In this quick guide, let's discuss how to convert between MOA and Mil. This is an important skill any long-range shooter should have under their belt to be proficient.
We've put together a simple step by step process to make this easy. Shooters who follow this process have learned to understand the difference between MOA and Mil and mental short cuts to make the conversion simpler.
We're also going to cover picking the right reticle and turrets in a scope to make your life easier.
Also, a table that lists practical conversions between Metric and US standard.
Why is this important – Learn both systems and always be able to communicate with your fellow shooters is always a good thing. Just be careful not to mix your reticle and turrets between either system.
Linear Conversion Chart
Conversions from Metric
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Conversions from US Standard
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Difference Between MOA and MIL
Before you get into learning about conversion, maybe it's best for you to pick one system and stick with that system.
Both system are angular measures, and the length it represents, increases proportionally with distance.
For people who are comfortable with the metric system or are starting fresh without any MOA experience, you might want to stick with MILs.
For people who normally think in inches and yards, then it's better to stick with MOA.
Mil scopes adjust in increments of 0.1 Mil, and you actually get smaller increments when using a 1/4 MOA scope.
0.25 MOA equals about 0.07 Mil.
It's not a significant difference, and sometimes getting too caught up in perfect precision could slow you down. Regardless of which unit of measurement you choose, It's recommended to pick a scope that uses the same unit for its turrets and reticle.
For example, if the target is at 600 yards, 1 MOA is about 6 inches and ask yourself how many 6 inches “chucks” you need to adjust the impact point. If you need to move 3 inches at 600 yards, that's 0.5 of a 6″ “chunk” so you need to move 0.5 MOA.
If you need to move 12 inches at 600 yards, then that's two 6″ “chunks” to move 2 MOA.
When you think in the metric system (1 Mil = 0.5 meters) mostly, then using a MIL scope is the best. If the target distance is presented in meters, all you got to do is ask yourself how many X m “chucks” you need to adjust the bullet's impact point the same way as MOA.
The number of true milliradians in a circle is not an even number and it's not easy to divide into equal parts. If you don't like to work with odd numbers, then it will be easier to use MOA instead.
Step By Step Process – Convert Between MOA and Mil
MOA and MIL Conversion Factor
1 MOA = 3.5X Mils
1 MIL = MOA/3.5
One true Mil equals 3.438 MOA and 1 NATO Mil equals 3.375 MOA
For practical purposes, this is the simplest conversion factor to remember in your head is 3.5, this makes it easier and quickly do the calculation.
How Accurate Is The Conversion
When converting between the two, precision is generally not required. When calculating the wind hold in MOA and then convert it to MIL, a wind call isn't always precise enough to have the difference between 3.375 or 3.5 multiple factor.
When rounding 1 inch per 100 yards for MOA and 3.5 MOA to 1 Mil. First take a mental not that 1 Mil is about 3.5 inches at 100 yards.
Next, 1 Mil is about 3.53 inches at 100 yards. By simply rounding, you can very quickly convert the number in your head rather than being perfectly precise.
The difference at 100 yards is only 0.03 inches, even at 1000 yards, the difference is only 0.3 inches. So for that reason, when you eliminate that mental hurtle things become easier in the field.
Subtensions and Turrets
When picking a rifle scope reticle, it's important to understand how the subtension benefits you as the shooter. It helps you estimate range or calculate wind and hold.
If you are shooting with a mil-dot reticle and a MOA scope with 1⁄4-MOA clicks. You have to convert what you see through the scope in MIL measurements into MOA clicks (on the scope turrets) – this takes doing math when you are likely to need speed and a quick adjustment.
It's pretty much a “choice your battle” thing. It's the hassle you don't need, so try and match the reticle to the turrets.
What we recommend is to buy a scope either in Mil/Mil or MOA/MOA reticle & turret system, they're proven to be much easier to operate.
It is also important when choosing between second focal plane or first focal plane, because the reticle appears differently at different magnifications.
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Nesa Ristic is a military historian enthusiast and hobbyist, war veteran and an avid hunter with more than 30 years of experience.
He began reviewing firearms for publications in the mid 1990s and have been fortunate to make many friends in the industry. He has continuously improved his firearms skills and knowledge, which is a never-ending journey.