STAG Arms AR-15 .22LR Conversion Kit

The STAG Arms. AR-15 .22LR conversion kit comes with the bolt assembly and one magazine. The long one is a 25 round size and for states where magazines are restricted, the ten round smaller size is available. Order the kit directly from STAG for $220 at

To install the kit you pull the two AR pins as you normally would to take down the rifle. Then slide the bolt from the back of the upper.

The replacement bolt slides right in.

If you try to insert the .22 magazine before replacing the bolt, it will not click in. The replacement bolt is recessed to accept the plastic .22 magazine.

As with all .22s, the charging stroke is very short as compared to the normal operation of the rifle. It is probably the only ergonomic difference with practicing with the conversion kit.

The day was overcast so we didn’t have the shutter speed to capture the 4 to 5 rounds of brass in the air for this picture. The kit worked flawlessly and fired the .22LR as fast as you could pull the trigger.

One of the tips for the kit is to make sure to put the original bolt back in the gun when you are done with the conversion kit. No mention is made of why, but it is better to just follow directions sometimes, so that is what we did.

Practice, Practice, Practice! That is what just about every article you read on how to improve your shooting will say. But how do you do that at upwards of a buck a round? There is no cheap surplus .ammo around anymore, so if you really want to punch paper or clang steel a lot you pretty much have to either be a trust fund baby, marry a trust fund baby, or find a way to shoot .22s. At pennies a round and available pretty much everywhere (under normal market conditions), there is no better tool for honing your shooting skills on the cheap than .22 Long Rifle ammo and a gun that shoots it well.

You can of course just go out and buy a regular garden variety .22, like a Ruger 10-22, Remington Nylon 66, Beretta NEOS, and numerous examples from Henry that are very affordable and shoot really well.

The problem with this approach however is that when you practice, most of what you are practicing is muscle memory and natural point of aim. Both of these will be different with a standard .22 than they will with your self defense or competition rifle. You can buy a gun that looks like yours, or even feels like yours, but there will be no substitute for being able to shoot your actual gun with .22 ammo.

That is why, as the popularity of the AR-15 class of rifle has exploded over the last several years, .22 conversion kits have also become very popular. The bore of the .5.56 NATO or .223 Remington AR-15 is the same diameter (or .001 inches off)), as the .22 Long Rifle cartridge. If you can alter the internals of the gun to accept .22s, they shoot very well in an otherwise stock AR.

Conversion kits come in one of two forms. Either they are an entire upper that clips into your lower, or they are a bolt that replaces the bolt in your rifle. The latter is of course more desirable, because retaining the weight of your upper and the sight picture of your sights is extremely important when practicing for any type of accuracy training.

Unfortunately though, .22 conversion kits are famous for not working well. In concept they are great, but when you can only get 3 or 4 rounds out of a gun before it stovepipes a spent shell on you, it turns into just another exercise in frustration. Most of the .22 conversion kits are made by companies that have nothing to do with making actual guns, and they can be a huge disappointment.

That is why when I heard that STAG Arms was coming out with a .22 conversion kit, I thought it was exciting. If you don’t know this, STAG Arms is one of only a handful of companies actually making AR receivers in the US today. Many of the custom shops you see are using STAG receivers, and they are known for quality and consistency. STAG also makes the only left handed receiver for ARs, and a full left handed rifle system that goes with it, in addition to the full rifles they offer in both right and left hand. If anyone is going to do a conversion kit right, it is STAG.

The kit consists of 2 components. There is a drop in bolt and a magazine. The regular magazine is 25 rounds and there is a ten round option for states that still retain that restriction.

We found the system to be easy to install and it worked perfectly. It was installed on a STAG AR, so it should be almost guaranteed to work, but STAG ARs are made to the standard military spec, which is not true for all makers of AR receivers. The plastic magazines do come with a note attached that you may have to file or sand the guide rail to fit your magazine well and catch. On the STAG rifle we obviously didn’t have to.

You will note that we did not do accuracy tests on the kit itself, and there was a reason for that. Ultimately a .22 conversion kit is going to be a slave to the accuracy of the AR you put it in. Proving that out with our STAG test gun was pointless, because the conversion kit was made by the same company and there will be no difference in accuracy between the gun shooting .223 and the same gun shooting .22LR. There will be a difference in bullet drop, and possibly slightly less deviation between the two because of the wind bucking properties of the faster .223 bullet, but a difference in accuracy will not be a function of the kit. Also, unless we established a baseline with the accuracy of a particular ammo in known rifle, we would be comparing apples to oranges regardless. Overall it was outside the scope of this review, and ultimately would have little to do with shooting this kit in your gun.

