U.S. Survival Rifle – Henry Repeating Arms

U.S. Survival Rifle .22LR by Henry Repeating Arms

See Follow Up as of 09/14/2007

Scoping the Henry

Shooting the Scope Henry

Scoping the Henry – Part 2

MOLLE Butt-Stock Platform

Compact, light-weight, and all around cool. Adopted by the United States Air Force, the original design of the U.S. Survival Rifle was designated as the AR-7 as for pilots or aircrew who are downed.

Chambered in .22LR, it is perfect for hunting small game or least likely as a last-ditch effort for self-defense. The barrel and frame are stored inside the stock for compact storage along with two magazines – one inside a special compartment and the other within the frame of the rifle. Each magazine may hold up to eight rounds of ammunition. Higher capacity magazines are available; however it defeats the purpose of the “compact” design of this rifle. If one did want to buy it anyway, one can always stow it in a stock pouch. This particular rifle is known to float – I, however, have my doubts. It comes with three different colors: black, silver, and hunter’s camouflage. I opted for the black color.

The new rifle came with a soft plastic box with the two magazines, barrel and frame inside the stock. I popped off the butt of the stock and exposed all the components. The receiver screws into the stock with a secure plastic wing-nut and the barrel screws on to the receiver with a checkered nut. Put everything together and the first thing I noticed was how greasy it was. It’s normal – at least in my experience. I grabbed my towel and started to wipe down the outside. The bolt was a little sticky pulling back, so I only felt inclined to take it apart to clean everything up. The finish is a crude Teflon, so at least I know I won’t cry if it gets scratched. The outside of the barrel is plastic to keep it the entire gun light-weight (2.5 lbs.). Inside the barrel is steel coated. The entire rifle is 35” long, and 16.5” when everything is stowed away.

First five minutes of bringing this home, I used my screwdriver to pop the sucker open. The trigger mechanism is under torsion with support of the plate that goes above the frame. Avoid letting everything fly out. I disassembled the frame and wiped all the heavy grease off and re-lubed everything back up. Reassembly is simple, one just needs to juggle the torsion of the trigger spring and get everything lined up to the pinhole on the frame plate.

I didn’t have a chance to shoot it until three weeks after I received it. I finally had my chance during my trip to Foresthill. I loaded up the magazine with Remington High Velocity .22LR rounds, as I understood that some rifles had feeding issues with standard velocity cartridges. After inserting the magazine, one must still pull back on the bolt to chamber a round – it does not have a bolt locking system.

After she had her fun with my new rifle, I readjusted the sights. It’s a simple hooded peep design. You may adjust the elevation by loosening a flat head screw and move the hole accordingly. The front sight is a blade type.

After several rounds, it started to have feeding problems; however, nothing serious. Initially, I had problems with the first round being chambered. It’s on and off which seemed to be caused by the angle of the magazine. Making sure the magazine is fully seated makes it go away. It didn’t happen often, so it probably is a human-error more than anything else. Beyond that, I have yet to have any problems getting the rifle to cycle after approximately 200 rounds.

Because the bolt doesn’t lock back, it’s important to know how many rounds you’ve fired. From what I understand, dry firing a rim-fire rifle is bad. Overtime, pulling the trigger the 9th time may wear down the mechanism inside the rifle. So I recommend that after the 8th shot, pull back on the bolt and verify that there’s nothing in the chamber before pulling back on the trigger.

There are optional accessories for this rifle I may purchase – specifically a scope mount and a scope along with a stock pouch to carry it in. Because the receiver has a rib, I won’t have to worry about drilling and tapping. There are all steel variations of the barrel at different lengths, but as long as the plastic coated one is doing well, I can’t make the justification to buy one.

I’m usually unhappy with impulse purchases, but this is certainly an exception. Cheap is the key word. After getting used to paying for .45 ACP, paying for a box of 550 rounds of Rem .22LR is a relief. This rifle is terrific for those with extra cash for a .22LR or for someone who may throw it inside the backpack for a camping/hiking trip.

I’ll have an update on more pictures within the next few days, as I will with the T/C Encore pistol.

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66 Comments on “U.S. Survival Rifle – Henry Repeating Arms”

  1. September 3, 2007 at 11:56 pm #

    Great article. I whish you had provide more information on accuration of the shooting. reliability on the long run. How to clean it safely. The article sound to me this a cheap gun to buy, the quality is low, and parts expensive to replace or repair.

  2. September 4, 2007 at 12:06 am #

    Thanks for the comment! As time permits, I’ll have more information regarding accuracy and reliability in the long run. I currently have about 1600 rounds through it with the malfunctions mentioned above.

    Just a quick blurb:

    The front sight can be moved with little effort, unfortunately. I haven’t lost it yet, but I added loc-tite (blue) to keep it in place just in case.

    The rear butt plate cover will become warped in direct sunlight. It got to the point where the cover will not keep the contents inside the stock. I took electrical tape and wrapped it around the female lips on the stock end to give it more friction. It was meant to be a temporary fix, but it seems to last.

    Now that you’ve requested it, I’ll absolutely take it apart to take pictures and write up a basic photo tutorial. Comments such as yours give me the feedback necessary to write information that people care about. Thank you!

  3. Ron
    October 13, 2007 at 4:51 am #

    Nice review. It is hard to find a review on this gun. I think I want one but I want to see it in person first. If you got a scope and carried it on the stock would you have to mount and resight in every time you use it or would the scope rail fit in the stock if using a quick release scope mount? Also, I like peep/aperature/ghost sights. Do you feel a scope is really needed for inside 50 yds or just a cool looking addition? I just wonder if you feel stock sights are inadequate, and if so do you think after market peeps would fit in the stock maybe? I like the black and silver best but I think I will go with the camo in the spirit of survival. Then all will I need to do is fill up the rest of my survival kit and wait for the Russions to land. Or whatever… Thanks again for review!

