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Sub MOA Meaning: Explained [By an Expert]

Dakota Potts | Updated February 26, 2024 | Why You Should Trust Us | How We Earn Money
Cover photo of Sub MOA meaning showing a rifle scope

Sub-MOA, or Minute of Angle, is a term you might’ve heard before that’s used to describe the accuracy and precision of firearms, specifically rifles. But what does it actually mean?

If you want to avoid sounding like a greenhorn at the range. find out what Sub MOA is below.

For recommendations on the SUB MOA rifles see our guide to the top varmint rifles of 2024.

Key Takeaways

  • Sub-MOA refers to the ability of a firearm to consistently shoot within one Minute of Angle (MOA).
  • One MOA is an angular measurement equal to 1/60th of a degree used for determining bullet impact on a target.
  • Sub-MOA rifles are highly accurate and sought after for competitive shooting and precision marksmanship.

What Is Sub MOA at 100 Yards?

When talking about precision shooting, Sub-MOA is a popular term. It stands for sub-minute of angle, and it’s a term often used in shooting sports when discussing accuracy. 

Let’s back up though and talk about minute of angle (MOA). If you don’t already know what this is, it’s a unit of angular measurement used in ballistics. It refers to a fraction of a degree in a circle. Specifically, 1 MOA is equal to 1/60th of a degree. 

Now, this measurement is used to gauge the average point of impact of a bullet on a target, as bullets follow a cone-shaped trajectory when fired.

Because an MOA spreads out in size as the distance increases, it can be used as a measure of how far shots deviate from each other on a target. 

Image of a diagram showing 1” at 100 yards for MOA

At 100 yards, 1 MOA is roughly equal to 1 inch.

So, what is a Sub MOA group?

Well, a Sub MOA group is when a group of shots is all within less than an MOA at a given distance. 

For instance, at 100 yards, a Sub MOA would mean the shots are all within that one-inch group. In practical terms, the smaller the MOA, the more accurate the firearm is considered.

“I sleep with my gun on my bedside table. I live alone; it is my protection and makes me feel safer. I have had to pull it out a few times when I have heard noises at night, but I’ve never had to use it.”

Alana Stewart

Well, is Sub MOA good?

Absolutely.

This level of accuracy is what shooters want in precision sports or hunting. It’s a benchmark for rifles and is often used as an accuracy standard by many manufacturers.

For some tips on how to achieve Sub-MOA groups, check out this video:

However, remember that achieving Sub MOA also depends on different factors like the shooter’s skill, ammunition, and environmental conditions.

So, Sub-MOA at 100 yards signifies impressive shooting accuracy, with a group of shots all falling within a one-inch group. This achievement showcases the firearm’s capabilities, the shooter’s skill, and good ammunition selection.

What Is Sub MOA at 50 Yards?

At 50 yards, understanding Sub-MOA accuracy is simple.

The general concept is that 1 MOA is equivalent to 1 inch per 100 yards. So, to figure out what is Sub MOA at 50 yards, just half that distance, and 1 MOA will correspond to 0.5 inches at 50 yards.

Image of a man aiming at a target

To achieve Sub-MOA at 50 yards, a shooter’s grouping needs to be consistently within 0.5 inches of each other. This means that all shots should land within a circle with a 0.5-inch radius.

What Is Sub-MOA at 200 Yards?

To understand what is Sub MOA at 200 yards, you need to take into account the fact that MOA size increases linearly with distance. So, at 200 yards, 1 MOA is approximately 2 inches

A firearm that shoots Sub-MOA at 200 yards can consistently place groups of shots within a 2-inch diameter circle on a target. This level of precision is often seen as an indicator of a high-quality firearm.

Image of a diagram showing 2” at 200 yards for MOA

Some factors that can impact you from achieving Sub-MOA accuracy include the quality of the gun, the ammunition used, and the shooter’s skill. However, a firearm with a Sub-MOA rating, when paired with proper technique and suitable ammunition, can achieve excellent precision at 200 yards and beyond.

That said, Sub-MOA should not be confused with individual shot accuracy. To qualify as Sub-MOA, a shooter needs to average 1 MOA or less across several shot groups.

What Is Sub-MOA at 1000 Yards?

So, we know what Sub-MOA is at 50, 100, and 200 yards, but what is Sub-MOA at 1000 yards?

Image of a diagram showing 10” at 1000 yards for MOA

At 1000 yards, sub-MOA performance implies that a rifle is able to group shots within a 10-inch radius or less

Now, this is due to the nature of angular measurements, where a single MOA covers a wider area as distance increases. So, at 1000 yards, 1 MOA becomes approximately 10 inches.

Accuracy at such long distances involves the several factors I mentioned before (shooter’s skill, rifle quality, and environmental conditions), but magnified. Rifles capable of achieving sub-MOA at 1000 yards are often used by skilled marksmen and are considered highly accurate firearms.

Fun Fact

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Sub MOA vs Half MOA

Sub MOA, or Minute of Angle, refers to a firearm’s capability to shoot a group size of 1 inch or less if the distance is 100 yards.

Half MOA, on the other hand, is an even more precise measurement, as it represents a group size of only 0.5 inches at 100 yards. This level of accuracy is what shooters look for in high-level competition shooting, where even slight adjustments can affect the outcome.

Image of a rifle on top of a wooden table

Manufacturers sometimes offer a Half MOA guarantee for their rifles, promising that the firearm can deliver Sub-MOA performance consistently. These guarantees are a testament to the quality of the weapon and can offer peace of mind to the shooter.

In a competition setting, having a Half MOA rifle can give you a competitive edge. However, know that even a Sub-MOA firearm has the potential to win many tactical competitions, as evident by a shooter who finished second with an average group size of 0.76 MOA.

To sum it up, both Sub-MOA and Half MOA firearms offer impressive accuracy. The choice between them often comes down to the level of precision required by the shooter and the specific demands of a given competition or application.

“Shooting is very challenging because 10 metre air rifle you have different rules, short gun you have different rules.”

Gagan Narang

For more reading see: what is a varmint rifle?

FAQs

How many inches is a MOA?

An MOA is approximately 1 inch at 100 yards. This can be simplified as 1″ per 100 yards. It’s important to note that as distance increases, the size of a MOA will also increase proportionally.

What is the MOA of a rifle?

The MOA of a rifle refers to its accuracy, measured in minutes of angle. It indicates the rifle’s ability to place shots within a specific distance from the target. A smaller MOA value would mean better accuracy and vice versa.

What is a Sub-MOA 3 shot?

A Sub-MOA 3 shot is a group of three shots fired from a rifle that falls within a measurement of less than one MOA. It serves as an indicator that the rifle is capable of shooting with high accuracy.

What size is Sub-MOA?

The size of a Sub-MOA will depend on the distance at which it’s measured. To calculate Sub-MOA size, divide the distance (in yards) by 100 and then multiply it by the MOA value. For instance, at 100 yards and with an MOA value of 0.5, the Sub-MOA size would be 0.5 inches (100 ÷ 100 × 0.5).


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