Help Needed - Understanding Mils


Well-Known Member
Jan 14, 2012
High Plains
I think it's nice to know where 'mils' comes from but really you just need to work in mils when your actually using the scope. Zero the rifle/scope/ammo at 100 yards so that any adjustment you need to make is in the UP direction. Whether your engaging a target closer than 100 yds or less than 100 yards, the elevation correction you make on the scope is in the up direction.


Well-Known Member
May 23, 2012
Lebanon County PA
Ok, that is what I was hoping someone would say and what I am striving for. I have had only one range session with my rifle and Mil scope. The range session was barrel-break in. The next range session (Sun or Mon) I will have some more time work on understanding mils while I look through the scope and make adjustments. Thank you for the insight! Victoria
I use MOA mostly because that's what I started with, and as a result I am most familiar and comfortable with Minutes. Having said that, MILs are just a different unit of measure for the same thing: angle. I can work in MILs if I need to, I'm just old and set in my ways. The association many people draw between inches and MOA is circumstantial. So is the association between meters and MILs. You can use either measurement unit to work out range to a known size target, you just have to use the correct formula for inches or meters input to get yards or meters output. But that's for further down the road, and reticle ranging is a very tricky thing even under ideal conditions. That's why we use lasers to range. Back to your immediate concern: If you are going to use a scope with turret adjustments calibrated in MILs and a reticle with a MIL scale, the process is just the same as for a scope with MOA turrets and an MOA based reticle. Print out your ballistic dope in MIL instead of MOA and "what you see is what you get" so to speak. DO NOT try to do conversions from a drop chart in MOA to dialing MIL turrets. Rounding off numbers is okay for some things (keep reading to the end) but NOT for drop data. It doesn't matter if you speak of range to target in yards or in meters, as long as you have dope and scope speaking the same language. If you shoot a target and don't hit exactly where you intended, measure from the aim point to the actual impact with your scope's MIL reticle, and either dial in the correction or hold with the reticle depending on how big a hurry you are in.
If I am spotting for someone who is using MIL gear, then I need to do the conversions to give them good corrections because my scopes (rifles and spotter) are MOA based. If dealing with say, a wind call being slightly off on the first shot, 3 tenths of 1 MIL is ALMOST the same as 1 MOA. The MIL scope will need 3 clicks to the MOA scope's 4 clicks. But that kind of process is only necessary if dealing with mis-matched equipment. Your scope is pure MIL/MIL, turrets match the reticle. Just use the same thought process for your MILs that you should have been using with your MOA gear before (you should not have been thinking about inches then either... just the angle). If your difficulty here is that you always used to look at inches and grind all the way through the math to come up with scope adjustments, I assure you that you will come to love the streamlined process that results from omitting the linear measurement steps. Good luck and good shooting!


Well-Known Member
Dec 4, 2019
As the last few people have alluded to, you need completely eliminate any thought of "inches" from your thought process, at least for the time being. In no way do you need to worry or think about inches unless like 300 said, you're using your reticle for range estimation - which you're not doing right now. Only think MILs. Only think MILs. Only think MILs. ;)

When you spot your miss on target, and your brain starts to think "that looks about 4 inches left......" STOP! Don't go there any more. Simply use your reticle to measure from your POA to the POI and adjust accordingly. So if you measure half a MIL, move your turret .5 MILs to adjust.

I was in your boat recently and it wasn't until I made myself give up any thought of inches that it all finally clicked for me. It's so simple, so easy, and so fast to use MILs as they are intended to be used ... you just have to get your brain to shut off inches.

Dog Rocket

Well-Known Member
Mar 17, 2018
Washington State
.1 mil is about 23/64ths of a inch, I work with a tape measure in my hand daily, and have to have a form of reference, in my simpleton way of thinking.
At what distance? A mil is an angle. What you said is like saying 1 degree is about 23/64ths of an inch.

Bravo 4

Well-Known Member
Jul 20, 2007
The South
Mrs/Ms/Miss Lethal,
As others have stated, you just have to learn to think/talk in Mils. As someone that has to train new long range shooters (Soldiers) in both MOA and Mils, you just have to go out and practice. Really no technique or gimmick will replace time behind your optics and studying that reticle; whichever you have to use, be it mildot or grid style.

Trending threads

Nightforce has great tracking capabilities, they are rugged, a bunch of elevation, holds zero forever, and reticles are designed for long range shooting. So if you are looking to shoot long distances constantly, then you need a scope that can take the abuse. -- gilmillan1

Culture Of Excellence At Nightforce Optics
By Len Backus

A high level of quality both in production and in service. Read More

Nightforce is such a solid combo of reticle, available elevation, glass that is good enough to shoot at the longest range you can dial. Nightforce has bullet proof construction that can handle the incidental horse rolling or some other rodeo action. -- bigngreen

Nightforce ATACR Scope Review
By Jeff Brozovich

The new NightForce ATACR is for sure a top choice for any long range shooter. Read More

The total package. Nightforce is the best I have used as far as turret feel and solid detents. I have never had one that didn't track right on and always return to zero. Nightforce NXS is the best value for everything I need. -- Broz

Nightforce Velocity 1000 Reticle Review
By Scott Shreve

I think Nightforce knocked it outta the park with this reticle! Read More