  4. October 13, 2007 at 5:31 am #

    Thanks for leaving a comment! I love comments! If you’re in Central California, we can meet up so that you may check it out.

    The mount rail is on the receiver itself, so it’s only the scope rings I’ll be disassembling. It’s on/off reliability hasn’t been established yet. I place the rear scope ring as far back as it goes to assume consistent placement. Of course, with all assumptions, I would take it lightly.

    http://thepackingrat.net/2007/10/11/scoping-the-henry-us-survival-rifle/

    I would imagine that iron sights do just fine. I’ve only shot as far as 25 yards. Making it to my outdoor range has been difficult. This issue will be addressed sooner or later. BTW, I think the scope makes it look badass.

    The stock sights are OK. Those with larger faces may have a harder time squishing their cheek to the peep sight. The front sight blade is thick and the rear peep sight can’t be adjusted for windage. I’m still thinking out a plan to fix that. If you find any after-market peep sights, let me know!

    You should check this out if you have money to blow.

    http://www.majesticarms.com/ma2000.html

    The black is nice – it goes with everything. Nonetheless, grab what you can because it’s not the Russians we need to worry about – it’s the lead poisoning Chinese gubbament! =)

  5. Fred
    October 13, 2007 at 7:55 pm #

    I have one of these, though it’s an earlier incarnation, by Charter Arms. The
    AR-7 is notorious for misfeeds, but it’s really due to sensitivity to the ammo,
    which is common in .22 semiautos.

    I had feed problems, searched the web, and found that the concensus ammo
    was CCI mini-mag. I switched to that, and have had no problems since. (Not
    that other types won’t also work)

    The light weight and fat stock give it an unexpected stability. I find it provides a
    very steady hold.

  6. Mark
    October 16, 2007 at 1:49 pm #

    Are you sure the outside of the barrel is plastic? My buddy has an older AR-7, and it was either left in the white, or all the finish is worn off; anway, you can tell that it’s barrel is aluminum with a steel liner. It is rather lightweight. I would have thought that plastic would not work as well because it wouldnt conduct heat away from the liner as well, and most plastics might not take the potential hight temps at all, if one rapid fired a couple of magazines.

  7. October 16, 2007 at 2:18 pm #

    Good morning Mark,
    The Henry version of the AR7 does indeed have an ABS cover around the steel barrel. Though I don’t rapid fire often, instead slow and steady, the heat from the barrel has yet to affect it’s durability. In fact, plastics and other polymers today have made a lot of progress regarding heat durability.

  8. MLB
    November 28, 2007 at 2:28 am #

    I just recently picked up one of these and I would have to say I was very disappointed with the overall fit and fiish of thia rifel.
    I know this is a survival rifle but out of the box this had the finish worn off in many placed and what looked like a worn area on the barrel.
    The QC seems to be lacking. I would opt for a little better quality and a little less compactness and go with a Marlin Papoose. Not too impressed with Henry quality at this point.

  9. November 28, 2007 at 2:44 am #

    I agree with the general notion of your experience. I wasn’t a fan of the finish either and chalked it to the fact that it’s a “survival” rifle, so the issue was moot. I apologize if my opinion was a factor in your purchase. Though I must admit, I still like this little rifle.

    Have you had any jamming problems? I’m curious on your opinion on the peep sights offered with it as well.

    I have looked at the Marlin Papoose myself and it has excellent reviews. It’s been on my wish list for the longest time.

    Thank you for your contribution! It certainly adds a new perspective to this review.

  10. Los
    December 31, 2007 at 2:15 pm #

    Awesome article. I got one question though, I recently bought a U.S. Survival Rifle and I can’t seem to remove the extra magazine that comes in the stock without using another tool. How do you remove yours easily? Or is this a problem for you too?

  11. December 31, 2007 at 9:52 pm #

    Thanks for the positive remark on my article!

    Mine is a tighter than necessary fit, but not so tight requiring a tool. Is the magazine follower pointed up or down? If it’s up, I do notice that it is harder to yank out. I think the magazine catch nub on the body gets caught on the plastic.

  12. Jim
    February 20, 2008 at 12:34 pm #

    I have the Charter Arms AR7 and it either jams for the firing pin doesn’t have enough power to make a serious dent in the rim to fire the 22 round.I’ve heard that I should file down a part in the receiver to make it jam proof. I hate to make a move without more info.
    thanks

  13. February 20, 2008 at 2:46 pm #

    Hey there Jim,
    Before filing anything down, you might want to check out the innards to see how clean it is. Rimfires in general are notoriously known for misfiring as a result of dirty bolts/firing pin channels. Another less likely problem is a bad/short firing pin – but at least you’re not filing anything down if you attempt to replace it first. You might even want to buy a new hammer spring, just in case it’s, indeed, that old.

    Parts 13 and 16 are the firing pin and hammer/trigger spring, respectively and can be found here:

    http://ar7.imoutdoorshosting.com/store/page13.html

    If you’re unsure how the insides look, I made a general guide that may help.

    http://thepackingrat.net/2007/09/14/us-survival-from-henry-repearting-arms-follow-up/

    What brand ammunition are you using?

  14. EPS
    March 8, 2008 at 1:51 am #

    I have a friend who is offering to sell me his Charter Arms AR-7 for $150. He says it’s in excellent shape, put I haven’t seen it yet. He’s says I’m welcome to take it for a couple weeks to check it out. I’ve always wanted an AR-7 as I backpack a lot and would enjoy the diversion of shooting will on an extended hike. Unfortunately, I’ve been reading poor reviews on the quality of Charter Arms version of the survival rifle on several websites. Your thoughts?

  15. March 8, 2008 at 3:58 am #

    EPS,

    There’s nothing more pleasurable to help another fellow with a gun purchase. I’m quite honored that my opinion will assist you in your decision. My experience is limited to the Henry version; however, I hope I can be as much help as I can.

