Refining the mil-dot reticle


Well-Known Member
Feb 26, 2003
Pueblo, CO
There's been some questions recently concerning adapting the mil-dot as a ballistic reticle (holdover system), as well as a ranging tool. Now i haven't tried this sytem yet but it should work well (in theory, at least). Part of the problem that shooter's have in using the mil-dots for downrange reference is that the mil-dots don't correspond to even ranges, making it difficult to remember odd range zeros, and interpolating between those zeros. But there is an option to consider. If the 2nd focal plane mil-dot reticle is supposed to be used at a certain magnification, it can also just as well be used at a different magnification as well, BUT then the mil spacing changes, and the formula also changes. Ex.: suppose your mil-dot is calibrated @ 10X, but u've got a 6-24X scope and want to use the upper end of the magnification for shooting/ranging coyotes. Now an important thing to remember is as u change magnification, so does the reticle measurement (subtension), but it should change in a linear manner, such that @ 20X instead of the 3.6" rule, it then becomes 1.8", since the magnification has doubled so reticle subtension should be reduced linearly to 1/2 3.6". Similarly, @ 24X the subtension now becomes 1.5", by applying an inversely proportional equation 1.8"/X = 24/20 == 1.5" (ideally). Now, this would change mil spacing to 15" @ 1000 yds. so for the 27.77 factor equation for the mil-dot ranging formula, u can now substitute 66.66 to range a 12" coyote (back-brisket) thusly-- 12 X 66.66=800/x mils= range in yds. This could allow the user to:

1) range at a much more precise high magnification.

2) allow for more flexibility in establishing downrange zeros by matching up different inch of angle measurements to a trajectory chart which would allow the option of developing a "custom fit" to a mil-dot ballistic reticle system.

Any ideas on this??

[ 10-10-2004: Message edited by: sscoyote ]


Well-Known Member
Jan 20, 2004
Blackfoot, Idaho

Here's where I've been. Bought the Mil-Dot scope for ranging. Its a 6.5X20. Mil-Dots are calibrated at 10X (3.6" dot to dot # 100 yds. Also calibrated it @ 18X I think it went 2.1" dot to dot @ 100.

The ranging didn't work out for me. Too much time, too much mental stress to do the quick mental calculation even as simple as it is, when there's an elk in the cross hairs and its about to move.

Thus, I purchased a LRF which, for me solved all of the problems. Range was right on and I knew it before I put the rifle to shoulder.

With much help from others who have developed drop charts and come-ups and all of that, I developed a drop chart and taped it to the cheek piece.

I now use the mil-dots as hold-overs. 1.5 mil hold-over at 500 yds, 2.3 mil hold over @ 650 and so on.

First shot @ 644yds @ water filled milk jug smacked the sucker. Gave me more confidence than I've had in awhile.

The problem comes down to how can you discriminate .1 mil, as in 2.3 mils? That's kind of tough.

However, Primier and Nightforce put a line @ the 1/2 mil mark. That seems great as you can then devise a means that you can understand in your own way how to refine the hold. I use just a quick thought such as bracket the target between the line and dot and nudge it a bit one way or another. That way the nudges are in the .5 mil range vs the 1 mil range with only the dots.

If you are a click counter and keep it straigh in your head, I just can't go there, when you're walkin and stalkin there ain't no way for me to keep stuff straight. Off the bench or an all day stand, then probably ok. I can't even remember what power the scope is set at........


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