How to Zero a Mil-Dot Scope – Full Guide, Tips, FAQs & More

This is a question asked by many, how to Zero a mil dot scope?

Let’s find out together!

What is Zeroing?

When you buy sights for your guns, you need to adjust them so your POA matches your POI at a given distance. This means there will be zero difference in the two points. You can do this by using a laser rangefinder.

How does it work?

You must first determine where the rounds are impacting (POIs). The best way to do this is by aiming at a large paper target at known distances, firing the weapon, and recording where the rounds land. If the rounds land low and left of where the shooter aims, then the shooter needs to adjust the sights lower, left. This adjusts point-of-aim down, left to match the bullet’s impact. Essentially, the shooter wants the reticle to wind-up on the exact spot where the bullets landed in the first place, and the process is more complex than this but we’ll walk through each step with visuals.

Note: If you want to gain a complete guide about scopes click HERE.


Reticles use angular measurements to measure differences between POA and POIs. Adjusting POA makes a bigger difference in POI as distance increases. For instance, if you adjust your scope so that point of aim moves 1 inch left at 100 yards, it will also move 10 inches left at 1,000 yards, or about 2 times farther away. This means that the impact of changing POA will be much larger at longer distances.

The size of the circle is based on the distance to the target and the accuracy of your weapon. A bigger circle means you need more time to shoot accurately.

A crosshair is a line drawn across the center of the screen. You use the crosshair to measure the position of the gun. There are different types of crosshairs. For instance, there is a ballistic crosshair, a red dot, or a green laser. The crosshair is used to measure the position of a gun. The crosshair is usually placed over the center of the screen, but it can be moved around. You place the crosshair over the center of the gun, and then move the gun until the crosshair lines up with the center of the gun. Then you fire!

A turret knob controls elevation and windage. Subtension means the amount of angle difference between the aiming dot and the actual bullet hole.

Milliradians use an imaginary circle divided into 6,280 equal segments. Each segment is called a mil. A milliradian is the distance from the center of one mil to the center of another mil. In this case, the distance from the center point of the first mil to the center point of the second mil is 3.6″. To get closer than 3.6″, you’d need to move your target farther away from the shooter.

Minute of angle divided by 20 equals 15 degrees. Adjusting your aim up by 2 MOA means you’ll be aiming 2 degrees higher than normal. This means you’ll be shooting at an angle of 17 degrees instead of 16 degrees.

Which Reticle Should I Pick?

MOA is the more popular choice for most shooters, simply due to the ease of use. Mils are designed for imperial measurements, while MOA is designed for metric measurements.

How to Zero a Rifle Scope

Now we understand point of aim, point of impact, and the effect of distance on both. We also know about the angular measurement between them. Let’s see how we can use the subtensions and the turrets on our scope together to convert that angular measurement into an adjustment.

Note: If you want to gain information about How to Sight in a Leupold Muzzleloader Scope Click HERE.

Adjusting the Turrets

All scopes adjust the position by using turrets. Turrets are used to move the POA left and right, up and down, and out and back. To achieve clarity, you should refer to your scope’s instructions manual.

This scope’s reticle has 1/2 MOA tick marks. Our rounds landed 3 MOA right, 2 MOA high. Adjusting the scope by 3″ right and 2 up means we need to move 12 clicks right and 8 down.

A.25-caliber rifle shot at 25 yards is accurate enough to hit a target within 1/2 inch of point of aim. The round landed about 5 mils high and 2 mils left.

Best Distance to Zero

There are three things you need to know about rifles. First, there are two types of bullets: soft lead and hard lead. Soft lead is very flexible and can be shaped into any shape. Hard lead is harder and more rigid than soft lead. Second, there are five basic points of aim: front, rear, left, right, and center. Third, there are four basic ranges: close range, medium range, long range, and extreme range. You should always start out by zeroing your rifle at close range. Then, if you want to shoot at longer distances, you can adjust your sights accordingly.

Bullets travel at a flat trajectory for a long distance. This means that you’ll hit your target dead on if you aim correctly. You should use this zero when you’re shooting indoors or at a range.

MilDot Made Easy

This Steine Optic offers adjustments in 1 milliradians increments. What’s a mils? Read on… Editor’s note: All rifle shooters should know about mils, MOA or both. A “grasp” is required to even properly set up a scope for zeroing (or any other adjustment). If you want to be an excellent rifle shooter you’ll master these concepts.

The Mil-Dot system can be used to calculate distances. You can use it to determine how far away your target is. If you’re using a rifle scope, you can use it as a rangefinder.

Mil-Dot is an acronym for Military Dot. It stands for military dot matrix printer. You can print out your homework by using this type of printer.

Note: If you want to know Who Makes Leatherwood Scopes? Click HERE.

