Scopes

What Is MOA on a Scope? (Minute Of Angle)

New shooters and hunters often think that they can simply order a scope online, mount it on their weapon, and they’re ready to shoot. However, they might be shocked to hear that scopes are highly adjustable.

Ever heard of MOA on a scope? MOA stands for minute of angle and it is an angular measurement used to make incremental adjustments to a rifle scope. You can calculate MOA on your scope using a simple formula shown in the sections below. We also provided a simple MOA adjustment chart & a few example calculations to make things easy for you.

In this post, we’ll teach you exactly what is MOA on a scope so that you can get dialed in from your desired shooting distance.


What Does MOA Stand For?

MOA stands for ‘minute of angle‘, and it’s a unit of measurement used by marksmen and hunters. As a general rule, one minute of angle is equal to 1/60th of a degree. This impacts your bullet point of impact by 1 inch every 100 yards.

There is a specific formula needed to calculate your specific MOA adjustment depending on the yardage. It is important to learn how to adjust your scope. In this next section, we’ll teach you how to make this calculation from different distances.

picture of minute of angle (MOA) reticle and scope adjustment turrets


How Do You Calculate Your MOA Adjustment?

Before we get to the calculation, you need to understand that every scope is not the same. Different retail scopes adjust differently. Each one has its own unique MOA (minute of angle) adjustments. And that means that you need to know how to make adjustments for YOUR scope, such as leveling your rifle scope on your own!

Here is the basic formula to calculate MOA adjustments:

  • Inches/MOA at a specific distance = (Distance to target [yards]) / (100)
  • Your MOA adjustment = (Bullet Drop – inches of adjustment needed) / (Inches/MOA at a specific distance)
  • Scope clicks = (# of clicks per 1 MOA on scope) x (Your MOA adjustment)

Let’s illustrate this formula with a basic example:

  • For this example, you will be attempting a 200-yard shot. Your first shot was 10 inches off & your scope adjusts 4 clicks for 1 MOA adjustment.
  • Inches/MOA at a specific distance = (200 [yards]) / (100) = 2
  • Your MOA adjustment = (10 in) / (2 in/MOA) = 5 MOA
  • Scope clicks = (4 clicks/MOA) x (5 MOA) = 20 click adjustment

MOA Adjustment Chart

Here is an example MOA adjustment chart for an AR-15 rifle. Shooters use charts like this to make simple adjustments to their optics.

Distance (yards) MOA Adjustment Inches Adjustment
100 1 1.047
200 2 2.094
300 3 3.141
400 4 4.188
500 5 5.235
600 6 6.282
700 7 7.329
800 8 8.376
900 9 9.423
1000 10 10.47

Examples of Sight Adjustments (MOA)

Depending on which type of scope you have, making adjustments can be pretty straightforward. You first need to have a basic understanding of the numbers on the scope. Here are some basic examples of how to make MOA adjustments.

1) Question: If 1 MOA is 1″ at 100 yards, how many MOA is 3″ at 300 yards?

1) Answer: It is still 1 MOA. MOA is an angular measurement. 4″ at 400 yards & 6″ at 600 yards are both just 1 MOA.

2) Question: At 25 yards, how far will a 10 MOA adjustment move the impact of the bullet in inches?

2) Answer: 2.5 inches. 1 MOA at 100 yards is 1″, then at 1/4 the distance, 1 MOA is 1/4 as big and is 1/4″. So, if you think in 1/4″ increments, and add up 10 of those 1/2″ increments, you come up with 2.5 inches.


MOA Advice

Once you understand minute of angle adjustments for your scope, making changes is easy. Most hunting scopes adjustments are very similar depending on the environment and shooting conditions. There are also different types of scopes like FFP and SFP scopes. However, there are a few tips you should be aware of to adjust your scope turrets easily. You should also take the time to choose between mrad vs moa rifle scope reticles!


1) Try To Use 1 MOA Increments

When you’re trying to hit a small target at a distance, it can be easier to think in increments of 1 MOA. That way, you can more easily calculate the adjustments that you need to make in your head.

Of course, this only works if you know the size of the target and the distance to the target. Otherwise, you’ll just be guessing. But if you have those two pieces of information, then thinking in terms of 1 MOA can help you to make more accurate shots.


2) Don’t Think In “Clicks”

When making adjustments to your sights, it can be helpful to know how many 1 MOA increments will fit into the adjustment you are trying to make. This way, you can make fast adjustments easier and know when to stop.

  • For example, if you are trying to make a 2″ adjustment at 100 yards, you would need 4 MOA. Therefore, if you have a 1 MOA sight, you would need to make 4 clicks.

Thinking in terms of clicks can cause confusion and make scope adjustments more difficult.


Where To Buy Scopes

The scope you choose will depend on your specific use case. Hunter will want the best scope for elk hunting. But a military sniper may want a scope for a totally different application. As a Smith and Wesson fan, I always tell friends to check out the best M&P 15 scopes. Take a look and see which scope fits your specific needs best.


What MOA Should Your Pick For A New Scope?

The choice of MOA for a new scope depends on the intended use and the expected shooting distances. For general-purpose and shorter-range shooting, a scope with 1/4 MOA adjustments is common. If you plan to engage targets at longer distances, a finer adjustment such as 1/8 MOA or even 1/10 MOA may be beneficial for more precise shot placement.


FAQs – MOA Scopes

What does 1/4 MOA on a scope mean?

How many clicks on a scope is one MOA?

4 clicks is one MOA (1 Minute of Angle, which is a unit of measure for how accurately you're aiming). It's important to remember that 1 click does not equal 1 MOA for most rifle scopes.

How many clicks is 300 yards?

It is a very simple calculate the amount of clicks from 300 yards. For a 300 yard shot, the bullet drop will be roughly 15 inches. Therefore, 15 (inches)/3 (hundred yards) = 5 MOA adjustment. A 5 MOA adjustment translates to 20 click adjustments on your scope.

What does 3moa mean?

If you have a 3 MOA red dot site, that means that your reticle will appear to be 3

The Bottom Line

Now you have a firm understanding of exactly what MOA is on hunting scopes. Use this information to calculate MOA adjustments for your specific needs. Unfortunately, you cannot just buy a scope off the shelf and get to shooting. You need to make adjustments! Let us know how you make out with dialing in your optic.

About the author

Patrick Howard

I have been working as a gunsmith for 20 years. Rain, fog, moisture, high temperature, or even snow are all the things a product must withstand in order to be recommended by me.

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