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Introduced in 1957 for use by the United States Air Force, the AR-7 is a humble little rifle intended to be used as a survival weapon should pilots find themselves in remote areas. It is chambered in the .22 Long Rifle cartridge, which would be used to hunt small game, and has a semi-automatic action that can be fed with small magazines that have a capacity ranging from eight to twenty-five rounds. The rifle can easily be disassembled, with the barrel and receiver stored in the stock. The rifle is light enough that it can float in the water, though it's not waterproof. Although the rifle was declined by the USAF, it was ultimately adopted by the Israeli Air Force.
The rifle entered the civilian market, where it is popular for survivalists who favoured it for its light weight. Armalite sold the rights to Charter Arms in 1979, and then Charter Arms did the same to the current manufacturer Henry in the 2000's. Rebranded as the U.S. Survival AR-7. Charter Arms had also designed pistol variant of the AR-7 known as the Explorer II by nixing the stock and shortening the barrel. However the pistol is much maligned by customers with reliability issues. In fiction, expect it to subvert the Little Useless Gun trope as it can be depicted as an assassin's weapon.
Anime and Manga
- Held by May in the cover for Gunsmith Cats Burst! Also important to the backstory of Rally Vincent — one of these is the first gun she ever fired, gifted by her father, and she kept it all of those years until the manga's present day, where it sees use as a Pocket Protector that saves her from a .50 Action Express round (still screws up her ribs, though).
- The rifle appeared in the James Bond movies in three different ocassions.
- From Russia with Love: Bond was issued this rifle from Q to be used to assassinate Krilencu, modified with a suppressor and a scope. Though it was Kerim who pulled the trigger after pleading with Bond. Bond later used the rifle to take out a helicopter pilot.
- Goldfinger: Tilly Masterson had this rifle for a failed assassination attempt on Goldfinger to avenge her sister.
- On Her Majesty's Secret Service: Bond had a disassembled AR-7 in the glove compartment of his car.
- Corporal "Smiler" Dawson from Commando's "Convict Commandos" series uses this weapon, although knives are his weapon of choice.
- Medal of Honor: Allied Assault added this weapon in the Breakthrough expansion pack.
- Men of War featured the carbine exclusively wielded by Allied infantry specialist units like the US Paratroopers, British SAS or Commandos.
- No One Lives Forever featured one with an optional scope as the "Hampton Carbine".
- Death To Spies features it as an option for the player's loadout. How exactly a Russian operative got his hands on one during the war is unknown.
- Hidden & Dangerous 2 featured it as the "De Lisle C.C."
- One of the available weapons on Enemy Front.
- The Carbine can be acquired through the Silenced Weapons Warfare DLC in Sniper Elite 4. Because it uses the .45 ACP round, it sacrifices power and range in exchange for low recoil and suppressed shots without needed specialized ammo.
- Featured in Battlefield V for the stealth missions, and later added into multiplayer for the Medic class.
James Bond: I'll do my best.
- Trivia: Even though double rifles were rare, since they were custom-built, they came in a bewildering variety of cartridge chamberings. The most popular were the Jeffery rounds (.333, .400, .475, and .500), the Rigbys (.350 and .416), and the "true" Express rounds used in the Holland & Holland rifles (.470, .577, and .600). As for the "Nitro Express" name, that indicated a cartridge loaded with smokeless ("nitro") powder; the earlier "Express" rounds were loaded with black powder. The Nitro cases were deliberately made about half-an-inch longer than the black powder Express cases, to prevent anyone loading a Nitro Express round into a black powder Express rifle by accident; it was an almost 100% guarantee of a burst barrel and/or breech.
Films — Live-Action
- As stated above, a great many films featuring a Great White Hunter will have him using a high-caliber double rifle to take down his quarry. Examples include The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, The Ghost and the Darkness and White Hunter, Black Heart
- In the climax of Skyfall, Bond carries his father's double rifle, an Anderson Wheeler in .500 Nitro Express.
- Roland Tembo brings with him a .600 Nitro Express double rifle to bag the biggest game of all, a T. rex in The Lost World He almost gets his chance when a T. rex begins attacking the hunter's camp, until he discovers Nick Van Owen sabotaged his rifle. The rifle in question was a B. Searcy & Co. custom rifle made specifically for the movie (and currently owned by Steven Spielberg).
- A couple are given to Earl and Grady by Burt Gummer in Tremors 2: Aftershocks. Chambered in .375 H&H Mag, Burt warns the two on proper usage of the rifles.Burt: Hold 'em good and tight to your shoulder, or they'll break your collarbone.
- Shows up often in Sandokan. The author, following the Italian use of his time, normally calls them 'carbines', but the description makes it clear they're double rifles.
- In Eternal Darkness, Dr. Rovias fights off the servants of the Eldritch Abomination of your choice with a .500 Nitro double rifle. If you steady it first, it throws him far off-balance. If you fire it too soon, it knocks him on his ass.