    Further reading about the AR7 variety suggests that the Henry Repeating Arms AR7 is essentially the same gun, but with minor differences here and there. However, I haven’t found any consistent opinions regarding which manufacture is the best of the three. It’s been a hit and miss with Henry, Armalite, and Charter.

    As you’ve mentioned, Charter Arms has a history of reliability issues regarding feeding and ammunition specificity. I know of a few who cannot feed hollow points and non-plated bullets – that varies with all makes of the AR-7: Armalite, Charter Arms and Henry Repeating Arms. Personally, I can shoot the Remington Golden Bullet HP High-velocity cartridge all day long without a jam; however, Winchester Xpert HPs will ruin a good string of shots. The difference with each bullet is that the Remington’s have a rounder tip allowing for easier feeding. The Xpert HP cartridges are only used for my revolvers and single shots now.

    Keep in mind that I’m using the cheap stuff – so nothing fancy here. Some folks argue that they want their rifle to shoot anything and everything – including .22LR cartridges. The Remington .22LR cartridge is so common that I doubt I will have a hard time finding a box at a local store. A box of 550 for $13 + good reliability = excellent buy. It’s not excellent, but good.

    Since your friend will allow you to borrow the rifle, accept the offer. When you go out, buy several different varieties of ammunition. You’ll be able to see what’s reliable for that particular rifle. I know of at least two people that are happy with the Remington Golden Bullet .22LR in their AR-7, based on my recommendation. I rarely have a jam. I mentioned in my review that the only time I experience a jam is when I position or hold the magazine in an awkward manner (usually when pulling down on the magazine). Most of my malfunctions are failure to detonate – which might be a cartridge issue instead.

    Here are a few things you should look at when you test out the rifle.
    - Inspect the chamfer on chamber where the cartridge is placed. I’m not certain if your friend bought it new or used, but because the feeding problem is so prevalent, someone might have modified the chamber. While a little bit is not a problem, too much will cause problems. It should like this:

    Picture one is the feeding ramp at 6 o’clock. Picture two is feeding ramp at 12 o’clock

    That’s my chamber without modification. I suppose this is one of the small contributions that Henry might have made. Other reports say that the their Armalite versions run like a champ – just as I believe my Henry does.

    - Check the condition of the magazines. That seems to be the main reason many rifles Fail To Feed. If the magazines are dirty, FTF issues are inevitable.

    - The condition of the butt plate should be important too. You don’t want it loose – you’ll lose all off the important parts that way. You don’t want to end up with just a paper weight… and a very light one at that.

    - The trigger pull will be strong. Though a lighter trigger pull is preferred, that alone shouldn’t dismiss this rifle.

    - Be sure to buy the rifle for the right reasons. If there’s something out there in the market, check that out too. The most popular suggestion has been the Marlin Pappose. I have yet to purchase one, but it’s on my long list of “guns to buy”… there’s also the Savage take down models which are over/under combination barrels. I recently acquired the Springfield M6 Scout rifle – I love the thing, but stupidly expensive. I would imagine that the M6 Scout rifle would be a superior backpacking rifle over the AR7, but that’s just my opinion. I’m currently working on getting a write up together for the M6 Scout.

    For $150, that’s not bad if it’s in good shape. It’s not an awesome price, but fair. I paid $200 + Kalifornia tax for my rifle new.

    I think you should give the rifle a chance, despite the bad reviews. I’ve been more on the optimistic side compared to everyone else online, so you may want to take that into consideration (I might just be lucky). However, if I felt that the design wasn’t worthwhile, I wouldn’t have made my own MOLLE stock wrap.

    If possible, please report back on your experience. I’d love to hear about it! Good luck!

  16. woodhippy
    March 16, 2008 at 10:23 pm #

    Derek, Found the link you offered for AR7(Henry,Charter) parts and accessories quite helpful. I picked up a Henry a few months ago from the local gun (pawn) shop in great shape for $129.99 and have been looking for extra mags, etc. I am considering mounting a small synthetic rail to the left side of my stock near the end, or front, to install a pressure switch light for low light use. I am not trying to build a “tactical” rifle out of it, I have several of those. I think the light would be handy for cleaning small game taken for an evening meal, the barrel/receiver stowed or not.
    The front sight on mine moved freely also, so once I was satisfied with sighting it in I applied a very small dab of super glue to the sight. It has not moved since. For my barrel issue I simply used a brass round head screw chucked in my cordless drill, applied a bit of lapping compound, and lapped the barrel. I did this at the range, a little at a time, until the ammo chambered smoothly. You would want to just lap it a bit, removing too much material can create pressure problems.
    Thanks to all for sharing the info on this fine little rifle. I field test firearm products, tools, and accessories for many companies and build a rifle with the supplied items, then write and post an article on the build. Just applied the Duracoat Finish on a Mosin Nagant M91/30 I am building into a Sporter hunting rifle this morning that will be ready for assembly and a range report upon curing of the finish.

  17. March 20, 2008 at 6:17 am #

    My father-in-law is looking for the Armalite AR7′s Stock Outer Butt Cap. We found one at this website: http://ar7.imoutdoorshosting.com/store/page37.html However what he has is the original Armalite. He would like to get an original butt cap instead of that one. He says the original one has the official seal on the bottom of it. Would any of you know where we might find such a piece?

    ~Lady Valmar

  18. March 20, 2008 at 6:21 am #

    oh lol forgot to add my father-in-laws comments on the AR7:

    His is an original from Costa Mesa. The only thing wrong is the cracked butt plate, original if he can find it.

    If its good enough to be in an a 007 movie, its a good gun in his mind. Its accurate with the proper ammo, its very accurate in fact, and will not jam as far as he can see.
    ~Lady Valmar

  19. March 24, 2008 at 1:23 pm #

    Lady Valmar,
    Please excuse my late response. I really do appreciate the comments all of you leave.

