best mildot scope

The Best Mil-Dot Scope (Top 5)

Most people who are new to scopes don’t realize just how many different reticle options there are out there and what kind of impact it can have on your hunt. But for those of us who are well accustomed to different scopes, the reticle choice often is a make it or break it deal when it comes to which scope we will choose.

Mil-Dot reticles are very popular because of both the simplicity and range finding attributes they possess. This guide will familiarize you with Mil-Dot reticles and highlight our top five picks for the best Mil-Dot scopes. 

What Is A Mil-Dot?

MIL is short for Milliradian, which is a United States military unit of angle. It looks like a series of dots on your reticle cross-hairs, and the MIL measurement is the distance from one dot to another. One dot north of center is 1 Mil, two dots north of center is 2 Mils, and so forth.

One Mil equals about 36 inches per 1000 yards or 3.6 inches per 100 yards. It is more based on the metric system, being 10cm per 100m, or 1m per 1000m. These are very accurate and precise reticles for longer distance shooters. 

best mildot scope

Milliradian Vs. MOA

Many people may confuse Mil Dots with MOA measurements, but they are very different. Mil-Dots are much more accurate but really require more math. Each Mil-Dot represents approximately a 3.6-inch difference per 100-yards. 

MOA or Minutes of Angle may be a bit easier to calculate, but are not nearly as accurate and are better suited for hobby or shorter distance shooters. Hash mark to hash mark measures approximately 1-inch per 100-yards.

With either style, you want to pay attention to the turrets on your scope. Scope measurements will be specifically in MIL or MOA, and that measurement may not match your reticle measurement. You want to match your turret clicks to your reticle, so if you’re working with a Mil-Dot reticle, you want your turrets to read Mil, and same goes for MOA. 

Mil-Dot Vs. BDC

Both Mil-Dot and BDC reticles are distance estimating type reticles. Many hunters who have used both prefer the Mil Dots over the DBC reticles for numerous reasons. First of all, Mil dots are just easier to understand. Each dot ranges a 3.6-inch change per 100-yards. You can use this info to calculate out how much you need to elevate your rifle for whatever distance you’re shooting and still have an accurate aiming point to reference on your reticle. It is a very simple but effective concept. This makes them very good at longer distances. 

A BDC reticle is great for distances up to about 300 yards, then they lose a little bit of their accuracy. The frustrating part about a BDC that turn a lot of people off is that they are very specific in order to be accurate. Meaning they are only suited for the exact caliber, load, velocity, barrel length, and environmental conditions as they were tested in, otherwise they are not super accurate. 

With Mil-Dots, the design is giving you the benefit of multiple zero points, that can be adjusted for wind holdover, and different distances, whereas the BDC is preset. This can be fudged on a little bit as needed, but it takes much more calculation and math to figure it all out. These are a few of the reasons why so many hunters find the Mil-Dot reticles to be simpler, but superior to BDC’s. 

The 5 Best Mil-Dot Scopes

Nikon ProStaff 4-12x40

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Nikon ProStaff 4-12x40 Riflescope w/ MILDOT Reticle 6732
  • Featuring the Mildot Reticle with built-in aiming points for easier elevation adjustments
  • Utilizes Nikon's fully multicoated optics for up to 98% light transmission
  • Adjustments are made easy with Spring-Loaded Instant Zero-Reset Turrets
  • A quick focus eyepiece allows the shooter to instantly bring the reticle into focus
  • Optimized for use with Nikon's Spot On Ballistic Match Technology

The Nikon ProStaff 4-12×40 features a Mil-Dot reticle with build in aiming points for easy elevation adjustments. It very easily adjusts with spring-loaded instant zero-reset turrets that are finger adjustable, with ¼-inch positive click knobs that are precise, gets you zeroed in quicker and allow you to maintain your setting, even under heavy recoil. 

The optics on this Nikon Prostaff scope are fully multi-coated for up to 98% light transmission for bright, high contrast viewing, while the body is nitrogen purged and O-ring sealed for waterproof, fog proof and shockproof performance. A quick focus eyepiece allows for instant and easy focus of the reticle. 

Some other great features of the Nikon ProStaff are the Spot-On Ballistic Match technology, Nikon’s limited lifetime warranty, and the Nikon no-fault repair or replacement policy. You get a great quality scope, and great protection policies to back it. 

Customers of this scope absolutely rave about it, saying it holds zero perfectly with no waver, has nice clear glass and a very easy to see reticle. People love the accuracy of the Mil-Dot reticle and say that the quality of this scope is amazing for the price. 

Some of the complaints about this scope are that the turret adjustments are in MOA while the reticle is in Mil-Dot. Some have also complained of poor packaging. 

