The initial setting doesn't have to be exact, because adjusting the dwell angle is going to change the gap anyway. Anywhere between .015" and .020" should work fine for getting the car started. Once it's started, set the dwell angle to 28*-32*. A smaller dwell angle generally results in longer point life, but too little can cause a weak spark at higher engine speeds.
Once your dwell angle is set, then set the timing, not before. Changing the dwell angle changes the timing.
If you used new points, go back in a week or two and check the dwell angle again. The rubbing block on new points will usually wear down noticeably at first, which changes the dwell angle and timing. Reset the dwell angle to what it was before, and you'll probably find the timing is also back where it should be.
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