    Regarding the original butt cap. Unfortunately, I can’t help you find an original. I suppose it’ll be a part you’ll eventually run into at a gun show on a table.

    However, you may want to give Numrich or e-gun parts a call.

  20. jeremy
    April 1, 2008 at 3:20 am #

    I was wondering if you knew where to find accessories for this gun since you seem to know so much about them. I’m specifically looking for the high capacity magazines.

  21. April 1, 2008 at 4:46 pm #

    Jeremy,
    You’ll have to try your luck on http://www.gunbroker.com. I haven’t found a place that formally sells high capacity magazines.

    For example;

    http://gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewItem.asp?Item=96174987

  22. James W Anderson
    April 27, 2008 at 12:38 am #

    I have been reading forums on the AR7 for years about feeding and jamming problems. I have owed two and had similar experiences. Determined to rectify the problem, I kept test firing and dismantling my AR7 until I determine that there was an inconsistency in the fit of the barrel and the frame. When I firmly attached the barrel and tighten the barrel nut, it jammed-viturally every time! However when I loosened the barrel nut until it moved freely, my jamming stopped altogether. I would suggest that owners experiment until they determine the exact spot the nut needs to be to permit safe operation.

  23. April 28, 2008 at 4:28 am #

    I have recently purchased the U.S. Henry AR-7 and I got the Black Teflon finished one. I am unsure what they mean by Teflon coated but after looking at it, I came to the conclusion that when they say its Teflon coated they are referring to the plastic which covers the barrel and that this is not some kind of coating inside the barrel as the dealer led me to believe which makes no sense whatsoever anyways because as soon as you run a wire brush through it that would scrape out any Teflon I would think. The gun basically is built just like a BB gun, a plastic barrel with a metal liner, but this may help in the long run with corrosion and makes the gun very very light.
    I bought the rifle as an impulse item because I am a big kayaker and heard it was water proof and floats and would be perfect for the outdoors as everything fits into the butt of the gun including two 10 round clips. (I am skeptical of the floating and waterproof though because the butt cap is so loose). I will say I have been happy with the gun despite its feed and jam problems which HAVE NOT BEEN FIXED! despite what you may have read over the older Armilite version. That being said, you can remedy the situation by using the right ammo.
    Ammo I have used so far are bulk from Walmart, the Remington Golden Bullet, and the Federal Bulk, 550 shots each pack, and the CCI Stingers. I am sorry but I cannot remember what kind of Federal or am completely sure that is was Federal because I took it back after using it in the AR-7. This much I am sure, the Federal has a truncated cone, and its a soft lead bullet , low velocity, and it absolutely didn’t work at all, and don’t buy it for the AR-7. The Golden Bullet by Remington, was decent, with jams about every 4th magazine shot. The CCI Stingers, never jammed, not even one time, and had a 100% success rate, but I only fired 1 box, and I think you get 100 in a box, but at 7 bucks a box, it blows the theory of cheap rimfire fun. For now I will stick with Remington 550 round Golden Bullet until I find something better just for fun shooting, but not for serious survival.
    From what I have read, and from my experience I can say this for ammo. The gun is very picky about ammo, and once you find something that works, I would probably stick with that. The Henry version has a very heavy bolt for a .22, and also a very short and very unpolished load ramp. This explains why the low velocity truncated cone style bullet miss fed 90% of the time. When I pulled the barrel off, I noticed there was a lip that had a hard angle on it, at the entry to the barrel. I took a small fine piece of emery cloth and polished it somewhat to get rid of that hard angle. This really didn’t have much affect and I am not a gunsmith and don’t want to mess up the gun, so I left it at that. The higher velocity Golden Bullet and super high velocity CCI Stingers worked much better and didn’t jam to often. The Stingers never jammed. Bottom line is I would stick with a high velocity hard jacketed bullet because the bolt spring is super strong on this gun and smooth loading is a problem because of the load ramp and lip on the barrel and the soft heads will get smashed on load and it will jam.
    All in all, its just such a freaking cool gun, theres just nothing like it and the cool factor and the fact that it is so small and light and you can throw it in a back pack, or boat, or kayak, or whatever makes it very useful. Every person I show it too thinks it the neatest thing since slice bread so I give it a two thumbs up purely for inventiveness and it fits a specific need. You just need to experiment with different ammo to see what works for you, but I have it in the Bronco right now, with two full clips of CCI Stingers, which are way powerful for .22 and I am pretty happy all n all. I really don’t see the point in putting a scope on it because you will have to take the scope off every time you want to fold the gun up, and a quick connect won’t work either because you still can’t fold it up without removing that, so I don’t even know why they bothered to put the dove tail on it?
    I do need to know two things if anyone has this figured out. Is their a quick connect scope that will work with the gun where once I set the scope it will be accurate every time without having to re sight the gun every time I put the scope on and also, has any mods or polishing fixed the load and jam problems?

  24. Archangel
    June 12, 2008 at 5:49 am #

    Hello everyone,

    Nice to see interest in the AR-7. I have had a Charter Arms since I think about 1976 or so. I was a police officer at the time and would stash it under the patrol car seat or throw it in my personal vehicle’s trunk. I never treated it very well. I would use it to dispatch injured deer or other animals along highways and plink with it on those long midnight shifts. I didn’t have to get my duty pistol dirty and the ammo cost pennys to shoot.

    Now, I keep it in my Jeep or in the Bobcat UTV when I am around the ranch. It has given me good service. Like I said, I have never taken much care of it and that is probably wrong since I use it so much. Either shooting at gophers or other varmits or just plinking when I feel like it, it sure has been a good weapon for me. It has years of scratches and scuff marks now.