Positives Recap for This Product

  • Mil-Dot reticle
  • spring-loaded instant zero-reset turrets
  • ¼-inch positive click, finger adjustable knobs
  • fully multi-coated lenses
  • nitrogen purged, O-ring sealed, waterproof, fog proof, shockproof
  • quick focus eyepiece
  • spot-on ballistic match technology
  • limited lifetime warranty
  • no-fault repair or replacement policy

Negatives Recap for This Product

  • Mil-Dot reticle with MOA adjusting turrets
  • possible poorly packaged

Bushnell Trophy Rifle Scope 3-9x40

Bushnell Trophy Rifle Scope with Mil-Dot Reticle, 3-9 x...
  • Magnification x objective: 3-9x 40mm
  • Mil-dot reticle
  • Tube diameter: 1 inch
  • Waterproof, Fog proof, and shockproof construction
  • Fully multi-coated lenses

The Bushnell Trophy Rifle Scope is a 3-9×40 powered scope featuring a Mil-Dot reticle. It is a versatile, single piece tube constructed with fully multi-coated lenses, and a waterproof, fog proof and shockproof design. Bushnell is in the business of making high-quality, long-lasting scopes and this scope certainly will not disappoint!

Customers claim that this scope is of a quality that more than meets expectations and is a very affordable option for the features that you get. They love the crisp, clear glass and the tough, quality construction. Most report that the Mil-Dot reticle is very precise. 

The only complaints noted about this scope are that the reticle is very small and that it won’t return to zero if dialed in for a certain distance. 

Positives Recap for This Product

  • Mil-Dot reticle
  • tough, single tube construction
  • fully multi-coated lenses
  • waterproof, fog proof, shockproof
  • crisp, clear high-quality glass

Negatives Recap for This Product

  • the reticle is very small
  • no return to zero

Primary Arms 4-16x44

Primary Arms 4-16 X 44 Rifle Scope with Illuminated Mil-Dot...
  • 4-16X MAGNIFICATION: The second focal plane design keeps the reticle the same size at all magnifications from low power to advanced reticle functionality at 16x max power.
  • MIL-DOT RETICLE: The illuminated mil-dot reticle offers the ability of switching between short and long range viewing.
  • ILLUMINATION: The partial red illumination is powered by the included CR2032 battery and has a total of 12 brightness settings.
  • RUGGED AND DURABLE: This tough scope is shockproof, waterproof and fog resistant.

This Primary Arms 4-16x powered scope is a second focal plane scope, keeping the reticle the same size throughout all magnification levels. The Mil-Dot reticle is illuminated with a partial red illumination with 12 different brightness settings and offers the ability to switch back and forth between long-range and short-range viewing. 

This scope is built to be quite durable, being waterproof, shockproof and fog resistant. It features finger adjustable tactical-style turrets which are locking and re-settable. It adjusts in ¼ MOA audible clicks. This scope also features a side-mounted parallax knob to easily adjust the sharpness of the reticle and keep you parallax free. 

Customers of this scope seem to be most impressed with how well it holds zero. They also love how it is a second focal plane scope rather than a first focal plane scope. It seems many people have problems with the reticle covering up the bulls-eye on first focal plane scopes at higher magnifications. Not only this, but these customers also express that the quality and value of the scope are far better than similar scopes costing more money and that Primary Arms customer service is the best there is anywhere. 

As with any pro, there must be a con. Most of the customer complaints were varied and inconsistent, but several people did complain about the glass being dirty or having some kind of blemish or debris inside the optic. 

Positives Recap for This Product

  • second focal plane
  • illuminated Mil-Dot reticle with 12 brightness settings
  • switches between short and long-range viewing
  • waterproof, shockproof, fog resistant
  • finger adjustable lockable, re-settable turrets
  • side mount parallax knob
  • great customer service

Negatives Recap for This Product

  • possible blemished optical glass

UTG 4-16x44

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UTG 4-16X44 30mm Scope, AO, 36-color Mil-dot, w/ Rings
  • 30mm Tube with Best in Class Emerald Lens Coatings to Achieve Maximum Light Transmission for Best Clarity, Built on True Strength Platform, Completely Sealed and Nitrogen Filled, Shockproof, Fogproof...
  • 4X to 16X Power with Quick Power Selector Ring Perfect for Target Acquisition and Zooming In, 1-Click Technology for Quick Access to Your Favorite Color and Brightness in Reticle
  • Field of View @ 100 yards: 24.4 feet - 6.8 feet. Innovative EZ-TAP Illumination Enhancing (IE) System with Red/Green in Dual-Color Mode and 36 Colors in Multi-Color Mode to Accommodate All...
  • Premium Zero Lockable and Zero Resettable Target Turrets with Most Consistent and Precise 1/4 MOA per Click Adjustment, Side Wheel Adjustable Turret (SWAT) for Parallax Adjustment - From 10 Yards to...
  • Mil-dot Range Estimating Reticle with Built-in Integral Sunshade for Most Optimal Aiming and Shooting Performance, Complete with UTG Max Strength Twist Lock Picatinny/Weaver Rings and High Quality...

