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Old 07-26-2002, 01:05 PM
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: austin, tx
Posts: 1,449
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.
Old 07-26-2002, 01:14 PM
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Ohio
Posts: 10,465
I believe it refers to the weight of the propellant in drams.
Old 07-26-2002, 01:15 PM
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Any World (TIWT)
Posts: 4,824
dram equivalent
Old 07-26-2002, 01:22 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: Raiderville, TX
Posts: 10,404
It stands for "dram equivalent", which I see on preview that others have already said. But wait! I have more. From this page:
The dram equivalent is a carry over from the old days of black powder. When smokeless powder was introduced at the turn of the century there was some confusion as to what the loads were. Manufacturers included the "dram equivalent" on the boxes so that hunters would have some idea as to how much power the shells in the box had. Since most shooters at that time knew that a standard target load was about 3 drams of black powder and a hunting load was closer to 4 drams, the dram equivalent gave them something to compare with. I guess old habits are hard to break because most ammunition manufacturers still include this information.

Some of the manufacturers of steel shot have taken to printing the velocity on the boxes lately which helps shooters today determine how their loads stack up. In the old days, there wasn't the sophisticated technology for measuring velocity. The only thing they had to go on was how much powder was in the casing. More powder translates to more power.
Old 07-26-2002, 01:24 PM
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Ohio
Posts: 10,465
more info

Actually it refers to mass, not weight.

1 dram is approximately equal to 1.772 grams.

More info from

"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."
Old 07-27-2002, 11:16 PM
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: austin, tx
Posts: 1,449
So all other things equal, should the dram equivalent make a difference in the typical skeet scenario? i.e., higher dr. eq. = shorter lead.
Old 07-28-2002, 08:21 AM
BF BF is offline
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Not on a golf course
Posts: 1,408
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.

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