THE NEW HENRY U.S. SUR­VIVAL PACK

Big ad­van­tages in a small pack­age

American Survival Guide - - CONTENTS - By Sean Cur­tis

Henry Re­peat­ing Arms, a proud Amer­i­can firearms man­u­fac­turer, re­cently re­leased its reimag­ined sur­vival pack. Henry kindly sent a U.S. Sur­vival Pack to me for test­ing, and I gladly put ev­ery­thing through its paces. The kit starts with a stow­able bag that holds the ven­er­a­ble Henry AR-7 Sur­vival Ri­fle. There are also sev­eral pock­ets on the bag’s ex­te­rior that con­tain a num­ber of sur­vival es­sen­tials. When you see what was included with the kit, as well as what wasn’t, you quickly pick up the phi­los­o­phy be­hind its cre­ation.

ODE TO EUGENE STONER

To be­gin with, the ri­fle, it­self, is a de­scen­dant of the orig­i­nal Ar­malite AR-7, which was is­sued to U.S. air­men as a sur­vival tool as early as 1959. The AR-7 was the brain­child of famed weapon de­signer Eugene Stoner, who was more well-known for cre­at­ing the AR-15. The plat­form is a .22 long ri­fle, straight blow­back (semi­auto) con­fig­u­ra­tion. Most in­ter­est­ingly, the weapon breaks down into com­po­nents (with no tools re­quired), all of which can be stowed in the weapon’s butt­stock. These con­sist of the stock, receiver, two eight-round mag­a­zines and bar­rel. When bro­ken down, the wa­ter­tight AR-7 can ac­tu­ally float. It of­fers good accuracy and weighs just 3.5 pounds. In 1997, Henry Re­peat­ing Arms Com­pany bought the rights to the weapon and made some im­prove­ments. Re­branded as the U.S. Sur­vival AR-7, the newer ver­sion comes in dif­fer­ent col­ors (two camo pat­terns and black) and has a much-ap­pre­ci­ated bright-or­ange front sight blade. The ri­fle is, with­out a doubt, the core el­e­ment of the pack.

SUR­VIVAL ES­SEN­TIALS

Be­sides the ri­fle, there are many great sur­vival-minded items included in this kit. They can be bro­ken down into the ba­sic sur­vival hi­er­ar­chy so you can rate this assem­bly in your own mind and add to it later. Water. This is one of the most im­por­tant items you can pos­si­bly pro­cure, be­cause you can’t go with­out it for more than a few days. To this end, Henry has included an Aquamira Fron­tier Straw. With this light­weight tool, you can pack it and for­get it—know­ing you’ll be able to con­sume around 30 gal­lons of clean water. The straw fil­ters out cryp­tosporid­ium and gi­a­r­dia and re­duces other chem­i­cals. Fire. The ESEE brand is known far and wide for its great knives and other prod­ucts. Included in the U.S. Sur­vival Pack is ESEE'S Fire Steel Kit. It’s packed in a tin the size of an Al­toids can and is a mul­ti­pur­pose fire tool. The tin can be used to cre­ate char cloth. The tool serves as a fer­ro­cerium rod on its sides, can be used as a tra­di­tional flint and steel (Jeremiah John­son style) with char cloth and has a divot in the mid­dle de­signed to be used with a bow drill. There is noth­ing like re­dun­dancy in a crit­i­cal tool such as this. If some­thing isn’t work­ing be­cause of your par­tic­u­lar en­vi­ron­ment, it’s good to have other op­tions. Shel­ter. The U.S. Sur­vival Pack in­cludes a sur­vival blan­ket from H&H Med­i­cal Cor­po­ra­tion. It isn’t ex­actly a zero-de­gree sleep­ing bag, but it is max­i­mum util­ity for min­i­mum weight and size, open­ing up to 84x56 inches. Wrapped around you or tied up with cordage as a lean-to, this crucial, lit­tle item can make a huge difference in what you have to en­dure. Food. Hav­ing a ri­fle, par­tic­u­larly a .22 long ri­fle, is es­sen­tial for be­ing able to pro­cure your own small game. Re­mem­ber, the idea be­hind this kit is sur­vival, not long-term thriv­ing. You’re not look­ing to take down a moose for your din­ner. That be­ing said, Henry thought of a cou­ple of crucial tools con­cern­ing the pro­cess­ing of game

WHEN YOU SEE WHAT WAS INCLUDED WITH THE KIT, AS WELL AS WHAT WASN’T, YOU QUICKLY PICK UP THE PHI­LOS­O­PHY BE­HIND ITS CRE­ATION.

