August is National Shooting Month. This means it’s a great time to get out on the shooting range. For those of you that are new to target shooting, you may be new to scopes, too. You’ve probably seen “MOA” thrown around when looking at different scopes. But what does MOA mean in regard to scopes? Knowing what this stands for and means can help you to shoot better on target.
What Does MOA Mean?
MOA stands for “Minute of Angle.” This is an angular measurement. A minute of angle is 1/60th of a degree. This in turn stands for 1 inch every 100 yards. Knowing what this is and how it works helps you to adjust your calculations when aiming at a target. Sometimes it is difficult to perform the calculations in your head. An easy way to determine this is to divide the distance you are shooting (in yards) by 100. So, for example, if you are shooting 350 yards away, 350 divided by 100 is 3.5. This means 1 minute of angle at 350 yards is 3.5”.
Are you still confused? Don’t worry, we’ve got you! Let’s say you are trying to adjust 4 inches at 200 yards. You want to think in 2-inch increments. 2 inches fits into the 4-inch adjustment 2 times, which means you would need to adjust 2 MOA. When we say, “adjust by 2 MOA,” we mean adjusting your scope by 2 MOA in order to aim more accurately at a target.
Know Your Scope Adjustments
What does MOA mean in regard to scopes? Every scope is different. This means they may adjust in different increments, too. What we mean by this, is that every adjustment on a particular scope could be ¼ minute of angle per click, ½ minute of angle per click, and so on. Knowing how to think in minute of angle and not “clicks” helps you to get an accurate aim much faster. For example, if your scope adjusts ½ minute of angle per click and you know you need to adjust up 2 MOA, you will need to adjust your scope 4 clicks.
MOA can be a confusing concept. The more you learn about it, the better you’ll understand. Don’t worry, we’ve all been there at some point! For more information, visit the NSSF website!