Henry U.S. Survival AR-7 Semi-Automatic 22 Long Rifle

by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn & Boge Quinn

February 7th, 2017


Click pictures for a larger version.



Henry AR-7 U.S. Survival Rifle with Henry Survival Kit, Tyler Gun Works "Iroquois Deluxe" Tomahawk, Arno Bernard knife, and Leatherman tool.



Magazine release (top), manual safety (bottom).



Barrel nut.





Receiver bolt.



Receiver, magazines, and barrel store in stock.





The year 1959 saw the birth of two legends; the ArmaLite AR-7 Survival Rifle, and me! Well okay, not me. I am just passing through this world, but the AR-7 will be here long after I am gone. The little rifle was invented by a true legend in the firearms industry: Eugene Stoner, who invented the AR-10, AR-15, and AR-18 rifles as well. The AR-7 was patterned after the bolt-action AR-5 22 Hornet rifle that Mr. Stoner had developed as a survival rifle for fighter pilots, so that in the event of an emergency landing or bail-out, the pilot would have a small, lightweight rifle for foraging and such. While the AR-7 was not adopted by the U.S. Air Force, it was adopted by the Israeli and Argentine militaries, and also was readily received in the civilian marketplace as a survival rifle that allowed easy storage for fishermen, backpackers, and other outdoorsmen. The AR-7 was a lightweight semi-automatic, and fired the 22 Long Rifle cartridge. It also dissembled easily, without tools, and the components stored in the plastic buttstock.

The AR-7 has been manufactured by various companies over the past 58 years, and there is a pretty lively aftermarket to serve the AR-7 owners with accessories such as scope mounts and buttstocks. 2017 marks twenty years since the AR-7 has been in the stable of Henry Repeating Arms, and the improvements made by Henry make the legendary little rifle better than ever. Henry redesigned the buttstock internally to accept the receiver with a magazine installed, along with two spare magazines, allowing a total of twenty-four rounds stored in magazines within the floating buttstock. Henry also improved upon the original plastic buttstock by changing the composition to ABS, for greater durability. The sixteen-inch steel barrel is also covered in ABS for corrosion resistance, and the receiver has a protective coating as well. The top of the receiver is now grooved for tip-off scope mounts, for those who desire an optical sight.

The rear sight is a flat piece of stamped steel, which can be flipped to allow the use of two different size apertures. Combined with the blaze orange front sight blade, the little rifle is surprisingly accurate. The front can be drifted in its dovetail for windage adjustment, and the rear aperture can be adjusted for elevation correction by loosening the screw and moving the sight blade up or down as needed. The AR-7 assembles quickly, without tools, when the receiver and barrel are removed from the buttstock. The trigger is crisp, but a bit heavy, releasing with about six pounds of resistance. Keep in mind that this is not a rifle for benchrest shooting, but a survival/small game/plinking rifle, and a very light trigger pull would be undesirable in a survival situation. The trigger works very well for the intended purpose of this rifle.

The Henry AR-7 weighs three pounds, five ounces with an empty magazine. The buttstock is capped by a waterproof plastic cap, and the buttstock is also buoyant, allowing the rifle to float if dropped into water. The rifle shown here wears a camouflaged finish, but the rifle is also available with a matte black finish at a lower price. With all the parts stowed in the buttstock, the overall length measures just sixteen and one-half inches.

An item that goes along pretty well with the Henry AR-7 rifle is a dandy little compact survival kit, also sold by Henry Repeating Arms. The Survival Kit is a metal box which contains many things which could prove to be useful and lifesaving in a survival situation.  The metal box seals up tightly, and is packed with a lot more stuff than I ever imagined.

The Survival Kit contains:

Basic Survival Instruction Sheet

Aloksak Water Tight Bag

Personal Use Fishing Kit

Mini Map Compass

Mini Rescue Flash Signal Mirror

Beeswax Tea Light Survival Candle

Tinder Quick (10)

Type 1A Utility Cord (20 ft.)

