The .220 Russian (5.6×39mm) cartridge was developed in the late 1950s for deer hunting in Russia. It is a 7.62×39mm cartridge necked down to hold a 5.6 mm bullet. It was later adopted by Finland, and by around 1965 was being produced by SAKO and Lapua. When it was introduced to the United States, Sako, and later Lapua, brass was stamped ".220 Russian".
In the Soviet Union, several hunting rifles were designed for this cartridge; the bolt-action carbine "Bars" («Барс»), the TOZ-84-20/5,6 (ТОЗ-84-20/5,6) and TOZ-84-28/5,6 (ТОЗ-84-28/5,6), and the MTs-105-35 (МЦ-105-35) and MTs-127 (МЦ-127).
This round was also used in the TKB-022PM5 bullpup assault rifle, and in development of the standard-issue 5.45×39mm round.
In the Russian Federation, several hunting rifles were designed for this cartridge; the IJ-94 "Sever" (ИЖ-94 "Север"), "Saiga-5,6" ("Сайга-5,6"), and "Saiga-5,6S" ("Сайга-5,6С").