Any avid hunter will tell you that the ability to correctly range your target is absolutely critical to proper shot placement due to the effects of gravity on any projectile as it travels toward its target.

For example,when shooting at ranges of 200 yards or less, a common practice is to zero a rifle’s scope at 100 yards and then hold the crosshairs a given number of inches low at ranges less than 100 yards and a given number of inches high at ranges greater than 100 yards depending on the published ballistics of a given round.

Another alternative that some hunters prefer to employ is to use one of the new, ultra fast, “mash-em-flat magnum” cartridges such as the Remington .300 Ultra Mag because these ultra fast cartridges have a significantly flatter trajectory than their slower cousins and thus, they are better able to compensate for miscalculations in range estimation. However, there is a way to use the reticle of your scope to accurately range a target ( if the usual rangefinder can`t do the job) as I will explain in the following article.

## How To Measure Distance To Your Target Accurately

To begin with, first be aware that there is a way to use a duplex reticle to range your target but, a far more sophisticated method is to use a Mil Dot reticle which consists of a pair of crosshairs with round “milliradian” dots placed at equal intervals along the length of each crosshair.

Using this method, a circle is first divided into 6,400 equal parts such that one mil-radian equals 1/6400th of a circle. For the average hunter, this simply means than one mil-radian equals 3.6 inches at 100 yards, 7.2 inches at 200 yards, and 36 inches at 1,000 yards.

In order to accurately range the target, we also need to know the approximate size of the target. Then, based upon the size of a given target, a mathematical formula is employed such that the height/width is multiplied by 27.78 and then divided by the number of number of “mils” the target subtends.

For instance, if a hunter were aiming at a deer with a *body* that measures 18 inches in height, then he would place the horizontal crosshair on either the edge of the deer’s back or the edge of its belly and then note the number of mil dots required to bracket the deer from back to brisket. Then, he would multiply the height of the deer’s body (in this case 18 inches) by 27.78. Thus, 18 multiplied by 27.78 equals 500.04.

Then, that product is divided by the number of mils the target subtends. Thus, if the target is bracketed by 1 mil, then it is 500.04 yards out and, if it is bracketed by 1.5 mils, then the target is 333.36 yards out and, if it is bracketed by 2 mils, then it is 250.02 yards out.

However, because most hunters have far more important things on their minds than memorizing mil dot ranges, it is wise to make these calculations at home using a calculator based upon the average size of the chest cavity of the species you intend to hunt and then write them down on a small card and have the card laminated to waterproof it.

That way, once the target is acquired, all the hunter has to do is note the number of mil dots required to bracket the game animal and then, he can consult his range card to accurately determine the range. Then, once the correct range is determined, the hunter can use published ballistics tables for the cartridge that he is using to accurately determine the correct amount of “holdunder” or “holdover” depending on the range at which the scope is “zeroed”.

[…] to quickly acquire a target at close range whereas, range finding reticles such as the mildot ( we teach how to measure range with those here ) and milliradian are far more complicated to use and Bullet Drop Compensated reticles (BDC) often […]

[…] This is both an advantage and disadvantage to some. An optic like this is not suited for running a variety of different ammunition loads. For those who run a mix matched source of ammo, or hand load their own this may prove to be a disadvantage. The Mark AR is made with a more standard duplex reticle that does have a specific mil reference for bullet drop. […]

[…] of different holdover dots. These dots are not a bullet drop compensator per se but are designed as a reference for holdover. They are specific to any round or caliber. A shooter will have to learn his or her holdovers with […]

How does magnification affect this equation? If I have a 3-9×40 for example, is this best done at lowest setting and if I have a 4-12×42 how does this change or does it change it at all? Also does first or second plane reticle affect this scenario/equation. Love this info/article and just curious so I can use this correctly. Thx so much!

[…] Here is more in-dept guide on using the mil-dot reticle for measuring distance. […]

[…] short eye relief scopes can provide a more complicated and potentially more useful reticle and system for taking long range shots and compensating for windage and bullet […]

[…] myself I decided to use the manual. On the TRS -1 you use the 10 power position, this is where the reticle mildot scale is accurate. It is actually marked with a detent and a slight click on the magnification ring. This detent and […]

[…] shots with ease. This can be a bullet drop reticle or a mil-dot reticle, hopefully you already know how to use them. Bullet drop compensators have to be specifically dialed into a certain caliber, barrel length, and […]

[…] need is a reticle with hash marks or single dots spread vertically and horizontally. These could be MIL or MOA measurements, and, of course, should be separated evenly. These reticles allow the use of […]

I have 3×9: 4” mil dot on 9 power…… Need math equation to judge yardage!