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MRAD vs MOA: Decoding the Units of Measurement

Welcome to the world of precision shooting, where understanding angular measurements is key to mastering accuracy and honing your skills. MRAD vs MOA, both units of measurement used in rifle scopes, can often be intimidating concepts for hunters and shooting enthusiasts alike.

In this blog post, we’ll decode these two popular systems—Milliradians (MRAD) and Minute of Angle (MOA)—by delving into their meaning, differences, and how to choose the right one for your specific needs.

Key Takeaways

  • MRAD and MOA are two units of measurement commonly used in rifle scopes for precision shooting.
  • MRAD is a metric – based system that is more precise than MOA, while MOA is an imperial system that may be easier to use for some hunters and shooters.
  • Personal preference and shooting application should be considered when choosing between MRAD and MOA. as well as compatibility with the scope and ammunition being used.
  • Seeking expert advice from experienced shooters or firearm specialists can help individuals make informed decisions about which unit of measurement to use based on individual circumstances.

Understanding MRAD And MOA


MRAD is a milliradian-based unit of measurement that represents an angle subtended by 1/1000 of the distance to a target, while MOA is based on an angle subtended by 1/60th of one degree within a circle.

MRAD: Milliradian Based On A Radial Angle

In the world of long-range shooting, MRAD (milliradian) is a popular unit of measurement that’s based on radial angles.

To understand how MRAD works, imagine a circle being divided into 1,000 milliradians. One milliradian equals roughly 0.057 degrees or 3.44 minutes of angle. 

When using an MRAD-based scope, you’ll notice that each click on the turret adjusts the point of impact by one-tenth of a milliradian per hundred yards – which translates to about 0.36 inches at 100 yards or approximately 3.6 inches at 1,000 yards.

This precise level of control makes it easier for shooters to make small adjustments in their aim without overshooting their target or missing entirely due to incorrect calculations based on other systems like MOA (Minute of Angle).

MOA: Minute Of Angle Based On An Angle Of A Circle

MOA, or Minute of Angle, is another unit of measurement used in shooting accuracy. It’s based on an angle of a circle; specifically, one minute of angle refers to 1/60th of one degree.

This can be thought of as the width or height that a bullet will impact at a specific distance.

MOA measurements are commonly used in imperial systems and often preferred by hunters who want to make quick adjustments while out in the field. The use of MOA also offers simplicity and ease when it comes to making precise long-range shots.

Differences Between MRAD And MOA

scope adjustments

MRAD and MOA differ in precision and ease of use, as well as compatibility with scope and ammunition.

Precision And Ease Of Use

The main difference between MRAD and MOA lies in the level of precision they offer and their ease of use. MRAD is a metric-based system that allows for more precise calculations due to its smaller increments.

However, many hunters and shooting enthusiasts prefer MOA because it’s often easier to work with, especially when zeroing or adjusting your rifle scope’s windage and elevation.

It can also provide faster calculations when using different ammunition types.

For example, if you’re into competitive precision shooting at longer distances where every shot counts, then MRAD may be the better option since each milliradian increment provides greater accuracy over long-range targets.

Compatibility With Scope And Ammunition

When it comes to choosing between MRAD and MOA, compatibility with your scope and ammunition is a crucial factor. Some scopes have reticles that are calibrated in either MOA or MRAD, so you need to ensure that the unit of measurement you choose matches what your scope uses.

Furthermore, different types of ammunition may perform differently at varying distances, so picking the right angular measurement unit can give you an edge when zeroing in on targets.

One example where this compatibility factor plays a significant role is when adjusting windage and elevation. With a rifle sighted in MOA at 100 yards distance, one click will move the point of impact by 1/4 inch horizontally or vertically.

In contrast, using MRAD requires ten clicks to achieve the same movement as one click equals 0.36 inches (or roughly 1 cm) change on target for every hundred yards distance from shooter to target.

Choosing The Right Unit Of Measurement


Consider personal preference and shooting application when choosing between MRAD and MOA, or seek expert advice to ensure the best fit for your precision shooting needs.

Considering Personal Preference And Shooting Application

For hunters and shooting enthusiasts, choosing the right unit of measurement is crucial to achieve accurate shots. When deciding between MRAD and MOA, here are some factors to consider based on personal preferences and shooting application:

  1. Experience level: For beginners, MOA may be easier to understand as it is based on a familiar degree measurement system. MRAD requires a bit more understanding of the metric system.
  1. Target distance: For long-range targets, MRAD may be preferred as it provides finer adjustments in smaller increments compared to MOA.
  1. Rifle scope reticles: Some reticles are designed for one specific unit of measurement. Check if your preferred reticle matches the unit you wish to use.
  1. Ammunition ballistics: Consider the type of ammunition you will be using as different rounds may perform better with a specific unit of measurement.
  1. Shooting goals: Is accuracy your top priority or are you looking for a faster setup? If you prioritize accuracy, MRAD may be better suited due to its precision measurements.
  1. Expert advice: Seeking advice from experienced shooters or firearm specialists can help in making a well-informed decision based on individual circumstances.

Ultimately, choosing between MRAD and MOA comes down to personal preference and what works best for your shooting style and equipment.

Seeking Expert Advice

Choosing between MRAD and MOA can be a daunting task for any hunter or shooting enthusiast. Seeking expert advice is always helpful when it comes to deciding what unit of measurement to use based on your personal preference and shooting application.

Additionally, manufacturers may offer guidance on which unit is best suited for their scopes or reticles. By seeking expert advice, you can save yourself from making costly mistakes that could affect your accuracy in the field.


In conclusion, understanding the difference between MRAD and MOA is crucial for precision shooting accuracy. Whether you prefer a metric or imperial system, both units of measurement have their strengths and weaknesses.

While MRAD is more precise and easier to use with certain scopes and ammunition, MOA may be a better fit for your personal shooting application.

Remember to seek expert advice when choosing the right unit of measurement for your rifle sighting needs.


1. What is the difference between MRAD and MOA?

MRAD (milliradian) and MOA (minute of angle) are both units of angular measurement used to calculate distance in optics, but they differ in their level of precision. While MRAD is a more precise unit with smaller increments, MOA allows for easier mental calculations as it relates directly to inches at 100 yards.

2. Which unit of measurement should I use for long-range shooting?

The choice between MRAD or MOA ultimately comes down to personal preference and your specific needs as a shooter. It’s generally advised to stick with one system consistently so you become familiarized with making adjustments within that framework.

3. How do I convert between MRAD and MOA?

Converting between MRAD and MOA involves multiplying or dividing by conversion factors based upon the desired value until the relevant measurement is reached.

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George Grey

Being an avid outdoorsman since I can remember, my passion for survival, hunting and the outdoors has grown every year. I love being out in the country and living off it whenever time allows. Huge Rifle Scopes aficionado!

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