- A double rifle appears in Far Cry 4 as the ".700 Nitro", though the actual size of the rounds loaded into it appear to be the slightly smaller .600 Nitro Express. It has tremendous recoil, which can make aiming difficult, fires only two shots and takes a long time to reload, but it is guaranteed to kill almost anything in the game in one hit and has ridiculous penetration on top of that allowing one to even take out helicopters in one shot by shooting the pilot. It can be customized with low-magnification electronic optics to make aiming easier. DLC also adds a rather ornate Signature version called the "Elephant Gun", which doesn't get optics but does get a faster reload and even better damage.
- One appears in BioShock 2's multiplayer mode as the "Elephant Gun", where it serves as a sniping weapon.
However, much of the infamy for this rifle became more apparent thanks to conditions of trench warfare, which made the Mk. III that was used in the war an unreliable weapon to use. The straight-pull bolt requires a complex system of cams and grooves, which makes the rifle jam with even the slightest hint of dirt;note there are stories of soldiers having resorted to stomping on the handles of dirtied rifles and failing to budge them an inch. And even if you were to clean it, it's possible to reassemble the rifle with the bolt head facing the wrong direction. When reassembled like this, the bolt would close, but not lock - but the rifle could still be fired, sending the bolt backwards with great force, not necessarily throwing the bolt out of the rifle entirely but still smashing something rather delicate along its path if the soldier was using the sights. Late variants added a safety rivet to the bolt to physically prevent it from being assembled incorrectly, though this had the unfortunate side-effect of making disassembly even harder. Many of these flaws were not corrected due to politics- Sam Hughes, at the time Defense Minister of Canada and personal friend to Sir Charles Ross, overstated the rifle's capabilities, downplayed its problems, and obstructed efforts to correct its problems- eventually leading to a scandal that threw him out of office and the rifle out of service.
When it was time for the rifle to be replaced with the Lee-Enfield in 1916, many Canadians made the switch without any second thought: one Canadian Lieutenant commented that it sometimes took five men to keep one rifle in action, while a Major described the weapon as "contemptible." The Ross rifle nevertheless saw some service in World War II as well, though mostly in the Canadian Navy, British Home Guard, or any branch that wasn't directly on European soil. It was also the official rifle of Latvia, which saw usage during the Latvian War of Independence from 1918 to 1920, and the Soviet Union had acquired many of these rifles to use as target rifles.
While not rare in the conventional sense (wartime production alone was about 420,000 rifles) it was very quickly pulled from frontline service and issued instead as a training rifle for basic marksmanship, where its flaws were less apparent and its use there freed up more battle-worthy Lee-Enfield rifles for the front lines. Despite how it was hated by the common soldier, snipers had taken a liking for this weapon, as, being designed as a target rifle rather than a military one, it was also a fair bit more accurate at range than the Lee-Enfield. The fact that many snipers were in more ideal conditions and better-trained in disassembly and cleaning meant they wouldn't have to worry about immediate combat or incorrectly reassembling the weapon that much. Even though the Ross did horribly as a military rifle, it was popular as a sporting and hunting rifle during peace time before and after the war with models chambered in the .280 Ross cartridge, the first practical cartridge to come close to reaching a muzzle velocity of 3,000 feet/910 meters per second.
Midway through the war, Joseph Alphonse Huot of Quebec's Dominion Rifle Factory had taken the liberty of designing a light machine gun from the leftover Ross rifles, simply called the Huot Automatic Rifle. The result was a rather decent and effective weapon, which had undergone many improvements. However, by the time it was ready, the war had already ended, and unlike the Thompson SMG, which overcame this exact same setback by simply entering the civilian market and making history, the Huot was forgotten by time.
Films — Live-Action
- Clint Eastwood's character in western film Joe Kidd used a customized Ross Rifle to escape from some bounty hunters.
- The 1931 Soviet film Sniper has Russian troops use this rifle for some reason,note alongside their Mosin-Nagants during World War One.
- A Canadian made for TV movie called A Bear Named Winnie had some soldiers training with the Ross rifle. One soldier voiced his complaints about the Ross' flaws before the General snaps, grabs the soldier's rifle, and madly proclaims the rifle the best in the world.
- One of the IRA soldiers in the "Easter Rising" scene of Michael Collins drops one of these while surrendering.
- The Ross Rifle is issued to Canadian troops in Verdun's Horrors of War expansion pack.
- Battlefield 1 allows you to get your hands on the Huot Automatic Rifle. Despite only five of them ever existing, and only used in experimenting. The Ross Mk.III would later appear, in marksman/sniper configuration, as part of the Apocalypse DLC with an infantry version coming in a later update.
- While it's built off a Mosin Nagant, the Mosin Nagant Avtomat from Hunt: Showdown takes heavy inspiration from the Huot Rifle.
- The Allied Forces Rifle DLC for Sniper Elite 4 allows you to get your hands on the Ross Rifle. Fortunately there are no muddy trenches for you to worry about.