and for a backup for the dreaded sce­nar­ios of no luck at hunt­ing and/or run­ning out of ammo. A small Buck knife comes with the kit. Called the Ri­val, its 2.75-inch-bladed lock­back comes out of the box ra­zor-sharp. It will skin small game all day long. This knife will also help you with other mi­nor cut­ting tasks you might need to ac­com­plish through­out your or­deal. If hunt­ing fails for some rea­son, Henry pro­vided a Da­trex emer­gency ra­tion. This vac­uum-sealed, 1,000-calo­rie bar is not much big­ger than a bar of soap, but it can help you carry through a lit­tle longer. Med­i­cal. Fewer things can threaten sur­viv­abil­ity greater than a bad bleed. Con­se­quently, Henry included a SWAT-T tourni­quet in the kit. While this is my least fa­vorite op­tion for stop­ping bleed­ing in a limb, I’d rather have it than not. One up­side to this unit is that be­cause of the tourni­quet’s com­po­si­tion, it can be used for mul­ti­ple med­i­cal pur­poses, per­haps as well as other uses out­side this ap­pli­ca­tion. All cat­e­gories. Henry in­cludes 100 feet of green MIL-SPEC para­cord in this kit. It is cer­ti­fied to sup­port 550 pounds and can be used for in­nu­mer­able pur­poses out in the wild. In ad­di­tion, the cord can be bro­ken down to the seven in­ner strands for smaller cordage pur­poses such as snares or fish­ing line. THE BAG The black, two-han­dled bag is made in Amer­ica by Allen. Crafted of ny­lon, it has a long, clam-style, zip­pered open­ing and mea­sures roughly 20.5 inches long and 9.5 inches tall. The in­te­rior is padded, and one side of the ex­te­rior of the bag has two zip­pered pock­ets for stor­ing the bag’s other con­tents. Henry also hints on its web­site that one of these pock­ets is a per­fect size for its sur­vival tin, called the Henry Re­peat­ing Sur­vival Kit. This item con­tains an even greater ar­ray of sur­vival equip­ment.

DOWN­RANGE

Be­cause the Sur­vival Ri­fle is at the heart of this kit, I de­cided to spend more time test­ing it for a num­ber of met­rics. The gun I used weighed in at 3 pounds, 6.4 ounces. All stowed, it was 16.5 inches long. The bar­rel is 15.5 inches long, and fully as­sem­bled, the ri­fle mea­sures a to­tal of 35.13 inches. Us­ing three dif­fer­ent types of am­mu­ni­tion,

I tested for accuracy at 25 and 50 yards us­ing five-round groups. I also tested ve­loc­i­ties us­ing a chrono­graph. The re­sults were im­pres­sive for a semi­auto ri­fle that was torn down and re­assem­bled mul­ti­ple times dur­ing two dif­fer­ent trips to the range. I did not use op­tics. This is get­ting tougher as I age, but true to the in­ten­tion of the de­signer, the AR-7 does not in­clude a scope. I keep hop­ing some­one will come up with a sin­gle lever mount for the 3/8 rail on top of the receiver—some­thing that will keep zero once es­tab­lished. Fifty yards is a de­cent reach for the .22 long ri­fle, but accuracy at this dis­tance would greatly im­prove with a vi­able op­tic that could be re­moved and packed away, along with the ri­fle. As it stands, the gun could not be bro­ken down with a mounted op­tic, so I tested it ac­cord­ingly. The first day was at an out­door range. The wind was gust­ing out of the north­west any­where from a steady 10 up to 25 mph. On tap for ammo were Winch­ester Su­per-x 40-grain, Arm­scor high-ve­loc­ity hol­low points com­ing in at 36 grains, and CCI hol­low points in 36 grains. I later shot in­doors to elim­i­nate the wind as a factor and av­er­aged my groups. I be­lieve the ri­fle is in­cred­i­bly ac­cu­rate for its size, and I like that it breaks down and re­assem­bles so eas­ily. How­ever, an op­tic would cer­tainly help (some shoot­ers) when

THE RE­SULTS WERE IM­PRES­SIVE FOR A SEMI­AUTO RI­FLE THAT WAS TORN DOWN AND RE­ASSEM­BLED MUL­TI­PLE TIMES DUR­ING TWO DIF­FER­ENT TRIPS TO THE RANGE.

