A Triple Threat in High Power, PRS, and F-Class Competition
Year Started at Krieger Barrels: 2007
Disciplines of Choice:
- Service Rifle
- CMP Games
Favorite Distilled Beverage: Herradura Anejo Tequila or Bulleit Bourbon
Trade Shows, Camp Perry, Winnequah Gun Club, and WPRSC: Todd Makes The Rounds
There are some people who you just happen to run across on a regular basis by pure happenstance. Perhaps they fall into the same circle of friends, share similar interests, or just pop up on occasion by pure chance. In my case, Todd House from Krieger Barrels Inc. falls definitively into all three categories.
I first ran into Todd during my first trip down to the Camp Perry National Matches. Some of the details of that visit can be found on the Criterion Barrels blog here, but it proved to be just as enjoyable off the firing line as it was on it. I wound up sharing a condo with Bob Schanen’s crew, and Todd popped by to join us for a barbecue cookout. Introductions were made, a few cocktails were enjoyed, and we went on our separate ways shortly afterward.
The Camp Perry trip wasn’t the last time I ran into Todd. Over the subsequent years, we ran into one another at various matches and firearm industry trade shows throughout the calendar year. Sometimes we would be shooting vintage “wood rifles” (Todd’s personal favorite shooting discipline is Vintage Sniper Match), other times we were lobbing .308 rounds out to 1,200 yards in F-Class matches at Winnequah Gun Club in Lodi, Wi.
Challenging is Interesting: Exploring Different Approaches to PRS Rifle Builds
Where I see Todd mostly these days is in our regional PRS match series, the Wisconsin Precision Rifle Steel Challenge. He was present for the first test match run held at Racine County Line Rifle Club about three or four years ago, while I wound up catching the steel plinking bug a few months later. Those first few matches proved to be an interesting experience, as we continually swapped out components on our rifles and worked our way through the learning curve typically experienced when engaged in any new marksmanship discipline.
Todd’s rifle had a tendency to drop its magazine every few stages, while I had a handful of optic issues that plagued me over the course of that first match season. Our build preferences have always been markedly different, but the end goal has always been the same: To keep things interesting.
Many shooting sports are won and lost through muscle memory created through sheer repetition. Service Rifle shooters go distinguished because they have mastered the offhand, prone, and sitting positions. They spend countless hours slung up in their Creedmoor Sports hardback coat dry firing with a SCATT Trainer and doing their best to keep each round in the “X” ring. F-Class shooters attempt to keep their reloading practices as consistent as possible, sometimes going to extreme lengths to keep their brass sized to virtually identical dimensions.
The appeal of action sports like PRS lie not in eliminating each variable encountered (although that definitely factors into the equation), but place more emphasis on tackling the unknown by improvising, adapting, and overcoming obstacles as you encounter them. Todd and I rarely find ourselves in contention for trophies at these matches, but we find a great deal of enjoyment in challenging ourselves with the unique scenarios, barricades, and equipment encountered on match day.
In an age of ballistic applications and Kestrels, Todd prefers to use his mental calculator to dial his Data on Previous Engagement (DOPE). He knows how much the temperature will affect his muzzle velocity and can make adjustments as conditions change with remarkable accuracy. Not only does Todd know his holdover data, but he throws one more complicating factor into the mix. These days he’s probably one of the few shooters on the firing line running an optic with an MRAD reticle with MOA sight adjustments. While there are a number of more modern optic designs available, Todd prefers to stick with his current glass not due to its performance and capability, but for the additional challenge it offers. “It’s a good mental exercise, and it keeps me sharp,” Todd explained. “Coming up with new experiences to enjoy, and additional challenges becomes more difficult with age. With PRS you have no idea what the course of fire is until you arrive, but you have tons of time to get your DOPE dialed in. As long as you know your DOPE, you’ll hit (the target) every single time”.
The Path to Precision
Every time I chat with a precision rifle shooter, regardless of their preferred discipline, I always ask them how they found themselves heading down the rabbit hole that is the world of precision rifle marksmanship. Quite often this path has humble beginnings, and in Todd’s case this was no exception.
Prior to moving to Wisconsin and taking a position with Krieger Barrels, Todd worked as an engineer for one of Pratt & Whitney’s subcontractors as part of the F-22 program. This job set the course for Todd’s future career, where he sought to work for organizations that offered best in class performance.
“There aren’t many companies that are the best at something.” Todd explained, “You see these customers winning national records and championships, and that just feels good. It doesn’t matter if you’re in the office or you’re one of the guys at the plant busting their butts to make the best possible barrel, performance like that is a reflection of everyone’s efforts”
The first rifle Todd got his hands on was a BB gun at 8 years old, which was replaced a few years later by a .22LR Marlin 60. His dad gave him a brick of ammo with that Marlin .22, and told him that if he could get through that brick without screwing up (with a negligent discharge or safety violation), he could keep the rifle. Todd has probably put about 100,000 rounds through that rifle, so it sounds like he managed to avoid any potential “screw ups” over the last few decades.
Todd credits his friend Doug for helping get him started down the path of competitive marksmanship. They used to buy bulk crates of cheap surplus 7.62×51 ammo, and would burn through an entire crate over the course of each weekend.
While plinking targets with an M1A offered hours of endless entertainment, it was a Project Appleseed shoot that really set the hook and kicked off Todd’s competitive rifle career. It wasn’t long before he began shooting local Service Rifle matches with his M1A, at which point he approached Krieger Barrels to fill an open Quality Manager job position.
The Jack of All Trades: Beware the Man With One Gun
From 2007 to present Todd has worked as the Krieger Barrels Quality Manager, a Project Manager responsible for fittings department and ERP implementation, the Staff Gunsmith, and is now filling a Sales and Marketing role, along with a little export compliance work.
During his tenure at Krieger, Todd found himself surrounded by coworkers deeply involved in competitive marksmanship scene. While Service Rifle had its place among the Krieger staff, a new sport called “F-Class” had begun to spring up in the area around the same time Todd came aboard. One of Todd’s co-workers, a new competitive shooter named Dan Lentz, tried his hand at shooting F-Class at the same time as Todd. House remembered one conversation they shared shortly after that match:
“I was chatting with Dan after a match one day and told him that I’m not much good at anything because I’m spread to thin (shooting different disciplines). I told him if he wants to be really good at something, he needs to focus on competing in one discipline to get really good at it.”
Dan took that advice to heart, going on to set a number of national records and shoot for the US Shooting Team. It looks like that piece of advice had some merit!
Todd might not be the world’s top shooter in any one discipline (although he has finished in the Top 10 at Camp Perry Vintage Sniper Matches), but he does offer qualities that are often hard to find in an industry that oftentimes relies on smoke and mirrors to sell its products.
Author’s Note: I’m going to have to eat my hat on that previous claim. Todd recently won an F-TR state championship title in the Expert category at Winnequah Gun Club in Lodi, WI earlier this summer.
Who is Todd House?
Todd House is a straight shooter, a truly honest and genuine human being. He’s someone you can rely on for help should you run into trouble removing your factory barrel, if you need a hand preparing for an upcoming precision rifle course, or if you have any casual inquiries about F-22 stealth fighter construction. Folks like that aren’t easy to come by these days!