Range Finding - Mil-Dot vs Laser

Discussion in 'Long Range Scopes and Other Optics' started by SamSpade, Aug 18, 2005.

  1. SamSpade

    SamSpade Well-Known Member

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    First let me establish some parameters for my question: Only talking out to about 600-700 yards, Do not want comparisons to the high priced Leicas or Zwaros that most of us cann't afford.

    My question is which is better a Laser Range Finder or a Mil-Dot reticle for determining range? Are the results comparable?

    I realize that the laser would be quicker with instant readout but the with the Mil-Dot you would already be on target.
     
  2. bailey1474

    bailey1474 <strong>SPONSOR</strong>

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    When ranging animals of varying sizes, I just don't see how the mildot could be as precise as a laser. In the right hands, it may be though.
     

  3. royinidaho

    royinidaho Writers Guild

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    I worked my butt off on this subject a year ago. Ranged elk in an easily accessed area the whole winter using the mil dot thing. I did all the paper work, calcs etc. Got really serious.

    Using a less than 400$ scope. Don't thing price makes a difference. A mil is a mil.

    After I got the LRF I found that my ranging using the mil dot was off from 100 to 300 yds at times.

    Use the mil dot for hold over etc. Leave the ranging up to the LRF.

    M .02c
     
  4. sierra22

    sierra22 Well-Known Member

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    Mil ranging will get progressively more inaccurate with longer range.
     
  5. Shawn Carlock

    Shawn Carlock Sponsor

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    Sam,

    Even in the distance range you have specified I believe that you should look a the lazer option. If you use the mil-dot system it does have a couple of accuracy short comings. Distance accuracy counts on the fact that you know the size ( exactly ) of the animal you are ranging. Take a whitetail deer @ 500 yards, based on an 18" belly to back distance this would be exactly 1 mil. Now lets say we are looking at a buck that is 1 mil but he happens to have a little larger body say 20", the distance is 555 yards. A 55 yard error with even a fairly flat shooting rifle will result in a miss low, the opposite is true of a 16" deer but high. Now add to this the inability for accurate hold over. Say you range a 19" deer based on 18" @ 500 yards, you are off 27 yards to start with and will shoot about 5 or 6 inches low. Now your mil hold with a flatter shooting rifle is say, 2.7 mils. If you hold 2.6 instead you will be another 1.8 inches lower for a total drop from target point of about 8" low for most people that would be a miss. If you held 2.8 you would luck out and gain 1.8 of the 5 or 6 you lost in range estimation, but this is not about luck. It is my opinion that you will be happier and more successfull with quality knobs and a reasonable lazer. You can pick up a lazer (1000 yard) for 325.00 or so that would fill your needs nicely. good luck hope this helps.
     
  6. SamSpade

    SamSpade Well-Known Member

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    Shawn, you made good points on the body size thing. I already have a "good" laser range finder so it is a matter of which to use. I don't quite agree on the turrets though, 24X will give you a lot better sight picture. I say this because shooting at targets at 200 yards there is a big difference in group size from a 10X to a 24X.
     
  7. Charles A

    Charles A Well-Known Member

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    I personally believe milling sucks on live objects. For the reasons Shawn pointed out, not too mention maybe a moving animal, patially exposed animal it gets real imprecise. And the thought that it would be quicker since your already behind the scope doesnt work out either since you need to to look at a your calculater, mil-dot master, etc. Unless you can memerize them perfectly.

    Milldots work fine as a back up system, but for accurate shooting a good laser, and repeatable adjustments is probably the best way to go.
     
  8. Michael Eichele

    Michael Eichele Well-Known Member

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    If you know the targets size mildots can be highly accurate.

    Lasers are the BEST.

    I periodically practice ranging with my mil dot on dall sheep and seem to come up with a 25 yard error out to 750 yards. Thats not bad. That will get you real close. Lasers are closest though, ussualy +/- 1 or 2 yards. Dont be afraid to use both methods. Practice with the mildot for when your LRF takes a dump on you in the field, or your battary goes dead and you forgot a new one. A mil dot with some practice may meen the differance between success and.......

    Dall sheep = 18" from back to belly.

    27.778*18 = 500

    500/mil take up = yards (1 mil = 500 yards, 2 mils = 250 yards, 1/2 mil = 1000 yards ect...)
     
  9. craigp40

    craigp40 Well-Known Member

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    I have both. Laser is more accurate and what I prefer. However, there are some competitions that I shoot where you are not permitted to use a laser. Target size is given, but you have to figure out the distance using your dots.

    The other good thing about the mildot reticle is the ability to accurately adjust for misses. If the first shot hits to the right due to wind, best way to compensate is to take a quick second shot before the conditions change using the mildots to compensate. Taking time to turn turrets allows time for wind to shift. Using both gives you a nice tool set to help hit your targets at long range.
     
  10. sscoyote

    sscoyote Well-Known Member

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    Right-on-- reticle ranging as a backup to the laser. The nice thing about reticle ranging is that it can be accomplished fairly accurately with any ranging or ballistic reticle by a simple modification to the mil-ranging formula. I use the "modified mil-ranging formula" with all my reticles and have successfully ranged antelope to 725 yds. with simple plex-- BUT as has already been stated tgt. size must be known accurately, as well as stadia subtension (as close to .1" as possible). I sort of "tweek" the ranging a little if i can tell the animal may be a little smaller or larger than avg. Antelope in the off season make a great "measuring std.".
     
  11. Guest

    Guest Guest

    OK real life experience here.... very similar to what has already been said... but this actually happened..

    Me, Chris and a good buddy are hunting Antelope... the Goat is way out there... we think 1000 yards... had a lazer range finder that wouldn't range the goat but would range the sage around it...
    I am using the R2 ret. Chris has the mil-dots in his spotting scope. Buddy of mine has the mil-dots in his scope as well...
    goat is just way out there feeding so we are in no hurry. Because we cannot get a real good reading from the range finder we all range using the scales we have...
    long story short we all came up with about 900 yards... lazer is saying 1000+ of course it is my turn to shoot so me and my ego spin on clicks for 1000 yards.. and you can probobly figure out the rest..

    we hads everything doped perfect but the yardage... the shot touched off and I was just inches over the goats back, front shoulder.

    Moral of this story... mil dots do serve a purpose but only a back-up system.
     
  12. royinidaho

    royinidaho Writers Guild

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    Here is what I was trying to say in my above post.

    Here is a bull and cow that I had 20 minutes to do the ranging with the MIL DOT. Scope was calibrated 10X and 3.6"/mil. May have done better if I'd of went to 18 power where 1 mil = 2" but I doubt it. This was a real animal and I wasn't pricisely sure of its real breadth.

    Any way, you see I said it was 595yds.

    I did most of the ranging when he was ontop of tha little knol just to the left of him.

    Got the range finder and guess what 395yrds! /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/confused.gif BTW this is in my backyard, and prime yote hunting area. Just across the Blackfoot river from the Fort Hall Indian Reservation. (had bull tag but for another area /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/frown.gif)
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG] This was the bull a couple of days later, on the res./ubbthreads/images/graemlins/mad.gif