Henry U.S. Survival AR-7 Rifle

Mary and Dr. Jim Clary

The original Armalite U.S. Survival AR-7 rifle has been around since the 1950's. It is reliable, weather-proof and shock-proof... an essential tool for survival when the situation is critical. Today, a lot of bush pilots, backpackers and wilderness adventurers carry one for protection and ability to take down small game. And sometimes larger critters too.

The .22 LR cartridge is often maligned as not being powerful enough for protection, despite the fact that at close range a .22 HP creates a devastating wound channel. If that doesn't convince you of the efficacy of the .22 LR, let us tell you about Bella Twin, a Cree lady from Slave Lake, Alberta, Canada. Bella was hunting with her partner when they spotted a grizzly bear heading their way. They took cover, but the bear kept coming. It was so close that Bella decided that it was better to shoot the grizzly than let it maul them. Now, this lady was 63-years old and had been a hunter and trapper most of her life. However, all she had with her was a Cooey Ace single shot .22 caliber rifle. This had been her “bread n butter” rifle on her trap lines for years... now it would do what no one believed possible.

Bella took aim at the bear's head, fired, reloaded and fired several more times and the bear went down. This happened in 1953 and that grizzly became the world record that year. We don't recommend that you go bear hunting with an AR-7, but do not underestimate its power.

About 20 years ago, Henry began production of an improved version of the AR-7. Unlike Bella's Cooey Ace single shot, the Henry U.S. Survival AR-7 is semi-automatic and comes with two-eight round magazines. More than enough for personal protection in the boondocks or to harvest a rabbit for dinner. They replaced the aluminum barrel with its steel liner with an all-steel barrel and covered it with ABS plastic to prevent corrosion. They redesigned the stock, eliminating the slick fiberglass design, replacing it with a textured matte finish. They redesigned the interior of the stock to hold three magazines, rather than two. The third magazine fits into the magazine well of the action.

Finally, they replaced the black blade front sight with a high-visibility orange insert. And, added a 3/8" grooved receiver-rail for mounting a scope. The Henry AR-7 is a significant improvement over the original Armalite AR-7 Survival rifle. Like the original, the Henry U.S. Survival Rifle is lightweight, weighing only 3.5 pounds. It is just 16.5” long when packed and easily fits into the storage area of a plane, boat or into your backpack. Being chambered for .22 LR, you can carry a lot of extra ammunition without adding much weight. The rifle can be ordered in matte black or two different camo finishes. We chose the True Timer -Viper Western Camo for our test rifle.

This rifle can be assembled in less than a minute, WITHOUT TOOLS. It is very accurate…. much more than we expected for a pack-gun. We had no difficulty in holding groups under 2.50” at 50 yards with the peep sight. Our daughter was able to score some groups at 1.50” (she has better eyes).

The specifications of the Henry U.S. Survival AR-7 rifle are as follows:

Model Number H002VWP

Action Type Semi-Auto

Caliber .22 LR

Capacity 8 Rounds (Two 8-round magazines included)

Barrel Length 16.125"

Barrel Type Steel (Coated with ABS Plastic)

Rate of Twist 1:16

Overall Length 35"

Weight 3.5 lbs

Receiver Finish True Timer -Viper Western Camo (as tested)

Rear Sight Peep

Front Sight Orange Blade

Scopeability 3/8" Grooved Receiver

Scope Mount Type Ring mounts for 3/8" Groove

Stock Material ABS Plastic

Buttplate/Pad Rubber

Length of Pull 14"

This is an essential tool for everyone who ventures into the boondocks. It is better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it. We bought this one. BTW, Jim says he will still carry his .44 mag with the AR-7 into bear country. Just in case.

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