Looking for a takedown rifle that’s 3.5 lbs and can be assembled in under a minute?
Boom, I’ve got the Henry AR-7 Survival Rifle in .22LR for you today.
I’ll cover how this purpose-built little rifle might be your next gun for backpacking and general prepping.
Coupled with some super quick history and of course…shooting, reliability, and more!
Table of Contents
Who Is It For?
- Pilots and crew who need to survive after bailing out (it’s original purpose)
- Someone who wants a 16″ takedown survival rifle for backpacking or prepping in their go-bag
- Someone who wants a utility rifle in their vehicle in an emergency
- Someone who wants a super-light 3.5 lb rimfire rifle for plinking at the range
The AR-7 was another Eugene Stoner production (along with the AR-15) while he was at Armalite in the 50’s.
Armalite sold the rights of the AR-7 to Charter Arms in 1973 who kind of messed it up and contributed to a less than stellar reputation of the AR-7.
Henry Repeating Rifles got the design and production rights in 1980 and fixed it up a bit (more details coming up).
All the guts (barrel, receiver, mags) come in the ABS plastic buttstock.
All you need to do is pry open the back.
And dump everything out…
I like the orange back of the buttstock which lets you know if you didn’t get a complete seal. It will keep a decent water seal that will keep the AR-7 afloat for some time.
You can tape or add some Saran wrap before covering to give it an extra edge.
Assembly is super easy and once you practice a few times…easily under a minute.
I’m not quite sure if there’s a proper order…but here goes!
Find the receiver screw and line it up with the buttstock and use the plastic knob on the bottom of the grip to get it tight.
Then attach the barrel to the receiver…it has that indexing nub that’s familiar to anyone who has built an AR-15.
Hand-tighten the nut and that’s it…but don’t forget to put the buttstock plate back on.
Mags go in like mags do…and the mag release is on the left side.
The package comes with 2 8-rounders but you can easily fit three with one in the receiver.
The bolt is pretty cool in that it’s recessed…
Until you need it.
And finally…safety is on the right side with an easy lever.
Now…let’s get some rounds through!
How Does It Shoot?
Now that’s pretty cool!
As a .22LR there’s almost no recoil even in a lightweight 3.5 lb blowback gun.
And you can hear the super positive reset of the trigger.
Speaking of the trigger…it’s surprisingly decent. Mine clocked in at around 3 lb with some creep/grit but a clean break. And of course the very audible/tactile reset.
The one thing that surprised me was the thickness of the buttstock.
There’s no way around it if you want to fit everything in it. It can look a little weird but you get used to it pretty quickly.
Accuracy was fine…you’ll be able to hit small game at 50 yards if you do your thing. I was easily nailing clays at around 35 yards.
Rear sight is a nice peep.
And a bright orange front sight blade.
Want to add an optic?
You can with the 3/8″ Weaver rail on the receiver.
But where are you going to store the scope?
Older versions of the AR-7 got a bad rep due to some design flaws…especially in the magazine.
The feed lips were easy to bang up and rounds started shifting in the mag.
Henry solved those things with a redesign that includes two wires that go along the side of each mag to maintain correct positioning.
But ammo choice still matters in the world of rimfire.
It’s highly recommended that you go with some hotter stuff like CCI Minimag.
I had zero malfunctions with those and you can check out more of my favs in Best .22LR Ammo.
When I dove into Walmart stuff…I started getting some jams. But nothing more than what I would also get in other rifles.
You can also handload individual rounds into the chamber if you’re using really soft stuff (or forget to bring your mag).
One thing to note is that there’s no land round bolt hold open. You might need a chamber flag for some ranges.
Henry Survival Pack
I had one AR-7 come with a Henry Survival Pack.
It easily holds an AR-7 and a bunch of included goodies. Plus with room to spare for more of your own things.
- 100 feet of 550 paracord
- Survival bar
- Water filtration straw
- Mylar blanket
Pretty nice and a good basis for your own survival kit.
- Barrel Length: 16.125″
- Rate of Twist: 1:16
- Overall Length: 35″
- Weight: 3.50 lbs.
- Length of Pull: 14″
- Two 8-Round Magazines Included
By the Numbers
No failures when I stuck with the good hot stuff but be prepared for a normal amount of issues with cheaper stuff.
It’s a purpose-driven rifle and you’ll be able to hunt small game with it if needed. But it’s not meant for NRL22 competitions.
The thickness of its grip only takes a few mags to get used to. Otherwise you’re not normally shooting hundreds of rounds through this thing each range trip anyways.
There’s three flavors and I really dig the camo.
There’s scope rings and you can try to make it waterproof. But it’s well-designed for its purpose. Let it be or just buy more mags.
Prices accurate at time of writing
Prices accurate at time of writing
Bang for the Buck: 5/5
With a street price of around $230 it’s pretty great.
Overall Rating: 4.5/5
The Henry AR-7 Survival rifle is a nifty purpose-driven .22LR rifle that only weighs 3.5 lbs and stores itself in its buttstock. It has adequate accuracy and high reliability if given the proper ammo. A fun day at the range or a last ditch survival weapon if you bail out of a plane.
What’s your thought on the Henry AR-7? Would you use it as a “survival rifle” or would something else in our Best .22LR Rifles fare better?