I broke in the cam and went for a test drive. 350 .030 over, kb hyper 12cc dish, lunati bmII, rpm airgap intake, edelbrock 650, dart iron eagle 64cc with 200cc runners, headland long tube and types exhaust
You need a timing light with advance. Have someone hold the rpms at 3000-3500. Set the total timing at 36* without vacuum. Tighten the distributor hold down and make sure you still at 36* total. You can then check what you have at idle. Reconnect the vacuum advance to the right side port and see what you have at idle. If you have more then 52* you will need an adjustable vacuum advance can. Check out this Wiki article. http://www.crankshaftcoalition.com/wiki/Hot_rodding_the_HEI_distributor
For setting timing I take a different approach! Take 3 engines all built Identical and all three will run at optimum performance at different timings! I set the initial at a timing that the engine runs good at cruising anywhere from 6 to 14 for the street on an out of the box dist.,if it turns over hard back it off a little! then I set total about 30 Then I set weights and vacuum advance a little at a time until it is what I desire at the rpm that the engine performs the best at, It could range from 28 total to 38 on a street engine! I only lock em out for racing! and when running on the street with a cam with good vacuum I like a vacuum advance on a cam with low vacuum I go with centrifugal advance only! The Track or a dino is the best places to do this never on the street LOL:spank::nono:
CDs approach is good ! But we don't know any cam specs or C.R. or the driving situations you prefer to pinpoint any real world recommendation.