U.S. Survival Rifle .22LR by Henry Repeating Arms
See Follow Up as of 09/14/2007
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.