The UTG 4-16x powered scope comes not only with a high-performance Mil-Dot range estimating reticle and a built-in sunshade but is equipped and ready to go with its own max strength, twist lock Picatinny/Weaver scope rings too. These are nice tough scopes, built on the True Strength platform. They are completely and nitrogen filled, to deliver shockproof, fog proof and rainproof results. 

These UTG scopes some with a quick power selector ring which is perfect for quick target acquisition and zooming in. It also comes with a red and green dual color mode or 36-color in a multi-color mode, which is enhanced by the 1-click technology for quick access to your favorite color and brightness. So many color and brightness options really help to accommodate any weather or light conditions you could possibly be hunting in. 

The sweet finger adjustable target turrets on this scope are a premium zero lockable and zero re-settable with precise ¼ MOA per click adjustments. The parallax setting is a side wheel adjustable turret that adjusts from 10-yards to infinity. 

Customers of this scope are huge fans of the clear, crisp glass, the sharp image and the lighting capabilities it offers. They say that the clarity is excellent and the turrets are easy to turn and operate. Not to mention the ruggedness of this beautiful scope!

The main complaint about this scope is that the reticle will start to rotate or other inner components break loose with heavy recoil.

Positives Recap for This Product

  • built-in sun shade
  • max strength, twist lock Picatinny/Weaver scope rings included
  • True Strength Platform
  • rugged, shockproof, fog proof, rainproof
  • quick power selector ring
  • 36-color multi-color mode, red/green dual-color mode
  • finger adjustable, zero lockable, zero re-settable ¼ MOA turrets
  • 10-yards to infinity parallax wheel

Negatives Recap for This Product

  • reticle rotation issue
  • inner components coming loose

Vortex Optics Viper 6.5-20x50

Vortex Optics Viper 6.5-20x50 PA SFP Riflescope Mil-Dot MOA
  • The Viper 6.5-20x50 is built on a 30mm main tube with a hard anodized finish providing a rugged, tough hunting riflescope. Originating from the US Marine Corps, the Mil-Dot reticle is useful for...
  • Incorporating our premium, fully multi-coated, extra-low dispersion lenses brings excellent resolution and color fidelity. The XR coatings provide enhanced light gathering capability while Armortek...
  • Capped reset turrets allow quick re-indexing of the turret to zero after sighting in the riflescope. Side knob parallax adjust allows quick and easy parallax adjustments with range numbers visible...
  • The fast focus eyepiece allows for quick and easy reticle focusing while the MAG-Bar allows rapid, easy changes in magnification.
  • The Viper 6.5-20x50 riflescope is ideal for long range, predator/varmint, and target applications. O-ring sealed and argon purged, the Viper provides fog proof and waterproof performance.

The Vortex Optics Viper is a very ruggedly built scope made of single tube construction with a hard anodized finish and is argon-purged and O-ring sealed making it waterproof and fog proof. It has capped reset turrets that allow quick re-indexing of the turret to zero after sighting in the scope. The parallax adjustment is a side knob that allows for quick and easy parallax adjustments while shooting. 

The glass of this optics is just as rugged as the rest of the body. Premium, fully multi-coated, extra-low dispersion lenses bring excellent resolution and color contrast, and the XR coatings enable heightened light gathering capabilities, while the Armortek coating protects the lenses. Additionally, this scope models a fast-focus eyepiece that allows for quick and easy reticle focusing, and a MAG-bar that allows for rapid, easy magnification changes. 

Customers of this scope praise its high quality and outstanding performance, claiming that it exceeded expectations at almost every turn! The glass is incredibly clear with sharp images and bright, stark contrast. Most really like the Mil-Dot reticle for its ranging abilities. However, there were a few complaints of reticle movement and malfunction with the optics. Also that the scope has trouble staying zeroed. 

Positives Recap for This Product

  • rugged, single tube with a hard anodized finish
  • waterproof, fog proof
  • capped reset turrets
  • fully multi-coated, extra-low dispersion lenses
  • XR coating and Armortek coating
  • fast-focus eyepiece

Negatives Recap for This Product

  • possible reticle movement
  • optical malfunction reported
  • has trouble staying zeroed

Conclusion

Now you have a good idea of what to look for in the best Mil-Dot scope and why you may want to have a Mil-Dot reticle over another kind of reticle. These reticles are very likely one of the most versatile and useful reticles you could choose. If you want extreme simplicity and the best accuracy, a Mil-Dot scope may be the scope for you. As always, happy hunting! 

If you enjoyed this article check out our guide on the best scout rifle scopes.