How do you use a Mil-Dot scope?

Discussion in 'Long Range Scopes and Other Optics' started by Alan Griffith, Jun 20, 2006.

  1. Alan Griffith

    Alan Griffith Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  2. Ian M

    Ian M Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  3. DMCI

    DMCI Well-Known Member

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    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! /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif


    Notes:

    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. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif

    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.

    [​IMG]
     
  4. Pete Lincoln

    Pete Lincoln Well-Known Member

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    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
     
  5. Alan Griffith

    Alan Griffith Well-Known Member

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    These two links really pointed me in the right direction.

    This one to teach me the basics.

    http://www.shooterready.com/mildot.html

    This one to let me practice using different scenarios.

    http://www.shooterready.com/lrsdemo02.swf

    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?
     
  6. 300win

    300win Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  7. sscoyote

    sscoyote Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  8. grit

    grit Well-Known Member

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    I have the same scope. I'll tell you how I use it. First, the scope comes with a mail in offer for a mildot master. Get it. I carry the mil master and a rangefinder. A lot of times you can't get a read on a rangefinder. I. e. Hunting coyotes in Nevada. Bright sunny morning, ground slopes ever so gently downhill for nine hundred miles. Still, a dog snuck in on me. I didn't see him 'til he was doing about 300mph dead away. A few barks stopped him aways out. Push the button on the rangefinder, nothin', nothin'. Sh#$!

    Crank the scope to 12 (mil setting), and get a quick read. 3 mils. I quess the dogs height at 16", and the mil master says 510ish. I grin cause I know two mils = 500 yards. Just as I get back on him he starts to trot away. I barked again, and he stopped. I held the second mil down on his back, pooom. Whop!

    Now, without the mil reticle I wouldn't have got this dog for two reasons. First, I would have guessed the range wrong. Second, I didn't have time to adjust my scope for elevation.

    So, I use the mils for hold over points, and back up rangefinding. Exactly what they were designed for. Now, I won't argue there may be better rangefinding reticles. However, mil reticles are available, and consequently inexpensive. Plus, they work. Good luck!
     
  9. longgunshooter

    longgunshooter Well-Known Member

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    grit,

    yes they work nicely dont they. had a similar senario years ago on a bull elk....same result---dead critter /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif

    QUESTION 4 YA: did there happen to be a web adress for those milmasters on the mail in card??

    i seem to have misplaced mine. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/frown.gif
     
  10. sscoyote

    sscoyote Well-Known Member

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    Hey Longgun, here it is--www.mildot.com

    Unfortunately the subtensions aren't in my most recent catalog, but i remember the system is supposed to be exactly inversely proportional for that reticle/power ring(as magnification increases reticle subtension decreases) so at 14X the subtension should be right @ 3.09 inch per hundred yds. instead of 3.6. This would be the ranging chart for the above 16" coyote then--

    16 x 100 / 3.09 / 2.0 (coyote fits between the dots perfectly @ 2.0 "stadia unit") = 260 yds.

    Recognizing that 16x100/3.09 is a constant of 517.8 we can enter that into the calculator's memory, and finish the 16" to 3.09 IPHY subtension ranging chart as follows--

    517.8 / 1.9 = 275

    517.8 / 1.8 = 290

    1.7 = 305

    1.6 = 325

    etc....

    1.0 = 520

    0.9 = 575

    0.8 = 650

    This provides for a slightly more accurate ranging system at .31 mil accuracy instead of .36. Plus u don't have to look at the power ring just before u "mil" the dog. Of course u can't use the mil-dot master (actually u could recognizing that 3.09 IPHY is 86% of 3.6 IPHY), but it does save a little time actually working the mil-dot master. Just have to look up at your range sticker.

    But as u can see the range determination now becomes geometrically more critical (below 1.0 interpolation) such that interpolation and tgt. size must be measured very precisely to get an accurate enuf reading to be able to range it well enuf to expect a high degree of 1st shot connections on a 6" coyote vitals tgt. (point blank range is becoming much shorter as trajectory increases). This is why the 2nd generation mil-dots r so popular, since it takes a little variable out of the equation by providing a finer grid system to help with interpolation (.5 mil, 1.0 MOA, .2 mil, etc. in some reticles).
     
  11. sscoyote

    sscoyote Well-Known Member

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    Oh well-- so much for accurate power rings. Turns out the 14X subtension is 3.12 IPHY, not the 3.09 as calculated. Just called Nikon to get the updated catalog, and that's what the tech told me. No problem really, just substitute that subtension into the calculation instead.
     
  12. Alan Griffith

    Alan Griffith Well-Known Member

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    Grit,

    Awesome story. So what power do I set it to use the mil-dots and range? Nikon did not enclose any pertinent info on the subject.

    Where you at? I'm in Utah county.

    Hey, I found it! On the power ring, it's 12x where it says "mil".
     
  13. eshell

    eshell Well-Known Member

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    [ QUOTE ]
    {snip}. . . .
    QUESTION 4 YA: did there happen to be a web adress for those milmasters on the mail in card??. . . {/snip}

    [/ QUOTE ]
    http://www.mildot.com/
     
  14. grit

    grit Well-Known Member

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    Gssp,
    I'm in Santaquin.