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MOA for Dummies

MOA for Dummies

What is MOA or Minute of Angle? We often hear shooters mention those three letters but what exactly is it and how is it calculated? It seems very complicated and a bit of a nightmare when you first look in to it but it is really quite simple; even I can figure it out!

Keep it simple stupid!

Here is an explanation that keeps it as simple as possible for people like me! Note- There will be a test at the end of class! A Minute of Angle (MOA) is an angular measurement of 1/60th of a degree and 1 MOA spreads about 1” per 100 yards. (actually 1.047”). Though purists will say it’s bigger than an inch, which it is, but at normal shooting ranges it’s debatable how much difference it makes! I say this as a ¼ minute click is worth just 0.26” @ 100 yards.

The easiest and best way to think of it is like this: a 1” group @ 100 yds is 1 MOA, a 2” group @ 200 yds is 1 MOA, so a 3” group @ 300 yds is 1 MOA and so on. Stay with me, it’s quite easy to figure out. Say, for example, someone has a 2 MOA rifle, it means that their gun can shoot a 2” group at 100 yds or a 4” group at 200 yards. Or if you are like me, you are a 10 MOA shooter; average to crap! No, I’m not that bad, honest!

Seriously though, the main thing that you need to remember is this: 1 MOA is a different size at different distances, 8” at 800 yards is still just 1 MOA. Always think in increments of 1 MOA at whatever distance you are at. For example, imagine you are shooting at 300 yards. You know that a MOA spreads out 1” per 100 yards, so 1 MOA at 300 yards is 3”. Therefore, for your calculations at that 300 yard target, you should think in 3” increments. By doing so, you can easily see that 2 MOA is just 2 of those 3” increments, or 6” total and likewise, 1/2 MOA is 1/2 of those 3” increments, or 1.5”.

Formula

If you are having troublew trying to figure out the increments in your head and would rather have a formula, you can try this method. Divide the distance (in yards) you are shooting by 100 and you will know how big 1 MOA is in inches. For example, imagine you are now shooting at 250 yards. 250 divided by 100 = 2.5. So, 1 MOA at 250 yards is 2.5”.

Always try and determine how many 1 MOA increments will fit into the adjustment you are trying to make. For example, imagine you are trying to adjust 8” at 400 yards. You already know to think in 4” increments for this example. Two 4” increments (or 4” chunks) fit into the 8” of needed adjustment so you would need to adjust 2 MOA.

Trust me, I’m no mathematician but this really does work for me. If you are struggling to do this in your head, try it this way. Divide the number of inches you want to adjust by number of inches in 1 MOA at that distance. For example, imagine you are now shooting at 600 yards and want to move the impact of the bullet 18”. You know that 1 MOA at 600 yards is 6” from what I mentioned earlier, 18 divided by 6 = 3. So, a 3 MOA adjustment at 600 yards will move the bullet 18”.

Think MOA

I find that it is easier to think in MOA and not in ‘clicks’ on a scope because it just totally threw me and twisted my melon big time! Now, although the majority of retail scopes adjust in 1/4 MOA per click adjustments, some offer 1/8, 1/2 or even 1 MOA per click. Once you know how many MOA to adjust, you can then make the adjustments on your particular scope. For example, if you have 1/4 MOA per click, and you want to adjust up 2 MOA, you need to realise that 4 clicks adjust 1 MOA so you need 8 clicks total.

Here are some quick steps to follow: (Distance to target in yards) / (100) = inches per MOA at that distance, Number of inches of adjustment needed / inches per MOA at that distance = MOA adjustment, Number of clicks per 1 MOA on scope x (MOA adjustment) = adjustment in clicks on scope

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If you really want to be precise (no point with me) and want to calculate everything with 1.047” per 100 yards instead of 1” per 100 yards, you must multiply the (inches per MOA at that distance) by 1.047. To be honest though, I wouldn’t complicate things!

Pop quiz

Right then class, I have a little test for you try and figure the answers out, no cheating!

Q

I f 1 MOA is 1” at 100 yards, how many MOA is 2” at 200 yards?

A

It is still just 1 MOA. Remember, an MOA is an angular measurement that gets bigger with distance. 1” at 100 yards and 12” at 1200 yards are both 1 MOA.

Q

If your bullets are impacting 16” to the left at 800 yards, and ignoring any wind effect for now, how many MOA do you need to adjust and in which direction?

