What is "dr. eq." on a shotgun shell?

I was buying shells for skeet and couldn’t decide between a heavy load and a light load. The only difference was the ‘dr. eq.’ number, but I had no idea what that meant. The dopey kid at the counter didn’t know either. Anyone?

ps - I ended up shooting a box of each and still couldn’t tell the difference.

I believe it refers to the weight of the propellant in drams.

dram equivalent

It stands for “dram equivalent”, which I see on preview that others have already said. But wait! I have more. From this page:

Actually it refers to mass, not weight.

1 dram is approximately equal to 1.772 grams.
More info from http://www.cfis.org/ubb/Forum8/HTML/000608.html:

“I just looked at a new box of shotgun shells and found 3 1/4 dr.eq. listed on the box top. Meaning there is the smokeless powder equivalent of 3 1/4 drams of black powder in each shell.”

"Propellant weights for shotgun shells using modern smokeless powders are also measured in grains. Dram-equivalent markings are somewhat arcane and probably only still used because some regulations and competition rules define what is and is not permissible in terms of “dram-equivalent.”

So all other things equal, should the dram equivalent make a difference in the typical skeet scenario? i.e., higher dr. eq. = shorter lead.

Not really zwaldd, that’s where some people make a mistake. If you are using really fast shot (fps velocity), in most target presentations, the lead you use to bust the target may only change by a miniscule amount. If you regularly use 1250 fps ammo, using 1300-1450 may only reduce the lead by 6 inches, say, for a twenty yard fast crossing target. That’s not much at all when you look at the shot string (all this is IMO, BTW). If you’re going to shoot a lot of skeet, I’d recommend going with a lighter target load and save the heavy stuff for handicap trap and long targets in sporting clays.