiver with Scope (safety above trigger on left)

If you mount a scope on the AR-7 then you have three options for storing this rifle:
  1. You can store the rifle in its fully assembled condition with the scope attached to the rifle.
  2. You can remove the barrel and the receiver from the rifle and store the barrel and the extra magazines in the hollow stock of the rifle. Then you could store the receiver with the scope still mounted to the receiver in a heavy-duty zipper freezer bag beside the rifle.
  3. You can remove the barrel and the receiver from the rifle Then you can loosen the scope mounting rings just enough to slide the scope off the front end of the 3/8 rail with the scope still securely attached to the rings. Then you could store the barrel, the receiver, and the magazines in the hollow stock of the rifle. Finally, you could store the scope still mounted on the scope rings in a heavy-duty zipper freezer bag beside the rifle.
Note: Additional information about how to shoot safely and accurately, and how to mount and sight a rifle scope are on my website here.


Care and Maintenance

Dry Firing:
Dry firing means that the trigger of a firearm is pulled without a cartridge in the firing chamber. It is okay to dry fire modern centerfire firearms.

However, you should never dry fire a rimfire firearm or an antique firearm. If you dry fire one of these firearms then you could damage the internal firing pin and reduce the future reliability of the firearm. Therefore do not pull the trigger when there is no cartridge in the firing chamber.

Some semi-automatic firearms lock into the open position when the last round of ammunition is fired. This makes it easy to see that the firearm is empty. When the action is open then the trigger has not yet been reset, and the firing pin is not in its correct final position, and there is no cartridge in the firing chamber, and therefore the firearm cannot be fired.

The Henry US Survival Rifle does not lock into the open position when the last round of ammo has been fired. Instead it ejects the last empty shell casing and the bolt closes on an empty chamber without a live round in that chamber. Therefore you must keep mental track of how many shots you have fired and when you have fired your last shot then you need to stop and remove the empty magazine and insert a full magazine. Then you will need to pull the bolt back and load another live round of ammo into its normal firing position.

Cleaning:
The barrel of this rifle can be easily unscrewed by hand, and the inside of the barrel can then be cleaned by pushing cleaning patches from the rear of the barrel to the front of the barrel using a cleaning rod. This is the best way to clean a rifle barrel.

Reassembly and Storage:
After cleaning the barrel, an empty fired 22LR brass cartridge can be inserted into the shell chamber at the rear of the barrel and the barrel screwed back onto the receiver. The trigger can then be pulled and the firing pin will strike the empty shell casing and this will prevent damage to the firing pin. This will allow the storage of the rifle without any pressure on the firing mechanism.

Short Term Storage: If I were going to store the rifle for a short period of time then I would leave the empty 22LR shell casing inside the rifle until the next time I loaded the rifle. When I was ready to insert a live round into the chamber then I would pull back on the bolt and the extractor would remove and discharge the empty 22LR shell casing and when I released the bolt it would load a live round from the top of the full magazine into the correct firing position inside the barrel.

Long Term Storage: If I were going to store the rifle for several years (or longer) then I would remove the front barrel and I would carefully and gently loosen the empty 22LR shell casing from the front receiver using my finger and then I would remove the empty shell casing from the rifle. Or I would loosen the empty shell casing with a pair of tweezers if my fingers were too big to perform this operation. Then I would replace the barrel and put the rifle into storage.


Advantages and Disadvantages

Disadvantages of the AR-7 Rifle:
1. The trigger pull requires moderate pressure and firing happens abruptly. The trigger does not pull back in a smooth short motion.
2. The grasping extension on the ammunition loading bolt is relatively short and it requires a firm grip and some strength to load the first round of ammo into the rifle.
3. There is no front plastic stock below the steel barrel so you must grasp and hold the magazine with your left hand to support the rifle when you are aiming and shooting.
4. The rifle does not have attachments for a sling.
5. The rifle is comfortable to hold and fire for a right-handed person but it may not be comfortable for a left-handed person.

Advantages of the AR-7 Rifle:
1. The barrel can be removed from the rifle by unscrewing the collar at the rear end of the barrel. No tools are needed.
2. The receiver can be removed from the rifle by unscrewing the large finger operated retaining screw inside the stock handle. No tools are needed.
3. The barrel, receiver, and 3 loaded magazines can be stored inside the waterproof stock, and the disassembled rifle will be 16.5 inches long.
4. The rifle is an 8 shot semi-automatic 22LR firearm instead of a single shot firearm.
5. The rifle can be quickly reloaded by inserting a loaded magazine into the receiver.
6. The rifle is extremely lightweight and it can be used by young people, or petite adults, or individuals that only have the effective use of one arm.
7. The rifle can be conveniently carried inside (or strapped to) a backpack with 500 rounds of ammunition and this will only add approximately 8.2 pounds to the backpack.

