Using Mils


In the margin also under “Shooting Resources”.

H/t Lawless.

30 responses to “Using Mils

  1. Measure twice, dial once. Mil/ MOA are the same distance at the target, it’s just a difference in the trig,

    Both are worthy of understanding, and using.

    With today’s kit, it’s almost foolish to not have the ability on hand, to measure both.

    Hand computers make it a simple matter of selecting one or the other, via the press of a button.

    Measuring distances is critical, but no more important then reading environmentals.

    Good stuff.


    • Milliradians and Minutes of Angle are not the same. Both are angular measurements that equate to very different linear measurements at the target. 1 MOA is 1.047 inches at 100 yards expressed as a linear measurement. 1 Mil equates to 10cm at 100m expressed as a linear measurement. 0.1 mil clicks on a turret change POI one CM at 100 yards while a MOA turret changes the POI 1/4 inch at 100yds.

      Angular measurements are constant at any distance. Forget what they equate to in linear measurements at the target. Use the ruler in front of your nose to measure your correction and either hold the correction or dial it.

      See your bullet splash or kick dust and measure the mils off target. Hold the opposite direction the same measurement and you are instantly on.

      Ranging is only part of the Mil reticle’s usefulness.

  2. lastmanstanding


    Navigating that morass of technology right now. Researching, reading, so many choices. Appreciate all the info posted here and on other blogs linked here.

    Anyone have an opinion on the Trijiicon RX01NSN? I like the idea of no battery.

    • JohnnyParatrooper


      The ACOG is wonderful. They make EXCELLENT kit.

      I bought a Leupold Mark IV TMR Illuminated.

      Used the lighting on the first day at the range.

      Shits works just right, and it takes the same battery as my Aimpoints.

      The TMR is like having Mils and Dots in one Reticle(If I recall Correctly)

      I liked the TMR because it has a blank little opening in the middle, and I liked it because the Reticle is razor thin. Giving me very, very clear picture.

      Remember, You spend more time glassing(Scanning) your AO than you do shooting shit.

      Seeing is better than shooting IMHO. And Better shooting is done by seeing.

      Also, If you use a .308, The TMR practically lines up as its own BDC out to 500 meters (Takes a little time to study) But the math is in there.

      Past that, You are gonna LOVE the razor thin reticle.

      Just one mans opinion after spending 12 hours a day behind a scope for 12 months (Hated it) Had a Mill Dot (Hated having to scan around all the time)

      There are about three different ways to measure with the TMR. Its probably the best.

      Just one mans opinion.

    • JohnnyParatrooper

      If you dont have the time to spend a weekend learning your reticle, then a BDC is for you.

      They are idiot proof optics.

    • JohnnyParatrooper

      My Bad. I assumed that was a long range scope.

      I went with an Aimpoint M68. Just like the Army uses.

      Batteries are cheap and last a long time in the ON position.

      You can also easily mount a quality (Aimpoint Brand) 3x behind it.

      Interestingly, If your Red Dot battery dies, You can flip the 3X into position and after the first round the 3X will “seat itself” thanks to the recoil.

      You can “Zero” the 3X on the Red Dot. Centering the glass.

      If you are half stupid like myself, You can eyeball the center of the glass and still hit your mark with reasonable confidence.

      • lastmanstanding

        Thanks a ton for your time. Should have mentioned for a couple 15’s. Been running IS all along and have decided to add optics. Both are mid range $ rifles and ACOG’s are a bit much perhaps.

        I have a top shelf item in the oven and an ACOG will be perched on top.

        Been a shotgun and bolt guy all my life, no probs there. All that furniture that sits on top of AR’s makes me crazy. Thanks for clearing it up.

        I have a brother in your AO. Great guy, doesn’t have a fucking clue as to what is going on. Just can’t reach him.

        Be safe. Hope your able to make it to Wyoming some day. Beautiful place…unless Yellowstone blows! She’s got indigestion right now and if she pukes several of us here are ash.

        But as they say, better dead than red. 😉

  3. The Usual Suspect

    Milldots are the most friendly non electronic field ranging
    device’s yet.
    While not as accurate as a lazar ranging device with a clinometer
    coupled with a cartridge/bullet weight/velocity cell phone app and
    one of the latest generation inverse christmas tree reticles available
    The mill dot is dependent on lots of practice and dedication to
    master, and rarely is.
    The very best do the conversions and math intuitively and fire in a
    space of time that leaves you in amazement.

    • JohnnyParatrooper

      Yeah. But to be fair, once you are familiar with your rifle and the known variables, all you need is to check your wind and you should hit 95% of your shots.

      • JohnnyParatrooper

        If you fire three times that percentile stacks. Giving you a 285% chance of a hit.

        Assuming you know what you are doing or have been trained.

  4. If you’re gonna shoot, SHOOT! Don’t talk. Very, very, few combat targets will be of the type or condition in which hoplophiles will be able to use or implement all the higher and closer to G*d things in order to make a shot. I understand the science. I don’t understand the obsession with making every single shot perfectly. Having actually killed people in combat, I personally saw anyone rarely, (including myself) get more than about 20 seconds to make a shot. Most times it was about 1 second, and maybe 2 seconds. I suggest more than a passing acquaintance with your iron sights. And we won’t neglect pistol practice, now, will we? If you got a designated marksman in your group, great. Not all of us can be a star.

  5. The Usual Suspect

    American’s love their gadgets and while you can pack a shitload
    of shooting, environmental doodads ect, ect, service will not be
    available come reset.
    Even if they were, the only coin that can purchase wind calls is
    many, many hours behind a scope.
    There used to be a guy in AZ who ran a coaching class for long range
    shooter teams, the rifleman was reduced to a trigger puller and the
    coach behind the glass became the brain behind the trigger.
    Took it years ago, very beneficial, don’t know if he still offers the class.

