AR-7 Good Survival Rifle??


March 2, 2012, 12:31 PM
So because I am a budding survival buff, and big fan of the .22LR, I am looking at adding the AR-7 by Henry Repeating Arms to my BO bag. Anyone out there own one of these that wants to tell me the pros & cons about this riffle?
I know there are bigger, better, and more powerfull rifles out there. I have a few already. But none of them, or at least none of the ones in my collection, will fit in a back pack next to my extra socks.

If you enjoyed reading about "AR-7 Good Survival Rifle??" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
March 2, 2012, 01:17 PM
Light, comes apart, and stores in the stock.
Some of them actually work.

Some of them actually work.

If the takedown feature is importent to you?
I'd look at a Marlin Papoose.

All of them actually work.


March 2, 2012, 01:18 PM
We've sold dozens, and never had anyone complain about them not working when using quality ammo. The people who have problems have in my experience been people who use garbage ammo.

March 2, 2012, 01:20 PM
While I do not own one, I hear quality and accuracy on these break down rifles are hit and miss. Originally intended to be issued to pilots who might crash behind enemy lines, there is a reason they aren't used by the military anymore. In SERE, we had M-16 rifles, and we were training as aircrew in a behind enemy lines simulation.

I also hear the Marlin Papoose is better overall in quality and accuracy. I think you wold. E better served with a 10/22 and a folding stock.

March 2, 2012, 02:20 PM
To be honest, the ones I've used were not really that accurate at all. I was quite surprised. Instead of having a funky breakdown rifle in your backpack, why not have a real rifle tucked in your waistband.. like a Browning Nomad etc. anyway

March 2, 2012, 03:09 PM
The Charter Arms version of the AR-7 was a pot metal POS. I haven't tried to fire the current Henry version. I do know that the Charter version was spectacularly unreliable, with any ammo.

+1 on the recommendation of the Marlin Papoose.

March 2, 2012, 04:07 PM
I've had an Ar7 for 30 years. They are all made of aluminum. The newer ones have a plastic barrel with a steel liner, older ones had an aluminum one with a steel liner. The newer Henrys holds two mags in the stock, older ones only held one. New Henrys are quite expensive for what you get, older ones were pretty cheap. The plastic stock is quite bulky and doesn't fit in a pack very well.

The Marlin Papoose is a better gun but frankly you can pretty much use any 22 as a survival rifle.

March 2, 2012, 04:17 PM
I have owned the Armalite, the Charter Arms, & the Henry.
None lived up to expectations.
+3 ob Marlin Papoose as better option if you can find one.
The Springfield M6 o/u .22/.410 survival gun is an even better & a bit more versatile option.

Save your pennies, the best guns for a specific purpose never come cheap!

March 2, 2012, 04:19 PM
I have the Charter Arms AR-7 Circa 1973. It's one of the most accurate .22's I've shot. Used to pick pine cones off the tops of trees before my Old man caught me and educated me on "ballistics" and a bullet's flight path.

Warped barrels are a old problem with these iterations (Charter Mfg ones) , but we apparently have been very lucky to not have any issues in this arena. Straight as an Arrow still.

The big "reliability" issue with them is that they have Strong, Dual-recoil springs. If you don't shoot High or Hypervelocity rounds, you might as well carry a single shot, or a whiffle bat.

The other issue is the Feed ramp on the magazine... those mags can be finicky.

Mine operates nearly flawlessly on good ammo, but I'll eventually get the Henry made one, if nothing else for the Rail to mount a scope.

Squirrels in the Hazelnut orchards are pesky enough to warrant the optics for the kids. ;)

March 2, 2012, 04:25 PM
My early 70's Charter Arms AR7 was junk. I would have happily thrown it in a large body of water somewhere if the dang thing didn't float.

March 2, 2012, 04:32 PM
Kingcreek, I threw mine into the blown insulation of my parents attic, it sank and is still there as far as I know,.

March 2, 2012, 04:41 PM
It is fine for what it is. As noted, there have been problems with quality over the years, depending on who made them. I seek out the older, original "Armalite" made guns, and have never been disappointed. All mine work, and are accurate for what they are intended to do. Mine will shoot an easy 3-4" group at 50 yards. If that isn't good enough, get a folding stock for a Ruger 10-22, buy a custom target barrel, trigger, etc.

March 2, 2012, 04:59 PM
I think a nice reliable 22 pistol would be better for you. One with a simple design. Anybody know anything bout them heritage revolvers?

March 2, 2012, 05:21 PM
Yeah, they really aren't any better than the AR7s.

March 2, 2012, 05:25 PM
For better than two decades, I used an AR-7 as my "Jeep Gun". Never needed it for anything other than plinking and bunny killing.

