How to aim using mildot reticle scope

Leapers make quite decent rifle scopes.

This compact one is well-built, can sustain huge recoil for a prolonged period of time, and gives quite clear picture for a mini scope. It also allows range estimating through the so called mil-dot reticle, which is said to be true at maximum optical power setting. What is mil-dot? It is a very popular riflescope reticle, having small dots evenly spaced on each of the hairs. If you know you target dimensions, and most times you do, you can count the dots that fit into the target while observing it through the scope. Having the height of the target in both units and mildots, you may estimate the range between the scope and the target by using a very simple formula. You multiply the height of the target by 1000, then divide the value by the number of mil-dots. The result will be the range to the target. For example, if your target is 5 cm, which equals 0.05 m, and it fits into 1 mil-dot, then you multiply 0.05 by 1000, giving you 50 and divide it by 1, giving you the same 50. That means that the target is 50 meters away. Since metric system is decimalized, meaning all units relate by the common multiplier of 10, you may easily apply this simple formula in your mind by just stripping the zeros and dividing by even numbers. However, if you use imperial units, you’re pretty much screwed. Imperial units are related to each other by absolutely random, uneven multipliers, making the calculations unnecessary complicated. Giving the overall poor math education in countries using imperial units, your best option is to glue the precalculated mil dot chart to the inside of eyepiece cover, so you could always peep for a quick cheat. Anyway, I normally practice at 50 meters, or roughly 55 yards, using my own targets. When I looked at the paper through this Leapers scope, the centers of these two targets were exactly 1 mildot away, meaning they should be 5 cm away. But they are not! They are 10 cm away! Twice as much. I was quite set aback at the range, thinking I got a defective or counterfeit scope. However, when I got home and checked the scope manual, I noticed that Leapers introduced a 2 multiplier for the division part of the formula, thus essentially saying, that 1 mil-dot of this particular scope equals 2 mil-dots of a standard mil-dot reticle. That doesn’t make it a mil-dot anymore! That’s a proprietary reticle. When investigating the issue, I came across some Leapers scopes that have 900 or 600 multiplier instead of the thousand one in their manuals’ formulas. As these scopes’ power was 9 and 6 respectively, that gave me an uneasy idea. Leapers seems to have one base for most of their scopes, and they only change the the lens without calibrating the reticle mil-dot spacing. That means, that the double mil-dot on my 12x power scope would be even on the 24x power scope, and that was probably the base model for this mini scope. And those scopes with 600 and 900 multipliers are probably just 10x scopes with less powerful lenses. That is exactly why Leapers is decent, but not elite scopes manufacturer. The best vary power riflescopes have the reticle in the first optical plane, meaning when you adjust the power setting, the reticle shrinks or enlarges accordingly. And for sure none of the top-level scopes have wrong mil-dot spacing or cloudy picture as some Leapers scopes do. Anyway, this double mil-dot is probably no big deal if you have only one scope. But if you have multiple rifles with mil-dot scopes, having to memorize the formula for each scope may be frustrating. Perhaps in this case a laser rangefinder would be a better option.

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