Gunsmithing The AR-7 Survival Rifle

Originally intended as a backup for downed Air Force pilots, Henry Repeating Arms now produces the AR-7 as their U.S. Survival Rifle. A Trinidad State-trained gunsmith demonstrates the particulars.

by Gary Yee

Originally designed by Armalite’s Eugene Stoner, the AR-7 rifle was intended for but never adopted by the United States Air Force as a survival rifle. It is a compact, semi-automatic blowback-operated .22 LR. It is unique among take-down .22s in that both the action and barrel may be stowed inside the stock. Furthermore, it is impervious to weather and will float once stowed in the stock. Another highly desirable trait of the AR is the major components like the trigger/sear, hammer, magazine release, firing pin, extractor, and ejector can be fabricated from flat stock with simple hand tools. Use the original as a pattern, such as photocopying the the part and gluing it onto the flat stock. Sawing, filing, and time is all that is needed. This is ideal in a situation where parts can’t be mail ordered.

AR-7s have been produced by Armalite, Charter Arms, Survival Arms, and Henry Repeating Arms, its most recent incarnation. They come equipped with an extra eight round magazine that may be stowed in the stock. In the past, longer 10, 15, 25, and 50 round magazines have been offered by various makers. One thing Henry Repeating Arms did to lighten the AR-7 further was to replace the steel lined aluminum barrel with steel-lined carbon fiber barrel. Another improvement was replacing the plastic stock with a more durable ABS type material.

Read more in our September 2015 issue.

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