Well, as of this weekend I can vouch for the "crank it without
plugs" technique for priming an engine that's been sitting around
in a drained condition.
After I verified Tessa's electrics with a multimeter about 50 times
to allow for my basic electro-stupidity, I extracted all the plugs
again and did some tentative cranking just to make sure the solenoid
and starter would go. They did, and she spun merrilly for about 90
seconds 'til I figured that was enough.
Turning on the starter is not enough to raise the pressure enough
to register on my gauge or oil light, let alone see oil at the rockers,
so it's hard to be sure you've done enough.
But when I reinstalled the plugs and fired her up, it took instantly
and the oil pressure needle swung around to a good nominal number for
cold idle. The filter cannister must have been full because there was
no sound of bearing knock and the oil light went out instantly.
So I hereby endorse this technique. Just be sure to wash all the
dust and grit away from the spark plug holes before you remove
them so as you crank you're not sucking junk into the holes....
'79 Spitfire daily dog
'65 Vitesse returning to life