The .22 Long Rifle is a hell of a great rifle to own in your collection. Between the relatively low prices of plinking ammo and the ability to buy it in bulk, a shooter can spend all day plinking cans or targets on the cheap. Whether it’s a bolt action or a semi-automatic rifle, if you don’t have a .22 LR in your collection, you are doing it wrong. Even if you do have a .22 LR, you may want to buy another, and the Henry Repeating Arms U.S. Survival AR-7 needs a hard look for your next purchase.
The Henry AR-7 is well designed and fits itself nicely within its own stock. To assemble the rifle out of the box, all a shooter must do is pop the butt pad off the rear of the stock. Inside, you will find the barrel, action, and two 10-round magazines. To assemble the action to the stock, there is a wing nut assembly that attaches to the action near the grip of the stock.
Once the action is attached, the barrel assembly can be tightened down to the action. The barrel has a pin that indexes into the action like an AR15. The barrel has a captured barrel nut that can be hand tightened once the barrel is properly indexed into the action. At this point, your packable rifle is assembled and ready to get to work!
For a compact, lightweight camping or survival rifle, this rifle would be an excellent choice. The barrel is coated with an ABS plastic, and the stock is both impact and water resistant. The damn thing will even float in water in case you literally would have a boating accident with your firearm. If you ever go camping, hiking, or canoeing deep off the beaten path, this rifle is made to withstand the elements and provide years of service.
The iron sights on the AR-7 are basic, but they are also fool proof. The rear peep sight is easily adjustable and can be slid up and down for elevation by using a flat head screwdriver to loosen the tightening screw. The front sight is a blaze orange front post and is easily visible within the rear peep. I am not a fan of a notched rear sight, and this peep sight provides accurate sight alinement and sight picture.
I pulled out some old ammo to test some functional accuracy with the iron sights at 25 yards. While this isn’t long distance, I figured this would be a good range for most practical shooting with the iron sights whether plinking or hunting. While you can mount an optic on the receiver with its 3/8th inch dovetail, you will not be able to pack the rifle away inside of the stock. Luckily, with only the iron sights, it is more than capable of shooting small game ethically and accurately.
Ammunition used was American Eagle 40 grain Round Nose Lead, and CCI Mini-Mag High Velocity 40 grain Copper Plated Round Nose. The American Eagle usually shoots well through most bolt actions, and typically will shoot well out of most semi-autos, with exception to some finnicky handguns. It is not an overly fast rimfire load, but it is economical. The CCI Mini-Mags, in my opinion, are practically a gold standard in .22 LR ammunition. Accuracy from the American Eagle proved to be adequate, while the CCI Mini-Mags excelled out of the Survival Rifle.
Semi-automatic rimfires can have their hiccups at times. Typically, the ammunition tends to be the deciding factor in reliability. The AR-7 is no exception, but I am happy to say that out of over 500 rounds, I only had 5 failure to ejects which were more than likely ammunition related and only occurred with the American Eagle ammunition. For a packable survival rifle that will be used for plinking or hunting small game, I consider this highly reliable.
The action is easily operable by a reciprocating charging handle on the shooter’s right side. The charging handle slides in and out, and it can be pushed inside so that it does not snag on anything while shooting. This minor detail is something that I happen to like a lot, and it can aid in reliability when using a tree, or low branch as a shooting rest. The trigger is not anything to write home about, but for the price it is relatively smooth and has a good break.
The stock has a different profile than most, so it may take some getting used to for some people. Especially those with smaller hands. To properly fit all the pieces of the rifle within the stock, it is thicker in profile than a typical set-up. After shooting a few magazines through it, it was not noticeable though. The magazine release is also in a relatively different spot by the shooter’s left side of the trigger guard. Replacing magazines is easy enough though and it works just as well as a push button magazine release.
By the Numbers
Reliability – 4.5/5
While testing the rifle, I did not clean it over a couple range visits. Although 500 rounds aren’t many rounds through this rifle, it proved to chug along rather well even with shooting less powerful loads like the American Eagle. The malfunctions that I experienced were rare and probably more likely to be caused by underpowered rimfire ammo.
Accuracy – 4.5/5
At 25 yards with iron sights, the AR-7 proved more than capable of small game accuracy to ensure quick, ethical kills for rabbits or squirrels. Plinking cans would become boringly regular with its accuracy. The CCI Mini-Mags showed that shooting high quality ammunition through the AR-7 is worth the added cost.
Aesthetics – 4/5
This rifle is not built to be a safe queen, and that’s OK. It is functional, and well built, but it is not built to be stylish. The rifle though has a look all its own, and its minimalist design is well thought out. The engineering is great in how they designed all the parts to properly fit inside of the thick stock.
Price – 4/5
This rifle is by no means a budget priced rifle, but at an MSRP of $305 is, in my opinion, a reasonable price for a rifle that fills a role of a survival rifle. Doing a quick internet search, you can easily find this rifle for less than that at about $249.99. At that price, it would also make a great rifle to teach someone the basics of marksmanship.
Overall – 4.5/5
This rifle would be a great rifle to add to your collection. Henry Repeating Arms has always been synonymous with American quality at reasonable prices. The AR-7 not only would make a great packable camp or survival rifle, but also a quality rifle to teach kids or beginners on how to shoot and basic marksmanship. The AR-7 deserves a spot in the gun safe as a quality rifle, and excellent conversational piece with your gun buddies.
For more information about the Henry Repeating Arms AR-7 Survival Rifle, its specs, and all of their other models of firearms, check them out at https://www.henryusa.com/rifles/u-s-survival-ar-7/
Get out, be safe, and enjoy the outdoors while responsibly practicing your Second Amendment rights!