    I can not add much more than the other posts here and I have no experience with any other similar 22 LR rifles. I have experienced the jamming thing with my AR-7. A round will stovepipe and sometimes bend the lead bullet or break it away from the shell case if it gets chambered wrong. One thing early on when I first got the rifle, a local gunsmith told me to flute out the front of the clip. This helped a little bit with the jamming problem. You just take a small flathead screw driver and push/bend the front (where the clip is closest to the chamber) edges of the clip out a little bit.

    Sometimes I think it should have a chamber assist. where you pound the chamber home. I have taken my thumb a few times and gently pounded the chamber shut with the bolt handle. I am always afraid if I hit it too hard it will break off but it never has, so may a chamber assist is not necessary.

    Another thing I discovered on my own was that if I loaded four or five rounds instead of eight in the clip it did not jam any more. SOOOOO now I carry four rounds in the clip. I do not know why this is so but it works for me. Must have something to do with spring tension.

    I never tried to ream out the chamber like suggested by many. That would probably solve jamming. I usually use remington ammo with it. I suspect it is correct to try other ammo and find what works best. That is true of any weapon is it not? It seems like all worked pretty much the same for me and my AR-7.

    I really love this little rifle. It is light, lighter than most pistols. It shoots as well as I can shoot out to 30 yards or so. It is a constant companion when I am outdoors around the property. I have never experience barrel warping but my Charter Arms is all metal. The stock is big and, for me fits well and lets me stay on target very nicely for a long time if I want to hold that long. I tend to carry it with the barrel down when I am walking, the butt up against my armpit and my left hand around the magazine well gently push up keeping it snug in my armpit. I can walk forever with it under my arm like this, no trouble.

    Oh, I just remembered another thing. When the rifle parts are in the stock they are a real tight like someone previously mentioned. I find that you can tap the bottom of the stock gently when trying to remove things and they will inch out and you can grab them with your fingers. I think it is good that they fit tight in the stock. The end cover on the stock fits very tight also and I have to bump it with the palm of my hand to get it loose. It all fits pretty snug in there. Better protection from water and dirt and dust.

    Well, thats about it. The Charter Arms model that I have is all black and If looks could tell, this thing is lethal and spooky look’n. I like the trigger pull on mine. I like the large safety lever too. I think it would be ideal for the ole bug out bag or just a handy thing around your property. It floats, light weight, and for me did not rust from neglect. I hereby promise to put some oil down the barrel and clean it up some after I finish typing this. It a fun rifle.

    Terry
    aka Archangel

    “From the lakes of Minnesota to the hills of Tennesee… you know I love this land…. God bless the YOUUU – Esssss – AAAAAAA!”

  25. Archangel
    June 13, 2008 at 8:16 am #

    Sorry folks. Some bad info above. I have an ArmaLite Explorer not a Charter Arms rifle. I guess its a collectible.

    Yes. I cleaned it tonight if you were wondering about it.

    Archangel

  26. June 13, 2008 at 8:34 am #

    Thanks for the in depth comment. It’s always helpful to read other individual’s experience. Your time writing it up, I’m sure it was a lot, is greatly appreciated.

    It seems as though the Armalite versions are a lot more reliable than both Henry and Charter Arms. Then again, the testimonies I’ve read have varied. It appears to be a hit and miss with these rifles…

    I’m talking to a gentleman at the moment who is looking at what can be possibly done to improve this rifle. If I become free from my busy schedule, I’ll be able to get those measurements off to him.

    Have you tried to float it yourself, btw?

  27. Archangel
    June 13, 2008 at 4:59 pm #

    Hi Derek,

    Nice to hear from you. You write well.

    I have never intentionally tried to sink the rifle. I will put it in the bathtub if you want :)
    I think I saw a picture of one somewhere, perhaps an old NRA magazine, where it was floating with all the parts in the stock butt down. Anyway, mine has been wet before in the rain.

    I would be extremely interested in any improvements you guys come up with. Thanks for your time also.

    This is a great site for such information. I just googled here by chance. Nice to meet you and all you fellows.

    Terry

  28. June 27, 2008 at 12:56 pm #

    Where is a location to find a used stock for the AR-7 Armalite at a decent price? Mine has evidently swollen up & parts will not fit any longer. Thanks, Craig

  29. Archangel
    June 27, 2008 at 7:07 pm #

    Hi Craig,

    Try the gun shows in your area or advertise that you are looking for one in the NRA Rifleman magazine or other firearm magazines. I bet there is someone out there with a stock and no rifle.

    You might try Henry too. They would no doubt sell you one.

    Good luck with your search, sir.

    Terry

  30. June 28, 2008 at 3:31 am #

    Derek thank you I finally checked today for a response and saw what you hand written. I will check it out and see if I can’t find it that way. My father-in-law ended up just using some black masking tape along with some super glue for now for the cracked butt plate.

    Thank you for the suggestion. If it works I’ll let you know.

    ~LV

  31. Archangel
    July 10, 2008 at 2:57 pm #

    Craig,

    Should you still need a stock, see the information below I received from the President of the Company. He sent me a PDF file of a parts list for the AR-7. He said I could order anything. The factory seems way lower in price than others I have looked at online. A pleasant change.

    Since I got here, I must be jinx’d. The stock on my Armalite cracked after I stepped on it, so I ordered another one from Henry today. It was about $35.00 total. Give them a call. It’s painless.

    here is what the President sent… “Thank you for contacting Henry Repeating Arms. Yes we have newly manufactured parts that will fit your gun. Please see the attached parts list. You can call in your order Mon-Fri 9am to 4pm eastern time to 718 499 5600.

