I got a chance to review this handy little rifle and test what it is really capable of.
In 1958, legendary weapons designer Eugene Stoner had an idea for a takedown self loading rifle perfect for Air Force pilot’s survival kits. Lightweight and firing the .22 long rifle cartridge, it was made by Armalite and named the AR-7 rifle. Fast forward to modern times. Henry Repeating Arms has kept the little rifle alive with many improved features over the original Armalite models.
They sent one out for me to give it a thorough testing for our readers. My rifle was shipped to my good friends down at Silverado Arms Ltd in Ohio, and they made the required paperwork quick and easy.
The Henry U.S. Survival AR-7 rifle supplied is finished in the all new Viper Western Pattern camouflage. The rifle fires in semi-automatic from a detachable magazine that holds eight rounds of standard velocity or high velocity .22 long rifle ammunition.
What is really unique about the whole package is the butt plate of the rifle stock removes and allows the receiver, barrel and up to three total magazines to be kept safe and sound for transport. In this configuration, the length is only 16.75 inches. This model is supplied with two magazines.
The barrel is steel and has a tough ABS plastic coating over the top for ultra weight reduction. The whole package weighs in at only 3.5 pounds. Rate of barrel twist is 1:16. The top of the receiver is 3/8″ grooved for scope mounting. I chose to use the existing peep sights for my testing. The rear sight can be chosen in a smaller or larger aperture simply by loosening one screw and flipping the sight blade over. Elevation can be adjusted this way and windage can be addressed by movement of the front high visibility blaze orange left and right drift-able sight.
For range day, I thought about how to most effectively test the Henry U.S. Survival AR-7 rifle. This is a survival rifle meant for hunting and protection. This would be done without any help from my Caldwell Lead Sled 3 or the handy sandbag off a shooting bench. I decided the best test would be slower, deliberate shots with a full eight rounds in the magazine on each target. I shot at 15 yards (in my hunting experience, most of my rabbit shots were at that distance). I fired a multitude of different ammunition from CCI, Winchester, Aguila and Federal. My first group went a little low while using the larger aperture rear sight. This was with CCI Solid Point Mini-Mags as you see the target pictured below.
I was personally not happy with how my sight picture was with the larger aperture. With a couple quick twists of a slotted screwdriver I had placed the smaller aperture sight into position. Now I like that one much better. My sight picture improved and so did my accuracy. Below is a target of 8 rounds of Federal Bulk Pack 36 Grain Hollowpoints. The elevation now is right on target. That would be a rabbit or other critter on the campfire.
Now time to try out the Winchester Wildcat ammunition. It too shot very well and on target from offhand shooting.
The Henry U.S. Survival AR-7 rifle is quite beefier it appears compared to previous models from other manufacturers in the past. I spotted various upgrades throughout the rifle. This little rifle ate every .22 long rifle brand I fed it. In a survival situation that would be a very important option to have. This little gun does shoot well and is really fun engaging random targets when you get bored punching holes in paper. I certainly put it to work in that fun filled mode. I am also certain more practice with the Henry U.S. Survival AR-7 rifle would yield tighter groups.
The Henry U.S. Survival AR-7 rifle is meant to get you out alive from a bad backcountry situation. With this tough little rifle tucked in your rucksack with a couple boxes of .22 long rifle ammunition small game will be on you campfire in a hurry. Also 8 quick shots from a rifle will make most predators re-think their place on the food chain. The peace of mind when the woods start going bump in the night will be worth more than you can imagine.
Henry Repeating Arms has done a great job with this modern improved version of the classic AR-7 survival rifle. Check it out at Henry’s website to learn more about the universal survival tool that is also a hoot to shoot, the Henry U.S. Survival AR-7 rifle.