Impractical but cool guns – the AR-7

Tam started a meme: guns that are impractical, but cool.

My pick is the AR-7. It’s cool but not very practical.

Why it’s cool

  • It was designed by Eugene Stoner, who designed the AR-15/M-16.
  • Thanks to aluminum and plastic parts it weights just 2.5 pounds and is largely impervious to rust.
  • The barrel unscrews from the action, instantly cutting the stored size in half.
  • The barrel, action, and magazine can be stowed in the buttstock, making for an unbelievably compact design.
  • When thus stowed the whole thing floats. It was originally designed to be a survival rifle for downed Air Force pilots.
  • James Bond used one. So did Maxwell Smart.
  • You can insert the AR-7 into all sorts of wild-eyed fantasies of surviving alone in the wilderness.

Why it’s impractical

  • Magazine capacity tops out at 25 rounds and those are hard to find. Most people live with 10 round mags.
  • The gun has never had a reputation for accuracy or reliability.
  • Sight adjustments are crude.
  • The ergonomics are hella uncomfortable. You have to hunch your body around the gun to get your eyeball aligned with the sights.
  • Armalite couldn’t make money on the design so they sold it to Century Charter Arms, who couldn’t make any money so they sold it to Henry Repeating Arms. That’s not a good sign.
  • Here’s the killer: there are much better guns available that do pretty much the same thing.

Example. The Marlin Papoose/70P has a barrel that unscrews. The gun floats when cocooned inside the factory storage case. The Papoose is as accurate and reliable as other Marlins such as the venerable Model 60, weighs just 3.25 pounds, and unlike the AR-7 has studs for sling swivels. Newer Papoose models are made from stainless steel and plastic for worry-free carry in Argentina’s rainy season.

For that matter, if you own the ever-popular Ruger 10/22 you can remove the barrel and action from the stock in 10 seconds flat by removing a single screw using a screwdriver or a coin from your pocket. Unlike the AR-7 you can fire the 10/22 while it’s thus disassembled.

Not only can you find plenty of high capacity magazines for the 10/22, you can start with a factory 10/22 and gradually replace every single part until there’s nothing left that was made by Ruger. A Ruger 10/22 has more accessories than a teenaged transgendered schizophrenic.

23 Responses to Impractical but cool guns – the AR-7

  1. Laughingdog says:

    “you can start with a factory 10/22 and gradually replace every single part until there’s nothing left that was made by Ruger.”

    Well, besides the receiver. Hell, I wish I could just buy that, instead of having a bunch of Ruger parts taking up space.

  2. Les Jones says:

    Volquartsen, Tactical Innovations, MOA, and Tactical Solutions make 10/22 receivers.

    If you have a Ruger 10/22 you can buy more accessories than a scorned woman with her ex-husband’s credit card.

  3. Laughingdog says:

    “Volquartsen, Tactical Innovations, MOA, and Tactical Solutions make 10/22 receivers.

    If you have a Ruger 10/22 you can buy more accessories than a scorned woman with her ex-husband’s credit card.”

    I’m thinking “Les” is a good name for my first-born right about now. 😉

  4. I have a Marlin Papoose. I got it out a few days ago for the first time in years. It’s a pretty nice gun.

    jonathan hickman´s last blog post..I’d like your band more if I understood any of the lyrics

  5. Les Jones says:

    LD: Heh. I haven’t tried the TacSol receiver, but I’ve used one of their Pac-Lite barrels on a Browning Buckmark with a suppressor. They make good stuff.

    Jonathan: Cool. We need to go shooting at Coal Creek Armory’s indoor range one day. It’s only ten bucks and it’s lot of fun. Terri K. went one time and shot an MP-5 submachine gun.

  6. Tam says:

    I lurves my little Papoose, although the rear sight is pretty lame. (It likes to fold flat when subjected to the titanic recoil of the mighty .22LR cartridges.)

    Tam´s last blog post..Still roping goats.

  7. Pingback: SayUncle » Another cool but impractical gun

  8. Jay G. says:

    The AR-7 is an EMINENTLY good gun for the “cool but impractical” list. Good choice Les!

    Jay G.´s last blog post..Don’t Mess with Texans, Part 2

  9. comatus says:

    If it’s a take-down smallbore you’re after, you could do worse than the tubular-magazine Browning design popularly known as a Winchester. Mine was made by Remington. I got it from my grandfather, who bought it at the factory shortly after WWI.

  10. Robert says:

    They even made an AR-7 pistol for a couple of years,it looked just like a poor man’s Broomhandle Mauser.

    Robert´s last blog post..Cheesus Christ!

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  12. Pingback: *sigh* But I still want one. Plus My Addition To The Meme « Dante’s Inferno and Firing Range

  13. Chris Range says:

    My vote for cool-but-impractical gun would be the Webley-Fosbery – which was the answer to a question nobody asked. “How do you turn a revolver into an automatic?”

    Cool because: It was in the Maltese Falcon and Zardoz. It also has a high Steampunk factor. It’s an automatic revolver.

    Impractical because: It’s an automatic revolver.

    Chris Range´s last blog post..Dragon*Con 2009 Jury Submissions

  14. Matt Groom says:

    There were actually about a half dozen manufacturers of the AR-7 in between when Armalite stopped making them and Henry Repeating Arms started, including Survival Arms in my hometown of Cocoa Fl. Several companies that owned the design did not produce any guns. I don’t think Century ever owned the design, but Charter Arms did, and those are some of the most common variants you find used around here.

    My main complaint has always been the hollow and awkward stock, which is like shooting with a half-gallon milk jug.

  15. Les Jones says:

    “I don’t think Century ever owned the design, but Charter Arms did”

    You’re absolutely right. I said Century Arms when I meant Charter Arms. Fixed! Thanks.

  16. Les – that’d be cool.

    BTW – I don’t think the subscribe to comments plugin is working.

    jonathan hickman´s last blog post..Creating your own traditions

  17. Not Les Jones says:

    Testing, testing …

  18. Les Jones says:

    Testing some more.

  19. Les Jones says:

    I think you’re right. Subscribe to comments is busted. I’m moving the site and re-installing the software this weekend. I’ll see if that fixes it.

    Les Jones´s last blog post..My Million Dollar Googlezon* Idea

  20. Willard Conley says:

    On your statement that the capicity is 15 rds is incorrect, I have a 25 rd banana magazine manufactured by Ram Line for the AR 7 part no Mar-7025. Very dependable rifle especially for what I use it for.

  21. gene says:

    defiitely cool but impractical . I ‘ve owned my AR_7 since 1974 ! it has evolved into a microassualt style weapon . The goofy plastic stock was ditched in fav of an adjustable collapsible ,tube stock ,pistol grip w/extra ammo storage . BSA scope , and heat shielded barrel . The receiver has been very lightly throated to reduce misfeeds/jams . The rifle double punches easily @ 50 yards and beyond consistently .The aftermarket stuff ( and of COURSE ) the MAR 7025 25 round bannana mag loaded with Yellow Jackets . I have lost count of the number of rounds thru this action . And performance of the weapon has noticeably improved with age . All for well under 300.00 . And there just . aint many guns that are more economical and just plain fun to shoot than a sporterized AR-7 ! 😉

  22. gene says:

    There are 15 round steel mags out there . But I have had two , which were both returned becuase they would not fit into the receiver properly and failed to feed . Fortunately I have the Ram-Line 25 rd. and 2 original stock 8 rd steel mags . There appear that there are distinguishing differences between Henry RA products and Charter Arms .

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