22 LR Ammunition:
It has become extremely difficult to find 22LR ammunition for sale at gun shops. However, both of the gun shops that I visited told me that they had a small quantity of 22LR ammunition in the back room that they would only sell to their customers who bought a new 22LR rifle. I strongly suggest that you ask the gun dealer how much 22LR ammunition they will agree to sell you if you agree to purchase one of their 22LR rifles. Please purchase as much 22LR ammunition as possible at the same time you purchase a new 22LR rifle.


Hunting Options

Below are Pictures of Some Small Wild Game Animals That Are Legal to Shoot in Some States with a 22 Rimfire Rifle
(Please verify and comply with all the wild game hunting laws in your area.)

Beaver Groundhog or Woodchuck Muskrat Porcupine
Beaver
35 to 65 pounds
Groundhog (Woodchuck)
10 to 20 pounds
Muskrat
2 to 3 pounds
Porcupine
15 pounds

Rabbit Raccoon Gray Squirrel
Rabbit
2 to 3 pounds
Raccoon
15 pounds
Squirrel
1 pound

Wild Game Recipes: Recipes for preparing, seasoning, and cooking the above wild game animals are on my website here.
The wild game recipes that are on my website are also included in my cookbook Grandpappy's Recipes for Hard Times.

Hunting Small Wild Game Animals: I suggest that you practice on paper targets before you go hunting. You need to determine the accuracy of your hunting rifle at different distances. Then you should only shoot at wild game animals that you believe you have a very good chance of killing. If you only wound a wild game animal then it will usually run away and you will usually not be able to find it. The animal will then gradually die if its wound is severe, or it will gradually get better if its wound is minor.

Heart Shot: The heart is a reasonable place to aim on a big game animal because the heart of a big game animal is of a reasonable size and the ammunition used to shoot the animal is relatively powerful. If you hit the heart then the animal will die almost immediately. If you just barely miss the heart then there is a good chance the bullet will do so much internal damage that the animal will be incapacitated before it can travel very far, and then you can get close enough for a kill shot to the animal's brain. However, the heart of a small game animal is a relatively small target and unless you are an expert marksman then the chance of your hitting the heart is extremely slim. And a 22 caliber bullet is a relatively small diameter bullet without the power of a centerfire bullet and it will not cause a lot of internal tissue damage to the animal. Therefore if you only wound the small animal then it will probably escape and bleed to death in a spot where you will never find it. Therefore I do not recommend aiming at the heart of a small game animal.

Brain Shot: My suggestion is that you aim for the brain of a small game animal when you are using 22LR ammo. If you hit the animal in its brain then it will die immediately and you will have some meat for your cook pot. But if you miss then the animal will run away. If you missed completely then you have done no damage to the animal. But if you just barely missed then the bullet will probably just have grazed the skin of the animal and it will gradually heal. Therefore I suggest that you consider aiming for the head or brain of small game animals.



Conclusion

If I did not already own a 22LR rifle then I would invest in a Ruger Model 10/22 with a stainless steel barrel that was either 20 or 22 inches long. The reason is because a Ruger 10/22 costs about the same amount of money (or just a little more money) when compared to the Henry US Survival Rifle. Therefore if I could only afford one 22 caliber rifle then I would buy the Ruger 10/22 rifle.

However, if I needed a lightweight takedown rifle that could be stored in a waterproof case in a very small area, and I intended to use that rifle to hunt small game animals in an emergency wilderness survival situation, then I would buy the Henry rifle.

If I were in a wilderness survival situation, and if I had time to prepare, then I would prefer to capture wild game animals with professional quality steel traps and snares. After they have been set, traps and snares will continue to work 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. You would need to walk your trap line every morning and every evening and collect any wild animals that you caught and then reset those traps.

If starvation was an immediate threat then I would prefer to use professional quality steel traps and snares, and gill nets to catch fish, and a hunting rifle to bring down wild game animals. This assumes I had time to plan and prepare and that I was able to take these items with me into the wilderness.

Respectfully,
Grandpappy.



Click on www.grandpappy.org for Robert's Home Page.

Grandpappy's e-mail address is: RobertWayneAtkins@hotmail.com