The Math

Mil-dots are tiny dots used to measure distances. They are very common in the military. Most people think of them as being used for measuring things like angles or lengths. That’s true, but there are also other uses for mil-dots. For example, you could use them to measure the size of an object. You could even use them to measure the distance between two objects. This is because if you put a mil-dot on each end of something, then you can see how far apart those two points are.

Mil-dots are 1/1000th of the radius of a circle. A mil-dot is equal to 1/1000th of 1 degree. A radian is equal to 1/360th of a circle. A radian is also equal to 1/2pi (3.14159). A radian is used to measure angles. If you eat half of a pizza, you’ve eaten 3.14159 degrees of pizza crust. This is half of a circle, or 3 slices. If you think of this amount of munched pizza in terms of degrees, then 180 degrees equals 3.14159 rads.

A circle has an amazing amount of space inside of it. There are 6,280 millirads in a circle. That means that if you were to draw a circle with a radius of 1 meter (3 feet), you could fit over 2 million people inside of it!

What exactly is a milliradian?

A milliradian is a very small angle in practical terms, but it does translate into a lot of distance. At 1,000 yards, you’d see 3.6 inches. At 100 yards, you’d see 0.36 inches. So if you were standing at the shooting bench and held your arms out in a very small angle of 1 milliradian, you could only see 3.6 inches at a distance of 100 yards.

Note: If you want to know How to Sight in a Nikon Buckmaster Scope Click HERE.

Mils and Rifles

A bullet rises when fired from an elevated position.

Aiming up and aiming high are two different things. To hit a target 100 yards from your gun, you should aim about 1.5 inches off the ground. To hit a target 1,500 yards away, you should aim about 400 inches off the ground.

You can use inches or feet as units of measurement. But when you’re measuring distances, you should use meters. A meter is equal to 39.37 inches. So if you want to measure a target 367 yards away, you’d say, “Aim 13.7 meters high!” That’s easy.

We use milliradians because we want to be precise when aiming. A milliradian is 1/1000th of a degree. So if we need to aim 3 inches high, we add 3/1000ths of a degree. If we need to shoot a target 200 yards away and we need to aim 7 inches high, we add 7/1000ths of a degrees. This helps us get more accurate shots.

How to figure it out…

A.308 rifle is used to shoot a target at 428 yards away. Bullet drops 36 inches below the line of sight. Scope must be adjusted by -36 mils to hit the target.

Fortunately, there’s a really simple way to calculate this without having to use complex math stuff like tangent and cotangent. The number of mil equals the amount of bullet-drop (measured in yards), multiplied by 1,000, divided by the distance (in yards) to target. In our example, the number of mil equals 36 x 1,000 / 428 .738 mils.

Mils (1 yard * 1000) / 428 yards 0.2 mils. If your scopes are measured in 1/10ths of a milleclicks, that’s 20 clicks in upward elevation adjustment, or two clicks per inch.

Mildot Reticles

Mil-dots are used to measure distances, but they’re also useful for measuring angles. A mil-dot scope has a series of dots evenly spaced across the crosshair. Each dot represents a mil. The center of each dot is exactly one mil away from the center of the previous dot. So if you want to know how far something is away from you, you could use a mil-dot scope to measure the distance. You’d put the crosshair over the object you wanted to measure, then move the crosshair until the first dot was centered over the object. Then you’d move the crosshair until another dot was centered over the same spot. That’s how you get the distance.

A traditional mil-dot reticule. In our example, you talked about using turret click adjustment to move the crosshair to exactly the right place. You can also just use the dot on the reticle. When aiming exactly 3 mils high, you can place the second dot below the crosshair to achieve exactly the same result. It’s a quick, easy way to adjust, though not as precise as making finer click adjustments.

You can use the horizontal mil dots to lead moving targets by 36 inches and it is 1,000 yards away. I you have to follow a target by 36 inches, then place the first vertical crosshair dot above the target.

how to zero a mil dot scope

How to Zero a Mil-Dot Scope?

What is Mildot?

Military uses mils for measurements. Mil is not an abbreviation of military. Mil is a short form of milliradian. Milliradians are angular measurements used by the military. Radians are portions of arcs created when two radius lines begin at the center and end on the circumference of a circle, and a mil is a short form of a milliradian.

A mil is a mil no matter what. There are approximately 6,283 mils in a circle.

Radians and milliradians aren’t used much anymore, but they were once used in shooting games. A radian is about 57.3 degrees, and a milliradian is about 0.0127 degrees. This means that 1 radian is roughly equal to 57.3 degrees, or 1/57.3 degrees.

Using a fraction of 1 radians for measuring means using very tiny angles that can dramatically alter bullet impact downrange. However, where does the “dots” in Mil-dot comes in? Many mil scoped use dots to indicate this milliradians measurement. Dots do not equal 1 mil, however the space between them does. You measure from one dot to another dot and that equals 1mil.

MilDot vs Distance

Mils are used to measure distances in yards or meters. This is because it is an angular measurement. Linear measurements are used to measure distances. You can adjust your scope by 1 mil, but this is just a 1 mil adjustment, not a linear change in distance. To calculate the linear change in distance, you need to know the distance you are shooting at.

