What is the difference between MOA and MRAD measurements?
If you are a long-distance shooter, you may have heard of two terms that are often used to describe the measurements and adjustments of telescopic sights: MOA and MRAD.
But what do they mean and how do they affect your shooting performance? In this article, we will explain the basic concepts of MOA and MRAD, their differences, and the pros and cons of each system. We will also provide some tips on how to choose the ideal scope for your needs and preferences.
MOA and MRAD: Two systems for the same purpose
MOA and MRAD are two different angular measurement systems used to relate and calculate the distance to a target and correct bullet trajectory.
They are also used to design the reticles and turrets of telescopic sights, which are the crosshairs or points that provide an aiming point and the knobs that adjust the reticle position.
Understanding MOA and MRAD will help you adjust your telescopic sight to improve long-distance shooting accuracy.
What does MOA mean?
MOA is an acronym for Minute of Angle, which is a unit of angular measurement used to describe the accuracy and precision of a rifle and scope. It is based on the ancient Sumerian system of using 60 as the base number.
There are 360 degrees in a circle, and each degree can be divided into 60 minutes. One minute of angle is equal to 1/60 of a degree, which results in a difference of 3 centimeters at a distance of 100 meters from the target (or 1.047 inches at 100 yards, in the imperial system typically applied to MOA).
So, imagine you are 100 meters away from a target and your projectile hits the target 3 centimeters away from the desired point of impact. If you adjust your scope by 1 MOA, your next shot will be corrected by a distance of 3 centimeters, allowing you to hit the desired point of impact.
For longer distances, you can calculate the difference in point of impact proportionally: approximately 6 centimeters at 200 meters, 9 centimeters at 300 meters, and so on.
Most scopes are MOA has turrets that move the reticle in 0.25 MOA increments. That means each click moves the reticle by approximately 0.75 centimeters at a distance of 100 meters (or 1/4 inch at 100 yards).
MOA is also used to design the reticles and turrets of rifle scopes, which are the crosshairs or points that provide an aiming point and the knobs that adjust the reticle position.
MOA reticles have marks or dots spaced by 1 MOA or a fraction of it, such as 0.5 MOA or 0.25 MOA. These marks can be used to estimate the distance to a target, compensate for bullet drop and wind, or hold over or under a target.
What does MRAD mean?
MRAD is an acronym for Milliradian, which is a unit of angular measurement used to describe the accuracy and precision of a rifle and scope.
In the previous section, you probably noticed that we used the expression ‘approximately’ several times. This is because, based on imperial units, the MOA system is not ideal for conversion into metric units.
Thus, MRAD falls within the International System of Units (SI), the metric system used in most countries around the world, with the notable exception of the USA.
One MRAD is equal to a deviation of approximately 10 centimeters at 100 meters, 20 centimeters at 200 meters, 30 centimeters at 300 meters, etc. So, the MRAD scopes become more intuitive for those who use the metric system.
Just like in the case of MOA, MRAD is also used to design the reticles and turrets of telescopic sights. For MRAD reticles, each mark or ‘click’ represents a fraction of an MRAD, typically 0.1 MRAD (meaning it allows adjustments of 1 centimeter at 100 meters).
What are the pros and cons of MOA and MRAD?
Both MOA and MRAD are effective and reliable measurement systems for long-distance shooting. However, there are two main differences related to familiarity with the units and the accuracy of corrections.
Firstly, the MOA system can be more complicated and confusing for shooters who use the metric system of meters and centimeters, as one MOA does not equal a round number in centimeters at a specific distance. On the other hand, with MRAD, fewer calculations and conversions are needed, as one MRAD is the same size regardless of distance. For example, to calculate bullet drop in MRAD, you simply divide the bullet drop in centimeters by 10 and then multiply by the distance in meters.
When it comes to precision, it could be argued that MOA scopes have an advantage, as they provide finer adjustments than MRAD scopes. This is because 0.25 MOA is smaller than 0.1 MRAD, allowing for more precise adjustments and zeroing.
How to convert these measurements?
Sometimes, it may be necessary to convert MOA to MRAD, or vice versa, when communicating with other shooters, using ballistic calculators, or switching between different scopes. Fortunately, there is a simple formula you can use to convert between these two measurement systems:
MRAD = MOA ÷ 3,4377
MOA = MRAD × 3,4377
For example, if you want to convert 10 MOA to MRAD, simply multiply 10 by 3.4377, which gives 34.377 MRAD. If you want to convert 5 MRAD to MOA, simply divide 5 by 3.4377, which gives 1.454 MOA.
You can also use a conversion table or a calculator to quickly and easily convert between MOA and MRAD. Here are some examples of common conversions:
MOA | MRAD |
0.25 | 0.09 |
0.5 | 0.15 |
1 | 0.29 |
2 | 0.58 |
3 | 0.87 |
4 | 1.16 |
5 | 1.45 |
10 | 2.91 |
15 | 4.36 |
20 | 5.82 |
How to choose between MOA and MRAD?
The choice between MOA and MRAD is largely a matter of personal preference and comfort. There is no definitive answer as to which system is better or worse, as both have their pros and cons.
However, in Portugal, as in much of the world, the MRAD system has become popular for being more intuitive, thanks to its relationship with metric units.
In the Mundilar online store, we offer options for all tastes, with a selection of the best MOA and MRAD scopes.
If you have any doubts in choosing, contact us at the email [email protected]