i wasn't sure of the units of the hydra's dwell parameter, and thought for a moment that it was in degrees of crank rotation--that's all i meant by conduction angle. from what you've posted it in straight ms.
that's very intriguing about the longer dwell actually precipitating misfires. one would assume that the opposite would be true, but from what you're saying it seems there's a window of dwell that works best. too long or too short and you get issues.
hmm. something is starting to make some sense here. i have a lot of experience with old antiquated vacuum tube amplifiers which use transformers to couple the high impedance tube circuits to the low impedance speaker loads. a coil is a transformer.
it is absolutely true that once the magnetic circuit of the coil is saturated you will not get any more transmission of energy when the current is interrupted. in fact, depending on the core materials of the coil itself (ie, steel, ferrite, etc), you will likely see a DROP in magnetic permeability once a sufficient level of flux is passing through the core and saturation occurs. a lot of core materials exhibit this tendency. there's a sweet spot in terms of flux vs. permeability where very low and very high flux levels show a dropoff.
the permeability is like a measure of the magnetic conductivity of the material. high permeability means high efficiency in terms of the magnetic portion of the coil. this is a "good thing" and is probably a direction in which the electrical engineers at FHI are going. in other words the newer coil packs are probably more efficient and thus saturate at lower flux levels, and the flux is determined by the # of turns on the coil and the amount of current passing through the coil. the dwell directly sets the amount of current.
so there is some logic behind the "sweet spot" for dwell duration and ultimate spark energy. more current doesn't always = more spark energy because there is an "imperfect" magnetic core material involved that has a varying permeability wrt flux density.
(for the curious, i have a good article on electromagnetics on my website written by an EE friend of mine, henry pasternack. http://ken-gilbert.com/techstuff/magnetics.html