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MOA vs. Mil-Dot/MRAD – Guide on the Best for Hunting and Shooting

When it comes to rifle scopes, the MOA vs. MRAD comparison has been a long-standing debate amongst gun enthusiasts. While both of these types of rifle scopes offer their share of advantages, the only way to find out which one is the best option for you is to consider various factors of the MRAD vs MOA scopes.

What is Mil-Dot/MRAD vs MOA? Which is better for what situation?

Keeping that in mind, the following lines are going to answer all your questions regarding MRAD and Mils vs MOA so that you can make a more informed decision the next time you’re in the market for a rifle scope.

What is MOA?

Let’s begin with the question of what is Minute of Angle (MOA)? There are many hunters and rifle enthusiasts who come across the term MOA but don’t quite know what it means. Here, we are going to take a closer look at MOA and provide you with all the information you need to know about it when getting a scope.

What does MOA Mean?

MOA stands for ‘Minute-of-Angle.’ In layman terms, it denotes a 1/60th degree in an angle for every minute. This is oftentimes confusing to the beginner mainly because we often think of a minute as a unit of time, but for a shooter, the minute relates to a degree of an angle and can go all the way down to a second.

Since the circle of the reticle on a riflescope has 360 degrees, 180 degrees is a half-circle, and 90 degrees is a quarter, which means that measuring 1/60th degree of the rifle scope while being a very minute change, can make a big difference when going downrange. However, that difference is mainly going to depend on how the dials can be adjusted on the scope, whether it’s at measurements of 1/8, 1/6, ½, or 1 on the dial.

What Does 2 MOA Mean on a Scope?

At 100 yds, the Minute of Angle (MOA) is 1 inch. This means that when the adjustment of the scope has been calibrated to the point of aim of 2 MOA, the bullet will hit approximately two inches below and sideways of the bullseye at 100 yards.

MOA is an important measurement unit that is used when it comes to scopes and reticles because, once fired, bullets tend to travel in an arc that’s consequential to the earth’s gravity. This arc is measured in angles and degrees to get a better idea of where the bullet is going to hit the target. In the United States, MOA is the preferred choice since its measurement correlates to the inch measuring system.

Scope Turret Adjustments

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How Many Clicks is 1 MOA?

When measuring the MOA of a scope and reticle, one MOA usually equals to 4 clicks. That being said, it mainly depends on the quality of the scope you’re using. For instance, in some cheap scopes, you will find a ½ MOA per click. In that case, the 1 MOA adjustment is two clicks. So, it’s important to keep these little details in mind.

But what does all this even mean? It means that one click can result in a 1/4 inch of change in where the bullet is going to hit the target once fired when you center your reticle on the target. When the shooter makes 4 clicks, which is 1 MOA, you can say that the shooter has set the scope to 1 MOA or 1 inch to hit a target at 100 yards. Keeping that in mind, 8 clicks are equal to 2 MOA or 2 inches at 100 yards.

How Many Inches Are in 1 MOA?

The short answer to this question is that 1 MOA is equal to 1 inch for every 100 yards, but to be exact, each MOA equals 1.047 inches. This basically means that 2 MOA will measure exactly 2.094 inches. To get the right measurement, you can multiply 1.047 by the distance (yards) and then divide that number by 100.

As a very general rule of thumb, you can use the 1 inch for every 100 yards for 1 MOA. This works well for short ranges of a few hundred yards. At longer ranges, the rounding error of using 1 inch produces more significant errors that you’d have to deal with.

If you, for example, take a distance of 1,000 yards then the difference between calculating with 1 inch per 100 yards vs. 1.047 inches results in 0.47 inches. While that’s not a huge rounding error, when you’re target shooting at 1,000 yards or more, it can be significant enough so that you want to use the correct calculations.

Does Magnification Change MOA?

Magnification allows the shooter to achieve better accuracy while placing the MOA on the target. This means that there is typically no change to the MOA due to the magnification.

