AR-7 rifle review

The Next Chapter reviews the AR-7

Ar7-22Rifle 003

IMHO, this is an affordable, expendable rifle. When weight and size are critical for packing, it is something that I can carry for use as a last resort, something that may be just barely enough gun to do get me through an unexpected crisis. It will never be my first choice for a kit gun or a survival rifle; it is an alternative.

While it will never be as popular as the versatile Ruger 10/22, the AR-7 does have a following. Only you can decide what would be a good fit for your kit.

More here.





Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


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  • Scott

    Aren’t the long barreled Ruger auto-loading pistols are as accurate as the AR-7 and a bit easier to pack?

  • jdun1911

    I got one in my collection and it is a POS. It is the only rifle that I wasn’t able to fix the jamming problem. It jam once every mag.

  • Freiheit

    I’ve been kind of interested in this rifle for a few months. After reading a mediocre review I’m a little less eager to pony up the cash for one.

    From reading this it is ‘cheap’ whereas it should be ‘inexpensive’ or ‘no frills’.

  • I’ve got one, too. I’ve never shot the thing but I thought it was pretty cool. A right handed friend of mine picked it up and had a really hard time getting a good sight picture with the thing as the way it was designed. When he swapped over to the left arm he had no difficulty. I’m a lefty, so I wasn’t particularly upset with his discovery.

  • Peter

    These rifles are now banned in NZ. They were very popular in the 70’s when I think Marlin brought out the original where all the parts could be stored in the butt stock.

    Unfortunately many of these types of rifles were cut down and converted into pistols by the crooks wanting something a little more concealble than the standard sawn off .22 or shotgun. Hence the ban.

    Still, I’m sure there a still a few floating about. (hopefully intact).

    You have to have a special license, be an active (fee paying) member of a pistol club and have serious and usually expensive home security to own a handgun in NZ. Which to some degree, limits the amount of handguns getting into crimminal hands, but it makes owning even the smallest target pistol almost untenable for law abiding enthusiasts.

  • Steve, thanks kindly for the link and highlight; response was great!

    • Zack, no problem!

  • jdun1911

    It’s a nice rifle design. It was used in one of the 007 films. However it was problematic and in the end I gave up on it. Still have it tho in the safe.

  • I have always been interested in these but have never gotten to shoot one. Think it would be convenient to have in the collection. Nice to throw into a camping bag to have something with a bit more reach than a .22 pistol.

  • Don

    charter arms AR-7 jams every mag.(tried six).confuzed!!! Any info/help? thank you. DON.

  • Geo

    They are somewhat fussy about ammunition (as are MANY 22 semi-auto’s). Excellent results with Remington, CCI, or Fiocchi high velocities – not hypers, but they seem to work fine, too. Mine virtually NEVER jams (less than 1 percent) with good quality rounds. I personally think some people who don’t like the AR-7 may simply have unrealistic expectations. No, it is not a tack driver but then again, it is not a $3,000 German-made competition rifle, either. It IS what it is – a lot of fun to plink with and in a pinch it would probably be very useful in the wilderness (as would the 12-ga. or the 30-30 but neither of those will fit easily into a backpack with 500 rounds and still leave room in the bag for lunch). Enjoyable, easy to carry, fun to shoot, the kids LOVE it, and accurate enough unless you intend to wanna-be-a-sniper, in which case get a more conventional rifle with a scope.

  • Joel M

    After reading about the jamming problems, I went to Numrich and got a set of AR-7 action springs for the Charter Arms version of this rifle. The lower force of the springs allows more ammo choices, and the rifle never jammed once on (over 300 rounds) of CCI, Rem and SSS. Checked it on the 25yd pistol and 50yd rifle ranges, all to good effect. Squirrel at 25yd or rabbit at 50yd, no problem. Don’t expect to get a “soft plastic carrying case”… you get a cardboard box, and it does no good to complain. Be sure to lubricate the action before you use it for the first time. It comes, like most production rifles, rather dry, out of the box. If you feel the need of a compact utility rifle, it’s fine. Otherwise, get a full size rifle.

  • j.r. guerra in s. tx.

    I have two, a Charter Arms and Survival Arms and both are okay for plinking. But as Geo stated, its not for precision – its for having a firearm (ANY FIREARM) handy and is well worth having in a BOB situation. Well thought of as a boat gun as well – not many guns float without tying them onto something.

    A Marlin Papoose is a good alternative here – a Midget Magnum if a .22 Magnum take-down is wanted.

  • I am glad to see this product back from the dead, I have had to many customers looking for these and couldn’t find any that were in good condition. Now that they are back on the market and the sales are going.

  • Ethan

    I just purchased one from sportsmans warehouse and I think it is a great gun……so far. I believe it fulfills its intended purpose and while the accuracy leaves something to be desired you can easily load it with crimped bird shot loads (have to pull bolt back every shot though) and take out a squirrel or two for lunch.

  • Bill

    I bought one of the Henry AR7’s about a year ago.. It had a flaw in the frame, the bolt hole for the stock was drilled and tapped a few degrees off. I sent an email to Henry, and got an answer with-in minutes.. They told me the flaw could not be fixed, and they would replace the firearm with the newest model that will cycle everything. I’m in Canada, and the paranoids have ruled that all guns be registered, so this was going to be a pita.. Anyway I sent it back to Cabellas and it took a month or so to get replaced. They were waiting for the new model which was shipping a bit late.. I finally got it, took it to the range, and it cycled everything but the bulk pack hollowpoints.. Thunderbolts and CCI’s work great. It will serve the purpose I had in mind for it, mostly just a ‘trunk gun’ plinker to have fun with.. The new model will hold three mags. one in the frame, and two in the molded stock slots, but it still only comes with two. The front sight is also a bit cheezy, plastic and moves very easy. I use a red dot anyway.. The plastic storage box has been replaced with cardboard which may last a week or two..

  • Tim

    I have always found if you keep these clean, and that means taking it down, getting the bolt out and taking off the side plate and getting all the gunk out (.22 shoots dirty) keep her lubed and use factory original mags and if the magazine lips are not bent that they work fairly well.

    It also means trying several brands of .22 ammo to see what she prefers.

    I have two a Charter Arms and an original sixties vintage Armalite made in Costa Mesa CA. Handy for last ditch, but don’t expect her to be a tack driver. She was built with emergencies and survival in mind.

    http://stevespages.com/pdf/charter_ar7_explorer.pdf

  • Scott

    I don’t understand what some of you are doing. I have never had any problems witht the Charter Arms AR-7 I have. The rifle is dead on accurate and never jams for me. I had a friend give me the one I own because he no longer wanted it. He claimed it would not work for him.

    I disassembled it, cleaned it, and ordered new recoil springs and the guide rod. The rifle works like a dream and I use it for varmits and squirrel hunting.

    This is a good rifle. Would I take back to Afghanistan for another tour? NO! The rifle wasn’t made for that. I think some of you watch too much T.V. and expect way too much.

  • Picked one up at gun show for $217 out the door and a scope for $17.00, very happy with my Henry, shoots federal and CCI’s no problem. Fits in my bug out bag with 500 round box of ammo, room to spare. It intended for survival not every day shooting, I have another gun for that.