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Why do 99% scopes have MOA knobs and Mil reticles?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Lucky, Mar 25, 2009.

  1. Lucky

    Lucky Well-Known Member

    I can understand they'd have money invested in the machines to make MOA clickers. So why not just make MOA reticles to match? Nightforce has one or two, but do people really enjoy doing extra redundant math? Is it that important to copy something the militaries use, even if it makes less sense?
  2. n00b

    n00b Well-Known Member


    I am not sure what you mean...

    Mil Dots are usually used to help range est. MOA is used to measure group and/or correct POI. Two very different task. (Yes you can use Mil Dot for hold over marks but as far as I know that is not its primary job.)

    If you had a scope that had MOA markings in the Reticle you would have way too many marks.

    For example if you had a scope that had a 10' feild of view at 100yards and it was marked in MOA you would have 120 marks... that would be a little too busy (at least for me).
  3. lipadj46

    lipadj46 Well-Known Member

    First of all moa and mil dots are just 2 different units of measuring the same thing and they are not that different from each other in magnitude. Also there are things called fractions (turrets clicks are generally a fraction of an MOA) so just because some cannot wrap their head around it does not mean it would not make more sense :evil: Here is a moa reticle from nightforce and to me it looks very logical in layout:


    To the OP yes it would make more sense and yes it would cut out a step of math and I have no idea why more scopes are not setup that way. It is probably just a traditional thing but it makes way more sense to a lot of people I would guess.
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2009
  4. Lucky

    Lucky Well-Known Member

    Nope, just different spacing of the lines that would exactly equate to the adjustments on the knobs, minutes instead of mils. I found a scope, eventually, that had mil turrets to match the reticule, but you'd think reticules like the NF one would be the rule, not the exception.

    You could use minutes to measure stuff too.
  5. Zak Smith

    Zak Smith Moderator Staff Member

    It's because of "legacy thinking."

    It makes way more sense to have matching angular systems on the knobs and reticle.

    Most of the LR shooters I shoot with have gone either MOA/MOA or mils/mils. Nightforce and USO have MOA/MOA and mil/mil options. S&B and Premier have mil/mil options.

    IMO, mils/mils make more sense.

    If you spot a miss (yours or your partner's) in your mil reticle and then want to give a correction, they're not that different after all. There are a number of tasks one accomplishes using the reticle features and knobs, and they are almost all easier if the systems match.

  6. RyanM

    RyanM Well-Known Member

    Probably logistics. I guess you've mainly been looking at military/tactical type scopes, since the majority of "hunting/sporting" scopes seem to just have plain old crosshair reticles. Standardized MOA clicks for all the scopes, even the mil-dot ones, means they're cheaper to make.

    And mil-dots can work fine for holdover, just takes a bit of math and a lot of luck with your ammo's trajectory. Like here's a reference chart I made for my AES-10B.


    Attached Files:

  7. Zak Smith

    Zak Smith Moderator Staff Member

    The 3-12x50 S&B scope recently adopted by the USMC is mils/mils.

    To convert MOA dope to mils, simply divide by 3.43
  8. benzy2

    benzy2 Well-Known Member

    RyanM - That was the point I thought of the thread. They all work, its just more math and more time consuming. I would love to have a scope with MOA marks on the reticle. It makes a lot of sense since I have a good understanding of MOA. I wouldn't mind if the scope manufacturers moved to mils either, it would just take a little bit more effort to get used to the conversions before I was decent with the scope. I would absolutely love to have MOA hash marks on a scope, without having to spend NF money.

    EDIT: Zak Smith - I can't divide by 3.43 in my head though maybe by 3.5 and hope its close enough.
  9. Zak Smith

    Zak Smith Moderator Staff Member

    Well, the point is if the systems match you don't have to. Old data can be converted over (once) easily.

    In any case, in the practical long-range shooting scope market, the manufacturers do offer matching systems of your choice (some even IPHY as well)
  10. MCMXI

    MCMXI Well-Known Member

    Zak, what are the benefits of Mil/Mil vs MOA/MOA or vice versa? I would think that a MOA reticle would be quite "busy". Out of interest, do you see more Mil/Mil scopes ... I would think so?

    All of my Mark 4 scopes have Mil reticles and MOA knobs but it's not a problem for me yet since I'm not lucky enough to have a long-range practical shooting club near me. For the "long-range" matches that I shoot my set up is fine since I have plenty of time to dial in any necessary adjustments. In fact, my setup would probably work quite well in a practical scenario given the bullet drop in Mils below. Rounding to the nearest 1/2 or 1/4 Mil would work quite well if the objective is to stay under 2 MOA.

