What is MOA and MIL-DOT ?
Isn't this what the military and tactical shooters use?
Yes, while sportsman use scopes with reticles and turrets marked in yards, the military and most
competition shooters use mil-dot markings and some use MOA markings. Both of these are a
measure of the angle one must raise the point of aim to hit the target. MOA stands for "minutes of
angle" (1/60 of a degree) and each moa equates to approximately one inch at 100 yards. MIL stands
for milliradians ( 1/1000 of a radian) and each mil equates to 3.6 inches at 100 yards (3.6" is
1/1000 of hundred yards). While this seems complicated and it is, there are advantages to using
this method if you choose to spend the time to learn it. Most hunters don't. You can change your
scope to either mil or moa dialing with just with a change of the turret. Many target shooters use an
app on their smart phones to enter in shooting parameters and conditions and the app spits out the
number of mils or clicks to adjust their scope. Each mil raises the point of aim 1/1000 the distance
to the target so its easy to know what the adjustment is , for example 1 mil equals 1 yard at 1000
yards or 1 meter at 1000 meters.
Most hunters prefer to deal in yards ( ballistic ) , most shooters deal in moa, and most competitors
WHAT SCOPE POWER ? (ZOOM )
Sure you can shoot long range at lower zoom - but why? Most shooters prefer at least 18 power and
the 5-22 range of the Nightforce is very popular. The newest scopes have a 6x range allowing 4-24
in the case of the new Leupold VX-6, 5-30 power in the new Swarovski and 5-25 in the new
Nightforce. If you need a scope to shoot close range the 6 power low setting on a 6-20 may not be
low enough for you. However, some long distance shooters do use as low as 14 power as it remains
quite sharp even in less expensive scopes while the most expensive scopes like Schmidt & Bender
are so sharp even the 14 power may be enough for some shooters. Remember: You can always
turn high High-Zoom scope down but you can't turn a low zoom up!
What Scope Optic Size ?
The larger the objective the more light that can be gathered and the brighter the scope will be at
dusk. However most shooters feel 50mm is enough and going to 55 or 56 is not needed and doesn't
allow the scope to be mounted as close to the stock as would be preferred. Leupold's VL scope had a
contoured front piece allowing its huge 56mm to still mount low on the stock.
What Scope Tube Size ?
To allow greater recticle adjustment and stronger structure most long range scope manufacturers
are now offering scopes in 30mm which a jump up from the 1" tubes. Note this does tend to increase
Glass Quality & Manufacturer Reputation
Its not unusual for our rifles kept a lifetime and even to be passed down through generations. A
quality scope will hold its value to you and you will appreciate its value long after you have
forgotten its price. Buy the best scope for you that you can afford. It doesn't have to be the priciest.
Any of these scopes we recommend will serve you well. Leupold has a long tradition of providing
quality optics to American hunters and their custom shop will even engrave or customize your
scope for you. Swarovski is recognized as a world-leader in optics and you can be sure your scopes
clarity won't leave you wanting. Nightforce provides the most bulletproof scope made and is a
standard for military and competition use. However that durability makes it almost double the
weight of the other scopes listed. If you do a lot of hiking you may want to save that pound.
How Big is your rifle?
If you want to shoot elk out to 1000 yards we recommend the 30 caliber plus ultra magnums: 300
RUM, 338 RUM, 338 EDGE, 338 LAPUA, 300-378, 338-378, or .340 WEATHERBY. Up to 600
yards the .338 Win Mag is a viable choice. At either distance we prefer the .338 caliber over the
.300 or 7mm calibers on elk due to the proven extra knockdown power of the larger sectional area
and the option to shoot 300 grain Berger or GameKing bullets which are very resistant to wind
drift. For Antelope any flat shooting rifle may fit the bill. For deer - any muley large enough to
shoot at 1000 yards may be nearly as tough as an elk. There are many shooters and some
long-range seminars that prefer the 300-378 for up to 1000 yard shots. The downside of all these
ultra-magnums is that you will want a muzzle break on them which means you must wear hearing
protection to shoot them or risk some hearing damage in as little as a single shot. That's the price
you pay for a hard hitting 1000 yard rifle. For targets the little 6.5mm does great at 1000 yards.
Even with the best equipment it may take a lot of practice to feel confident at distances beyond
400-600 yards but selecting the right equipment is the first step to being a long range shooter.
A very important piece of the puzzle: Your Rangefinder
The accuracy of your rifle and scope combo is only as good as the distance variable you feed it -
garbage in garbage out. Your rangefinder must provide accurate readings out to 1000 yards and
convert to a true ballistic range or holdover amount by factoring in inclination, air density, and the
ballistics of the bullet you are shooting. This is a lot to ask. The Leica 1600b Ballistic Rangefinder
and the G7 rangefinder are two that are designed to accomplish this. How accurate they are is for
you to decide. At 1000 yards most target shooters like to do their own calculations using charts or
an app on their smartphone and then adjust their scope the number of clicks specified. A hunting
situation may not allow the time for this. Any rangefinder designed for less than 1600 yards will
likely not range animals at 1000 yards. If your rangefinder does not account for inclination or
elevation, temperature or air density then you will need other equipment and conversion charts or
app to account for these factors. Or you can have your reticle and turret matched to the elevation
and average temperature you expect to hunt in and just use actual distance adjusted for inclination.
Note for inclination of 10 degrees true ballistic range is only 2.5% less while for 20-25 degrees (
very steep) true ballistic range is 10% less. So for a 10 degree hillside you would subtract 25 yards
at 1000 yard range and for a 25 degree hill you would subtract 100 yards at a 1000 yard range.
• Calculating Distance without a Rangefinder - MOA
• Rangefinding Scopes - Holland Advanced Reticle System & Shepherd Scopes
• Long Range Scope Packages - 1000 Yards out of the box.
Leupold Offers a unique approach
with its light gathering VX-L scope
which when matched with their
Varmit Reticle and CDS M1 turrets
makes an impressive combination.
Their custom shop will personalize it
for you for custom ballistics and even
engrave your name and choice of
North American game figures on the
The Leica 1600b Ballistic Rangefinder while
not inexpensive is the type of rangefinder
that is practically indespensible for modern
long range shooting. Why: At 800 yards a 10
yard error in range is a 6" change in impact!
Choosing a 1000 Yard Scope Page 2: