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In firearms, the chamber is the portion of the barrel or firing cylinder in which the cartridge is inserted prior to being fired. Rifles and pistols generally have a single chamber in their barrels, while revolvers have multiple chambers in their cylinders and no chamber in their barrel. Thus rifles and pistols can be fired even with a detached magazine, while a revolver cannot be fired with its cylinder swung out.
The act of chambering a cartridge means the insertion of a round into the chamber, either manually or through the action of the weapon, e.g., pump-action, lever-action, bolt action, or automatic action.
See also 
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