Last updated on December 24th, 2022 at 12:31 pm
MIL and MOA are units of measurement used in rifle scopes to calculate distances. Both figures reflect the angles that can be seen through the scope. These measurements are made using MILs, or milliradians, which use a rise of 57.3 degrees. MOA stands for Minute of Angle. A circle has 21,600 minutes which provides a basis for estimating distance.
MOA is the most often used technique for measuring rifle scopes. The majority of rifle sight producers offer scopes for both types of measurements. Shooting sports, however, are dominated by MOA. Both measurement types must understand how they relate to range adjustments for your scope.
We should at least understand the facts about Mil vs Moa because this argument between milliradians (mils) and (minute of angle) MOA will never resolve. Let’s proceed further!
Difference Between MOA and MIL
Let’s get detailed knowledge about mil vs moa adjustments:
Explained Mils (Milliradians)
Milliradians are referred to as “Mils.” It does not mean “military,” despite the widespread misconception. An angle within a circle is measured in milliradians. Trigonometry is needed to comprehend how a milliradian is estimated. However, that is outside the preview of this page. When looking through a mil-based scope, you will notice a series of dots or hash marks on either side of the vertical and horizontal crosshairs.
What you need to know about mils is that they are the dots or hash marks you see while looking through your scope along with your crosshairs. The space between these dots, a typical sighting distance for hunting rifles at 100 yards, corresponds to a target height of 3.6 inches. The representative distance between your mil-dots or hash marks changes depending on whether you get closer or farther away from your target.
Just a brief note on scope adjustments while sighting it in. You will hit your target 3.6 inches high if you are shooting at a target from 100 yards away, and the bullet hits the target center left-to-right but impacts at the first dot above the crosshairs top-to-bottom. When you dial on your turret, you’ll need to know how much of an adjustment needs crosshairs.
Most contemporary mil-based scopes adjust in 0.1 mil steps. Therefore, you must move the crosshairs down ten times on the wheel to hit your target dead center.
Explained MOA (Minute of Angle)
The term “minute of angle” or MOA, just like milliradians, a minute of angle is a measurement of a curve within a circle. The bigger of the two is mils, yet they are different sizes. Mils are more difficult to comprehend than minutes of arc, though. Minutes are merely a scaled-down version of the degree. A degree is made up of 60 minutes, just as an hour.
When looking through your MOA scope, you usually see your crosshairs and lines or dashes on both the vertical and horizontal axes. In the 100-yard example from before, the space between these dashes corresponds to a goal height of 1.047 inches. 1.047 inches is so close to 1 inch that it can round down, even though there is a standard known as Shooter’s Minute of Angle (SMOA), where that value is a real 1 inch between dashes.
Being a beginner or a professional doesn’t matter. What matters is which measurement method you are more familiar with: The US Standard system (inches, yards, and feet) or the metric system (centimeters and meters)?
If you’re more accustomed to using the metric system, using the Mil makes using the scope and performing the necessary computations simpler. The MOA, on the other hand, makes working with inches and yards easier if you’re more accustomed to utilizing the US Standard method.
When it comes to mil vs moa for hunting, they are once again tied. To counteract gravity, most hunters put their reticle’s sights slightly higher than their target when shooting at close range. A long-range scope, some accuracy, and some mathematical problem-solving are required for long-range shots.
There are two opposing schools of thought for short and long-range shooting. One is that MOA works well when you are most familiar with inches and yards. The second is that Mil is better for hunters who prefer using centimeters and meters. While both make sense and make things easier, they are not the end-all-be-all of shooting. You can still do some calculations in your head to convert them to the necessary measurements.
If you want to have highly long-range shots, FFP (First Focal Plane) mil scopes with 0.1 mil increments marked on the elevation and windage crosshairs offer a distinct advantage. With the metric system included, you can use it to mil for target size and distance, and you’re done.