reach­ing out to greater dis­tances. Con­sid­er­ing this ri­fle is de­signed to take small game, 25 yards is a de­cent dis­tance to hover around a group of 2 inches. The trig­ger, tested on a Ly­man digital gauge pro­vided by Brownells, broke evenly right at 3 pounds each time. There was ap­prox­i­mately a mil­lime­ter of creep be­fore it re­sisted and then snapped. Al­though the ri­fle is small, its er­gonomics are quite good. The butt­stock of­fers a com­fort­able cheek weld, al­low­ing me the op­por­tu­nity to eas­ily pick up the bright-or­ange

BE­SIDES THE RI­FLE, THERE ARE MANY GREAT SUR­VIVAL-MINDED ITEMS INCLUDED IN THIS KIT. THEY CAN BE BRO­KEN DOWN INTO THE BA­SIC SUR­VIVAL HI­ER­AR­CHY SO YOU CAN RATE THIS ASSEM­BLY IN YOUR OWN MIND AND ADD TO IT LATER.

front blade through the rear peep sight. Out of the box, the ri­fle shot high; how­ever, the rear sight is ad­justable.

AWE­SOME STARTER SUR­VIVAL KIT

Henry has a great prod­uct that ap­proaches the sur­vival men­tal­ity from a cou­ple of dif­fer­ent an­gles. First, this could be a go-to bag that is stuffed in the trunk of a car or stashed in a hid­den spot in your cabin. Should things go awry, or if some­thing hap­pens that re­quires sur­vival gear, the bag is ready to go and gen­er­ally has you cov­ered. The sec­ond ap­proach is how I looked at the bag: It's a great jump­ing-off point. Those who have more knowl­edge and ex­pe­ri­ence with prep­ping, hunt­ing, med­i­cal and sur­vival skill sets will note what is miss­ing from this bag. For in­stance, not included are a large knife, com­pass, light and IFAK. And, when you get to a point at which you have enough train­ing and knowl­edge within these cat­e­gories, you have prob­a­bly al­ready formed pref­er­ences for spe­cific brands or types. In ad­di­tion, leav­ing out these items keeps the price point down— but it also cre­ates a won­der­ful pack­age for users to buy the pack and then build it up to their own spec­i­fi­ca­tions. Over­all, the Henry U.S. Sur­vival Pack is a win­ner. At a min­i­mum, it will get you there. With some ad­di­tions, it will get you there in style. (Au­thor’s note: Spe­cial thanks to Lib­erty Firearms In­sti­tute for ar­rang­ing trans­fers and al­low­ing me to test this ri­fle in­doors.)

Left: Henry also makes a U.S. Sur­vival Kit that comes in a tin (not included in the Sur­vival Pack). This fits per­fectly into one of the U.S. Sur­vival Pack’s ex­te­rior pock­ets and comes with enough gear to push it to ex­cel­lent lev­els of prepa­ra­tion.

The pro­vided para­cord has seven in­ner strands that can be ex­posed and used in­di­vid­u­ally for tasks such as snares and fish­ing. Bot­tom:

Top: Within the pack, you re­ceive emer­gency ra­tions, a water fil­ter, fire-mak­ing tools, a knife, tourni­quet, space blan­ket and 100 feet of para­cord.

Left: The small Buck knife in the kit is a qual­ity tool. It comes out of the box ra­zor-sharp.

This ESEE mul­ti­pur­pose fire tool is included in the sur­vival kit. Above:

All the ri­fle’s parts are shown de­ployed on the bag prior to assem­bly. Left: Near right: Simply slide the bar­rel (tab and slot in­di­cated) into the receiver and then screw down the nut to as­sem­ble the top end.

Right:the au­thor has tested a few Henry Sur­vival Ri­fles. Some float bet­ter than oth­ers. The crit­i­cal el­e­ment is the seal on the cap of the butt­stock.

Far right: All con­trols (ex­cept the mag re­lease) are on the right side. The bolt pulls out from the receiver for work­ing the ac­tion and then tucks in for stor­age.

Near left: Arm­scor gave ad­e­quate per­for­mance with groups such as this at 25 yards.

Af­ter re­mov­ing the butt­stock cover, you are faced with the bar­rel, two mag­a­zines and receiver.

Far left: Push­ing the receiver into the butt­stock and tight­en­ing the bolt at the bot­tom of the pis­tol grip com­pletes assem­bly.

The Aquamira Fron­tier Straw is a great com­pro­mise of size and util­ity, al­low­ing you to drink from raw water sources with­out fear of ill­ness.

The SWAT-T Tourni­quet is pop­u­lar in in­di­vid­ual first aid kits. The SWAT acro­nym stands for “stretch, wrap and tuck.”

The pro­vided space blan­ket is great for keep­ing warm and can also be adapted for use as an emer­gency shel­ter.

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