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Minute of Angle (MOA) vs Milliradian (MIL/MRAD)- Which is Better?

Firing a gun requires accuracy and precision, among other factors. Getting the best scope to see your target plays a huge factor, too. 

When it comes to rifle scopes, the MRAD vs MOA comparison has been a long-standing debate among our gun brothers. Our team just had to step in. Check out the facts we’ve gathered. 

DIFFERENCE

The primary difference between MOA and MRAD is the method used to measure the length of a section of the circle’s circumference. 

It would always depend on the shooter whether he is comfortable using Minutes of Angle (MOA) or Milliradians (MRAD or MIL) on your rifle scopes.

MOA and MIL measurements have the same purpose, to measure the angle of the bullet’s course on a rifle scope.

If you compare MOA vs MRAD, you do not have an apparent reason for which one excels, only that you will have various factors that will make you decide on MOA vs MRAD.

What is MRAD?

MRAD stands for Milliradians, and as per definition, milliradians are the arc of a circle having the same length and radius. 

One MIL is equal to 3.6 inches of 9.14 cm or 3.6 inches at 100 yards.

No matter what the size is, big or small circle, the circumference ratio to the radius will remain.

This type of angle measurement calculates the distance to the target and the correction for the bullet trajectory (1) and bullet impact, whether in long range shooting or closer range.

mrad

How Do You Measure It? 

They follow the standard unit, twice of the constant Pi that is 6.28, the exact section of the circle’s circumference to ensure that the rifle scopes are getting the right target.

Instead of dividing a circle into 360 degrees and 21,600 minutes as with MOA, milliradians instead divide the circumference of a circle into 6.28 equal sections measuring 57.3 degrees each in an MRAD scope. 

Thus, every circle has a circle circumference that is 6.28 radians long. Then each radian is going to be divided into 1,000 parts more, which is called Milliradians.

When calculating MRAD in a MIL scope, you will be calling it MIL, which is 3.6 inches at 100 yards (91.4m) equal to 1 MIL.

What is MOA?

If we are only going to base it on the definition and simplicity of the formulas used, then one would say MOA is less complex. 

It revolves around this computation process to ensure rifle accuracy. 

MOA stands for minutes of angle. The angular measurement for MOA scopes is in degrees and minutes.

The use of MOA is more common in North America and Europe. It has a pretty simple logic. 

It is based on a 360-degree full circle, divided equally into 360 equal degrees, divided into 60 minutes. The product will be 21,600 minutes of angle.

moa

How Do You Measure It?

Using MOA, every arcminute is equivalent to an approximate one (1) inch at 100, two (2.00) at 200 yards, and three (3.00) inches at 300 yards deviation. 

A reticle is aligned 0.25 (1/4″) of an arcminute or 0.25 inches at 100 yards, 0.50 inch 200 yards, and 0.75 an inch at 300 yards. Then at 1,000 yards, one-quarter MOA would be roughly around 2.6 inches.

You may find some scope reticles using .0125 (⅛”) increments, but this is not favored by other shooters, considering that the chance may be too limited.

Let's Take A Closer Look at the Applications

In Relation to Reticles

In Relation to Reticles

For those unaware, reticles are the ones giving the aiming point of rifle scopes. 

There are many reticles available, not just one generic type you can place and then go. They serve their purpose, hunting vermin, for bullet drop compensation, low light shooting, illuminated reticles, tactical reticles, to name a few. 

The most common would be the original reticle that features single horizontal and single vertical crosshairs that cross in the center for that aiming point rifle scope.

Then there is the Dot reticle which features an enclosed red circle in the center of the reticle, which can emit from all sides, top, and bottom and extends through the entire field of view.

The Duplex reticle is also available, which is commonly used by hunters. 

BDC or Bullet Drop Compensation is a ballistics reticle.

Mil-Dot reticle is the preferred choice in the military and those doing long ranges with a MIL-based scope.

In Relation to Scope Turrets

In Relation to Scope Turrets

These are those external knobs that, raised at the right side of your rifle scope. Many scopes have distance markings, but some do not. 

Whether MOA turrets or not, the purpose of these is to alter the bullet direction by changing the position of the crosshairs.