For instance, scope optics that have a 10-power magnification will be considered to have a 1 MOA at 100 yards with the magnification set at 10x. The MOA is considered to be the most accurate when the magnification of the optic is set at the highest level.

MOA vs. MRAD - Are mils better than minute of angle?

How Much is 1 MOA at 100/200/400/1000 Yards?

For shooters, a rule of thumb is 1 MOA for every 100 yds, so 2 MOA is 200 yards, 4 MOA is 400 yards, 10 MOA or 10.47 inches at 1,000 yards, and so on.

As you can see the distance gets more impactful for long-range shots for 1,000 yards. It does make sense that for long-range targeting you need an MOA based scope with better glass and accuracy and smaller increments for adjustments of windage and elevation.

What is MIL Dot/MRAD?

MIL or MRAD stands for milliradian and is used to measure a unit of angle. MIL or MRAD is an SI derived unit that is used for the angular measurement to define a thousandth of a radian or 0.001 radians of a rifle scope reticle. If you were paying attention during physics class, you’d know that SI derived units are the base units of measurement specified by the International System of Units (SI).

Neither MIL/MRAD nor MOA are based on either the metric system or the imperial system. Both are angular measurements and only have a metric or imperial length or distance when you combine it with a distance at which you measure the offset of the angle in a circle.

What Does MIL/MRAD Mean?

The MIL or MRAD is used to refer to milliradian, which is what an angular unit of measurement is called. In a riflescope, there are 360 degrees, and you can divide each of the 360-degree circles into 6.283 radians. Each radian will be of 57.3 degrees.

Scope turrets MRAD vs MOA

How Many MILS is a Degree?

MILS is a unit of measurement that is used to divide radians in a 360-degree circle. Each radian is 57.3 degrees, which means that there are 6.2832 radians in a 360-degree circle, and 1000 milliradians in 1 radian. This means that there is 1 MIL @ 100 yds, which equals 3.6 inches or 10 centimeters.

How Many Clicks is 1 MIL Dot?

Every MIL is equal to 3.6 inches at 100 yards when looking through a rifle scope. This means that 1/10th of that or 0.1 MIL equals one click at 0.36 inches at 100 yards.

The common ¼ inch increment that can be found in most rifle scopes nowadays is the result of this. However, not all riflescopes are made equal, which means these values may vary, depending on the manufacturer of the riflescope.

How Many Inches is 1 MIL?

The distance between the centers of any two adjacent dots on a MILDOT scope and reticle equals 1 MIL, which is 3.6 inches at 100 yards.

Does Magnification Change Mil-Dot/MRAD?

When the shooter increases the magnification of the scope, the distance that is spanned between the two dots is decreased. In other words, setting the right level of magnification on the scope according to each distance can result in an accurate MIL aiming point.

However, on the second-focal-plane system, making adjustments to the magnification is not going to alter the size of the reticle.

How Much is 1 MIL Dot/MRAD at 100/200/400/1000 Yards?

1 Mil @ 100 yards adds up to 3.6 inches, 7.2 inches at 200 yards, 14.4 inches at 400 yards, and 36 inches 1000 yards. You can see that this turns into a huge impact when you’re looking at long-range shooting.

Similar to MOA measurements, the impact of the absolute distance for long-range targeting is significantly higher than at short distances in a MIL based scope and reticle. Long-range shooters need a scope with small incremental changes to elevation and windage which is often the case for MIL based scopes as they provide increments of 1/10th MRAD.

What is the Difference Between MIL and MOA?

One MIL is equal to 3.6 inches at 100 yards, and one MOA is equal to 1.047 inches at 100 yards. When you compare mils vs MOA then you can convert MOA into mils by dividing it by 3.43, while mils can be converted into MOA by multiplying it by 3.43.