    Anthony Imperato, President
    Henry Repeating Arms, Co.
    110 8th Street
    Brooklyn, NY 11215

    Telephone 718-499-5600
    Fax 718-768-8056
    Email Anthony@HenryRepeating.com
    Website http://www.henryrepeating.com

    “MADE IN AMERICA AND PRICED RIGHT”

    718.499.5600
    —– Original Message”

  32. Bob Robertson
    September 13, 2008 at 12:01 pm #

    I had the Charter Arms pistol version of this 25 years ago, and I was very disappointed. Feeding problems were continuous, and after trying everything I took a sledge hammer to the barell and tossed it away.

    I’ve not had a feeding problem with any other .22. Just that one.

    Oh well. Such is life.

    I’d like to see something of the same general shape/size, maybe with a bolt action, in .223 or even 7.62×39. A small, but not underpowered, rifle for grab-and-go.

  33. September 14, 2008 at 9:32 am #

    A manufacture did make a survival rifle called the “US Survival Rifle.” It was made as you described, with the exception that is used a .17 Hornet cartridge. It was a bolt action, had a wire retractable stock along with a wired pistol grip.

    I saw it at the Big Reno Gun show. I wanted to take a picture of it, but he wasn’t too keen on the idea… oh well.

    Nonetheless, your experience is obviously not isolated.

    Though mine is working perfectly fine, I’m looking at a way to create a stock/pistol grip to how the Israeli army did theirs.

  34. MIKE
    October 28, 2008 at 6:57 pm #

    Hello, can anyone tell me what is the purpose of the wire up the side of an AR-7 magazine . I have seen some for sale on GUNBROKER.COM, but have never seen one in person nor talked to anyone that has heard or seen one either. I have also searched the internet to no avail. I really need some help with this. THANK YOU

  35. Archangel
    October 30, 2008 at 9:26 pm #

    The mag I have does not have a wire, so don’t know, Mike.

  36. October 30, 2008 at 9:34 pm #

    For the purpose of spreading the knowledge, here’s the response I sent to Mike:
    “It appears that the wires actually keep the nose of the cartridge level towards the chamber. It might prove beneficial to have that wire on that magazine.”

    Picture I sent to Mike:

  37. Archangel
    October 31, 2008 at 12:41 am #

    The wire is the answer to jams? Tan me hide, Clyde!

  38. MIKE
    November 2, 2008 at 2:44 pm #

    Thanks Derek for the email and very useful picture. I was able to find one of these mags at our monthly gun show yesterday. $18 bucks out the door. It is brand new from either Charter Arms or Henry. I don’t know which one because, out of stupidity, I left the plastic bag it came in with the seller. But I am going back to the show today and will find out who made it and let everyone know. You really have to see one in person to understand about the wire. I have not had a chance to test it as of yet. It does look like an improvement over the mags without the wire. The lips that bend over the end of the bullet at the rim even look better. LATER

  39. March 3, 2009 at 3:52 pm #

    I have just bought one of these, but the only ammo I had on hand was the Winchester bulk stuff that won’t feed worth a damn.. (it works great in every other .22 I have, including my Nylon 66 which doesn’t weigh much more than this does, as well as my browning nomad, but both of these have a feed ramp to the chamber) What I did notice, is that when feeding these cheapshots, 80% of the time, the rim of the cartridge being fed, catches on the rear lip the bullet head on the cartridge below. This coupled with the sharp edge on the chamber, it’s a wonder the thing feeds at all.. I ‘will’ lap a chamfer on the face of the chamber, and have a good look at the design of the bullet head before buying any.. A lot of the time, the cartridge seems to be hard to push into the chamber and you have to force the bolt shut. This is weird, because a cartridge will simple drop into the chamber with the barrel off, so I’m not sure whats causing this problem. It might be the drag on the cartridge below, or just shaving off lead on the sharp chamber lip.. The bulk pack stuff is out, so it looks like the Goldens or Stingers is whats going to work.. The rifle is a cool looking little thing, but ‘my’ jury is still out on this until I see how it works with better ammo. I bought it as a compact ‘trunk’ gun for the car. Cabela’s gives me 30 days for a refund, but I do lose almost 30 bucks in S&H..
    I should know with-in the 30 if I’m going to keep it..

  40. March 4, 2009 at 4:04 pm #

    OK Had it at the range last night, and here is what I found.. I stopped on the way, and picked up 2 packs of Stingers, and a pack of Remington Thunderbolts.. Stingers cost 7 bucks a box in Canada, and the Thunderbolts cost 4 bucks a box… I figured I would try the Thunderbolts, because even though they are non plated lead, they have a round nose (not truncated like the cheapshots) and may feed as well as the stingers.. I have not chamfered the edge of the chamber yet, but on one magazine I used a screwdriver to flare the front lips out (a tip from another user on this site).. I loaded up with Stingers, and fired a whole clip no problem.. I then popped in the clip that had not been flared at the end, and bingo I had a couple of stovepipes with good dents in the Stinger cases .. I then took my screwdriver and flared out the end of the other magazine, loaded it up, and fired off a clip no problem.. Now, to the Remington Thunderbolts.. Loaded two clips, racked in the first one (it went in VERY smooth, no resistance at all.. I got a bit of resistance racking in the first one with the stingers) I then fired off those two clips.. Perfect!!!! Then fired off the rest of the box without a single jamb, some clips as fast as I could pull the trigger.. So for ‘my’ gun at least, flaring the mag ends, and using the Remington Thunderbolts seems to work fine.. I’m Happy and will keep the rifle.. I will also make a better combination shoulder/pistolgrip stock and add a forestock from some nice exotic woods.. In a softpack, it will still be very compact, and it’s not likely it would float for long in the original format anyway.. The softpack can be lined with foam that floats if needed. By the time I’m done, it will look like mini version of your typical AR black gun..Hey what the hec, I’m Canadian so I might as well make it look as politically incorrect as I possibly can Eh!

  41. Bill M
    March 15, 2009 at 4:52 pm #

    The in-depth reviews and comments are appreciated.

    It’s a nice little rifle for its purpose, which is backup that is extremely portable.

