What You Need to Know About Rifle Scope Turret Systems

November 1, 2020


What You Need to Know About Rifle Scope Turret Systems - November 1, 2020

Most of us have heard about turrets but not everybody knows that this detail performs the most important function on your rifle scope. Want to reveal what do the turrets do and what kind of turrets are presented on the market today? Read in the article. 
Everything starts with knowledge. You can't name yourself an excellent shooter if you don't know how your scope actually works. We think that the key to understanding your optic is understanding your turrets. The optical sight parameters might be the most important of all our equipment selection. In order to get an optical sight setup that's going to be effective for long-range and extreme range shooting, we're going to make sure that all the features we have in our optic are appropriate for our application. 
Today we gonna discuss turrets on rifle scopes and talk more in detail about the types of turrets and the range of adjustment.

What Turrets Do?

However, they are called turrets these parts have nothing in common with ancient buildings. Nevertheless, the mission of turrets is to zero your rifle scope. 
A good thing to consider when you're purchasing a rifle scope is turret options and reticle options that are available nowadays. There are a bunch of amazing reticles. They can be super easy to read, super easy to use, and very fast. You can just move and adjust however you want. the turrets offer an amazing capability of a lot of custom options. A turret is gonna offer you much more actual elevation adjustment.
To start with, wind age and elevation are standard turret adjustments.
  Wind age is connected with how the wind blows. Depending on the situation turret settings it can be switched to the left/ right.
The up and down adjustments are called elevation. If you are planning to do some far shots, you probably can make some adjustments at the location. 
Now is the time to talk about the third adjustment that is named the parallax adjustment turret. 
Parallax is basically how the target moves away from the reticle as you move your head. It changes your point of aim and generates a problem because can cause misses.
Parallax is often a fixed feature of scope, however a tendency to consider it an adjustable feature has become more common nowadays.

Different Types of Turrets

Target Turrets

These are preferred by target shooters who love them. Besides this type of turret is the oldest one it is also the most precise. Using it you can do small, and accurate adjustments. If you need to hit a small target that’s far away, target turrets would be a great solution. But it will be hard to use this type of turrets in the field because bumping and rubbing them can make undesired changes.


Yes, it can be easier to grab onto and adjust however the internal mechanics are identical to the spotting scope. Just because it has a big knobby looking target style turret doesn't necessarily mean that it's actually going to be as much superior as the others. It's not measured by how big and knobby looking the turret is. It's more of a measure of the internal mechanics: Was it truly designed or was it retrofitted spotting optic as a marketing scheme?

Ballistic Turrets

 If you need to hit a target fast without making minuscule groupings at a designated area this one would be a great variant for you. What is more, they make larger adjustments that are connected with the range you are shooting.


It is an add-on feature, that's why such turrets can be both target or ballistic. What you'll like about them is the simplicity. Fingertip adjustable scopes were designed to make adjustments without any additional instruments.

Coin Style

This type of turrets got its name because it's the most commonly used tool. Obviously, to make adjustments a small tool is needed. 


MOA explained

Most likely your scope adjusts in minutes of angle, so it is necessary to understand what minutes of angle are and how we can use them. Most of the people make this too confusing. Basically, a minute is just a fancy word for one-sixtieth. Think about sixty minutes in an hour. That's the same as saying one minute of time is a sixtieth of an hour. The angle we are describing is just one of those degrees on a circle of 360 degrees. It's not size on a certain distance but rather an angle that we are making in the scope that ends up translating to a certain size of a distance. At a hundred yards 1 MOA is about an inch (1.04 to be exact.)
By knowing what these minutes equal different distances we can compensate for different distances and therefore shoot where we want to no matter how far away the target is. A tiny beat of angular measurement at close range may be nothing but at long range, it is going to be amplified hugely. One click off at close range might not be hardly even measurable but at a very long range, it is going to be quite a large amount. As you want your tracking to be 100% reliable you should pay attention to the turret quality. 

MIL explained

There is another system of angular measurement and if you've taken trigonometry or you've done any math courses you may remember there are radians, a very different system of angular measurement than degrees. When we are talking about a ballistic solution you're always going to be talking in terms of mills. The same as MOA MIL is just angular measurement.
  MIL is short for Milliradian and that's kind of a metric version of Milliradian. The reason being is that a MIL never changes regardless of the distance. A MIL is 1 cm at 100 meters or 10 cm at 1000 meters). That is what one click on a mil scope will give you. Every click gives you a centimeter at 100 meters and 10 centimeters at a thousand meters. Likewise, MOA scopes are graduated in either quarter minute click so it takes four clicks of the scope to move one inch at 100 yards or 10 inches at a thousand yards. 
When you hear the term Mil Dot that's referring to the inside of the reticle on a mil-dot scope. Each dot is placed one milliradian apart from the other dot. If you take a Mil Dot scope and you look at something very close that angular distance that we are calling a milliradian is going to be much smaller than if you are looking at something extremely far away.

How to use it?

There are several ways MOA and Mils are used in long-range shooting. For example, you can use MILs to measure targets and then ultimately compensate for distance. But for tactical purposes, it is more often used for precision shooting. That's why MILs are used by military forces for different weapons systems, like machine guns and mortars.  On the other hand, using MOA doesn't require extra skills. That's why most red dot and short-range scopes will come in MOA.  They can become an exceptional choice because they are user-friendly and more accessible to start shooting with.  

Which one to choose?

When you adjust your scope, you do it in MOA or Mils. One isn't necessarily better or worse than the other. Whatever you choose to use just make sure you know what it means. 
Minutes of angle is very popular in the United States and even in Europe. Nevertheless, most professionals who have to use these units of measurement a lot (for example in the field of science and engineering, military applications like field artillery) use radians as well. We are not going to say which one is better because it's a matter of perspective what you are more familiar with might be the better one. 
One more important thing to remember is that you are going to make sure that the angular system of the measurement is in the same angular system as is marked on your turret. You don't want to have milliradian turrets and minutes of angle in your reticle. That's going to be very confusing trying to convert back and forth.  
So, it is crucial to understand this before you go further is that both systems are angular systems of measurement. They are going to vary with distance because just like on a triangle the closer you get to the point the shorter is a distance that angle has covered. 

Wrapping it up

To conclude, lots of different scopes have lots of different setups. Today we gathered some info to report you about turrets and adjustment that you can make on a scope so that you can zero your rifle, engage targets at different distances and just understand how the whole systems work a lot better.

We use cookies to make our website easier for you to use. By using the site you consent to the use of cookies.
Learn more about cookie settings Privacy Policy Understood