    • JohnnyParatrooper

      Ranging shots.

      They freeze.

      You correct.

      Fire again.


      In less than 5 seconds.

      “Screw the Dope, Fire a Rope”

  6. Mother Nature gives a shooter everything they need to hit at distance. One just needs to understand what their seeing thru the lense. The electronics are handy not a requirement.

    Their’s a reason a shoot team consists of two people. One calls the shot, the others dials, and presses the trigger. 10/12 seconds max. But then what’s the hurry.

    You spent days, maybe even weeks getting to your AO, built the perfect hiddy hole, know who’s who, and what’s what.

    My point is, snipers are methodical, in every detain. They are the tool for that job.

    Your DM, while very important to the saftey of the group, are a part of a tool.

    Not trash talking a DM, just think our friends a bit shy on job descriptions.


  7. Ranging is on part of the equation guys.

    It’s a ruler 3 inches in front of your nose for elevation and windage correction in a flash.

  8. PFFF…

    Mil dots are a useless parlour trick.

    Some background: I was NCOIC of the 18th ABN Corp & Ft. Bragg Sniper School (’78 — ’80); Designer/Developer/Training NCO of the SF Sniper School, at that time run by the Weapons Committee of SF Schools (’82 — ’83); Designer/Developer/Training NCO of Special Operations Target Interdiction Course (SOTIC) [in conjunction with the SF Advanced Reconnaissance Course] (’83 — ’85… and author of a manual entitled, “Unconventional Warfare Sniping;” classified TS in a panic and buried); and then again (’89 — ’91) Training NCO of SOTIC.

    The idea behind the M24 was mine. Although I howled bitterly about how “procurement” and “contacting” mutilated the thing at the end of the process. I am a factory trained and fully qualified Remington 700 armorer — if your 700 is a clunker send it to me and I will return to you a “hammer.” But you probably couldn’t afford my time and effort. It would certainly be much more than what you paid for it.

    So… back to mil dots. They are a bad joke. As Training NCO I deliberately designed any and all range estimation, observation, and shooting exercises to render their application utterly useless. Doing so was effortless. Any student attempting to use the “mil dot reticle” in training exercises I had designed failed… miserably.

    So, what reticle do you use Barry?

    The German Post.



      This one?

      Also, would you consider writing a piece on practical optics?

    • lastmanstanding

      Brother, I got lots of Remington’s and some nice 700’s. (None with problems!) But, a bit of personal direction and tune up would get you and the misses our nice guest spot and board if your ever interested in a Big Sky getaway. It’s quiet, comfy, views great and the food is fresh and awesome.

      I don’t mind paying for services at all, but shipping my kit out with all of this crazy shit going on would be insane!

      BYOWP…bring you own weaponry please!

    • Sir, as much as I disagree with pretty much everything you write on politics and religion, I highly esteem simplicity in these matters and that which you have just stated.

      The whole mil-dot thing makes my eyes glaze over quickly and I have studied the subject. Seems to me that rapid acquisition and firing till effective is much more rational in combat than hairy reticles and cell phone aps. Cell phone aps! Ye gods, and folks worry about batteries failing! Can’t go to war with out a range finder, with on board GPS missile attractor, talking to a cell phone enemy listening post, and a scope so complicated that you need to do trigonometry in your head, under fire. (For you guys who do like and use the mil system, I think it’s just fine for you but there is by far way too much obsessing about equipment and especially the latest cooltech, by folks who will never practice it enough or likely ever use it. Not trying to start a flamefest)

      I could shoot long before there were such things even dreamed of, and most of us will be much more apt to need to shoot that guy right over there than someone at a 1000 yards. I hit the 500 yd pop up at rifle qual circa 1963 with an iron sighted M1 Garand pretty nearly every time using “battle sight zero” and anatomical aiming points corresponding to distance. Wind was less of an issue with the 30 oughtsix.

    • I have defended you here many times in your assessment of the current situation here in amerika, but the above is ridiculous. There is no way a post reticle is used to good effect AT LONG RANGE compared to a mil based reticle. If it were so, the best long range shooters of today would be using it.

      So you taught Sniper School in 78-80? A lot has changed in 38 years brother.

      DMR? Sure. Hell out to 300 you just hold dead on the upper chest.

      600 out? That reticle is useless.

  9. I’ve used mil-dots in the field there are several problems rarely mentioned but the most obvious are reticles that work fine at a few 100 yards but at, say 700 yards obscure the target as well as the normal measurement artifacts in the environment. Ever try to deduce the dimensions of a boulder @ 678 yards when you can’t get an exact reading of the mils because they occlude the rock? Garbage data in, garbage data out. Give me a Christ Mass Tree, a laser, a dedicated BDC dial on thescope any time

  10. It’s easier when the turret units match the reticle units. With good recoil management you can spot your own trace and make corrections with reticle hold or dial turrets. All bets are off in inconsistent winds unless you have a lot of time shooting in shit conditions. You do shoot long on windy days, right?

  11. sigproshooter

    Range is easy with only a modicum of range time, kd is great but ukd is where the rubber meets the road. But the external effects of the environment are what separates the men from the boys. Data/dope books are worth the effort down the road. Just my .02

  12. The bolt action rifle has been the weapon of choice for man hunters, forever.

    My point was simply this. Someone who shoots should have a working understanding of all the reticle’s on the market.

    Not one to get stuck on the MOA the mil, mildot, or the German T.

    As for accurizimg a 700 it’s not magic, got several, even have the 5k tee shirts that come with them. Make great cleaning rags.