Here are some numbers that reflect how big 1 Mil will be at different distances: Distance (Yard) 1 Mil Size (in.) Distance (meter) 1 Mil Size (cm) 100 yards 3.6 inches 100 meters 10 centimeters 200 yards 7.2 inches 200 meters 20 centimeters 300 yards 10.8 inches 300 meters 30 centimeters 400 yards 14.4 inches 400 meters 40 centimeters

This is an example of how to use the MIL System. We start by writing down the number we want to convert. Then we figure out what power of ten we need to get there. For instance, if we wanted to know how many inches are in a mile, we would multiply our distance by 0.621371 (the reciprocal of 1 million). So, if we wanted to convert 1 mil into inches, we would do this: 1 mil * 0.621371 621.37 inches. Now, we could figure out any other conversion we needed to make. For instance, if I wanted to know how many meters are in a kilometer, I would divide my distance by 1000. So, if I wanted to convert 1 km into meters, I would do this: 1 km / 1000 0.01 kilometers.

Long range shooting handbook is an excellent book about precision rifle.

Mil Advantages

Mils are minutes of angle. They are used to measure the amount of bullet drop when firing a gun. Wind drift correction is done by using the mils to calculate the difference between the actual distance fired and the expected distance based on the wind speed and direction.

A mil-dot reticle is useful for estimating distances. We can use our reticle to estimate the height of an object at a known distance, and vice versa. For example, you see a prairie dog in the middle of your crosshairs, and it takes up 1 mil on your scope. From the center dot on the elevation crosshairs to the first dot on your elevation line, we know this is 1 mil. How far is the prairie dog from you?

Prairie dogs are cute little animals that live in holes in the ground. They eat grasses and insects. Their size is similar to rabbits, but they’re much smaller than rabbits. Prairie dogs are about half the size of a rabbit. A prairie dog’s head is about 3 times bigger than its body. Prairie dogs make noise by barking. Prairie dogs bark every time they feel threatened or angry. Prairie dogs bark loudly when they want to warn other prairie dogs of danger. Prairie dogs bark when they see something new. Prairie dogs bark when someone approaches them. Prairie dogs bark when people approach them. Prairie dogs bark if they see a predator approaching. Prairie dogs bark when there is a fire nearby. Prairie dogs bark when it rains.

There isn’t any math formula to get exact distance. But you can use this formula to approximate the distance between two points.

How to Use Mil Dots in a Scope

Laser Rangefinders are used by hunters to determine distances. When hunting, people rarely use them because they’re unreliable. You should never rely on them when you need them the most.

A mil-dot slide ruler is an analog calculator that provides a distance measurement for targets. You can use it to measure the size of a target or calculate the number of mils required for a given bullet drop. It does not require batteries and it is easy to use.

Math is fun! I’m going to use this as an example of what I mean by “basic knowledge”.

Measuring for Distance

Prairie dogs are very small rodents that live in North America. Their favorite food is grasses, but they also eat grains, seeds, insects, and other small creatures. They make burrows in the ground, and they dig tunnels under fences or walls. Prairie dogs use their long ears to listen for predators, and they use their sharp teeth to fight off any intruders.

Prairie dogs are cute little animals that love to play games. They are very friendly and enjoy playing with each other. Their favorite game is digging tunnels. They dig holes in the ground and then cover them up again. They also make burrows under the ground. When they play this game, they move around and jump over each other. Prairie dogs can be found living in the prairies. They eat grasses and roots. They are active during daylight hours.

Prairie dogs take up two and a half times as much space as a human being. This means that you have to be twice as far away from them when shooting them.

Measuring for Size

A hunter uses a rifle scope to measure the size of an animal. He holds the gun steady and takes a shot when he sees what he wants. He knows how far away he is from the animal and whether or not he needs to hold over.

A laser rangefinder is a device used by hunters to determine the distance of an object. Laser rangefinders use light beams to calculate distances. This device allows hunters to measure the distance of objects such as deer or other game. You can also use this device to measure the length of an antler.


Antlers span 4 mils across the horizontal crosshair from point A to point C. We can calculate the distance by multiplying the length of the antler by the mil size. In this case, the antler is 6 inches long, so the calculation is (6 *.001) 0.06. This means that the antler is 6/10ths of an inch wide. To convert this into centimeters, multiply by 10. So, the antler is 60 cm long.

Antlers span at 39.2″ (99.6cm) from point A to point b.

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  • John Moses

    John is the Editor in Chief here at The Outdoor Stores. His area of expertise ensures that there is no one better to suggest which rifles are most suitable for your hunting experience. He is also available for you to contact him personally to discuss the types of animals you want to hunt and the terrain you will be hunting on. Feel free to read his posts for expert opinion on Rifles, Scopes, Rangefinders, Bonoculars and Monoculars.

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