A

2 MOA to the right. Remember, the first step is to think in 1 MOA increments at whatever distance you are shooting. Since 1 MOA at 800 yards is 8”, you should think in 8” increments for this problem. The next step is to think about how many increments of 1 MOA fit into the distance you want to adjust. Two 8” increments fit into the 16” we want to adjust, so we are going to adjust 2 MOA. Since the bullets are impacting to the left, we want to adjust them to the right.

Q

A t 50 yards, how far will a 10 MOA adjustment move the impact of the bullet in inches?

A

5 inches. If 1 MOA at 100 yards is 1”, then at half the distance, 1 MOA is half as big and is 1/2”. Likewise, 1 MOA at 25 yards is 1/4”. So, if you think in 1/2” increments, and add up 10 of those 1/2” increments, you come up with 5 inches.

Q

If you scope adjusts in 1/4 MOA (it may say 1/4” per 100 yards on scope), how many clicks are needed to adjust 10” at 200 yards?

A

20 clicks. 1 MOA increment at 200 yards is 2”. 5 of those 2” increments fit into the 10” of adjustment needed, so a 5 MOA adjustment is needed. 4 clicks on the scope = 1 MOA. So, if every 4 clicks = 1 MOA, you will need 5 of those 4 click adjustments, or 20 clicks total.

So how did you get on? You may need to read this article a few times but it is pretty cool once the penny drops! Safe (and accurate) shooting! Rack

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13 Comments

  • Thanks for the instruction on how to calculate MOA at 50 yards.  Following normal explanations I was doing things backwards and could never find zero.  As I adjusted to my group shots I was bouncing all over the target.  With your explanation of dividing the distance from my target by 100 I was able to get my grouping consistently on zero.  Instead of moving two clicks per inch I was moving eight clicks per inch because of their instructions to do so.  I do not feel so stupid or helpless now.

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    David R Burton
    18 Jul 2020 at 01:50 AM
  • Thank you for this article.

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    Mick
    26 Jun 2020 at 01:04 PM
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    StepCalse
    18 Mar 2020 at 04:41 AM
  • Iam 5 inches to right at 200 yards. I need 20 clicks to left?

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    Joshua George
    26 Nov 2019 at 08:03 PM
  • Hey man - give Mr Cleckner credit where credit is due. I read both yours and his articles and they do read quite similarly. But in the same line of thought I must ask " Did he derive this information on his on or was he passing on info he got from someone else?" So do we properly give credit to Euclid for his mathematics, the Chinese fellow who invented gunpowder, or do we go back as far as God ? Solid info regardless.

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    Charles
    11 Nov 2019 at 06:45 PM
  • Wow, why don’t you all just get off your high horse. I learned a lot here because it was simple, who cares where it came from, he isn’t charging money for this information, and the info is the same no matter who writes it. Oh and in the 3rd or fourth sentence he stated the exact measurement and again later stated you could use the exact measurement in your calculations if you wanted to, this was meant to keep it simple, STUPID, which it did and helped me out greatly

    Default profile image
    Steve
    29 Sep 2019 at 01:41 PM
  • Lol. Just funny.  Shoot, stop being keyboard warriors

    Default profile image
    Corey James
    02 Sep 2019 at 04:50 PM
  • I am new to moa scopes what would i use for a 200 yard zero

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    jeff payne
    19 Jul 2019 at 08:57 PM
  • Whole lot of bad math here! 1 MOA at 100 yards is 1.047 inches.
    You say 1 MOA at 800 yards is 8 inches.
    1 MOA at 800 yards is 8.38 inches.  Very important difference to target shooters.
    If you want to keep it simple stupid - do it right!

    Default profile image
    Gil Burns
    02 Jul 2019 at 02:23 AM
  • Much of this content was stolen directly from the NSSF’s website and video on this topic, both by Ryan Cleckner. The author has been notified about a YouTube video with this same stolen content (the video is completely stolen whereas this is just largely plagiarized). Please remove this article from your site. My article can be found here and has been published since 2011. https://www.nssf.org/shooting/minute-angle-moa/

    Default profile image
    Ryan Cleckner
    12 Feb 2019 at 04:33 AM
  • my rifle range is in yards. My scope is 1cm per 100m

    Default profile image
    robin
    27 Jun 2018 at 05:21 PM


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