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I'm not sure, but I read somewhere once that the .222 versions were intended for export to countries where possession of military calibers was forbidden. I don't know the numbers made but it probably wasn't too many.

The original .223 round was called the ".222 Special" but was given a new designation due to potential mixing up of ammunition in the wrong rifle.
 

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IIRC... They were made for sale in France....
 
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