Then there was an incident when that little .22 just seemed so small and underpowered. I undertook to create the "Perfect Jeep Gun". Casting about for something that was still light and portable, yet more able to handle two legged critters, I found it in my gun safe.

There it was, my first shotgun, a Mossberg .410 model 500. By shotening the barrel, installing a "youth" buttstock, and adapting the stock bolt for easy removal and replacement, I was able to break it down, rapidly, into a package about 20" long. The buttstock cap is not secured with industial strength velcro for quick attatchment and removal.

It only takes about 30 seconds to assemble. And once assembled, the .410 is capable, with slugs, of dealing with the above mentioned critters much better than the .22 lr.

Now, you ask, what about the AR-7. Well, mine is one of the good ones, reliable, and with a scope attached fairly accurate. It now lives in our emergency get out of Dodge bag that contains important papers and such.

Here are a couple of images with the AR-7 for comparison.

So, as an addition to you BOB, not a bad idea. But it is a "last ditch" firearm in that department. And since they are light weight, and take up little room, why not?

Onward Allusion
March 2, 2012, 05:29 PM
I had one and sold it after putting a few mags through it. Wobbly stock. Pretty bad sights. Meh, accuracy. It does float and is compact, so I guess it could function as a decent survival rifle if you're in a plane crash or something.

March 2, 2012, 06:52 PM
i rather ditch the "survival" rifle for a couple bottles of water and some food

March 2, 2012, 07:51 PM
Which version had the stamped sheet metal sear? Can't remember who made them, but they had a bad rep.

The Papoose is the way to go if you have to have a takedown. My buddy has one and it's a gem.

The CZ Scout is my 'survival' rimfire. It's not technically a takedown, but it's pretty tiny as is and you can remove the action screw to separate the stock from the action to make it pack smaller. It will shoot well under an inch at 50 yards, far better than most and has better than average sights.

I'm looking at the 16" 10/22 compact for my next survival/pack/boat/truck gun.

March 2, 2012, 09:59 PM
I think a nice reliable 22 pistol would be better for you. One with a simple design. Anybody know anything bout them heritage revolvers?

That's what I prefer, too. A long barreled revolver that can fire .22 Magnum is what I ended up with after similar quests for packable "survival" guns.

Long barreled handguns are always at "take down" size. They are light compared to a rifle. Using a rest, they can shoot very well out to 25 yards very accurately.

I have no experience with the Heritage, but I can't see why it wouldn't work. Here's a pic of the 9" barreled Heritage with adjustable sights from Heritage's website.

March 3, 2012, 01:33 AM
AR-7 Good Survival Rifle??

Only if you can hit with it.

I would consider something like a Crickett .22 Mag ( LR first. You're obviously not mostly using this for self-defense, so I'd go for reliable and compact and inexpensive. And it's actually shootable even when you're not in an emergency. :D If you want this to be safe from small hands, besides keeping it out of reach and sight, just pull the bolt out.


March 3, 2012, 02:56 AM
Long ago I had a friend that bought a .270 Weatherby magnum (I know - ha!).
After hearing him say that he could 100% drill a knot offhand at 200 yards a thousand times, I was surprised that when we were winging lead together he couldn't hardly hit a point blank berm.

March 3, 2012, 03:03 AM
So far as a survival rifle I don't know if this would fit the bill, but so far as a camping or pack gun. The keltec sub 2000 in 40 s&w I think is a great option. Light, cheap, could get those huge 1,658rnd glock clips for it. Plus it folds in half. I think a 40 could handle whatever job came up in the situations I would have this thing out. Shoots great at 50 yards too.

Sent from my Desire HD using Tapatalk

March 3, 2012, 03:09 AM
The Charter Arms version of the AR-7 was a pot metal POS.

I've had an Ar7 for 30 years. They are all made of aluminum.

I stand corrected. It was an aluminum POS.

It looked like it had been sand cast in used kitty litter, so I remembered it as potmetal. Between that and the stamped steel fire control parts it was amazingly unreliable. If you're counting on one as a survival rifle, you might as well put the muzzle to your head and hope it goes off, because you are doomed.

March 3, 2012, 03:24 AM
.keltec sub 2000 in 40 s&w..
.351 winchester better.. talking .22's here.

March 3, 2012, 04:08 AM
Poorly constructed, not very accurate and definitely not a long term solution.

One of my friends had an original Armalite back in the 60s and he managed to blow the sideplate off of it.

It's strictly a limited use, short term solution for "survival."

These would be a viable alternative for a bush pilot, to whom weight and space were important.

Look for something a little more substantial.

March 3, 2012, 04:33 AM
.351 winchester better..

