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The cartridge is often referred to simply as .22 LR ("twenty-two-/ˈɛl/-/ˈɑr/") and various rifles, pistols, revolvers, and even some smoothbore shotguns have been manufactured in this caliber. The cartridge originated from the Flobert BB cap of 1845 through the .22 Smith & Wesson cartridge of 1857, and was developed by the American firearms manufacturer J. Stevens Arms & Tool Company in 1887 by combining the casing of the .22 Long with the 40-grain bullet of the .22 Extra Long. For many decades, it has been a very popular cartridge around the world. It is one of the few cartridges that are accepted by a large variety of rifles, as well as pistols. The .22 Long Rifle and related cartridges (.22 Short, .22 Long, and .22 Extra Long) use a heeled bullet, which means that the bullet is the same diameter as the case, and has a narrower "heel" portion that fits in the case.

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