The kit comes with an instruction sheet that enumerates some other tips for reliable operation:

  • Clean the kit with a bore brush chucked in a drill, soaked with solvent, until it is warm to the touch..
  • Clean every 500 rounds.
  • Do not disassemble the kit itself.
  • Keep the bolt lubricated.
  • Use copper plated .22LR to reduce lead fouling.
  • Do not use a notched hammer.
  • Remington brand .22LR may not work.
  • Underload the magazines at first.
  • Don’t leave the conversion bolt in the gun after shooting, remove it immediately.
  • Do not use the Precision Reflex Gas Buster charging handle.

You will see in the pictures how easy it is to install this kit from STAG. I was amazed that with very little effort we could drop this kit in and shoot .22 all day on the cheap, with a regular out of the box AR, then convert it back in literally seconds. Please check out for more information. They sell it direct to the public to public in both right and left hand versions for $220.

{ 60 comments… add one }
  • Ol' Lonely February 10, 2016, 2:57 pm

    I have a Ruger AR556, will this kit work with it?

  • Drone 4K December 20, 2015, 5:52 am

    What a cool drone, so impatient to offer it to my nephew

  • Lewis November 24, 2013, 9:56 am

    Hi, my personal AR-15 is a 6.8 spc. Will the Stag Arma .22lr adapter work with the size of my barrel? Thanks.

    • Administrator November 24, 2013, 7:49 pm


  • Gladstone Payton September 19, 2013, 11:15 am

    Great info! I was holding out on a conversion kit for my Model 2T, but this helps me with my decision to move forward with getting one. Thanks!

  • Todd August 7, 2013, 11:48 am

    One problem. .22 ammo is nowhere to be found and expensive now. Its the hardest ammo to find anywhere. I think manufacturers have an agreement with Obama to limit supply. 7.62x 39 is probably the best deal right now. Readily available and cheap.

  • Daily Llama August 5, 2013, 5:55 pm

    These modern-day .22LR conversion kits trace their roots back to the days when the DoD jumped on them for el-cheapo training adapters for early ARs – giving these kits an M-261 I.D. number. The military didn’t keep them around very long – for good reasons.

    10 bucks says this entire .22LR Stag Arms conversion kit is *actually* made by CMMG in Columbia, MO; the magazines most certainly are. The “fly in the ointment” why this isn’t quite the best idea for a serious AR owner … has to do with incorrect barrel diameter – yes, the ideal diameter for an M-16 / AR-15 *is* slightly different than, say, your basic Ruger 10-22 carbine. More importantly, however, the internal grooves or “rifling twist rate” for .22LR rounds vs. the MUCH heavier, “hotter” .223 / 5.56mm NATO rounds. The typical “twist” on Enfield-type rifling for standard .22LR rimfire rounds is 1:16; for a standard Stag Arms AR barrel? 1:9 – a *much* faster “spin” on the bullet when fired … This much faster “spin” of a soft lead bullet – even copper-washed .22LR rounds – means you’ll inevitably “load up” the AR barrel MUCH faster than from shooting FMJ .223 or 5.56mm NATO ammunition. Shoot enough .22LR thru an AR barrel and not do a bang-up cleaning job and your AR will likely never shoot the same again. Critics, jump right in here but every gunsmith I’ve queried on the subect agreed!!! With CMMG’s excellent website & customer, you can D.I.Y. assemble a *full* .22LR Upper half for a reasonable price and be shooting .22LRs with the correct barrel – bore diameter AND rifling tiwst rate!

