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Mil vs MOA Reticle what do I need to Know? Login/Join 
Husband, Father, Aggie,
all around good guy!
posted
Wise SIGforum, I am contemplating getting the Trijicon 1-8x28 for my HK MR556 and other AR platform rifles.

What do I need to know to make a choice between the Mil reticle vs the MOA reticle. Does anyone have any experience with both reticles?

The other choice I'll need to make is red vs green illuminated reticle but I am choosing Red at this point.

Thanks,
HK Ag

This message has been edited. Last edited by: HK Ag,
 
Posts: 2242 | Location: Tomball, Texas | Registered: August 09, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of maladat
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The most important thing is to make sure the reticle markings and the turret adjustments match. If you have a mil reticle you want mil adjustments, if you have a MOA reticle you want MOA adjustments.

Military issue sniper rifles had MIL reticles and MOA turrets for 30+ years. That's stupid.

Other than that, it's mostly about what you're used to. If you shoot regularly with a group that predominately uses one system or the other, I'd choose the one your group uses.

Personally, I think the math is a little easier for mils, and I prefer mils.

1 MOA is 1/60th of 1 degree. That works out to 1.047" per 100 yards. If you always think in inches and yards, it's OK, and you have to be shooting at pretty long range for the approximation of 1 inch per hundred yards not to work any more.

1 mil is 1/1000th of a radian. What that means in practice is that 1 mil covers 1/1000th the distance to your target. If your target is 100 yards away, 1 mil is 1/10th of a yard. If your target is 100 meters away, 1 mil is 1/10th of a meter. If your target is 9,315 inches away, 1 mil is 9.315 inches.

Some people will gripe about 1/10th mil clicks (0.36" at 100 yards) being coarser than 1/4 MOA clicks (0.26" at 100 yards). I can't see that extra tenth of an inch being much of a problem for most shooters with most rifles. If you're competing at a very high level in a totally precision-focused shooting sport (e.g., benchrest) then I guess it would be.
 
Posts: 4061 | Location: TX | Registered: January 24, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
fugitive from reality
Picture of SgtGold
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INMSHO, if you are going to punch paper or slap steel at known distances MOA is simpler. The scoring rings are measured in inches, so knowing how many inches of elevation or windage you're dialing in is a no brainer. You can also range with an MOA reticle, but the math is not as linear as it is with MILS. Mil really comes into it's own when dealing with targets at unknown distances. The math is metric, although the more complex calculations are easier on a calculator.

I've been using MOA for so long learning MIL really isn't an advantage to me. If I got into the tactical bolt gun thing I might have to learn it, but MOA suits me just fine.


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Posts: 5709 | Location: Newyorkistan | Registered: March 28, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Freethinker
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As usual, maladat provided a good concise explanation of the basics.

Even if I hadn’t been using mil/mil scopes for a long time (and I did have a mil/MOA Leupold at one time, but got it converted to mil/mil), I’d still prefer them over MOA/MOA.

One reason is that although things are improving quickly for MOA fans, it still seems that sights with mil-based adjustments and reticles are significantly more common. It can be a disappointment to find just the scope we want only to discover that everything is perfect except that although one has settled on the MOA system, the scope isn’t available that way. Also, I believe there are many more reticle designs calibrated in mils than MOA; so, even if I can get the scope I want with an MOA reticle, I may not like the reticle design.

The other thing to consider is the mental math the two systems require. If my spotter (who is also more likely to have a mil-based scope) says I’m 2.2 mils off, I’m so accustomed to calculating using base 10 numbers, that I immediately know that I must adjust by twenty-two 0.1 mil clicks. Most MOA system sights still move things 1/4 MOA per click, and how many clicks do I have to adjust to correct for being 2.25 MOA off target? “Yeah, let’s see: 4 times 2 is 8, plus 1 is 9.” Not advanced MIT math, but a bit more complex than using mils.




“He who writes carelessly confesses thereby at the very outset that he does not attach much importance to his own thoughts. ”
— Arthur Schopenhauer
 
Posts: 38026 | Location: 10,150 Feet Above Sea Level in Colorado | Registered: April 04, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by HK Ag:
Wise SIGforum, I am contemplating getting the Trijicon 1-8x24 for my HK MR556 and other AR platform rifles.

