TFB Tip: Reticle Should Match Your Turrets On Optic

We have the pleasure of getting quite a few optics in for review. The vast majority of them are largely excellent products, but there is always a feature that one sees (especially on the low-end) that absolutely puts a burr up my derriere… a mismatch between the turret adjustment and the reticle.

Its common to see scopes have a mil-dot reticle and MOA adjustment. In fact, my Leupold Mark AR 4-12x40mm, which is a fine piece of glass. The scope came equipped with a standard mil-dot and has MOA adjustable turrets. Yes, I commonly adjust in to my target, but its annoying, especially when pushing shots out past 300 yards and/or in high wind conditions.

Yes, its certainly possible to be perfectly functional with a “mismatched” set, but for one actually using the optic subtensions, having the turrets match makes adjustments on-the-fly significantly easier.

Taking a look at the math is MrGMan9999:

Just for reference at 1000 yards even (not meters)  1 mrad ( (milliradian) is 36 inches.   But that is 3.44 MOA  (minutes of angle)    1 MOA at 1000 yards is only 10.49 inches or 0.29 mrad.    So you really want your riflescope  (reticle and turrets)and spotting scope to use the same sets of units unless you are good at either multiplying or dividing by 3.44 all the time on the fly.

3.44 is not an easy number to use in one’s head.


Nathan S

One of TFB’s resident Jarheads, Nathan now works within the firearms industry. A consecutive Marine rifle and pistol expert, he enjoys local 3-gun, NFA, gunsmithing, MSR’s, & high-speed gear. Nathan has traveled to over 30 countries working with US DoD & foreign MoDs.

The above post is my opinion and does not reflect the views of any company or organization.


  • Gary Kirk

    I have a few Bushnell elite 3200 fixed 10×40 scopes, great glass for the price (around $200).. And as you’re saying, one of my older ones is a mil-dot/ MOA adjustment, fine when you’ve been trained to use and keep in practice.. But the rest are newer versions sold through midway that are mil adjustment. God does it make life easier..

    • mbrd

      got one of the mil/mils, have not mounted it yet. the price was right. glad to hear i made the right choice.

  • Rick O’Shay

    Eh. I think the main reason why optics companies keep doing it, is that for the vast majority of shooters, they’re not covering distances where the dissonance between reticle and turret is significant enough to get into the problems you’re mentioning. If I was a long distance shooter who took the hobby seriously enough, it’d probably bug me too, and I’d probably adjust what I purchase accordingly. But seeing as I’m a super casual shooter who rarely goes beyond 100-200 yards at the range, and has never shot game beyond 200 yards… it’s not a big enough a deal to bother me.

    • micmac80

      They keep on doing it because an average US shooter is convicned that moa and inch are close enough.We have seen many optics ruined by adaptation to US markets. MOA turrets.

      But more suprising is moronic ideas persist in US military thereby NATO so there are number of MOA based reticles (moa sized dots in red dots) and even more stupid mil reticles and Moa clicks (Elcan) and BDC reticles and moa clicks. WFT

      Things only clear up a bit with sniper optics where users have long ago learned how things need to be.

      • Rick O’Shay

        “an average US shooter is convinced that moa and inch are close enough.” And when you’re talking about distances of 100-200 yards, minute of deer vitals, there’s virtually no difference between the two. The deer rifle my grandfather used in the 60s and 70s was probably 3 moa on a good day. Your average casual US shooter cannot outshoot their gun, even if it’s sub-moa. And they don’t stretch the practical limits of their gun, even if they buy it to work at 400-500 yards. So yeah, in your average shooter’s mind, they’re absolutely convinced moa and inch is close enough. But the kind of shooters Nathan is talking about are a completely different subset of shooters. Never mind the military.

  • C. Her

    Absolutely agree! It’s almost like driving a car in the United States with your digital dash set to show Kilometers Per Hour.

    • gusto


      thati s my excuse when I go to the US and cops pull me over.

      try to sound like the Swedish chef and say: sorri offiser de spiiidlimit in Schweden is 110 on the highway

      • mbrd

        yeah, i wanted to try that in canada with my mph speedo pegged at 110, but i couldn’t get pulled over anywhere on the 16…

  • iksnilol

    Again, please stop with the God forsaken spamming of your shirt.

  • Absolutely true Nathan, but I agree with Rick O’Shay’s assessment below. The vast majority of casual shooters do not shoot to distances where the differences between Mil and MOA will have a noticeable negative impact. It’s easy for a casual shooter to remember 1 MOA = 1 inch (roughly) at 100 yards.

    My Department’s SWAT sniper instructor recently attended training with some U.S. Army snipers with overseas deployment experience. The Army snipers showed just how fast range estimation, and unknown distance long-range target engagement could be successfully accomplished by properly using Mil/Mil scopes. Some targets were out to 1200 yards, but could be successfully engaged in seconds without doing a math equation, or turret manipulation.

  • mbrd

    this just seems like common sense… even if i only ever shoot at point blank ranges, i still would never buy a scope with disparate reticle and turrets. maybe i’m just a little retentive.

  • LetsTryLibertyAgain

    This is a pet peeve of mine as well. I want a mil-mil scope (reticle and turrets) and I see a lot of mil-MOA scopes. That’s dumber than dirt. I can only assume that a mil-dot scope looks more tacticool, and the marketing department demanded a simple reticle change to make a new SKU for their product lineup without the cost of changing the internal mechanism. This seems like the sort of thing some sales weasel would do if he didn’t know squat about what he was selling. It’s possible that there is consumer demand that’s helping to drive this, but I’d argue that those people should be educated instead of catering to them. No doubt the sales guy would disagree and will sell anything to anyone, whether it’s something they should want or not.

    I don’t know why this bothers me so much. I live in the US, which should have gone metric in the 1970s, but balked, and now we live in metric imperial hell. As an engineer, I generally convert to metric, do the calculations, and then convert back to “English units”. Ugh. And what about those 1980s Plymouth Horizons and Dodge Omnis (and many others of that era) with a metric engine and imperial chassis?