But if you’re unfamiliar with this, measuring precisely to the 1/10th or even smaller is pretty challenging. Additionally, it results in an extremely busy reticle, which can require long-range shots.
It is useless to argue back, and forth about which system is superior. However, if we use the accuracy justification above, it becomes clear that MOA enables finer adjustments at greater distances.
Even more precise adjustments of 1/8 MOA increments are available for MOA scopes. To use those adjustments at long range, you must utilize exact formula that uphold the principle that 1 MOA equals 1.047 inches.
The apparent ease of use of MOA comes from a small mathematical trick. Millions of riflescopes have this printed on them because it is so common. At 100 yards, one-inch equals one minute of angle; at 200 yards, two minutes, and so on.
There is no convenient round number included in the mil system for computations. At 100 yards, one mil is equivalent to 3.6″. Since most mil turrets are adjusted in steps of .1 mil, if you are 3.6″ tall, you would need to move the turret down by ten clicks. The same is true when using mil-dots or hash marks as holdovers. The giant hashes or dots represent one complete mil of adjustment, typically separated by 14 or 15 marks for holdover.
|Range (Yards)||Elevation (Mil)||Elevation (MOA)|
|500||3.5 Inches||12.0 Inches|
|600||4.9 Inches||16.7 Inches|
|700||6.6 Inches||22.6 Inches|
|800||8.6 Inches||29.6 Inches|
There are numerous options available so consider it a mil vs moa chart. There are two different mil vs moa reticle types: an MOA reticle used with MOA turrets and, an MOA reticle with mil turrets. Some people prefer a matching system, so they never have to switch between the two.
You’ll need to do a little math to convert between the mil vs moa scope measurements, but it won’t be too challenging. You need to know one new fact: 1 mil is equivalent to 3.438 MOA. Let’s assume that our hypothetical scope has a mil-dot reticle and that 1-MOA increments are used for turret adjustments. Again, if you are shooting from 100 yards and your target is off by 1 mil-dot in any direction, you must adjust 1 mil or 3.438 MOA.
You will need to set our 1-MOA adjustable turret 3 to 4 clicks in the right direction. Although these modifications aren’t perfect, as you can see, they should still place you within a half-inch of your desired position. If you compare 110 mil vs 14 moa, then moa has the advantage over mil.
On the market, mil scopes outnumber MOA scopes. Does this indicate a rise in popularity? No, not always. Because MOA is compatible with the unit of measurement that shooters are most familiar with, MOA scopes and reticles are becoming more popular.
However, when the military employs a particular system, the general public notices and wants to adopt it, attracting hunters. NATO-based cartridges that outsell possibly superior cartridges on the market are evidence of this.
Whether it’s part of their business strategy or simply a more straightforward production choice to perfect one design, manufacturers outside the United States likewise find it simpler to industrialize down to only producing mil scopes.
Does this imply that mils are superior to MOA? No, because there isn’t a natural advantage. Mil scopes do predominate the market, and the same is true of the spotting scope market. However, we know that other spotters, such as the Burris Signature HD with the SCR MOA scope, are also releasing MOA reticles. But the winner is still apparent.
MOA and mil-dot have no advantage over Mil when compared to each other. What you are better knowledgeable about and what system you are more at ease with will ultimately determine your best choice.
According to conventional wisdom, MOA is considerably more straightforward for people accustomed to using American measurements because it integrates well with inches and yards. Mils can be used with both the imperial and metric systems. However, individuals familiar with the metric system will find working with mils simpler.
One radian, or 5.83 degrees, equals 6.2832 (x 2) radians in a circle. Since there are 1000 milliradians in a radian, 6,283 milliradians (or mils) are in a process. As a result, 1 mil at 100 yards equals 3.6 inches and 10 cm at 100 meters.
A fast division yields 3.4377 MOA per mil because there are 21,600 MOA in a circle. 3.4377 MOA equals 3.599 inches at 100 yards (3.4377 x 1.047). At 100 yards, one mil is equivalent to 3.6 inches when rounded.