I suspect you're considering the AccuPower models, as their website only has them in a 1-8x option.

First, the reticles. The AccuPower MOA and Mil designs are pretty similar, as one would expect for LPV scope. The mil design seems a little less "busy" to me.

For experienced precision bolt-action shooters the reticle is really important. In steel-match-type competitions there is a lot of holding windage and some holding elevation, all of which requires great attention to reticle values. I honestly don't see the same kind of precision requirements for 223 carbines -- both for competition and for defensive use. Carbine targets are generally larger and distances are closer.

A lot may depend on your optics experience -- what models/types you've used to date, whether you used the reticle for windage and elevation, whether you dialed for windage & elevation, or whether you've even shot at distances long enough that either windage or elevation even come into play.

IMO mils vs. MOA isn't as big of deal with LPV and closer carbine distances. In practice and in competitions I often don't dial elevation or really concentrate on reticle values until get to 250 or 300 yards. Although I have MOA scopes, for a LPV I wouldn't be overly concerned with a mil-based scope if I liked it.

Communication between shooters & spotters can be interesting with MOA vs. mils. I've been doing it for awhile now and I'm used to it. Those who only use mils scopes don't often have much practice in converting from between values on the fly, in their head. But again, target distances and required precision for a carbine and LPV scope aren't in the same league as a bolt action with a high-powered scope.

Finally, if you really get into shooting precisely with your rigs, you will develop ballistics tables for windage and elevation, which will be attached to or near your scope. You won't be thinking in inches or centimeters. You will be thinking of angular values for a given distance -- regardless of whether you choose yards or meters for your target distance measurements. You'll dial (or hold) 2 mils or 8 MOA or whatever and be done with it.

Bottom line -- IMO you can go either way. But I do recommend keeping all your optics either mil or MOA. So keep this in mind for both existing optics and potential future purchases.
 
Posts: 5314 | Location: Colorado | Registered: January 26, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Thanks, sigfreund. You make good points.

I guess it matters which kind of scopes you're used to shopping for, before getting reading about "tactical" shooting here and on places like Sniper's hide, every scope I'd ever handled in person was a hunting scope with a duplex reticle and covered 1/4 MOA click adjustments that would be useless for dialing on the fly. Smile

I agree that there is often a much wider selection of mil reticles than MOA graduated reticles.

It's also worth mentioning, which I forgot to do earlier, that the people for whom the difference in adjustment coarseness between 1/4 MOA and 0.1 mil clicks is actually relevant would usually be buying scopes with 1/8 MOA or 0.05 mil clicks anyway.
 
Posts: 4061 | Location: TX | Registered: January 24, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
SIGSauer
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The concept between MIL (MM and MOA is the same. The difference between the calculation base. 1 MOA based on the angular funktion. MIL or better Milli-Radiant is based on the arc funciont of a cirlce. 1 MilRad = Pi / 1000. The difference between the two is the result you are getting form math and how it can be applied easily into the real world.

Tangens of 1/60 is the reverse number of the amount of inches in 100 yards. Arcus Tanges of Pi/1000 gives to you 1/1000 of a distance. So, if you are used to estimate distances in inches and yards. MOA is easier to handle. If you are familiar with the metric system, MIL is easier to handle.

Here is an example. Mil rad turrets adjust in 1/10 steps. So one click at 91m (100yds) = 0.9cm (how much is that?). 1 click of a 1/4MOA scaled turret is 1/4“ at the same distance. 1/4“ would be 6mm in Metric. 6mm is less the 1cm. So the question is, what can you or your spotter handle better inches and yards or meters. If I would shoot in the US I had I would use an MOA scope. If it was in Europe an MIL scope.
 
Posts: 3397 | Location: Switzerland | Registered: January 24, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Freethinker
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quote:
Originally posted by fritz:
Finally, if you really get into shooting precisely with your rigs, you will develop ballistics tables for windage and elevation, which will be attached to or near your scope. You won't be thinking in inches or centimeters. You will be thinking of angular values for a given distance -- regardless of whether you choose yards or meters for your target distance measurements. You'll dial (or hold) 2 mils or 8 MOA or whatever and be done with it.


