The US Survival AR-7 Rifle may have failed as a US Military weapon,
But it’s found popularity with survivalists
US Survival AR-7 Rifle review
by Mike Garman
In the 50’s the US Air Force adopted the AR-5 Survival Rifle (designated the M-1 rifle) for use by pilot and aircrews. This rifle never saw much use but Eugene Stoner, who designed the AR-5 for Armalite used the design to create the Survival AR-7 Rifle.
Originally manufactured by AramaLite from 1959-1973, this unique rifle changed manufacturing hands several times until 1997, when Henry Repeating Arms Co. started producing it. Although it never saw much use by the US military, a variant was made for the Israeli Air Force. This bolt action firearm has also found wide use in the civilian market. And it’s really pretty cool!
Designed to breakdown into multiple pieces, which fit into the the stock, this semi-auto rifle chambered in .22 LR, makes a great truck gun, pack rifle or just a good plinker. It’s portability is why it has found popularity with many survivalist and doomsday preppers.
With all of the parts in the stock, which is supposed to float, something I wasn’t brave enough to test out, it can be assembled in a couple of minutes.
It comes with 2, 7 round magazines also housed in the stock. Once assembled it works like any other rifle, though it is a little hard to cycle the bolt to load a round in the chamber. This is mostly due to it’s small size.
The rifle has a mount rail for attaching a variety of optics but there is no room for an optic it in the stock. You will definitely need some sort of add on sight, as the ones on the rifle are horrible. When using the factory sights it’s more point and shoot but surprisingly easy to do. Granted we were shooting at a fairly large piece of steel but with some practice a rabbit wouldn’t pose much of a challenge.
The trigger is crisp and for what this rifle is intended to be used for, it is quite good. It’s very easy to shoot even though finding a good grip can be difficult as the barrel does not have a forearm, I found that placing the support hand on the magazine worked pretty good and provide a stable shooting stance.
Be aware the AR-7 functions as a blowback semi-automatic with twin recoil springs and must be firmly held for reliable blowback operation.
The particular rifle we tested was used and cost about $180. This one was an early Henry Repeating Arms model. New models can be had for around $220. We recommend purchasing a model manufactured after 2015 by Henry Repeating Arms. Ones produced after 2015, were upgraded with an ABS material that replaced the original stock plastic, which was prone to cracking and failure. The newer Henry model also has the standard feature of a 3/8 in. Weaver Tip-off mount rail milled into the top of the receiver for attaching a wide variety of optics.The stock is also fully coated with Teflon to make it water resistant.
It’s light weight and water proof, and would be perfect for your bug out bag. It uses .22 ammunition that is still relatively cheap so you can carry a lot of it. One thing that I found interesting is that being it is semi-auto and long barreled, it’s quiet and could be made even quieter by adding a suppressor.
Our verdict is if you come across one at a good price buy it.