I had a terrible problem at first with lead, even with my own cast bullets using a Lee mold I was given. There were lead "wires" unwinding from the groves near the end of the barrel after shooting just a couple hundred rounds. The barrel turned smooth bore! I went through a lot of those copper Chore Boy pads for awhile, mechanically scraping out that lead. I didn't give up though, because I know other people were successful. So I joined some web forums, got the Lyman Cast bullet handbook, and read every article on lasc.us more than once. It was more than just a little helpful.
Now I can shoot literally thousands of rounds out of my CZ Shadows and other guns, and not have even a hint of leading. In fact, I hardly even see the need to clean the inside of the barrel anymore when I'm shooting it regularly. Even then, I only use a nylon brush and some CLP and a patch to make it shiny.
One problem I had was with commercial 9mm bullets that are invariably sized to .356". A lead bullet at .356" just doesn't do it for my guns. Commercial bullets also have a really solid lube to facility packaging and shipping that really aren't ideal for handgun velocities. So casting my own bullets from molds of different weights, diameters, and profiles opened up a whole world of experimentation for me, as did formulating and experimenting with my own lubes. It was really fun to experiment with alloys of various hardness too (a hardness test kit really is useful). Then different powders and charges... you get the idea.
A person who shoots lead has to be willing to tinker and experiment at least a little, since everything isn't reduced to some simple formula or recipe that will suite every purpose. Some guys like guns for self defense only and are willing to feed them commercial JHPs. Others among us make it a hobby to varying degrees. To me loading (and casting) lead is just an extension of reloading in general, and the tinkering and overcoming problems becomes a rewarding activity in itself.