How To Calculate Minute Of Angle (MOA) – 3 Simple Steps Formula

In this guide, let’s talk about how to calculate minute of angle adjustment, so you know exactly what to do to hit your target accurately without wasting ammo!

This works for iron sights, long-range scopes, low variable power optics, red dot sights, holographic sights and offset red dot sights,

So here are 3 damn easy steps on calculating Minute Of Angle adjustments exactly

  1. Covert MOA to Inch Value From Target Distance (Yard)
  2. Covert Missed Distance Inches To MOA
  3. Divide Missed MOA By Scope MOA Adjustment Increment Value To Get Number Of Scope Clicks

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What Is Minute Of Angle (MOA)

burris scope on precision rifle

When you fire your rifle, the external factors affect the position of the rifle even if you have perfect trigger squeeze and breath control. There will be things you just can’t control—the wind, for example.

However, there’s a way to counteract all the elements you can’t control. This is extremely important whether if you’re using long range scopes, 1X fixed power sight or pistol optics.

First, let’s define minute of angle, and its something you must understand.

The minute corresponds to inches and your angle to yards.

If you are 100 yards away from your target, 1”=1 MOA.

If you’re 200 yards away from your target, then 2”=1 MOA.

If you’re 300 yards away, then 3”=1 MOA.

To be exact 1 MOA = 1.047″ at 100 yards. 1 minute of an angle equals 1/60th of 1 degree. 

60 Minutes equals 1 degree, that means 1 minute is 1/60th of a degree. 

Minute Of Angle Clock Illustration

Remember! the minute equals inches, and angle equals yards, and the further you are, the greater the angle.

If you use mils and want to learn to convert from MOA, please read here.

How To Adjust Rifle Scope Up And Down Accurately – Using The 3-Step MOA Formula

Step 1 – Find MOA to Inch Value From Target Distance (Yard)

MOA to inch value at specific distance = Target Distance (Yards) /100

That’s it! Let ’s put it into practice. If you’re 600 yards away from your target, divide 600 yards by 100.

You should get 6. This means 1 MOA is 6” at 600 yards.

Here is another example. Find the MOA for 500 yards.

500 yards/100=5

1 MOA at 500 yards = 5”

Now, you can still be confused about what the inch is when you look down your rifle’s barrel or scope. Let’s use the 600-yard example to help you understand the point of all the MOA discussion.

We discovered from the extensive math we did above that 1 MOA was 600 yards equal to 6. Next, we can determine how to make adjustments by the 6 if we’re not quite on the target.

Step 2 – Covert Missed Distance Inches To MOA

Let’s assume you need to move your bullet up 18”. To find out how many MOAs you need to make this adjustment, you will divide 18” by the inches depending on the distance you are at. Here’s the math:

18”/1 MOA or 18”/6” *since 6”=1 MOA at 600 yards*

18”/6”=3 MOA

Step 3 – Divide Missed MOA By Scope MOA Adjustment Increment Value To Get Number Of Clicks

Following the above example, 18″ adjustment equates to 3 MOA at 600 yards

You have to adjust your MOA by 3. If you are working with a rifle in increments of 1/4 MOA per click, then you will need to make four clicks per inch, which is this case means 12 clicks.

3 MOA / 0.25MOA/click = 12 clicks

Let’s do another example.

You’re sitting at 300 yards

At 300 yards, 1 MOA=3”

You missed by 12” to the left

12”/1 MOA or 12”/3”=4

This means you’ll need to adjust your MOA by 4. If you’re working with a rifle in increments of 1/4 clicks, you’ll need to make four clicks per inch, which in this case means 16 clicks to the left.

If your scope only has 0.5 MOA per clicks, then it will be 12/3 = 4 MOA.

4 MOA / 0.5MOA per click = 8 Clicks to the left.

I hope this is making more sense as you practice more.

A Helpful Visual Illustrations

Here is some visual aid for you. If you’re looking at a target—your goal is to hit the bullseye. When you’re aiming at a standard target, your aim would be 1” from the bullseye with rings for a minute.

Minute of angle

If you hit two inches away from your bullseye and you’re 100 yards away, that’s 2 MOA. If you’re 200 yards away and hit 4” below the target, you are still at 2 MOA, since 1MOA=2″ at 200 yards. But if you don’t want to hit the bullseye at 2 MOA, which means you have to adjust your sights.

Know Your Scope Adjustment Increment Value

Always know your scope’s turret adjustment value.

Many scopes have 0.5 MOA/click increment, and more expensive long-range riflescopes have 0.25 MOA/click.

A riflescope that has 1/4 MOA click equals 1/4” per click at 100 yards.

This means, to move 2”, you’ll need to adjust the click 8 times. If you wanted to move 4”, that’s 16 times.

Just remember, it’s four clicks per inch. Of course, if you have a rifle with 1/2 or 1/8 clicks, that will change the number of clicks you need to make to reach 1” or 1 MOA. The finer the adjustments are, the more expensive the rifle scopes tend to be.

When shooting with a fixed 1X power red dot sight, you will usually come across a 2 or 4 MOA dot, which means the dot size can cover 2” or 4” at 100 yards.

For example, a 4 MOA dot will cover 8” if you’re aiming at a target that is 200 yards away. The close you’re, the greater the angle.

Related Content: Fundamental of 1X red dot sight


Rifle Scope Turrets Explained

The turrets on the rifle scope control the erector tube’s position inside the scope body, which adjusts the reticle and the primary usage is to zero the scope.

There are turrets that allow the shooter to adjust on the fly without any tool, which is the best for user experience.

You will commonly find 0.25 MOA / Click and 0.5 MOA / Click on rifle scopes. The finer the adjustment the better you can adjust for long-range precision.

Top Turret – For Elevation Adjustment

This is where the vertical plane of the scope’s reticle sits. So when you zero the scope, you’re moving the reticle on that vertical plane.

Side Turret – For Windage Adjustment

Windage adjustment affects the horizontal plane of the rifle scope, so any adjustment you make will make the reticle go left or right.

Parallax Adjustment Turret

Parallax happens when the reticle is offset from the target down range. It’s an optical illusion that is impossible to 100% get rid off.

You can observe this by moving your eye slightly off the center of the scope – if the reticle shifts then the parallax is off.

Parallax adjustment turrets allow you to adjust it at the right ranges, which is critical for precision shooting. Some optics let you adjust from 10 yards to infinity.

Tyler Brown

Tyler has grown up in a firearm family, now he runs his own firearm business in Kansas. 4 years of experience managing an FN dealership, and it gave him many firearm business knowledge and product knowledge