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Ar-7 Answers
Subject: AR-7 Answers

Posted By: ML - Registered User

Posts: 44

Posted At: (12/5/00 7:01 pm)

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The previous post in this string queries:

"What I was wondering is since the AR-7 has a waterproof stock (it does, right?) can you bury it . . . ?"

Please be advised that while the AR-7's stock is waterproof, it is not watertight--an important semantic difference. The AR-7 will float when disassembled because of trapped air (usually in the form of an inert foam filling), but this is aside from the cavities molded in for the barrel, action, and magazine(s). You certainly can bury your AR-7, but it will rust just the same as if you buried it directly in the ground. The buttplate simply snaps over the butt of the stock, and while this may keep the gun dry under casual spray conditions or even light rain, it should in no way be counted on to keep the disassembled rifle dry under prolonged immersion, or especially burial (i.e., watertight). Waterproof in this case simply means that the stock itself will not absorb any water as would wood. In addition, the trapped bolt running up through the pistol grip serving to secure the action to the stock would remain completely unprotected, and thus a prime target for corrosion.

The post continues:

"I'd definitely hunt one down with an all steel barrel. "

May I ask why? It's heavier (a mixed blessing) but no stiffer compared to the steel-lined aluminum barrel. And your chances of shooting out a .22 LR barrel are something less than Your Humble Correspondent winning the lottery. In fact, the aluminum/steel composite barrel will dissipate heat faster . This isn't a match gun you're talking about, and aluminum/steel composite AR-7 barrels have been proven for more than 30 years. The chief value of a steel barrel is probably for the manufacturer--they are cheaper to produce.

To address another issue (jamming/misfeeding), let us settle back anc consider three variables: ammunition "power," bullet profile, and magazines.

Ammunition "Power"

Virtually all .22 LR semiautomatics, whether rifles or pistols, operate on the Unlocked Blowback principle, where only the inertia of the bolt's mass assisted by the force of the recoil spring(s) hold the action closed until the bullet is out of the barrel and the pressure in the chamber/barrel has dropped to a safe level. The rearward thrust of the cartridge-case head pushing against the bolt face operates the action, and that rearward thrust is controlled by the amount and type of powder and the weight of the bullet.

Bullet Profile

In most semiautos, .22 LR or otherwise, rounded hard-compound bullet noses feed best--the classic 230-grain .45 ACP "Ball" or Full Metal Jacket (FMJ) bullet is a prime example. Flat points, hollow points, and especially truncated cones with a pronounced shoulder or step may contribute to failures to feed. Wadcutter loads (a completely flat-nosed bullet, truly a simple cylinder of lead) are the most challenging to feed.


Firearms with detachable magazines introduce another variable, as the attitude to which the bullet addresses the feed ramp, or, lacking a feed ramp, the chamber mouth, may vary with differing magazines, or with the play between the magazine, magazine retention latch, and the receiver.

What Does It All Mean?

You've got to experiment. Start with using one magazine, and standard or high-velocity .22 loads with a rounded bullet nose. Then introduce other magazines, and ditch the ones which won't feed 100 percent. (Trust Me On This--you'll never fix them, and will only be tempted to use them. A good, solid blow with a 12-pound sledge hammer is the only solution, otherwise you're knowingly compromising the function of a survival firearm for an inexpensive, replaceable, and virtually disposable part.) Then test any alternate loadings for function as well. Since you can't reload your own .22 LR cartridges, that's all the customizing/variability control your can effect.

There's really no "magic bullet" solution here. Make sure the AR-7 is clean before you start testing, or none of your results will be representative.

It's really no big deal--just a box of your favorite .22 loads and a pleasant afternoon at the target range. You can test for accuracy while you're at it--just remember never to touch the AR-7's barrel with anything--your hand a rest, anything--but support it by the receiver/magazine instead.


Of all the things I've lost, I think I miss my mind the most.

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