[Review] Henry AR-7: Takedown Survival Rifle

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Looking for a takedown rifle that’s 3.5 pounds and can be assembled in under a minute?

Boom, I’ve got the Henry AR-7 Survival Rifle in .22 LR for you today.

AR-7 Parts

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! Keep reading!

Table of Contents

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Henry AR-7: Review at a Glance

Pros

  • Breaks down for easy carry while hiking
  • Fun to shoot

Cons

  • Buttstock is thick and can feel weird
  • Ammo can be finicky

The Bottom Line

Henry’s AR-7 is perfect for those who like to backpack or hike but want a little protection along the way. It’s lightweight, compact, and the perfect addition to a camping backpack.

Best Survival .22 LR Rifle

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Specs & Features

Specs

  • Caliber: .22 LR
  • Length: 35″
  • Barrel Length: 16.125″
  • Length of Pull: 14″
  • Weight: 3.50 lbs
  • Capacity: 8 rounds

Features

  • Two 8-round mags
  • Best for target/hunting/survival
  • Rear peep sight, front blade sight
  • Easy to disassemble

Source: Henry USA

Background

The AR-7 was another Eugene Stoner production (along with the AR-15) while he was at Armalite in the ’50s.

From Russia with Love, AR-7
From Russia with Love (1963), AR-7

Armalite sold the rights of the AR-7 to Charter Arms in 1973 which kind of messed it up and contributed to a less than stellar reputation for the AR-7.

Henry Repeating Rifles got the design and production rights in 1980 and fixed it up a bit (more details coming up).

Who Is It For?

Henry AR-7 in Viper Western Camo
Henry AR-7 in Viper Western Camo
  • Pilots and crew who need to survive after bailing out (its original purpose)
  • Someone who wants a 16-inch 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 pound rimfire rifle for plinking at the range

Fit, Feel & Assembly

All the guts (barrel, receiver, mags) come in the ABS plastic buttstock.

Henry AR-7s
Henry AR-7s

All you need to do is pry open the back.

AR-7 Innards
AR-7 Innards

And dump everything out…

AR-7 Parts
AR-7 Parts

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.

Stowed Henry Survival AR-7
Stowed Henry Survival AR-7

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.

AR-7 Receiver Screw
AR-7 Receiver Screw

Then attach the barrel to the receiver…it has that indexing nub that’s familiar to anyone who has built an AR-15.

Henry AR-7 Barrel Nut
Henry AR-7 Barrel Nut

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.

Henry AR-7 Magazine Release
Henry AR-7 Magazine Release

The bolt is pretty cool in that it’s recessed…

AR-7 Bolt Lever, In
AR-7 Bolt Lever, In

Until you need it.

AR-7 Bolt Lever, Out
AR-7 Bolt Lever, Out

And finally…safety is on the right side with an easy lever.

AR-7 Safety and Trigger
AR-7 Safety and Trigger

All in all, it feels pretty solid but let’s get some rounds through it!

How Does It Shoot?

Now that’s pretty cool!

As a .22 LR there’s almost no recoil even in a lightweight 3.5-pound 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 pounds 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.

Assembled Henry AR-7
Assembled Henry AR-7

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

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.

AR-7 Rear Sight
AR-7 Rear Sight

And a bright orange front sight blade.

AR-7 Front Sight
AR-7 Front Sight

Want to add an optic?

You can with the 3/8-inch Weaver rail on the receiver.

AR-7 Bolt Lever, Out
Weaver Rail

But where are you going to store the scope?

Reliability

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.

Henry AR-7 Magazine Release
Henry AR-7 Magazine Release

But ammo choice still matters in the world of rimfire.

It’s highly recommended that you go with some hotter stuff like CCI Minimag.

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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.

What Sets it Apart?

But what really makes this package unique? The Henry Survival Pack that you can grab with it.

Henry US Survival Pack
Henry US 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.

Survival Pack with Henry AR-7
Survival Pack with Henry AR-7

Included are:

  • 100 feet of 550 paracord
  • Firestarter
  • Survival bar
  • Water filtration straw
  • Tourniquet
  • Mylar blanket
  • Knife
Survival Pack Items
Survival Pack Items

Pretty nice and a good basis for your own survival kit.

By the Numbers

Reliability: 4/5

No failures when I stuck with the good hot stuff but be prepared for a normal amount of issues with cheaper stuff.

Accuracy: 5/5

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.

Ergonomics: 4/5

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.

Looks: 5/5

There are three flavors and I really dig the camo.

Customization: 3/5

There are 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.

Value: 5/5

With a street price of around $230, it’s pretty great.

Overall: 4.5/5

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Final Verdict

The Henry AR-7 Survival rifle is a nifty purpose-driven .22 LR rifle that only weighs 3.5 pounds and stores itself in its buttstock.

Henry AR-7 in Viper Western Camo
Henry AR-7 in Viper Western Camo

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 .22 LR Rifles fare better?



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