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.