As you can see it’s pretty straightforward to convert from MOA to Mil and the other way around. However, you’ll have to have a calculator to estimate the drop at 100 yards when looking a Mil vs MOA conversions.

Which is Easier to Use – MOA or MRAD?

While each person has their preference when it comes to simply measure meters or centimeters for that matter, then MRAD is considered easier to calculate on-the-fly. However, if you are a person who thinks in inches and yards, then MOA would be a better option.

However, there is no ultimate right or wrong when you compare Mil vs MOA and consider whether milliradian or minute of angle is easier to use. MIL based scopes and reticles are usually the choice for long-distance shooters.

Comparing MOA and MRAD

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Is MRAD or MOA More Accurate?

Again, different shooters will have their own preference when it comes to using either MRAD or MOA, but when it comes to accuracy while aiming at targets farther away, MOA offers better accuracy. This is often negated by the fact that the increments for adjusting windage and elevation on a riflescope are more granular on scopes using MRAD measurements.

This is mainly because after a distance of 1,000 yards, 1 MOA is equal to 10 inches, which means that every click of the MOA is 2.5 inches. When comparing MRAD vs MOA on a click to click basis, then an MOA based scope and reticle comes out as being slightly more accurate.

When using the same measurements for MRAD it should be noted that mostly MRAD can be adjusted in 1/10th clicks. As a result, it offers a more precise level of adjustment when it comes to measuring long distances so a MIL-based scope is usually better suited for long-range targeting and shooting.

MRAD offers slightly less accuracy when it comes to long-range shooting. This is mainly because many scopes can be adjusted to .1 MRAD or 1/10th of a Milliradian per click. At 1,000 yards 1/10th MRAD equates to 3.6 inches while a typical adjustment of 1/4th MOA equals 2.5 inches. So, if you can shoot 1-inch groups at 1,000 yards then you would want to prefer MOA over MIL. Otherwise, it’s pretty close and a negligible difference for most shooters and hunters when looking at MOA and MIL measurements for your scope.

How Many Clicks on a Scope is an Inch?

If you are shooting at a target that is 100 yards away, then four clicks will be enough to move the bullet by one inch. The same principle can be applied in scopes that use 1/8 MOA per click, which will take 8 clicks to equal a single MOA. When the target is at 100 yards, the 8 clicks will move the scope’s aim to the point of impact of one inch.

Mils vs MOA turrets

This is great for the shooter since it allows them to break up the space ten times between each mil for a better corresponding adjustment of the scope while taking aim. Normally, rifle scopes that have marked turrets of one click equal to 1 cm at 100 meters away.

But, you could also say that it equals .36 inches per click at 100 yards, which is also correct. That being said, many manufacturers are returning to the .1 MRAD per click setting, which is considered to be a more accurate marking and is the point that shooters strive to achieve.

How Many MOA is a MIL?

In a 360-degree circle, there are 21,600 MOA, which means that one MIL has 3.4377 MOA at 100 yards, which equals to 3.599 inches.

Does the Military Use MOA or MRAD?

The US military uses MOA (minute of angle) to teach bullet trajectory and MIL to teach optics. It is good to understand both, which makes it easier to use a rifle scope and aim more accurately.

What should you pick? Which one is right?

Considering the differences outlined above, it can actually be pretty straightforward.

If you are shooting or hunting medium ranges and are comfortable with either MIL or MOA, then stick with what you know. Keep it simple and manageable. Don’t overcomplicate things.

If you’re long-range target shooting and you’re with a bunch of friends at the range and one spots for the other, then stick with what the majority goes with. If everybody uses the same system then it will be easier to adjust for windage, elevation, and holdover. You’ll avoid a lot of confusion if everybody is using the same measurements.

It is easier for many people to think and calculate in the decimal or metric system. It definitely beats the angle calculations for nearly everyone. Thus, a MIL-based scope can make the math easier.

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What is MilDot/MRAD vs MOA? Which is better for what situation?
Aaron Bennett