Photon Micro Light

Sewing Kit

Spiral Wire Survival Saw

1 ft flexible latex tubing

Trauma Bandage and Gauze Roll

Adventurer Compact Repair Tape

Adventurer Compact Fire Starter

Rapid Rescue Survival Whistle

Snare Wire (20 ft.)

Adventure All Weather Matches (10)

Utica Kutmaster Mini Multi Tool

Flat Coffee Filter

Water Bag

MicroPur Water Tablets (05)

12 Hour Light Stick

Space Survival Blanket

Compact Signal Panel

Silica Gel

Fresnel Lens Fire Starter

Derma Safe Razor Knife

The Survival Kit Box

Hard Anodized Aluminum

Size: Appx 7.3" x 4.6" x 2.3" (including clasps)

Weight: 6.2 oz.

For accuracy testing, I mounted a Burris six to eighteen power target scope atop the AR-7 receiver. This is not a scope than a person would typically mate to the AR-7, but I used it to see just how accurate the rifle could be, with as little human error as possible. I rested the rifle in a Target Shooting, Inc. Model 500 rifle rest, and fired five-shot groups on paper at fifty yards. The AR-7 proved to be plenty accurate for its intended purpose, with some ammunition turning in very respectable groups. The Remington High Velocity 36 grain truncated cone ammo grouped the best of any tried in this rifle, turning in the best group of the day, which measured five-eighths of an inch at fifty yards. Most ammunition would group under two inches at that distance, with several measuring closer to an inch. The AR-7 proved to be much more-accurate than I expected.

Reliability with high velocity ammunition was excellent. I experienced no failures of any kind, whether using top-tier premium ammo or bulk high velocity ammunition. Some brands of target ammo were too weak to reliably cycle the action, but all of the high velocity stuff, solid and hollowpoint, worked perfectly.

For most shooting, I used the aperture sight, as I believe most shooters will do. The aperture sight allows for very good accuracy, but for my eyes, both apertures were too small, so I drilled one out to one-eighth inch, resulting in a ghost-ring sight picture, which works very well for me. The eye will naturally center the top of the front post in the aperture, and makes for quick target acquisition.

I really like the little AR-7, both in concept and execution. The design is proven, and Henry took a good design, and made it better. I like the little rifle so much that I recently ordered in eight more, just to have them around here if needed. Placing one of the U.S. Survival Rifles, along with a box of ammo into each of my vehicles is a good idea. Along with the spare tire and jumper cables, it is there if I need it, and not in the way if I don’t. The little Henry will even fit nicely into a Harley-Davidson saddlebag. For use against small game and vermin, it has plenty of accuracy, and could even serve well as a defensive weapon against human predators, if needed.

The U.S. Survival Rifle from Henry Repeating Arms is a lightweight, reliable, dandy little semi-automatic carbine. It is chambered for the very popular 22 Long Rifle cartridge, and is an excellent choice for a compact rifle to stow in a backpack, plane boat, pickup, RV or ATV to have handy when needed. Like all Henry firearms, the U.S. Survival Rifle is “Made in America, Or Not Made at All.”

The suggested retail price of the U.S. Survival Rifle, as of the date of this review, is $290 US for the black rifle and $350 US for the Mossy Oak Break-Up camouflaged version.

Check out the extensive line of Henry firearms and accessories online at www.henryusa.com.

For the location of a Henry dealer near you, click on the DEALER FINDER at www.lipseys.com.

To order the U.S. Survival rifle online, click on the GUN GENIE at www.galleryofguns.com.

To order quality 22 Long Rifle ammunition, go to www.midsouthshooterssupply.com and www.luckygunner.com

Jeff Quinn

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Click pictures for a larger version.





Jeff likes the AR-7 so much that he recently ordered in eight more, just to keep handy if needed.





Top of receiver is grooved for tip-off scope rings.



Best accuracy was achieved with Remington Golden 36-grain hollowpoint ammunition.



Henry Survival Kit.



Tyler Gun Works "Iroquois Deluxe" Tomahawk.