I love experimenting with different strings, because they're relavitely cheap, and make one of the biggest impacts on your tone, IMHO.
When I got my HM Strat about a month ago, it was strung with D'addario Pro-Steel 9-42. It was fun because it was so easy to play, but once the initial new-ness wore off, I was left feeling the guitar sounded very thin and weak. Before doing anything expensive like a pickup swap (and I've used the Super 3 before, and know it should not sound thin), or trading the guitar, I decided to try some different strings.
I looked at D'addario's string tension guide, and decided to put together a custom light top/heavy bottom set. I looked at the tension of each string was as close as could be (or a little heavier) than the previous string.
My favorite local shop stocks nearly every GHS gauge in singles, so I ended up with 9, 12, 15, 24, 36, 52, dropped D down 1/2 step. It went from thin and sharp to thick and brutal. The bottom three strings are thick enough to really dig into, and the top are all very easily playable, and almost the exact same tension, so the B no longer feels like a rubber band compared to the others.
I'm definitely sticking with GHS Boomers. They just feel great. Gary Hoey's video on the GHS site definitely sold me
I like this gauge, and I think I can get away with it on my Peavey strat, too. It'll be a little snappier because of the longer scale, but that's probably a good thing for single coils. I bet it will work for my Les Paul, too, because it's only 1/4 inch shorter than the HM.
You are correct about the tuning. I honestly think most guitars sound and play better at Eb. I like the dropped D thing a lot, too, because of how resonant it makes the guitar feel. Plus, I have tons of dropped D riffs, and I think it's easier to adapt standard tuned stuff to dropped D than the other way around.
As far as actually playing on them, it feels much better than the 9s I was using, and better than most "standard" sets I've tried. The 9, 12, & 15 are only slightly different from a 9 set (9, 11, 16), and the 24, 36, 52 isn't as goofy as it seems. The 24 is the same as a the D from a 9 set, the 36 is the same A as a 10 set, and the 52 is obviously thicker than a 42 (the E from a 9 set), but it gives you more string to grab on to, so it's not that much tougher to bend.
No issues with setting up the trem, either. I keep it pulled all the way back, so I can bend without the bridge sagging, but I keep the springs just tight enough to hold the bridge, so I can still whammy as easy as possible. I had to give each screw a turn or two, but that was it. Even if you had the bridge floating, it wouldn't be any harder to set up than with a standard set.
The coolest part about this is that even if you try something crazy and you end up hating it, you're out a whopping $6.