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Iron-oxide films were grown by reactive pulsed laser deposition (PLD) from a metallic Fe target in a controlled oxygen environment. Films of γ-Fe2O3 grew epitaxially on MgO with an iron-deficient stoichiometry. The saturation magnetization was 400±19 kA/m. The Faraday rotation was 1.9 deg/μm at 645 nm, and the absorption coefficient varied between 4 and 30 μm-1 in the wavelength range of 300-2000 nm. The properties are compared to those of γ-Fe2O3 grown by PLD from an oxide target.