If your scope is a Minute of angle or MOA turret and you are using a Minute of Angle or MOA reticle, and the shot was 1/2 MOA low, you would do the same thing and make a two-click adjustment. 

Just make sure you are not mixing it up, using MOA measurements on a MIL system, and making MOA adjustments at that. 

If we compare MRAD VS MOA, the difference of 3.44 minutes of angle in each milliradian will make one MOA scope better if we consider the close range.

In Relation to Long-Range Shooting

In Relation to Long Range Shooting

We have to bear in mind that both MRAD and MOA track angular movement, which means that the farther the bullet reaches, the farther it will be off the course of the angle. 

Preciseness and accuracy are the main reasons why adjustments need to be done by long-range sport shooters or regular gun users.

When it comes to long ranges, many shooters prefer the MRAD scope as long as the possibility of the target being stationary is high.

The angle provides shooters with a better shot when using MRAD tactical scopes. The military and police snipers mostly use this.

In Relation to Hunting

In Relation to Hunting

Most often than not, a hunter will have a moving target which makes the accurate shot difficult. 

You can make fine adjustments, but you are bound to make estimates depending on the direction of your target. That one inch makes a huge difference every 100 yards.

The complication in shooting your target does not only happen if you aim at a moving object, even if the distance is less than 100 yards.

Distance is one factor that you have to consider, so your calculations must be precise. You will get a finer degree of angles with proper measurements in both MOA and MRAD scopes.

However, it is not a guarantee that your calculations will be fool-proof. During your adjustments, this may be where the problem occurs.

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Which is Easier to Use, MOA or MRAD?

The answer is going to be on the shooter’s preference. Apart from the calculations, you have to consider other factors, but since we are looking at comparing the two’s ease of use, it depends on you. 

If you are at ease using the more modern way of calculating measurements in the metric system, like getting the output in centimeters or meters, your choice will be MRAD.

If you are more at ease with the Imperial System using inches, yards, and feet, use MOA-based scope.

Converting MRAD to MOA

The equation is 1 milliradian is equivalent to 3.44 minutes, while 1 Minute of Angle is equivalent to 0.290888 MRAD. 

We always have to remember that before converting, the systems used are all based on science. 

The Milliradian system is an International System of Units, originally developed in the 1800s.

The Minute of Angle system, on the other hand, was handed down and tested by the Sumerians in the 3rd millennium BC.

The standard calculations with one MOA or Minute of Angle at 100 yards (91.4 meters) and a Mil are equal to the circle’s radius, which is 1/1000th of the radius, and both are on the same page.

MOA and MRAD have the best scopes available and are convertible to the preference of the shooter.

Which System Should I Choose?

It would be the same answer as what we gave on the ease of use. If you find the scope alignment easier to do using MOA VS MRAD, then choose that option.

Long-range sports shooters often prefer the MRAD system for accuracy, and it is growing in the civilian market. And if you are using this for that purpose, you can practice and enhance your skills in using MIL scopes.

The same goes for the MOA system. Closer ranges are their specialty, anything below the 300-yard distance.

FAQS

With adjustments, MRAD only has one standard adjustment increment, and that is one-tenth of a milliradian. 

Since there are no fractional increments in MRAD scopes, it makes it a better choice for long-range shots. 

If your target is within 100 yards to 300 at least, then most of your fellow shooters will say yes to a MOA scope.

If the angle allows shooters to hit the target accurately, then the angular measure was correctly calculated and applied in the reticle alignment. 

 

Both scopes provide options, and it just depends on the person taking the shot.

MOA or MRAD - The Choice is Yours

You make your choice between MRAD scopes and MOA scopes solely depending on how you will be using your gun.

Many gun deals provide scopes using the same system and the angular measurement you are comfortable with, either MOA adjustment or MIL dots.

Take note of your preference for the reticle focal plane as well, especially if you are dealing with longer ranges. 

Long distances have a target size that is much harder to hit, more if these are beyond 100 yards. 

If you are new to this field, everything will blow your mind, starting with the mention of numbers to the rifle scope reticle and calculating the one-tenth centimeters of the bullet’s direction, one inch to the left.

But you will get the angular measurements one day, eventually.

References:

  1. https://sciencing.com/calculate-bullet-trajectory-5185428.html

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