I have used lead to make my own handgun and rifle bullets now for, oh, about 4 decades.
To do this it is necessary to melt the lead, then pour it into a mould. In this process I must handle the lead, often more than once. In addition, there is an occasional splatter of molten lead that gets on my hands or arms. This is extremely unpleasant, so I normally wear long sleeves and do my bullet making in the winter. However, I have found it expedient to do most of my bullet moulding bare handed. Still, the effects of this lead on my health, except for a few scars from the hot splatters, is nonexistent.
Over the last 50 years the naysayers and Chicken Littles of the world have succeeded in removing lead from almost every product made. They have “educated” the public into believing that lead is practically as deadly as pure radium. That is a lie.
A few weeks ago I was having some blood work done by my family doctor. Just to be safe I asked him to have my blood checked for lead. I figured that after nearly 40 years of handling and using lead there was bound to be some of it in my blood.
The test came back negative, which would tend to put the lie to all this “sky is falling” propoganda.
So, any of you who make bullets or wish to start making bullets, it really is a safe pastime, if you use the proper precautions.
While I normally do not, I strongly recommend that you wear cotton gloves when working with molten lead. It is very hot, on the order of 700 to 800 degrees. I also want to stress very strongly that you need to do your work with lead outside, or at least in a very well ventilated area. I have worked out of my barn, with the big door open and a fan set to blow the fumes out the door. Generally, however, I work outside. That precludes the possibility of any contamination from the fumes, if any, of the molten lead in my pots and tools.
You can, at least for the present, get your lead from common wheel weights. Any tire shop will have buckets full of these. Most places you can buy them for a little of nothing, and many shops will give them to you, just to get them out of the way.
I melt the wheel weights down on an old propane camp stove. I use an equally old cast iron pot. I melt the weights down, scoop off the clips with a big spoon or ladle, flux and clean the resulting lead, and then pour the cleaned alloy into moulds. I use cornbread or muffin moulds like are available in any grocery store. Just make sure that the mold you use is not too large or the resulting lead ingot will not fit into your melting pot.
The lead from wheel weights is an almost perfect alloy for making pistol bullets, but if you want it harder or softer you can buy pure lead or Linotype alloy that you can add to your wheel weight alloy to make it about any hardness you desire.
Find a good source, such as the Lyman Cast Bullet Handbook, and follow the instructions. It is very simple. In no time at all you will be making good bullets and saving a lot of money. With the price of bullets today, saving 30 bucks a box is not out of the question.