  • kjon24wr August 5, 2013, 3:11 pm

    In regards to the quandry about ammo: WalMart is getting regular shipments of .223/5.56 and .22LR ammo. Most Wally-World stores have imposed a 3 box per customer limit to stop the BS of the 0 dark 30 scavengers/hoarders (especially in the State of Georgia) and they HAVE NOT raised their prices at all. As amatter of fact, the very same 100 rd. bulk Federal .223 FMJ ammo I bought back last August had dropped in priced from $39.99 to $34.95 per box. The .22LR Federal HP bulk 335 rd. box was $12.95. Also check with Gander Mountain. I was in one of their stores in Tuscaloosa, AL a couple of weeks ago and could buy as much of any caliber, style and manufacturer’s ammo from A-Z !!! They had EVERYTHING and I mean EVERYTHING in the way of ammo (pistol and rifle) IN STOCK and priced as before the mad-idiot run on ammo back in December 2012 with NO LIMIT on quantity. P.S. Jonathan Ceiner (located in Florida) makes a great .22LR AR conversion bolt kit also at a cost of arund $125.00. I have owned a Ceiner conversion kit for approximately 4 years now and use it quite frequently in my pre-ban Colt Mil-Spec AR which I have configured to M-4 specs. I have used the Ceiner conversion in several AR configurations across 5 or so different manufacturers uppers (DPMS, LMT, Remington, Stag, Arrow, Windham + more) and have had NO ISSUES with it what-so-ever. I have used it with/without a Gem-Tech M4-02 5.56/.223 suppressor and the many various sub-sonic and high-velocity ammos available with no problems – PERIOD – even when using it with the high and/or hyper velocity ammo and a Slide-Fire bump fire stock for pseudo-full-auto fire !!! It is an absolutely GREAT .22LR converter !!! Happy hunting !!!

  • BRASS August 5, 2013, 12:38 pm

    For police agencies or military units wanting to save money on ammo for tactical training like shoot houses, etc. when the emphasis is on tactics and not marksmanship and at CQB distances I see the advantage. For tactical match and 3 Gun match shooters wanting to get trigger time, maintain muscle memory and get feedback, etc. I get it. For most others I don’t. I can reload 223/556 for around 23 -30 cents a round depending on type and use and not have to worry about a leaded up barrel using 40 grain lead or that at 1 in 7 twist may overspeed my supply of copper plated 36 gr 22 lr ammo. I don’t need hundreds of rounds for practice. Being able to fire hundreds of rounds due to cost is a false advantage for most as they will tend to be sloppy in practice, not making every shot count. For pure target work or plinking, 22 matches and the like other rifles are better suited than an AR. Somehow, at least for me as a retired Marine who is not a cop and won’t be doing any shoot house practice at the local range this doesn’t seem to offer any advantage worth the expense and extra cleaning. Remember that the barrel on your AR is sensitive to how it’s cleaned like any rifle and the likely hurried scrubbing that would undoubtedly take place in the real world vs theory to keep it free of lead may not be the best way to keep it alive and accurate over time. Also, due to higher raw materials prices and market conditions returning to the bulk ammo prices prior to ’08 may never come. Somehow I don’t see a 500 rd brick of almost anything for much less than $30 in the long run and this is expensive just to burn up several times a month.

  • Lee Blackman August 5, 2013, 11:14 am

    Stag builds quality goods, but I still don’t think I’d bother with a conversion. I’m surprised they decided to make a conversion kit given the reputation of the design in general. I’ve had couple thru the years, from various makers, put in various AR’s. None of them ever worked worth a darn. And more time was spend frustratingly trying to clear malfunctions than actually practicing. Personally I would think Stag would have gone with a complete dedicated upper conversion. Or even a complete dedicated 22lr AR like Colt-Uramex and S&W.

  • Evan August 5, 2013, 10:10 am

    I have a STAG AR, but it’s the Model 8 piston one. Will this kit work in a piston rifle or is it DGI only?

  • les August 5, 2013, 9:36 am

    You said you can get 22LR anywhere, I would like to know where. I have looked on line and in every gun shop and Wal-Mart in three states and they are not to be found. Where are they going??????

    • Administrator August 5, 2013, 9:40 am

      That’s the million dollar question. Try the indoor shooting ranges, but they my require that you shoot there. They are getting it.

  • Danny August 5, 2013, 9:06 am

    I just want to get .22 in my area. ..They’re some guys that start their day in Walmart at dark :30 and buy up all the .22 that gets delivered as its set out.

  • john August 5, 2013, 8:14 am

    old article and comments….. 22 ammo is now in the 20 cent/round range so the economy isn’t as good as when the article was written. Has anyone tried to get their hands on any quantity 22 ammo at a decent price? I haven’t seen any since December when all the ammo sources dried up.

