Regarding using bird shot. you have to use Magnum shot. I heard something a while back, where the EPA had stopped the use of arsenic in chilled shot. The manufacturors increased the amount of antimony to make up the difference.
There are several articles on sixgunner.com. I posted the addresses earlier on in this thread. I have added shot to wheel weights to increase the antimony content. Now I use wheel weights and add linotype to increase tin and antimony. The bullets will heat treat up to BHN 31. That's hard enough. The alloy, untreated, runs from 12 to 15 BHN. That works for most handgun loads and does well in the 30-30. For more powerful rifles I heat treat the bullets. Works for me.