Useful Tips: What Does MOA Mean?

If you use a gun with a scope when hunting, understanding the definition and usage of MOA is essential. Some consider it a complicated and useless parameter. However, it allows you to get the most out of your gun’s accuracy and make a perfect shot. So what does MOA mean? Let’s scroll down for more details.

What Does MOA Mean?

MOA (Minutes of Angles) measures the accuracy of a rifle or scope. MOA has its foundation from calculating angles in mathematics. 

As you know, the greatest angle is 360 degrees. The mathematical definition also proves the existence of a smaller unit of measure. Divide a degree into 60 equal parts. Consequently, each represents a minute or 1 MOA. A circle has a total of 21600 minutes.

Based on the figure, you can see that MOA is a very small unit, which leads to perfect accuracy for gun users. It refers to the bullet’s ability to drop under realistic physical conditions.

What Is The MOA Formula?

The confusion between the bullet path and aiming line has led to disagreement on MOA among some. In fact, the rifle barrel never coincides with the scope location.

The bullet usually makes an upward trajectory relative to the line of sight before falling at a point due to the action of gravity.

The distribution forms the basis for calculating the MOA based on trigonometric formulas. Suppose you are standing at the center of the circle and the object is at any position on the circle. You get the MOA calculation as follows:

tan ( MOA / 60° ) = Size of Bullet Drop / Distance of Aim

Technically, 1 MOA equals 1.047 inches at 100 yards of change in physical change. 

The Main Properties Of MOA

Firstly, MOA is considered as an angular measurement. Unlike linear measurement, you cannot calculate the value of MOA without specifying the distance.

Another important thing is that two infinite lines create the MOA. So, if the projectile dispersion is 2 inches, how many MOAs are there at 200 yards?

That’s right! It still remains 1 MOA. Basically, MOA never changes. The angle value formed by the two physical lines increases or decreases according to your intention.

Last but not least, the theoretical value of MOA is not very popular in practice. Most hunters usually consider 1 MOA = 1 inch, which means they place the rifle within 1 inch to hit a target 100 yards away.

This statement is approximate, but it is applicable for the following reasons:

  • The 0.047 difference is much smaller than a 100-yard shot (MOA can still be applied for smaller distances, but it is not common in hunting).
  • Hunters, even skilled ones, could not accurately tell the 0.047-inch difference. It is not possible to adjust the scope at this range. As a result, they do not care much about this difference when shooting.
  • Working with even numbers gives results faster, especially for those who are not good at math. Hunters can do a quick calculation and make a judgment immediately.

MOA And Rifle

Gun manufacturers apply MOA to most rifles with scopes. The common adjustment range of the scope is 1/4 MOA. Users can calibrate 1/4 minute with each press. There are also some other options like 1/8 or 1/2 per click.

MOA And Handgun

By comparison, handguns, or some specific rifles that have dotted sights, are also designated MOA. It still uses the same principle that we mentioned above, but with some slight differences. For example, a product marked 4 MOA means a dispersion of 4 inches from the center at 100 yards.

The larger the MOA dots, the more favorable it is for the defense at close range rather than for hunting from a distance.

What Should You Do When Using MOA?

Determine MOA Before Shooting

As mentioned above, 1 MOA does not change if only double, triple the distance to the object. Therefore, considering 1 MOA = 1 inch as the root of all problems is the fastest and most convenient calculation in all cases.

The general formula for this case is:

 inch per MOA = (Distance to target)/100

If you are still confused, start with the following problem: At 250 yards, how to determine the dispersion of projectiles flying with 1 MOA? It is just as easy as a piece of cake. You can do a quick calculation: 250/100 = 2.5. Specifically, 1 MOA is equivalent to 2.5 inches at 250 yards. 

Besides, each scope has a different MOA adjustment. It would be best to think in MOA instead of clicks. Here is how to do:

(Number of clicks per 1 MOA) x (MOA adjustment) = adjustment in clicks 

Adjust The Most Suitable MOA 

If you want to adjust the MOA on your rifle, think of the formula below:

The number of MOA = Adjusted inches / original inches 

For example, you try to adjust the MOA to get 18 inches at 600 yards. How much MOA is appropriate?

As you know, the bullet impact is 6 inches with 1 MOA in the above condition. So to increase to 18 inches, you apply the following formula: 18/6 = 3. This result recommends adjusting 3 MOA to achieve the desired result. 

In Conclusion

What does MOA mean? This article has just shown you the most detailed answer. As an angular measurement, you should have the two distances required to perform the MOA math. Ideally, it would be best to unify all the formulas in this article under a single rule.

As the last word, we hope that this article can really help you learn about your gun or scope and use it to increase your hunting skills in practice.

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