    • Administrator August 5, 2013, 8:58 am

      .22 will come back down soon. It already is down when you can get it.

  • Greg August 5, 2013, 7:29 am

    One major benefit to the STAG .22 adapters, they work in piston AR-15s (like STAG’s).

    The regular .22 adapters (e.g. CMMS etc.) will not work at all in one of the piston ARs (Ruger, STAG, H&K, etc. etc.), I found my old adapters that worked just fine in everything else wouldn’t fit in my piston rifles, was that a real disappoint. The STAG is beautifully made, all the regular .22 mags work fine and they’re cheap. I ordered directly from STAG for mine.

    Get an adapter that fits everything vs. having to buy 2.

  • Mike August 5, 2013, 7:10 am

    Two questions…why am I getting this recycled article from 11JAN2011 today 05AUG2013 and when was the last time AR ammo cost twenty cents a round…WTF, over?

    • Administrator August 5, 2013, 9:00 am

      In the summer we cut down the editorial schedule a bit and do reruns, like everyone else. the two top articles were brand new though.

  • Flyingniner August 3, 2013, 2:50 pm

    I purchased the .22 to .223 stag arms conversion kit for my AR and it worked flawlessly. I put 50 rounds down the pipe and not a single misfire or feeding issues. The mag seated and felt secure, but not too snug either. Prior to shooting, I inspected the “construction” of the kit. The welds look great and the overall construction looks quite professionally done. Which of course I would expect! I can say I’m very pleased with it. I was able to sight in my red dot BSA optic (yes, I know, I need a better optic…) and now am shooting 1″ groups at 20 yards. It took about 30 rounds to get dialed in. Shooting 22 was SOOO much cheaper to sight in the optic than it would have been shooting .223. I did take other poster’s advice: I liberally oiled the kit prior to using; I followed up with 1 mag of .223. Cleanup was a bit messy. This could be due to the 22lr rounds, but I suspect I may have been too liberal with the oil.

    while I only have 50 rounds down the pipe, I feel I can say I would recommend it to others. If my opinion were to change, I will update this post.

  • Wade November 6, 2012, 2:54 am

    I know I’m a little late to the game, but don’t you also have to change your barrel for the .22LR round?

    • Administrator November 6, 2012, 9:17 am

      No they are the same diameter. The kit gives you a chamber plug for the 22LR.

  • preston mcfarlen November 1, 2012, 9:28 pm

    do they make a convertion kit for a AR 22 cal to be made into a AR .223 cal?

    • Administrator November 2, 2012, 11:12 am

      No it can’t handle the pressure.

  • Rex October 26, 2012, 7:13 pm

    Im curious, if one has a suppressor on their AR, is it ok to use this conversion kit? Would the suppressor be damaged? ALso, would one need to acquire a separate tax stamp?

    • Greg August 5, 2013, 7:32 am

      .22s are dirty, really dirty. If you can take your “can” apart to clean it, no problem. If you have a suppressor that can’t come apart for cleaning, you’ll be dealing with a lead brick eventually.

      You don’t need another stamp (e.g. if you bought a .30 cal suppressor, you could use it on eveything .30 cal and below legally).

  • Bob Rich June 9, 2012, 10:30 pm

    Are there any legal implications when hunting in a .22LR only Wildlife Management Area with a 5.56 AR set up for .22LR? I just ordered the kit and I’m looking forward to taking it squirrel and woodchuck hunting. I KNOW I’ll be stopped by a CO when they see me with an AR, but I’m hoping I’m legal if I’m not carrying a 5.56 bolt and/or mag. Has anyone run into this issue?

  • Seth June 9, 2012, 6:02 pm

    This video helped me install mine.

  • Mike December 28, 2011, 12:09 am

    I was told to run a couple of cal. .223 rounds through the rifle after I am through with the cal. .22LR conversion and have re-installed the stock BCM.

    The vague explanation I got was that the cal. .223 rounds “clean out” residual powder and other detris left in the barrel after you have run a bunch of cal. .22LR ammo through the rifle.

    I have no idea what kind of residual powder and/or detris would be left after you fire your AR using cal. .22LR rounds..

    • Administrator December 28, 2011, 11:13 am

      That is true of pretty much any lead rounds. It is easiest to just fire a jacket round or two to clean out the gunk that collects in the lands of the rifling.

  • Michael August 2, 2011, 12:30 am

    I’m debating on this or complete deuce deuce upper. Nice site!

  • Fred June 7, 2011, 9:32 am

    i have a cap and ball black powder gun W H Forker anyone knows what it is worth?

    • Rock Locke August 5, 2013, 8:03 am

      Whatever someone will pay for it.

  • Don March 5, 2011, 7:35 pm

    Do you know why it is that Remington .22LR may not work with this kit? I have a Kimber conversion kit for a model 1911 and I have tried a number of types of .22 LR ammunition in it and Remington Golden ejects and feeds the most reliably, I assume because it may be a bit hotter than Federal or Winchester.

    • Rick March 15, 2011, 6:42 pm

      Some are a bit hotter, some are a bit lighter, and some do not even fire. The Goldens are ok if you are there just to burn the powder, I would not recommend them for hunting or anything you want accuracy from. From my experience there are some rounds so hot that the casing changes colors and some so light it will not work my action. I might expect that from different lots, but not in the same box. As with any rimfire, try multiple types of ammo until you find the one that works best, and the cost factor, even the cheapest .223 is $5 for 20, and the high-grade (non-target) .22’s are $6 for 100. That is $1 more for 80 extra shots. That is savings.

      The biggest concern I have is cleanliness. I can fire 100 rounds of .223 and the rifle is not as dirty as 10 rounds of .22LR. Depending on your rifle the cost may not outweigh the savings.

  • Bruce March 4, 2011, 12:25 am

    I don’t think 22LR are so cheap anymore. Around $20.00+ per 550 value pack. They use to be less then $8.00. That is way cheaper then the CCI Stingers ect. Still cheaper then 5.56. If you want to talk cheaper get an air rifle, Or maybe a airsoft gun. At lest some of the airsoft guns looks like the

    • Daily Llama January 6, 2012, 3:35 pm

      Bruce, I think youve missed the key reason to convert a 5.56 NATO / .223 weapon to cheaper – not dirt-cheap – .22LR rounds: I think all of us AR shooters can agree that given a choice between the 5.56 or .223 rounds vs. the .22LRs, we’d choose to shoot the higher-velocity rounds all day!

      So getting the constant feel – the trigger pull, the repeated accuracy of practicing cheek location on the stock, eye location and distance from any optical sights … You just don’t pick up an AR the first day – I surely wasn’t able to! – and have “the touch” required to shoot to a high level of accuracy and precision. Can’t be done.

      So the abailty to shoot the EXACT SAME RIFLE – my Stag Arms 1*L* is already retty darned unique to begin with because it’s a left-side eject model! – so using *much* less expensive .22LR rounds really builds confidence when I switch back and load the expensive stuff. In fact, this scenario really “holds water” because with my scope having a M.O.A. reticle, I dead-sighted my Stag 1L on the cheaper .22LR ammo, then converted back to the standard 5.56 / .223 bolt assembly, took a “best guess” shot with the eyeball adjustment into the scope … and was high – but adjustable – noted what my scope setting was for the .22 rounds, made a multiple-click adjustment ( noted it), fired a “refined setting” round … and was so #%€&$# close to dead-on I was shocked!!! Calm day so no windage adjustments needed and of the 9 total rounds I fired on my sight-in with the new AR and a scopevthat had only been laser bore-sighted, the first round was a little over 2 inches left and required the appropriate clicks-adjustment. The next 8 – 4 of the .22LR and al 4 of the .223s were dead-on fir windage.

      So I”m “dead on” for windage and just a few clicks away from – for all practical purposes, even taking small game – dead-on for elevation despite switching from low-velocity .22LRs back-n.forth with .223s.

      Knowing the ballistic characteristics of the true 5.56 NATO rounds, I’m just a couple of clicks from being dead-on for elevation there, too.

      And, really, by firing less that a half-dozen .22LRs and just *2* of the costlier .223s.

      Yeah, the conversion kit cast me 220.00 and 30.00 for the little laser bore sight … but I really now have the EXACT SAME RIFLE **feel** with all 3 calibers of ammunition.

      Maybe it’s just me … but that’s worth quite a bit as far as time and confidence when it counts.

