The Care and Feeding of the Armalite AR-7




Introduction: The Care and Feeding of the Armalite AR-7

About: Thought it was time to update the profile some so here goes... Still married to a wonderfully sweet beautiful woman, still have 5 kids 3-23, we live in the Rocky's about 60 or so miles West of Colorado Springs…

Manufactured by Armalite before the rights were sold to first Charter Arms and then to Survival Arms and finally to Henry Repeating Arms, the AR-7 is a take down survival rifle that fires .22 cal long rifle. Originally designed as a replacement for the AR-5 and M-6 survival rifles used by the USAF the AR-7 was never placed into widespread issue due to the large numbers of AR-5 and M-6 rifles in the inventory. The AR-7, it was decided, would be marketed to civilians instead.

I was given my first AR-7 in 1972 as a Christmas present from my older brother and I kept it until the late 1990's when the receiver got badly dented, the stock destoryed, and magazine just gone after a 1300 foot fall during airborne operations when my ruck sack got torn on exit from the aircraft.

The AR-7 used in this Instructable was given to me as an early Fathers Day present by a buddy of mine from my Army days a few weeks ago. As you can see, it too has seen some wear and tear over the years and does need to have the stock replaced (which is on order) and it could stand a coat of paint which it will be getting once the new stock comes in.

The original owners manual that came with the AR-7 was vauge on the proper care of the weapon. It lacked any good, detail photos or illustartions on how to take the internal parts out to facilitate removal of the bolt for claening. I hope that this Instructable corrects that problem.

The steps in this Instructable should translate to any of the AR-7's produced by the various manufacturers.

Step 1: The AR-7

All the components of the AR-7 fit neatly in the butt stock when the weapon is taken apart. The stock itself is filled with styrofoam so it will float if dropped in the water.

The main parts of the AR-7 are the receiver, barrel, magazine, stock, and butt plate.

The rifle fires the .22 cal long rifle cartridge and can be a little finicky when it comes to what brand of ammo it fires. This particular AR-7 fires without any problems with CCI Stingers and Remington high velocity hollow points. Any other bards of ammo tend to cause jams after 2-3 rounds, as do any brand of flat nosed bullet. The feed problems seem to cross all of the older AR-7 platforms.

Step 2: Take Down

With the left side of the receiver facing upwards:
  1. Remove the receiver cover screw and receiver cover
  2. Hold the magazine release spring in place and remove the magizine release
  3. Carefully remove the magazine release spring
  4. Remove the magazine release pivot pin
  5. Remove the ejector
  6. Lift up gently on the hammer spring and remove the small pin at the rear of the trigger
  7. Remove the trigger pivot pin
  8. Remove the trigger
  9. Remove the hammer

Once all of the parts are removed from the receiver flip it over and:
  1. Pull back slightly on the charging hadle until it is squarely over the slightly larger opening in the track
  2. Hold bolt in place by using your finger placed inside the receiver and pushing on the bolt face
  3. Remove the charging handle
  4. Carefully let the bolt slide forward until it is out of the receiver

You now have the weapon field striped for cleaninig.

Step 3: Cleaning the Weapon

For cleaning I have two micro fiber towels, one for wiping excess Break Free from the weapon and one for general cleaning with Break Free. A properly sized cleaning rod, bore brush, patch tip, and .12 ga "mop", and cleaning patches cut from an old tee shirt approx. 1"x2", you may have to trim the patches for a proper fit in the barrel. THe screw drivers are for removal of the receiver cover screw and to aid in moving the hammer spring.

After the receiver is stripped I start by attaching the .12 ga "mop" to the handle of the cleaning rod and spraying a small amount of Break Free on the "mop". With a rotating motion run the "mop" into the receiver making sure to scrub the entire length of the receiver tube. Next use one of the towels to wipe any excess Break Free from the receiver.

Remove the "mop" and attach the other length of cleaning rod and the bore brush. Using the straw on the Break Free can spray a small ammount of Break Free into the barrel and run the bore brush through the barrel. I prefer to run the brush from the muzzle end down through the chamber, others may advise you to run the brush from the chamber trhough to to muzzle. Eitehr way you prefer is fine.Once I have run the brush through the barrel I remove the brush from the cleaning rod, pull the rod out of the barrel, spray some more Break Free into the barrel and repeat the whole process at least three (3) times or more depending on how dirty the barrel is.

Next remove the bore brush and attach the patch tip and add a cleaning patch. Spary a small amount of Break Free on the patch and run it through the barrle in the same direction you ran the bore brush Once you have run the patch down the barrle remove it and pull the rod out. I reapeat this step at least three times with a "wet" patch. nce you have run the wet patches down the barrel place clean, DRY patches in the patch tip and run them own the barrel until the patch passes through the barrel and come out completely clean.

If you find you have run a bunch of patches down the barrrel and none of them are clean repeat the steps with the bore brush and "wet" patches as often as necessary to get clean patches to pass through the barrel.