He needs a "survival gun," not a an "ammunition hunt" gun.:D

March 3, 2012, 04:36 AM
A bolt-action bullpup 7.62x25mm carbine would be ideal.

March 3, 2012, 05:19 AM
I use a Ruger MK II pistol for this role. I figure if I can hit soda cans consistantly at 50 yards offhand, that will suffice.

March 3, 2012, 06:53 AM
My 'truck gun' is (it gets thrown in the truck in a soft case and I don't worry) a Kar 98k or a 12 ga. pump shotgun.

I 'get' the concept of the survival rifle, but a 22 target pistol is just as good and takes up less space and is usually more accurate than the AR-7.

I always wondered why the 'AR-7' wasn't developed as a .223/5.56 rather than a rimfire. Seems to me the Kel-Tec SU-16 could fit that role VERY well.

March 3, 2012, 08:18 AM
For a .22lr survival gun a good pistol takes up a lot less space.

March 3, 2012, 08:46 AM
I have an AR-7 that actually does pretty well with CCI Mini Mag solids. Not so much anything else. I also have a 5 1/2 " barreled Ruger Single Six. Care to hazard a guess which one I use most??

Hocka Louis
March 3, 2012, 02:46 PM
No -- it is a .22 LR. Contrary to alot of parroting, why would the weakest cartridge be what you bet your life on?

March 3, 2012, 03:08 PM
Shoots every bit as good as my AR7, holds 1 round less, & is easier to pack.............

March 3, 2012, 11:51 PM
Got to shoot a Marlin Papoose last November. Neat little rifle.
Only had one 7 round mag though, so not so fun without extra mags.
Here is one in action (just my basic google-fu; your own search will yield better results :D )

March 4, 2012, 04:23 AM
I have 5 of the AR7 rifles and 2 of the AR7 pistols. I would not consider any of these for a survival condition. I love the little guys and have found them to be acceptable as far as accuracy, taken lots of rabbits with them but they are not target guns. I have a bull barrel on one of my AR7's (does not fit in stock) with a cantilever picatinny rail and red dot scope, fun pest control but again there are better choices.
You would be better served with a longer barrel 22lr pistol similar to a Buckmark hunter

March 4, 2012, 04:45 AM
I have the Henry AR-7, and had The Armalite 35 years ago and the Charter Arms 25 years ago. Every one of them worked, but accuracy was only that of a long barreled pistol.If I were buying a survival gun today, it would be a Ruger MK II pistol, or a S&W 422 or 622.

March 4, 2012, 07:39 AM
why would the weakest cartridge be what you bet your life on?Because it is for SURVIVAL, not defense. Survival as in food procurement. It was designed for downed aircrew to take small game with. Behind enemy lines, it would be one of the first things I tossed since I'm not going to be discharging a firearm to announce my position unless my life depended on it. My life isn't going to depend on shooting a squirrel. For "life depends on it" aircrew are issued sidearms (type depends on crew position and aircraft, most pilots get the lovely M9) and even then, discretion is the better part of valor.

Now in a non-combat survival situation, I'd rather have either a single shot bolt action or a revolver in .22LR or Mag. They are reliable and accurate enough. Ammo is light and compact. They are less likely to blow big holes in dinner as well.

Brian Williams
March 4, 2012, 08:22 AM
I have a Marlin 39M, but the 39TD would be better because the two halves are the same length when taken down.

Hocka Louis
March 4, 2012, 08:35 PM
No, survival is survival and could include defense. By your logic a .22 short is even better. You aren't gonna "survive" on chipmunks thru rabbits anyway. If people want to survive they'd better start taking this more seriously. .22 Mag, twice as powerful, is indeed an infinitely better choice.

I think that 7.62x25 suggestion is great, maybe even better in a pump or lever or semi-auto since they work there reliably as well, obviously. I seem to recall that pound for pound it was the most potent little round available.

Let's get that done people!

Harvey/ Ga
March 4, 2012, 08:53 PM
I've had mine since they were Armalite...1966!! Shoots just about everything that I've put thru it...good stuff and Thunderbolts <GG>

I give it a thorough takedown cleaning every year/1000 rounds, and use the good GI stuff (CLP or Tetra Gun) to lube. Accuracy with good ammo is decent, may even be good to 50 yards if you do your part. The G-kids and I generally shoot it at 25yds. with very good results.

March 5, 2012, 01:22 AM
When I was younger I wanted an AR-7 very badly. I finally found a neighbor who had one and let me test drive it. It was very poor to say the least and thankfully I got to shoot one before I shell out cash for one.

Here is a pretty good read on a 10/22 concept:

The Marlin papoose is the real deal if you need a true take down. They shoot very well, are light, and accurate.

If you enjoyed reading about "AR-7 Good Survival Rifle??" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!