# What is MOA?

Discussion in 'Optics & Mounts' started by navvet08, Sep 7, 2011.

1. ### navvet08New Member

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I know that MOA stands for minute of angle. What exactly does it mean? And is 1/8 better than 1/4 or is it the other way?

Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2011
2. ### canebrakeNew Member

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Using and Understanding Minute of Angle (MOA)

NOTE: You should understand that an English inch and a Minute of Angle (MOA) is not the same thing. (That disclaimer is to avoid me going all engineering on you. Should you want some additional info, see post # 10.) They are units of measurement that to avoid obfuscation, are close enough together that for the rest of this explanation I will simply round down to an inch.

Exact Minute of Angle (MOA):
1 MOA = 1.0471996 inches @ 100 yards.
1 MOA = 5.24 inches @ 500 yards.
1 MOA = 10.47 inches @ 1000 yards.​

Rounding MOA:
1 MOA @ 100 yards = 1 inch
1 MOA @ 200 Yards = 2 inch
1 MOA @ 300 yards = 3 inch
1 MOA @ 400 Yards = 4 inch
1 MOA @ 500 yards = 5 inch
1 MOA @ 600 Yards = 6 inch
1 MOA @ 700 yards = 7 inch
1 MOA @ 800 Yards = 8 inch
1 MOA @ 900 Yards = 9 inch
1 MOA @ 1000 Yards = 10 inch​

Minute of Angle as it applies to group size and drop:

MOA is used to measure group sizes.
A 1 inch group @ 100 yards is referred to as a 1 MOA group.
A 2 inch group @ 100 yards is a 2 MOA group.​

At 100 yards it seems simple enough to understand. However, it can get confusing if you’re not used to the terminology when you move beyond 100 yards.

For example:
A 3 inch group shot at 300 yards is also a 1 MOA group.
A 6 inch group shot at 300 yards is a 2 MOA group.
A 1 ½ inch group shot at 300 yards is a .5 MOA group.​

Another way to look at it is like this:
½ MOA @ 700 yards is 3.5 inches
1 MOA @ 700 yards is 7 inches
2 MOA @ 700 yards is 14 inches
3 MOA @ 700 yards is 21 inches
or
3.5 inches @ 700 yards is ½ MOA
7 inches @ 700 yards is 1 MOA
14 inches @ 700 yards is 2 MOA
21 inches @ 700 yards is 3 MOA​

Calculations:

How many inches equal 4 MOA at 700 yards?
* (MOA x yards) / 100 = inches
(4 MOA x 700 yards) / 100 = 28 in
*You can drop the last step and make the calculations easier by moving the decimal on the yards two places to the left.
How many inches equal 4 MOA at 700 yards?
(4 MOA x 7.00 yards) = 28 in

How many MOA equal 21 inches at 700 yards?
* (inches / yards)100 = MOA
(21 inches / 700 yards) 100 = 3 MOA
*You can drop the last step and make the calculations easier by moving the decimal on the yards two places to the left.
How many MOA equal 21 inches at 700 yards?
(21 inches / 7.00 yards) = 3 MOA

5 inches = 1 MOA how many yards away is the target?
(Inches x MOA)100 = Yards
(5 inches x 1 MOA) 100 = 500 yards

Minutes of Angle and Rifle Scopes:

Most hunting and target scopes adjust in Minutes of Angle (MOA). The most common adjustment is ¼ or .25 MOA per click. Although not as common, there are scopes that adjust in 1/8, 1/6/, 1/5, 1/3, ½, and 1 MOA.

¼ MOA at 100 yards literally means that each time the scope turret is clicked the bullet impact will move ¼ or .25 inches.

To move the bullet impact 1 inch you would need 4 clicks (.25 x 4 = 1)

Example:

When sighting in a rifle the bullet needs to move up 5 inches to hit the center of target. 5 in / .25 in = 20 clicks or you could think of it like this: need to move 5 inches, 4 clicks per inch, 5in x 4 clicks per in = 20 clicks.

Another application for understanding MOA and scope or sight adjustment is when shooting longer distances. Rifle is sighted in at 100 yards. Your ballistic program tells you that you need to come up 20 MOA to shoot at 600 yards. 20 MOA / .25 = 80 clicks Or 20 MOA x 4 clicks per MOA = 80 Clicks

Last edited: Sep 21, 2011
Ghost1958 and deg like this.

3. ### Boyerracing343New MemberSupporter

thumbs up cane. One more great post from you.

4. ### RarityNew Member

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I have learned plenty much from your post, Canebrake. Thank you~

Zoey,

5. ### winds-of-changeThe Balota'sStaff Member

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WOW!!!

I'll have to read that a few times over.

6. ### neilage66New Member

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I always have to think harder for scope/sight adjustments for ranges under 100 yards/meters.

Ex: How many clicks of a 1/4 minute sight to move POI 5 inches @ 25 yards?

...thinking...

7. ### navvet08New Member

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Thanks Canebrake. I appreciate the lesson; now I believe that I could explain it to someone else.

8. ### RogerRonasNew Member

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Understood it all except this part.

35 inches = 1 MOA how many yards away is the target?
(Inches x MOA)100 = Yards
(5 inches x 1 MOA) 100 = 500 yards

Is 35 a typo and should be 5? That would make more sense at 500 yds. Or 35"/1 MOA would be 3500 yards. No?
Great post Cane and I always wondered about MOA, back in the day (30years ago) we always used " to talk about sighting in a rifle.

Roger

9. ### canebrakeNew Member

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Nice catch Roger, it was a typo.

10. ### TCH2FLYNew Member

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Nicely done, but I do have an issue with this:
I know this comes off as nit picky but technically they are not close or even similar. An inch is a linear measurement and MOA is an angular measurement that is actually dimensionless.

An inch (or foot, meter, etc) measures exactly the same amount of distance at all times, a stick measuring one inch is the same length regardless if it is right in front of you or one mile away.
One MOA is an angular measurement that subtends to approximately one inch at 100 yds but as you point out it also subtends to TWO inches at 200 yds, three inches at 300 yds, etc. so it's "value" is always based on distance.

11. ### CHLChrisNew Member

Subtension. That's a new word for me!

12. ### HalwgNew Member

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I wondered if somebody was going to point this out.

13. ### trip286New Member

yeah it kinda was the wording may have been technically wrong, but was the explanation correct? Would a person who has no knowledge of the concept beforehand be reasonably expected to understand the concept as explained?

That said, hey I learned something. I've understood it these years in the same simple way that Canebrake explained.

14. ### jpattersonnhActive Member

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25 yards that is 20" at 100 yards! Here is ballistics calculator that will help at distance. Pick your bullet, velosity, wind........

JBM - Calculations - Trajectory

15. ### Sniper03Supporting MemberSupporter

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CANE!

Great Post! Vert well explained!

03

16. ### boatme98Well-Known Member

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Sticky anyone?
Thanks. This is great info in an easy format.

17. ### PatCNew Member

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Nav Great question , was wondering the same thing. Cane thanks for the education!! Pat C.

18. ### randyjarrettNew Member

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OK what is 1,2,3,4,5 moa on a dot scope, I know it is the size of the dot but how does that figure in to the ever changing size at different distance's.

Just another dumb hillbilly

Randy