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How do you use a Mil-Dot scope?

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Unread 06-20-2006, 09:56 AM
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Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Mouth of Hobble Crk Canyon, Utah
Posts: 630
How do you use a Mil-Dot scope?

The subject matter is the topic matter. What's it good for? What's it not good for?

Specifically, I just ordered a Nikon Buckmaster 4.5-14x40 side focus w/ mil-dot.
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Unread 06-20-2006, 09:13 PM
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Join Date: May 2001
Location: Sask. Canada
Posts: 2,410
Re: How do you use a Mil-Dot scope?

Mildots were developed for determining distance for military purposes. They are not really user-friendly for that use. Laser rangefinders do a faster and probably more accurate job for most casual users. Military specialists are trained to use them very effectively.
Mildots provide useful hold-over point for longer shots. You just have to determine which dot to use for which distance. Not too hard to do with some range time. You can also vary the power of your scope to make the dots work better with your particular load.
Problem for many casual shooters is getting used to the miliradian which is about 3.6" at 100 yards. We usually like to think in inches.
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Unread 06-25-2006, 09:47 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Washington State
Posts: 120
Re: How do you use a Mil-Dot scope?

With all due respect, Sir:

Mil-radian dot reticle was and is used by the military. It is very useful when engaging tactical targets inside 800 meters (yards).

Formula for ranging is Range(meters) = Target height (M) x 1000 / mils read

So an 60" target reading 2 mils = 1.5 x 1000/2 = 1500/2 = 750 meters

or 20" wide target 3 mils read = .5 x 1000/3 = 500/3 = 167 meters

Similarly in yards: Range (yard) = Target Height (yards) x 1000 / mils read

eg: 72" target= 2 yards x 1000 / 5 mils read = 2000/5 = 400 yards

or 18" wide target= .5 yards x 1000 / 2 mils read = 500/2 = 250 yards

Heck even a MARINE ought to be able to learn that in 3 or 4 weeks! [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]


1.) The Tactical target is huge! 18" wide and 70" high. If you know the come ups for your rifle and the target is not moving fast, it is an easy target for a precision rifle. On the other had hitting the preferred zone on the target (Kopf) is a moderate to difficult target with a modern precision rifle (1 moa) at 800 yards. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img]

2.) Be sure you calibrate your mil dots if you have a rear focal plane reticle. These scopes typically mil accurately on one power setting, usually about 10X. The Mil barber pole 3.6" increments at 100 yards will allow you to verify the setting.

People slept peacefully in their beds at night only because rough men stood ready to do violence on their behalf. -- George Orwell
We honor and support those men and women who stand ready to do violence on behalf of the United States.
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Unread 06-25-2006, 11:08 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Germany
Posts: 658
Re: How do you use a Mil-Dot scope?

Well for a start,, it makes no sence to me to use a mildot scope when ranging in yards, convert to meters and centimeters for all your measurements, and stick with miliradians..

Either that or get a scope with an MOA based reticle and do the same..

either way the presence of a ranging reticle is of great advantage to the precision marksman..

The Mildot reticle as is, is in my opinion out dated and although its been used extensively and still is.. its not ideal. far better is a reticle that has all hash marks rather than dots..
I consider the S&B P4 fine to be currently the best of the tactical ranging type reticles, i know some folks like the horus, but for me its way way too cluttered, and the Gen 2 mildot still has dots..

Certainly with the wide spread use of laser range finders, personal ability to judge range and use the reticle for ranging becomes diminished.. one tends to rely on the lazer gadget.. This can be a major mistake..
there are time when the laser just wont work,, ie, batteries are flat, or its foggy.. so if you learn to use some form of ranging reticle you have a redundant back up should your laser range finder fail... and i am all for having a plan B.
I practice regularly with my P4fine.. and believe it or not, you can get very accurate on deer or other animals using the reticle.. its fun to do, and fun to check your guessed range(just purely guessed per eye) against he reticle range against the laser,, practice all 3 regularly and you will become proficient.. and it will add to your ability as an alround marksman..

regards Pete
Occupying the British Zone.
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Unread 06-25-2006, 12:21 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Mouth of Hobble Crk Canyon, Utah
Posts: 630
Re: How do you use a Mil-Dot scope?

These two links really pointed me in the right direction.

This one to teach me the basics.

This one to let me practice using different scenarios.

Now I need to order the full CD to get more practice and figure out the nuances of wind.

My Nikon should be at the UPS will call tommorow but anyone know the dimensions of the Nikon mil-dot?
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Unread 06-25-2006, 12:50 PM
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Join Date: May 2006
Location: north dakota
Posts: 100
Re: How do you use a Mil-Dot scope?

The Shooter ready system is great mildot practice. Also the mil master is a handy tool. It is a slide rule setup that is more or less a mil dot cheat sheet. The mil dot is great tool for range but it takes alot of practice to become good at it. The problem is you always have to know the exact size of the target being ranged to get an accurate range. I use mil dot alot but when it is a have to make shot my Leica 1200 scan sure takes the guese work out of it.
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Unread 06-30-2006, 01:56 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Pueblo, CO
Posts: 1,232
Re: How do you use a Mil-Dot scope?

That Nikon system is a great one for the mil-dot. If u get the catalog, it gives the subtensions at 3 different magnifications which really is an excellent system (also tells me the power ring is calibrated properly as well).

Nice thing about the mil-ranging formula is that it's not specific to the milliradian mil-dot at all. It's simply the geometric formula that defines the relationship between 2 points at 1 distance relative to two points at another distance. In other words it can be used with any reticle's stadia subtension/subtensions, i.e. plex,custom, ballistic or ranging (even archery sight pins as well). Here's the mil-ranging formula in it's most basic form (inches to yards)--

tgt. size (") x range of reticle subtension measurement (yds.) / subtension (") / qty. of "gap" tgt occupies (tenths of each stadia-stadia gap) = range (yds.)

IMO, this is super-handy to know as it provides ranging at the highest power where it's most accurate (most of the time), and makes for a very flexible system.

I really like Leupold's TMR, as it provides for .02 mil (.07 MOA) accuracy for ranging. We tested it awhile back, and found it to be within 3% of lasered out to 1000 yds. almost every time, and 1% most of the time on 15, 24 and 36" discs. Varmint Hunter reticle stadia were also used for ranging using the above equation with similar results as well as Ballistic Plex.
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