On the tuning, make sure you have the timing spot-on before you even waste another minute on the carburetor. A lot of people will attempt to "fix" idling/starting issues at the carb when it COULD be a little out of time. A timing light is always your friend...then go from there.
Holley carbs are easy once you get to know your way around them. Biggest downfall to them are that they are very sensitive to the tiniest piece of trash. Don't skimp on a GOOD gas filter...or filterS.