This point bears emphasizing: When we get to the point of developing ballistics tables that tell us how to adjust at different distances (as I believe we should), then much of the theoretical differences between mils and MOAs become irrelevant.

The ballistics calculation programs and apps I’m familiar with, including the one in my Kestrel, allow me to use whatever units I want. I enter the load data and range in yards, and it tells me the adjustments necessary in mils without my giving any thought to how many inches a mil subtends at X feet or meters. That’s why I mention only the mental math involved and scope and reticle selection as things that most of us will worry about.




“He who writes carelessly confesses thereby at the very outset that he does not attach much importance to his own thoughts. ”
— Arthur Schopenhauer
 
Posts: 38026 | Location: 10,150 Feet Above Sea Level in Colorado | Registered: April 04, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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More on reticles.

Reticle ranging is only slightly more lively than the Dodo Bird. Reticle ranging is cumbersome, slow, and prone to errors as distances increase. It requires regular practice to be useful. It generally requires targets that are fixed in both position and distance to be practical. It’s a useful technique to know, but let’s be honest, it’s the 21st century. We have laser range finders that are reasonably priced, easy to carry, and incredibly accurate.

So how do we use reticles in the real world? Let’s assume a buddy and I are competing in a team steel match. I have a 223 AR-15 with an MOA scope and he’s using a 6.5mm bolt action with a mil scope.

We have a square target at 491 yards. Doesn’t matter if the distance was given to us or that we found the distance with our own LRF binos. I know I’m dialing 9 MOA of elevation. Through my scope, I see the target is 2 MOA wide & tall. But it doesn’t matter that it’s a 10 inch plate, as I don’t care about inches. My data card states that my wind drift of 2 MOA is caused by a 6 mph cross wind. Thus, I must judge cross winds within 6 mph to hit the target.

I judge there is a slight and variable breeze from the right. I hold the right edge of the target and break the shot. Miss – it impacts to the left, as there is more wind than expected. My buddy states I impacted about 1/2 plate left of its left edge, to which I concur. One-half plate translates to 1 MOA. I impacted 3 MOA left of my point of aim. That tells me there is an effective wind of 9 mph. On my second shot I hold 3 MOA right of center (or 2 MOA right of the plate’s right edge), break the shot, and hit dead center. Woohoo.

I tell my buddy an impact at 9 mph.

Per his data card, he dials 2.4 mils of elevation. His reticle shows .4 mils for the target size. But he doesn’t care if the target is 10 inches or 25 centimeters in size. He knows .4 mils translates to 10 mph of cross wind. Thus, his window of windage error is more forgiving than mine. He holds .4 mils right of center (or .2 mils right of right edge of plate), breaks the shot, and impacts almost dead center of plate. Woohoo.

Maybe we aren’t comfy with the 491 yard distance. My tables tell me that 2 MOA of vertical target allows me to impact the target with a center hold – if the target is somewhere between 460 and 520 yards. If I miss high or low, I read the impact via the reticle and correct elevation for the second shot.

Let’s say steel targets aren’t yer thang – just too mundane. Well git on yer inner mall cop and understand that 10 inch square closely represents the upper thoracic cavity of the alleged knife wielding Victoria’s Secret shop lifter. The data discussed above is still accurate.
 
Posts: 5314 | Location: Colorado | Registered: January 26, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Lots of good info in that post fritz!


Like guns, Love Sigs
 
Posts: 870 | Location: Battle Born | Registered: December 26, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Knows too little
about too much
Picture of rduckwor
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I have both MIL and MOA based scopes on two different precision rifles. As others have said, it makes no real difference down in the dirt.

You know the distance, you know your round's characteristics; your ballistics calculator or your Mark 1/Mod 0 brain tells you the elevation to dial, you estimate the wind and again you are given a windage to crank or hold.

You rapidly forget which system your reticle and turrets are based upon and get busy shooting. It definitely does help to know what each gradation gets you at what distance, but that can be easily developed using a calculator of spreadsheet.

If you have a spotter to work with, you develop a common language with which to exchange information.

Get what you like and enjoy!

RMD




TL Davis: “The Second Amendment is special, not because it protects guns, but because its violation signals a government with the intention to oppress its people…”
 
Posts: 19153 | Location: L.A. - Lower Alabama | Registered: April 06, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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