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Understanding MOA: What Does MOA Mean?


If you like target shooting or long-range shooting, you need to understand what MOA is. This figure can show you how accurate a rifle is and is essential if you want to "zero in" a sight. Understanding what MOA is and how you can apply it can add to the enjoyment and satisfaction of shooting.


What Does MOA Mean?

 A telescopic sight, commonly called a scope informally, is an optical sighting device based on a refracting telescope

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MOA stands for Minutes of Angle. It is the name given to the minute hand on a 360-degree clock face. When telling the time, we frequently think in terms of minutes. However, for shooters, a minute is equivalent to a very small degree in an angle, and a second can make that difference even smaller. As we are all aware, a circle has 360 degrees, a half-circle 180 degrees, a quarter-circle 90 degrees, and so on. Similar to the minutes of an hour, each minute is equal to 1/60th of a degree. This is the MOA.


Importance of MOA

 A man in military gear holding his rifle with a sight in

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Minute of angle is a term frequently used with rifle scopes to help the shooter in fine-tuning their scope to hit the target more accurately. As mentioned above, MOA is essentially used to measure shooting in minutes. 

Bullet drop is the distance, in inches, between where you were aiming and where the bullet struck. Since the trajectory of a bullet follows an arc caused by gravity, we can better account for bullet drop by measuring the arc in degrees and angles. When shooting, even a slight angle can lead you to miss the target, thus it's crucial to fine-tune your MOA to the exact angle or "minute."


How to Calculate MOA

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MOA is a typical angular measurement unit. To convert it to linear measurement so that you can hit your target, you will need to perform some basic maths.

Consider the fact that one MOA is equivalent to 1.0472 inches at 100 yards. Figure 1.047 is usually rounded to 1 unless you are long-distance shooting.

To put it another way, for every minute that your sight is corrected, the bullet's course changes by one inch. Remember that the rise in inches is higher the further you are from your target. If you adjust your sight for a minute, you can expect a 1-inch change in the bullet's path at 100 yards. However, the size of 1 MOA will change at different distances.


For instance:

  • 300 yards = 3 inches MOA
  • 400 yards = 4 inches MOA
  • 500 yards = 5 inches MOA and so on.


MOA and Target Distance

 A real sniper scope sight view

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If you wish to want to shoot your shot accurately every time, you must comprehend MOA to consider bullet drop. The elevation turret or scope turret is a knob on top of the sight that is used to make an MOA adjustment. You need to know how to use this scope effectively.


To get the MOA size at your distance, simply divide the target's distance by 100. For instance, if your target is at a distance of 500 yards, the formula will be as follow:


500 yards / 100 = 5 inches per MOA.


This indicates that for every five inches your bullet drop is off-target, you require one MOA.


To get a more accurate measurement, use 1.047 inches. Therefore, the formula will be:


(500 x 1.047) / 100 = 5.235


This can be rounded up to a clean 5.2, which should make it clear that your scope should be slightly off five inches. Once know how to calculate the MOA, you can make the changes to your particular scope.


How Many Clicks Are in an MOA?

 A nightforce MOA

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This varies based on your field of interest. Most hunting scopes are MOA. The most common scopes adjust in 1/4 MOA. This means that they need 4 clicks to change 1 MOA. Some scopes like 1/2 MOA scopes could require two clicks per MOA. The trick is to review and know your scope adjustments and understand how many clicks, in your scope's terms, equal 1 MOA.


How to Make Your Rounds Hit the Mark


Now that we have what MOA is, let's look at some controllable actions that you can do to help improve your shooting skills:


1) Stay Relaxed

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The secret to shooting well is to remain calm. Too much tension will cause you to quiver, which could cause you to entirely miss the target.


2) Breath Control

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Breath control is extremely important when shooting. The timing and manner of your breaths will determine where your shot will land.

Use the steps below to regulate your breathing while shooting:


  • Inhale (normally)
  • Exhale (normally)
  • Hold your breath for a moment at your natural respiratory pause
  • Shoot


3) Trigger Control

 A person holding a gun with pine trees in the background

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Being fully present requires control over both your breath and your finger. The last thing you want to do is find yourself jerking or slapping the trigger. If you do this, your bullet will move too far left or right, depending on which side you are shooting from. Instead, press down steadily and steadily until the bullet ignites.




MOA can be challenging to comprehend. As you learn more about it, you'll be able to understand it better. MOA can improve your rifle's accuracy but simply understanding MOA is not enough. You need to continuously practice your shot to improve your aim and you can do this by using shooting targets. EasyShot shooting targets are the best silhouette targets in the market. Make sure that you check us out today!


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