switch from MOA to MIL


Well-Known Member
Feb 18, 2008
I would like to hear from those on this site that have switched from using MOA scopes to using MIL scopes. I would like to know if you found the transistion difficult, and would you do it again. Also, what are some of the pitfalls, or advantages, of using a MIL/MIL scope over a MOA scope.
I have switched from one to another a couple of times. The fact is that if youre using computer software either is just as easy as the other. The computer tells you 25.5 MOA and you dial 25.5 MOA. Or it tells you 4.5 Mils, and you either dial 4.5 Mils or you use a 4.5 mil hold over. The only real dissadvantage to either is if you used a mil reticle with an MOA dial or vice versa. If you use the appropriate dial with the appropriate reticle, they work smoothly.

Personally I slightly favor the mil system for 3 reasons.

1: I find the whole inch/MOA difference (1.047) to be confusing and have been prone to making past mistakes and impact errors and miscalculations due to the difference.

2: I am a 308 fan and the mil system works VERY well with a 308. With a 175, 178 or 190 grain bullet and a 300 yard zero or close to a 300 yard zero, 1 mil is VERY close to 400 yards, 2 mil 500 and 3 mil 600 yards. Often times you can get all three to match within a couple of inches.

3: I find ranging with a reticle (back up technique for failed LRF) the mil system is easier for me than the MOA system. Most targets I can do the math in my head using the mil system.

You will get alot of different views and opinions as well as good and bad experiences. The above is only my experiences and preferences.
mil is simply too coarse. it was intended for artillery fire, not small arms

As for the math, moa is simpler there also. Yes, there is the .047" to deal with. If that's too confusing switch to iphy. It doesn't get simpler.

But, much simpler than dealing with 3.6? divided by 1/2, 1/4, 1/3 or anything else. What? why?

moa to mil is the wrong way. moa is simple, straightforward, and effective
I am using MILs to hold for wind in my Leupold with the TMR reticle. So far I have had good luck with it. Havent needed it much inside 400 yards with the 210 Bergers but past that it has been pretty good. More of an art than science. I dont know any mathmatical reason why I hold 1 mil or 2. Anything past 2 mils at any distance is too much wind... For me to take an ethical shot anyways.
I am using a Konus scope with Mildot reticle and 0.1 mil/click (I verified this on target at 200 yd doing a box test). Its just another system to get used to. Think 0.1 mil click = .36" per each 100 yd distance instead of 0.25" or 0.125"/click. You do have to convert inches to mils or clicks when looking at balistics tables or sighting in but once its done write it down and look at your table. I also like the fewer clicks to make adjustments. If you're not mathematically inclined then dont go there. :)
In contrast, I originally started using a mil scope approx 20 years ago. But, after using a NF moa reticle the first time a few years later, I quickly made the switch to MOA and haven't looked back.

For me, similar reasons as Michaels' post #1, reasons 1 and 3, but in favor of MOA or IPHY. Real headaches can and do occur with a mil reticle and moa dials.

I Agree with grits' post #2. I've found it easier to add or subract 5% if needed, rather than even thinking about the .0472"/100 thing. 5% is close enough and easy to do in my head.

I currently sight in most of my rifles to be 4moa low at 400 yds (easily remembered). This also puts me pretty darn close to zero'd at 200 and 2 moa low at 300. So no matter if I have a 2moa spacing or more precise 1moa spacing, it works for quick memorized holdover to 400 and I start the drop chart there.

Different strokes for different folks, but after using both; I personally agree with grit, IMO switching to mil is taking a step backwards. I think the reason so many have mil reticles is that they have been available for so long, and so many scope makers have them, especially in the lower priced scope lines.

This debate will go on for years, it's been hashed over and over and over again. So really; just use what you like the best. Try em both under the same situations and circumstances and go with what you like. If cost is an issue, you're more likely to find a cheap scope with mil reticle.
This topic has been beat to death on this forum so you should be able to find some lengthy discussions by searching LRH. I personally use both but prefer MIL. I started with MOA so the transition was as you described.

A few of the reasons I like MIL

1. If you plan to use the reticle, a 1/2 MIL reticle is about 1.8 MOA, so just a bit finer than the popular 2 MOA reticles. To me this is about the perfect balance of usability without getting too cluttered.
2. For big game MIL is about the perfect coarseness for turret correction out to 1000 yards and under.
3. Smaller numbers and fewer rotations of the turrets typically means less chance for mistakes.
4. For most situations I like FFP scopes for big game hunting (I mainly shoot under 1/2 mile) and I like using the reticle for holdovers, windage, and calling shots. Many manufacturers offer better reticles in MIL IMO.

A couple things to keep in mind. MOA and MIL are both angular measurements so if someone is doing a lot of math with either one they are using the reticle incorrectly, or at least inefficiently. With today's technology there is almost zero reason to get all caught up in the math of it all IMO. Ranging with a reticle on big games animals is very tough to do much past 400-500 yards IMO in part because the size of the animal can vary so much so there is no standard of measurement which is a requirement for any reticle ranging. And with today's fast, flat cartridges, most of us are PBR out close to those distances anyway.

Like many have said here it is personal preference and I think anyone, with a little time, could become very proficient with either.

Scot E.
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