    100 yards = -0.44 mils
    200 yards = O mils
    300 yards = 0.63 mils
    600 yards = 2.99 mils
    800 yards = 4.93 mils
    1000 yards = 7.22 mils

  11. Zak Smith

    Zak Smith Moderator Staff Member

    There are more mil reticles out there than MOA reticles, so the chances someone will be spotting your shots with a mil reticle is higher. 0.1 mil is slightly more coarse than 0.25 MOA (typical click values), but finer than 0.5 MOA (actually it's 0.34 MOA). Mil dope numbers are in "decimal" fractions and the fraction is a number of clicks (ie, 3.4 is to 3 mils and 4 clicks past); whereas MOA dope numbers typically end in 0.25, 0.5, 0.75 which correspond to 1, 2, or 3 clicks (ie, some conversion necessary). Mil dope numbers are also less digits. A mil is a "unitless" fraction which is easy to remember (1 part transverse in 1000 parts length).

    MOA reticles aren't necessarily busy. They key is that the features are based on MOA-based intervals, not necessarily "every MOA."

    Another thing to think about is windage. In field-style matches, it is uncommon for people to dial wind-- we hold it with reticle features based on our wind call and the "full value" on our data sheet.

    If you have systems that match, you can use a combination of reticle + knobs for any specification or correction (from spotted hit/miss).

  12. gbran

    gbran Well-Known Member


    That chart makes way too much sense. Gud job.
  13. Zak Smith

    Zak Smith Moderator Staff Member

    Here's how my .308 data looks when printed in both mils and MOA:
    308 155 LAP @ 2925
    Z 100yd  6200'DA
    RANGE  ELEV-  moa    mil     | WIND(10) moa   mil   RANGE
      50    0"    1.00   0.3mil  |   0"   0.25   0.1mil   50
     100    0"    0.00   0.0mil  |   0"   0.50   0.1mil  100
     150    1"    0.50   0.1mil  |   1"   0.75   0.2mil  150
     200    3"    1.25   0.3mil  |   2"   1.00   0.3mil  200
     250    6"    2.25   0.6mil  |   3"   1.25   0.3mil  250
     300   10"    3.25   0.9mil  |   4"   1.50   0.4mil  300
     350   16"    4.25   1.3mil  |   6"   1.75   0.5mil  350
     400   23"    5.50   1.6mil  |   8"   2.00   0.6mil  400
     450   32"    6.75   2.0mil  |  11"   2.25   0.7mil  450
     500   43"    8.25   2.4mil  |  13"   2.50   0.7mil  500
     550   55"    9.50   2.8mil  |  16"   2.75   0.8mil  550
     600   69"   11.00   3.2mil  |  20"   3.00   0.9mil  600
     650   85"   12.50   3.6mil  |  23"   3.50   1.0mil  650
     700  103"   14.00   4.1mil  |  27"   3.75   1.1mil  700
     750  124"   15.75   4.6mil  |  32"   4.00   1.2mil  750
     800  146"   17.50   5.1mil  |  37"   4.50   1.3mil  800
     850  172"   19.25   5.6mil  |  42"   4.75   1.4mil  850
     900  200"   21.25   6.2mil  |  48"   5.00   1.5mil  900
     950  230"   23.25   6.7mil  |  54"   5.50   1.6mil  950
    1000  264"   25.25   7.3mil  |  61"   5.75   1.7mil 1000
  14. Lucky

    Lucky Well-Known Member

    great posts & info
  15. bhk

    bhk Well-Known Member

    I think the real advantage of a MOA reticle would be in the hunting field. Knowing that a 20 mph wind would push the bullet so many inches at 100 yards would translate instantly in my mind to the proper reticle mark to use. No math involved. Same would go for holdover 375 yard antelope that is only going to be standing still for the next 3 seconds.

    Don't figure in would make much difference on the target range.
  16. Zak Smith

    Zak Smith Moderator Staff Member

    You shouldn't work in inches, because then you have to convert based on the distance. Always think in the native angular units your setup has (MOA or mils).

  17. I don't have a problem with the MOA adjustments and the mil reticle. When I am sighting the scope in at a certain range, I make my MOA adjustments based on the
    POI, and then leave them alone. If I am utilizing the mil reticle, I use it for fast acquisition for range, windage,lead, etc. If I have time, and know the static distance to a target (say, when shooting hi power competition), then I mark my settings, use my "come ups" or "come downs" on the MOA turrets, and record such, so I can immediately reset to my sight in zero after the match. Works like a champ, even at the 1000 yards shoots. I have gone from my standing 700 yard zero on my long range rifle, A Rem 700 .300WM, and gotten sighted at 1000 yards with two shots. Then put it right back dead on at 700 by counting back my match adjustments. I basically use the mil scale for tactical (read that FAST) applications, and verifying ranging.
  18. Jerry D

    Jerry D Well-Known Member

  19. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Well-Known Member

    It works very well in the French System.
    One centimeter at 100 metres is .1 mil.

    I see reticles with half-mil marks, a 2 MOA graduation would be no "busier" to look through, if you are wedded to the system.
  20. Reid73

    Reid73 Well-Known Member


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