      • CB January 16, 2012, 9:13 pm

        I have the same 1L and just got the conversion kit and like it… what scope do you have on your Stag– I’m shopping for one.

  • Buck Cording March 1, 2011, 10:40 pm

    I have a custom made AR-15 with a DPMS left handed receiver.

    Will your .22 cal conversion work in this receiver?

    • Syvan March 2, 2011, 5:04 pm

      Buck –
      No it will not work. These bolts are not compatible with left hand ejection.

      • Jimbo March 3, 2011, 11:01 pm

        yes they will. Stag is the ONLY manufacturer to have left hand ejection.

        • J.Blade May 31, 2011, 11:10 pm

          I use a left-handed STAG & use the CCMG 22lr conversion(left-hand) kit. STAGG had a hand in designing great though in the beginning you may have to make minor adjustments to the ar1522 magazines. I tell you, I pumped out 1500 rounds in a couple of hours at the range. I did notice that some 22lr ammo have a thick lube(coating) on the round. My conversion kit works best with clean ammo. I shoot Federals, in my weapon this is the best ammo as far as feed and cycle.

          • Evan August 5, 2013, 10:06 am

            Why would anyone buy a left-handed AR? I’m a lefty too, but when I learned to shoot in the Marines, they gave me the same rifle as anyone else. Modern ARs come with a brass deflector, so lefties aren’t affected either way, and ambidextrous selector switches are easily available too. A lefty rifle is a crutch, nothing else.

  • Dan Duffy March 1, 2011, 3:01 am

    Great articles and I will be looking for the blog page email every week. I don’t have an AR but will now consider one since I can almost affort to shoot it with 22 ammo. I like cci except for the price so I will have to check and see what Speer has in 22.

    When I finish using up the remington junk that i bought (cheap shot) I will be looking for an alternate for reasonably priced quality ammo. For us retardees it is hard to shoot on a fixed income so we have to pinch our pennies when we can.

    Thanks for good info.

  • Mike Pittman March 1, 2011, 1:32 am

    From the appearance of the kit & magizines they are very similar to the ones we used in the Air Force back in the early 80’s. They worked very well unless the feed lips on the mag got bent. Also one way to remove the leading of the barrel was to fire a couple of FMJ’s at the end of the day then clean the weapon as normal.

    • Seth March 1, 2011, 6:40 pm

      From experiance if you fire FMJ 5.56mm ammo directly after shooting .22 lr you will end up takin weeks to remove the lead that you inadvertantly glued to your new smooth bore AR-15. Though Yes the units are nearly identical to the old Air Force units, but they are not the exact same so magazines are not interchangable.

  • Sniper61 February 28, 2011, 11:00 pm

    Any commentary on how the difference in twist rate affects the smaller, slower 22LR rounds? I had heard previously that the relatively fast twist of a .223/5.56 barrel negatively impacts accuracy compared to what you could get out of a purpose built 22LR platform with the proper twist rate.

    Also, the obvious reason to put the original bolt back in the gun after practicing with the conversion (apparently per the instructions) is that, should you need the weapon, it should be ready to accept and fire .223/5.56 ammo, otherwise you will be plinking when you should be unleashing real firepower.

    • Administrator February 28, 2011, 11:17 pm

      We are updating the article tomorrow with accuracy info. It shot into 1.3″ at 100 yards with iron sights.

    • 50BMG March 1, 2011, 1:49 pm

      Sounds like a pretty sweet kit. Wonder how it compares to CMMG’s.

      I’m thinkin’ that if I needed to ‘unleash… real firepower’ then .223 would not be what I’d choose personally. Just one man’s opinion though.

  • Sterling Streich February 28, 2011, 8:20 pm

    Hello my name is Sterling could tell me how long it takes to receve one of these rifles & the total cost with shipping to Washington state thanks Sterling.

    • Administrator February 28, 2011, 10:39 pm

      You have to order from the STAG website. It has a shopping cart. It isn’t a rifle it is a kit to put in your existing rifle.

  • James1300 February 28, 2011, 5:42 pm

    Just posted a LINK to your BLOG on
    Great way to enjoy your AR-15 while shooting the less expensive ammo.

  • zeke January 11, 2011, 12:12 am

    Thanks for the review. I just ordered one.

    • RYAN GROUNDS January 20, 2013, 6:10 pm

      Hello where did you buy your conversion kit?

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