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Back in 1983, I bought and AR-7 rifle for my 13 year old brother as a gift and as one can imagine, he really loved it. Back then, this rifle cost just under $100.00 and .22 ammo was very cheap. Then as now, the AR-7 was a really cool little gun to have, it breaks-down very easily so you can stash it in a smaller backpack and it weighs almost nothing.
Today, the AR-7 is made by the Henry Repeating Arms Company and it costs’ just under $350.00.
This rifle is what I like to call ‘a no-brainer’, meaning that, you don’t have to be the sharpest tool in the shed to put it together and fire it, as you’ll see in the video below.
Here’s a little history on this firearm courtesy of Wikipedia:
The ArmaLite AR-7 Explorer is a semi-automatic firearm in .22 Long Rifle caliber, developed in 1959 from the AR-5 that was adopted by the U.S. Air Force as a pilot and aircrew survival weapon. The AR-7 was adopted and modified by the Israeli Air Force as an aircrew survival weapon in the 1980’s.
The civilian AR-7’s intended markets today are backpackers and other recreational users as a takedown utility rifle. The AR-7 is often recommended for use by outdoor users of recreational vehicles (automobile, airplane or boat) who might have need for a weapon for foraging or defense in a wilderness emergency.
The prototype of what would become the AR-7 was designed by Eugene Stoner at ArmaLite Inc., a division of Fairchild Aircraft. The rifle shares some of the features of the bolt-action AR-5, another takedown rifle designed by Stoner for ArmaLite and adopted by the United States Air Force in 1956 as the MA-1. The MA-1 was intended to replace the M4 Survival Rifle and the M6 Aircrew Survival Weapon which was a superposed (“over-under”) twin-barrel rifle/shotgun chambered in .22 Hornet and .410 bore, using a break-open action.
The AR-5 had the advantage of repeat fire over the then-standard M6, using the same .22 Hornet cartridge. When the AR-5 was adopted as the MA-1 but was not placed in issue due to the numbers of usable M4 and M6 survival weapons in USAF inventory, ArmaLite used the research and tooling for the AR-5 in developing the AR-7 for the civilian market.
Even though I published a previous article on the AR-7 back in 2020, I thought the video below was pretty good, because he uses different ammo and he shows you how to take it apart and clean it, all critical ‘need to know’ information. For me, if it came down to having an AR-7 in my backpack, or a sharp stick, I’d definitely rather have the AR-7.