    I didn’t notice anyone saying anything about the trigger. Very heavy, like cracking the knuckle of a gorilla. After having just shot my Savage, the Survival Rifle trigger felt cheap and crude.

    I had a jam or two when I tried mine. Fairly accurate from a braced hand hold (not sand bags). Mine shoots a bit low, but centered, so I should be able to adjust it for particular ranges.

    The rear sight is a BIG ring and you have to really guess about centering the front blade.

    Overall, worth buying to pack away for the unexpected, but not great for serious shooting.

  42. Bill
    March 27, 2009 at 8:18 pm #

    The big ring is on top.. The rear sight will come off and flip end for end, that gives you a much smaller pin hole to aim through.. I found mine shot a inch left, so rather than bugger around with the front sight, I put a red dot on it.. It slips on and off fairly quickly, and keeps its accuracy between mountings, I just carry the red dot in a little pouch.. And yes, the trigger is a bit ‘crunchy’ ? But I’m sure a little emory cloth and some elbow grease will smooth it up a bit.. This is just a cheap back pack or trunk gun for emergency use, I have a Nylon 66 Apache black someone gave me years ago, and thats the best .22 thats ever been on the market and it only weighs about a pound more than the AR-7 ..

  43. Ben
    May 28, 2009 at 2:52 am #

    I am considering purchasing the henry version of the ar-7, I am not too overly concerned about 100 percent reliability in this type of arm because it is not necessary. One thing I am curious about though is the accuracy of this little rifle. Of course im not expecting match grade accuracy but is two or three inches at fifty yards out of line, just an idea of what i can expect with irons would be great.

  44. May 28, 2009 at 3:38 am #

    Ben,
    If you look here:

    http://thepackingrat.net/2008/01/17/scoping-the-henry-us-survival-rifle-part-2/

    I have pictures of the Henry scoped and not scoped. It’s capable of shooting excellent groups, but the width of the front sight and rear sights all together limit it’s capabilities.

  45. Ben
    May 29, 2009 at 9:41 pm #

    Thanks Derek, now im thinking about a front sight modification, but this is probably not necessary. What im mainly looking for in this gun is a small compact rifle that I can stow in a backpack, atv, car or boat for plinking improving my shooting skills, small game hunting and in a less likely scenario survival. I am trying to decide between a marlin model 60 and the henry survival rifle. With the marlin I would be sacrificing weight and portability for flawless functioning and better accuracy. And with the ar-7 it would be performance sacrificed for weight and compactness. Either way I certainly wont be risking too much money as both could be bought under 150 dollars.

  46. R.McMinn
    June 13, 2009 at 7:35 pm #

    I bought a Charter AR-7 from a pawn shop,$30 a decade or so back. The barrel was bent so bad I could see thru it…. I started prying on ,, with it stuck under our old upright piano until I got it straight..

    I was accurage enough to hit rats at 25 ft. or so… it jammed regularly, but not often enough to bother me. I wasn’t at war !!

    I want a new Henry model now…

    RM

  47. True Spirit
    September 19, 2009 at 11:10 pm #

    If you are having feeding problems, depress the magazine follower, and shoot a little silicone into it, and let dry, then try again. Works for me on Henry and also on Pink Lips mag. for Ruger 10/22.

  48. True Spirit
    September 19, 2009 at 11:23 pm #

    Another method that I have used, is on the following guns, Browning BPS, Charles Daly 20 ga. auto, Remingon 1100, ruger 10-22 and Marlin mod. 60, is to use carberator cleaner in a spray can on the inards, being careful not to get any on stock. Spray into action and blow out with blow gun on air compressor. Wipe off and re-oil and give action quick blast of air to get into places that oil may not have reached. On auto 22 rifles, I remove actions from the stocks. I have never had any problems with plastic parts or screwing up the wood. Hope this helps.

  49. February 7, 2010 at 10:15 pm #

    Can you tell me how to keep the butt cap on;mine keeps falling off TY Mike

  50. wesley
    September 28, 2010 at 8:37 pm #

    THE AR-7,overall ive had my ups and downs with it but the funny thing about it is how interesting it is. when ever you use it you’ll have some one asking you about it, its a real conversation peice.first when i opened it i was ready to return it ,the fit and finish was so low quality that the parts actually looked worn .its overall a cheap plastic peice of crap that looks cool and has a cool feature. so after i used it I changed my mind it was to damn cool and i didnt want to wait for a replacements because the thing is always on back order due to how cheap it is. first when i used it the thing jamed every clip i quickly learned that this was a high maintence rifle and it fires only the best,after some research i never had a jam since, the secret to a reliable AR-7:

    CCI STINGER ONLY -minimag is good too

    NEVR FULLY LOAD THE CLIP.-5 shots max,loose is better

    OIL AFTER EVERY USE.-you should do it anyway

    DONT BANG IT AROUND.-its cheap

    LET IT COOL-the thin barrel warps,give it a minute to cool

    SLOW DOWN-let the action work.it can dump fast though.but it jams more often and you wont hit much.

    overall its a matter of taste.if you need a good rifle this is not it.but if you want something unique and cheap go for it.
    once i learned a few tricks it was fine and still actually jams less than my rem 597,not as accurate by a long shot though.

  51. Jim
    December 14, 2010 at 5:17 am #

    Nice write-up… I guess I’ll contribute a bit of my personal experiences here,, since you have taken the time to provide a lot of useful information on the AR-7…

    I have an old Charter Arms that I bought used at a gunshow about 8 years ago… It was one of my first rifles and I’ve shot the hell out of it….

