The Still Useful MIL-DOT


The Mil-dot reticle has been around a while now and I am sure most shooters consider it old and nearly useless compared to the newer Christmas tree reticles. It still has some life left in it though you just have to have a little imagination.

The Mildot system is a great way to use holdovers,but seems to limit us at the range we can apply them. With a traditional zero striking dead center on the crosshair. we have 5 Mils of drop still available to us for use on the reticle. 5 Mils is enough to compensate for the drop of most cartridges out to the 500 to 600 yard range plus or minus some. Depending on exact round used etc.

By changing the point of the reticle we use to zero, we can get more out of the reticle. In the diagrams we have four standard Mildot reticles.

1.The traditional zeroing aiming point. 2.Shows the amount of holdover available before running out of mils with the traditional crosshair type zero. If we re-zero our rifle to the 4th Mildot above our crosshair, as shown in the 3rd reticle, we are extending the hold over points our mildots provide.

Instead of only having 5 Mils of drop available, a simple change can give us 9 mils of holdover, as shown in reticle 4. Having holdover out to the thousand yard range instead of only 500 is a huge advantage, and at no cost to the shooter.

Shooting at longer ranges is growing in popularity at a faster rate than I have seen in my lie and many people are dipping their toes into the game. Reality is for most , several thousand dollar rifle optics with the new cutting edge reticles are not an option. especially when just starting out. The new shooter can still find very high quality optics with MILDOT reticles considerably cheaper than the same optics with the artillery grid reticles. The MILDOT is what we used for years and good work was done with it. I still use MILDOT reticles on many of my precision optics and have not been handicapped. Give them a try or take another look at an old favorite for hunting or long range varmint shooting. The MILDOT still can be useful contrary to popular internet belief. even if it is paired with 1/4 MOA turrets!

diagrams from PS Magazine


  1. From a mathematical standpoint, the mil-dot is elegant, simple and hindered by only the propensity for Americans to continue to use a measurement system based upon sizes of various parts of some cousin-humper upon whom the Pope bestowed divine rights.

    • It always works out to be on or near the half mils for me. Stuff like 100y at the center, then .5 mils for 200, 1.4-1.6 for 300, etc. Never nice and clean.


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