Using one of your rags and some Break Free, wipe down the bolt, recoil springs, and recoil spring guide. You can use Q-Tips to get into those hard to reach areas on the bolt. Make sure you wipe down the bolt face and get it clean.

Step 4: Weapon Assembly

To re-assembly the weapon:
  1. Place the two (2) recoil springs into the holes in the rear of the bolt
  2. Place the recoil spring guide (the plastic part with the two prongs) into the recoil springs
  3. Place the bolt assembly into the receiver
  4. Push the entire bolt assembly to the rear and hold it in place with a finger
  5. Place the charging handle into the bolt
  6. Place ejector into receiver
  7. Put magazine release pivot pin in place
  8. Put the magazine realse spring in place
  9. Put the magazine release in the receiver (be careful not to pop the spring out of place)
  10. Place the trigger and trigger pivot pin in place
  11. Place the hammer into the receiver
  12. Carefully lift the hammer spring with the small screw driver until it clears the trigger
  13. Place the hammer spring retaining pin in the trigger (the small pin at the rear of the trigger)
  14. Let the hammer spring down onto the retaining pin (Make sure you note that the arms of the spring criss-cross, so the left arm is on the right and the right on the left)
  15. Place receiver cover plate on receiver ensuring all pins line up
  16. Replace receiver cover screw and tighten

Step 5: Function Check

Completely assembly the weapon, making sure you DO NOT insert the magazine! Don't be the guy who shoots himself or worse someone else, because you loaded a weapon for a function check!

Pull the bolt to the rear and release it. Place the weapon on safe, point it in a SAFE direction and try to pull the trigger. Nothing should happen.

Take the weapon off of safe, still pointing in a safe direction, and pull the trigger, you should hear the hammer fall. Keeping the trigger pulled all the way back, with your other hand pull the charging handle to the rear all the way and release it.

Release the trigger, you should hear a metalic "click" or "thunk" sound. Pull the trigger to the rear again and you should hear the hammer fall again.

If you don't hear a sound when you pull the trigger after cocking the weapon, the weapon doesn't cock, the hammer falls while the weapon is on safe, or you can't get the trigger to reset after the first time the hammer falls the weapon has failed the function check and you must make sure the barrel is on tightly and that all of the internal parts are in properly.

Step 6: Conclusion

I have enjoyed the AR-7 for many years, I have taken it one on nearly every deployment I have ever been on and have found it to be a great "back up for my back up". I have used it to take everything from rabbit to squirrel to small birds in a survival situation, and have found that at close ranges it will take out a dog if need be.

The sight system (a small appature peep sight) does take some practice in order to hit your target with any degree of accuracy but it is functional.

Currently,my wife and I use it to shoot prarrie dogs in our pasture out to about 60 yards with devastating effects when it isn't tucked neatly in my bug out bag.

Over all the AR-7 is a handly, light weaight rifle that makes a great addition to any B.O.B.

As always I look forward to reading your comments and suggestions.

Train to survive!

1 Person Made This Project!


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5 years ago

In step #14 of Weapon Assembly, you state: "the arms of the spring
criss-cross, so the left arm is on the right and the right on the left".
It took me a couple of years of fighting random (about 2%) FTFire and FTEject
problems to determine that this instruction is incorrect. The spring
legs should NOT be crossed. Crossing them does make assembly easier, but
it causes the spring coils to pinch at the rear and flare at the front
(when the bolt moves back). Since the cover and receiver side contain this flare,
the coils flare inward and pinch the hammer - impeding it's movement.

Hopefully, you can correct the instructable. Now, my Survival Arms AR-7 never has failures. Thanks!


8 years ago on Introduction

Great instructable tomsweet65! Got my 8 year old
one of these (actually passed down in my family and boy was it dirty) for Christmas and we sat down last night to clean it together (ahh-that's my boy!)
and we just had to dive right in not having any instructions. Needless to say
once it was apart and all the little pins came out, we were a bit lost. This
outta bring us right back to where we want to be - thanks again!!!!


8 years ago on Introduction

Thank you for this great instructable. I was trying to put mine back together following youtube videos, but couldn't see anything with the bad lighting, bad camera angles and the guy's hands in the shot at all times.

Got mine back together now, nice and clean!


9 years ago on Introduction

Special note: measure to distance between the magazine's lips. Over time the lips will spread and cause F2Fs. Re-bend back to original specs. My Armalite shoots ANY 22lr.


9 years ago on Introduction

I really like this since there is not a lot out there for this weapon. Now for the bad news, where is the instructions for replacing the bolt and parts with it? Not griping but just noticed they were not there.


Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

Thanks for the comment! I corrected the Ible with the correct bolt replacement steps.


Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

They are a blast to shoot! I love mine... You can get the new Henry Survival Rifle for between $190-$240 new... You can pick up the older Chater Arms and Armalite models at pawn shops for $80-150 when they have them...


9 years ago on Introduction

Very nice. Thank you for this info, and thank you for your service!


Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

Thanks for the comment! If there is any survival related Instructable you'd like to see let me know, if I can make it happen I will!