What Does MOA Mean In Shooting?

Do you consider yourself a passionate shooter? If so, then chances are you have heard the term MOA at some point.

When it comes to honing your skills you will probably hear MOA being mentioned, as it is the key to accurate aim.

What Does MOA Mean In Shooting

While this remains an important part of shooting, it can also teach you how to execute clean and professional shots. But what does it mean? Well, if you want to find out, then you have come to the right place. 

In this article, we will break down what MOA means and how it can be used to hone your skills and enhance your aim. 

What Does MOA Mean? 

In the world of shooting, MOA will commonly mean ‘minute of angle’ as it refers to the minute hand on the 360-degree clock. One minute will represent 1/60th of a degree, which is similar to the number of minutes in an hour. 

When taking your aim, even a small movement can cause you to miss the mark, which is another reason to use MOA to achieve a more accurate shot. 

In basic terms, MOA is a unit of measurement that utilizes minutes to measure shots, which takes into account the bullet’s arc-shaped trajectory.

When a bullet has been fired from a great distance, the velocity will begin to decrease due to downward force, which results in a curving pattern. 

Because of this, the further away you shoot the bullet the more likely it is to hit a low point. In most cases, this process is referred to as a bullet drop and is measured in inches for more accurate results. 

How To Measure MOA And Target Distance

When it comes to the minute of angle, it is important to remember that the measurement is considered angular in its basis, which means you will need to do some basic math in order to translate the numbers to a more linear result. 

Because of this, the MOA measurement comes with a specific rule, which dictates that one MOA is equal to one inch at a hundred yards. 

In more accurate terms, this means that one inch equals 1.047, but the number needs to be rounded off for long-distance targets.

In other words, for each minute added to your scope, there will be a one-inch change to the bullet’s pattern. 

However, it is important to note that this inch will increase as the distance between the bullet and the target expands. 

Are you still confused? If so, we have provided a breakdown of the numbers down below, which better explains the measurements: 

  • 100 yards = 1” MOA
  • 300 yards = 3” MOA
  • 500 yards = 5” MOA
  • 800 yards = 8” MOA

Now that you understand how the measurements are used, it’s time to take a look at how you can calculate the MOA. 

How To Calculate MOA From A Distance 

If you wish to calculate the MOA at your distance, then you will need to divide the distance of the target by a hundred: 

300 Yards Divided By 100 = 3 Inches Per MOA

By this rule, you will need one MOA for every three inches that your bullet is off. For a more accurate result, you can use the 1.047-inch measurement to achieve:

(300 x 1.047) Divided By 100 = 3.235 

Once you have found this number, you can round it up to 3.2, which should allow you to assess the best angle for the scope. 

What Does MOA Mean In Shooting (1)

How To Calculate Bullet Drop 

If you use the data above to determine the MOA distance, then you can also use it to predict the bullet drop. Once you have this information, you will be able to change the scope and ensure a more accurate shot. 

For example, if your bullet drop is 50-inches from the target when shot from 500 yards, then you will need to add 1 MOA for every 5-inch drop. 

This number can be calculated using the formula below, which also takes into account the MOA adjustments.


x bullet drop inches divided by x MOA inches at distance = x MOA required 


50-inch bullet drop divided by 5 inches (1 MOA is 5 inches at 100 yards) = 10 MOA required 

Once these adjustments have been implemented, you should be able to execute a more accurate shot. However, the final result will depend on the addition of another equation, which takes into account the gun’s turrets. 

How To Translate MOA For Top Turrets

Before you can translate the MOA, you will need to consider the specifications of the rifle’s scope. 

These go something like this: 

  • ⅛ MOA turrets 
  • ¼ MOA turrets
  • ½ MOA turrets
  • 1 MOA turrets

When it comes to making the necessary adjustments, it is important to remember the specs, as you will need to turn the turrets using these increments. 

For example, a ½ MOA turret will have one-half increments, while a ¼ MOA turret will have one-quarter and continue in this pattern. 

Each time you turn the turret, you should be able to hear a click and use the lines between the data as a useful guide. If your scope needs ½ MOA adjustments, you will need to make two clicks to equal a single MOA. 

While it is possible to view the numbers with a torch or lamp, the clicks can be more effective when hunting for animals under the cover of darkness. 

If you follow the example above and have a scope of ½ MOA adjustments, then you will need to hear 50 clicks to equal 10 MOA. 

Final Thoughts 

Now that you understand the meaning of MOA, it is important that you use the measurement to achieve clean and accurate shots. 

While this process does take some practice, it can help to improve your aim and prepare you for some actual game.

However, it is important to note that your aim will be determined by how well you understand your weapon and the adjustments needed to deliver a clean and accurate shot. 

Matthew Osborn

Matt is an entrepreneur who has created and successfully exited multiple companies and brands. Now, he dedicates his time to Legionary, where he produces content on guns, family, and freedom.

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