It’s important not to overlook the .22 rifle’s importance in a survival situation. You can take lots of small game with a .22 and if you’re really desperate and a good shot you can take down bigger game as well. I wouldn’t try it on a bear, but I did read that Chris McCandless shot and killed a moose with a .22 rifle in Alaska. I read the book and watched the movie “Into the Wild”, which talks about this.
Outside Fairbanks, on the Parks Highway, Jim Gallien spotted a hitchhiker; he pulled the Ford over. Chris McCandless threw his pack in and climbed in after it. “Where you headed?” Gallien asked. “Somewhere around Healy.” Gallien was headed all the way to Anchorage, a seven-hour drive. Although Gallien has never been able to pinpoint the exact date, it was most likely Tuesday, the twenty-eighth of April. They rode out of the Valley of the Chena River. He asked his passenger what his plans were. “I’m going out in the woods for two or three months.” Gallien had grown up hunting the Alaska backcountry. One glance at a half-empty pack and low-powered .22 Remington rifle told him that the woodsman wasn’t set up properly for any two or three months.m He had introduced himself as Alex – no family name. He said he had been living in the woods on the edge of Fairbanks for the last couple of days. He had seen an ad for the rifle in the local newspaper and had also bought about four hundred rounds of ammunition. “Does anybody know what you’re planning to do?” “No.” Alex said. And that’s the way he wanted it. – Excerpt from “Into The Wild”
Unfortunately young Chris McCandless was ill prepared for the harsh Alaska environment and died in the wilderness; however, I thought it was noteworthy that the lowly .22 rifle was capable of bringing down a creature the size of a moose. And to be clear I’m not saying to take a .22 rifle with you on your next moose hunt. I’m saying that in the right hands a .22 is capable of doing more than you might think in a survival situation.
Originally designed as an Air Force survival rifle in 1955 the AR-7 has been around a few years. I’ve been wanting to get my hands on this rifle for awhile and finally managed to land one. It’s a great concept and in my opinion Henry really pulled this one off. The AR-7 is a brilliant rifle for a survival situation. It’s small and could fit in your pack if you wanted to carry it that way. It can fit in your truck, car, or boat, and would even fit comfortably in a motorcycle saddle bag.
Model Number: H002B
Action Type: Semi-automatic
Caliber: .22 LR
Capacity: 8 round magazine (comes with 2)
Length: 35″ assembled 16.5″ when stowed
Weight: 3.5 lbs.
Stock: ABS Plastic
Sights: Adjustable rear, blade front
Finish: Teflon coated receiver and coated steel barrel
First of all it’s a semi-automatic, which can really put some rounds downrange in a hurry if you need to. Each magazine holds eight rounds, so if you wanted to carry just the two mags in the stock you’d still have 16 rounds with you at all times. Luckily, .22 ammo weighs next to nothing and you could carry a couple hundred rounds without adding a lot of extra weight to your pack.
It’s pretty accurate as I discovered after shooting it off my deck. The orange front site post makes it easy to see and everything is lined up the way it should be. An important note is that the barrel is tight after being screwed on – there’s no slop to it at all. I was a little worried about this aspect of the rifle, but as it turns out there’s no cause for concern. The whole rifle feels good when you hold it.
The Henry AR-7 comes stored in its own stock, which is very cool. It consists of the receiver, stock, and barrel, and it also has two magazines that are stored in the barrel as well.
Check out the video I made assembling and shooting this rifle.
Notes On Shooting
It shoots like you’d expect a good .22 to shoot. It’s smooth, zero recoil, and accurate. Considering I was shooting off-hand off my deck with a rifle I’d never shot before it did a pretty good job. I was shooting at three cans and managed to hit all of them with the sixteen rounds I shot through the two magazines.
After that I put another 50 or 60 rounds through it just to have fun and it shot smooth without jamming the whole time. The front site post would be good in low light with the bright marking. The only thing I found disconcerting was where to put my left hand when shooting. As you can see in the video I fumble around a little bit on the second magazine, but eventually found the sweet spot and kept on going.
This rifle will definitely be going with me in my pack when I’m out in the back country. It’s not that heavy and the utility of a good .22 can’t be overstated in my opinion.
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