    The thing was pretty used up when I handed over $90 for it… It had about 75% finish and someone had ‘improved’ it by taking a cut-off wheel and gouging two rough cuts on either side of the top of the receiver to make a ‘scope rail’… The larger opening end of the peep sight leaf was lopped off to make a V-notch sight, and the top of the shroud in front of the rear sight was opened up on top,, creating sight ears… Yeah,, ‘Bubba” had his way with the rifle,, but I’ve seen worse done to rare military rifles, and I wanted an AR-7 for too long,, so I bought the thing and some ammo within the last 20 minutes of the show because the Henry dealer was being a jerk and wouldn’t budge on his prices for a new unit….

    I think I made the right choice… I had heard about the reliability issues with the AR-7 (especially the Charter Arms offerings),, but mine will feed and fire about anything… I asked the seller if it jammed, ,and he told me that they didn’t have any problems when they tested it… It turns out that he was a very honest man… Despite the rough bore,, I have no problem putting a box of ammo into a silver dollar-sized group while firing semi-rapid off of an ammo can ‘rest’…. Taking my time,, I can manage to put a 3-round group in under an inch consistantly (and I’m no marksman.. Just a casual shootter)… As mentioned before, ,the CCI .22LR is about the best,, but I’ve had excellent accuracy and almost 100% reliability with the Federal bulk pack and most other .22 ammo.. The only stuff that gives me the rare problem is that crap Winchester wildcat ammo…

    Also,, I have gotten nice tight patterns with the crimped .22 shot shells (the rouge bat in my basement fell dead from over 30 feet away with one shot)…. The .22 SSS ammo shot straight as well… However,, neither cycled in semi-auto in the AR-7 (or any other .22 that I have tested with them)…

    I have never had any problems with my front sight shifting,, although it does drift a lot easier than my Mausers… That’s to be expected (it’s not a service rifle)… Then again,, my barrel is steel-sleeved aluminum,, not sleeved plastic… Between adjusting the front and rear sight and a lot of rounds,, I can hit my point of aim pretty much dead on if I have sighted in to a specific type of ammo….. Hey,, count it as target practice…. It may take a lot of rounds…

    Oh, another thing on the disassembly… Some of these rifles have a slot machined on the underside of the bolt… From your photos,, your rifle is one of them.. My Charter was not… Anyway,, this slot allows one to remove the bolt out the front of the receiver without removing the fire control group (namely the ejector)… You push slightly rearward on the bolt of the unbarrelled receiver and pull out the cocking handle.. Then,, you can wiggle the bolt and get it to come out the front without disassembling everything else… It’s difficult to get out and even harder to reassemble (the twin springs never want to line up with the holes in the bolt on reassembly)…. Still,, it’s a usable feature…. Losing the small parts of the fire control group in the field would render the rifle useless…. Losing the cocking handle would be an overcomable inconvenience….

    Anyway,, some of the rifles didn’t have this cut… I can’t remember if it was something that Charter added mid-production,, or if Armalite dropped it after a few years of the first production,, or if Survival Arms came up with it later when they took over production… Anyway,, I did mine carefully with a handheld rotary tool and haven’t had any problems at all.. It makes thorough cleaning a lot easier,, as the trigger group stays fairly clean while the receiver and bolt get cruddy very quickly… Mine got so dirty shortly after I bought it that the firing pin wouldn’t strike the rims reliably,, but I think that it was whatever crap the previous owner tried to lubricate it with…. Then again,, after all the thousands of rounds that my friends and I have fired,, I’ve only thoroughly cleaned the action maybe two times…. The barrel was scrubbed a bit more often,, but definately not more than 8 or so times during the years of punishment that my rifle has shrugged off….

    Also,, the ‘buttplate’ on mine is worn,, but stays on fairly tightly,, even after spending hours in the sun… Everything fits nicely into the stock and is not difficult to insert or remove….

    The barrel is a steel-sleeved aluminum unit,, and there isn’t a knife edge on the chamber,,, but the chamfer is very slight… Also,, there is a very noticable ‘peening’ where the steel bolt face has slammed into the aluminum on the rear of the barrel an uncountable number of times… It still works with remarkable reliability and accuracy…

    Several thousand rounds later on a rifle that seemed ‘used up’ when I reluctantly bought it, ,and I couldn’t be happier…!!!

    -”The Rarely-Found Satisfied Charter Arms AR-7 Owner”…

  52. Bill
    February 1, 2011 at 11:05 am #

    A follow up to my earlier posts.. My AR-7 had a problem with the bolt that fixes the stock to the frame. It turns out, that it was drilled at an off angle of about 2 deg. so the thread on the screw would wear very quickly. I sent an email to Henry Arms, and received a return email PDQ from the Pres.. He asked me to return the rifle to Cabela’s and he would arrange to have it replaced with the latest version, which is supposed to cycle everything. I shipped it back, and it took a while but the replacement finally arrived. A quick inspection revealed the only problems I could see. The front sight is a soft plastic that moves very easy. I will glue it in place, I use a red dot anyway. The storage box supplied was no longer plastic, but cardboard that would never survive more than a week or two. There was NO information, booklets, warranty cards, instruction or anything else in the box, just the rifle, which was weird. The finish on the new model was very nice, and the stock will now hold three magazines. One in the frame, and two more in the slots in the stock. Anyway.. I took it to the range, and it cycled all solid head ammo, but not anything with a mushroom hole in the end. There was no way I could get the cheap mushroom shots to cycle. I will stick to the solid Remington thunderbolts, and CCI stingers. Other than that, the newer version seems to work well, and I’m happy.. If they made this in a .17 hmr I would another in a heartbeat. This would be an amazing riles in that calibre

  53. RyanSF
    April 29, 2011 at 2:24 pm #

    I just acquired this rifle just recently. The whole concept of compact design behind this gun lured me into getting this. I look forward to shooting this off.

  54. John
    December 13, 2012 at 9:58 am #

    Triple K manufactures and sells 15 round mags for the Armalite & Charters Arms AR-7. Haven tried them in the Henry but looks like they should work. The 15 rounders are just a long version of the 8 rounder..

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