Down and Dirty How to use a MilRad Reticle

Discussion in 'Knives and Gear' started by J.Boyette, Jan 25, 2010.

  1. J.Boyette

    J.Boyette Firearms Instructor

    Nov 22, 2007
    Hillsborough NC
    Ok guys here we go. Go get your thinking caps on and come on back to read this.

    This is a fast and basic run down on how to use ANY MILRAD based reticle system in a riflescope. This is a excerpt from my Advanced Mil-Dot Class that I hold during the year.


    What you need to have and know first off.
    1. A calculator
    2. A understanding of MOA
    3. A understanding of the English unit of measure " inches, feet, yards"
    4. A open mind and the ability to comprehend what you read.
    5. A 100yd range
    6. A computer printer
    7. My e-mail address

    Well here we go, A milradian is a unit of measure. To understand this unit of measure, and how it helps you is simple. All you need to do is know how big a MILRAD is at each 100yd lines you plan on ranging or shooting a target at.


    To do this at home, all you need to do is take the yard line value as in the 4 from 4 00yds an times it by 3.6" and you get the value for that distance. So now we know how big a Mil is at each distance. This information will inform you the shooter to the danger space, under shot, over shot, and point blank ranges of each ZERO you use. For more info on that, come see me :)

    Using the reticule for unknown distance target ranging, or hold overs/unders is the same skill set. To range a target you need to know target size in width or height or mil size for advanced MILRAD usage.

    How does this work?

    Very simply, to find an unknown you need two pieces of the puzzle that are known correct? So for you to find an unknown distance to a target you need the following.

    Mil size + Target size = distance to target.

    Very simple.

    So all you do is this.

    Target size x 27.778 = a number / mil reading in the reticule = Target distance. That's it.

    Let's work on this. I have a 20" x 40" target.


    Now since I know how big a target is, all I need to do is line the target up in my reticle to get the Milrad reading.


    The target to the right reads 1.2 Mil tall and .6 Mil wide. So lets use these numbers to get the range

    40 inches x 27.778 = 1111.12
    1111.12 / 1.2 Mil = 925.933 or 926yds ;)

    20 inches x 27.778 = 555.56
    555.56 / .6 Mil = 925.933 or 926yds ;)

    WOW HOW DID THAT HAPPEN??????????????????????????????????? ;)

    So tell me the range to the target on the left.

    You should get a range of 555.56yds on both height and width.

    Holds for Elevation, Windage

    Now that we have covered the basic information and usage of the Mil-Dot reticle lets look at more advanced applications. We now know that a Mil-Dot reticle is a unit of angular measurement as is minute of angle. You can now use the ammunition ballistics that you have in MOA for hold-over's, hold-under's and windage to hit a target.

    This is simple to do. Lets use the Federal Gold Metal Match .308 win Ammunition (FGMM) with the 175 grain bullet as an example.


    Since we now have the ballistics that our rifle shoots. You need to pick a ZERO range for your scope. Then get the adjustment-ups or adjustment-downs from that MOA drop at that range to all the ranges you plan on using the Mil-Dots for hold-over's and hold-under's for.

    The easiest way I have found to get the best ZERO setting on the scope is to look at your MOA from the closest range you will shoot at to the farthest. Most of us will use a 100 yard to 1000 yard ballistic sheet. For the Federal Gold Metal Match .308 win Ammunition our chart lists 37.37 MOA as the total drop. We take the 37.35 and divide it by3.43775. This gives us 10.86 Mils of total drop. Most reticules have 8 Mil-Dots with a 10 Milliradian over all size reticule. I have found that a ZERO SETTING between 600 yards and 700 yards works best for the FGMM .308win ammunition to cover 100yards to 1000 yards.

    With that in mind, we will use the 675 yard data as the ZERO but you can use any MOA ZERO you would like. Some use a 400yd ZERO also to engage targets from 100 yards to 800 yards. The 675 yard data is at 18.75 MOA setting on the optic's turrets from the 100yd ZERO. Now I need to find out what my adjustment-ups and adjustment -downs are from each range to 675 yards. If you subtract 675 yard MOA from 700 to 1000 yards you get your adjustment-ups. Then subtract the MOA at 100 to 500yds from the 675yd MOA for adjustment-downs.

    You're adjustment-up / down chart will look like this:


    Ok the fun part. We have the entire math we could ever want now. To make a hold-over / under we must take the adjustment-up/ down and divide it by 3.438 to get is value in Mil so we can use it with our reticule. Using the same data charts this is how it’s done.

    I have my adjustment-downs and ups. All I have to do is take the adjustment-up or down number and divide it by 3.438 to get my mil-hold.

    400yard adjustment down from 675 yards = 11.21 MOA
    11.21 / 3.438 = 3.26 Mil-Hold under 675yd ZERO
    800yard adjustment up = 6.48 MOA
    6.48 / 3.438 = 1.88 Mil-Hold over 675yd ZERO

    To do the windage holds. All we have to do is take the true minute of angle wind drift and divide it by 3.438 and you get the wind hold in Mil.


    This is how your holds will look like when you need to use them.

    Elevation Holds

    Windage Holds

    There is a lot more to this than what is posted. But it should get you on the right path. Hope this very short explanation helps. If you need any help, ask away.

  2. NBMZ/28

    NBMZ/28 New Member

    Mar 27, 2009
    This is sticky worthy!
  3. K.Lee

    K.Lee Sponsor

    May 2, 2008
    Rock Hill, SC
    Great write up.
  4. SmithErick

    SmithErick Registered Member

    Apr 6, 2009
    Whitsett, NC
    Thanks John!!!
  5. eclipse13

    eclipse13 New Member

    Oct 30, 2008
    Wilmington, NC
    Thanks. I've read alittle about how to use one, but would like to really learn to use it properly. This is good info.
  6. Silent Bob

    Silent Bob Registered Member

    Jul 13, 2007
    Fountain Inn, SC
    Awesome post!! Thanks.

    WRAITH New Member

    Sep 21, 2008
    southern Wake Co.
    Outstanding! +1 to sticky
  8. baxt3r

    baxt3r Registered Member

    Sep 18, 2008
    Charlotte, NC
    Another +1 for a sticky.

    Its gonna take me 5 years to understand all that. :)
  9. Tripp

    Tripp Registered Member

    Mar 5, 2009
    +1 sticky
  10. Boltgun

    Boltgun Member

    Aug 7, 2007
    Lake Norman, NC
    Deff needs to be sticky, by far one of the best write-ups on the subject I've ever seen.
  11. mcanders

    mcanders New Member

    Jan 17, 2008
    Rock Hill, SC

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