You'll see more fluctuations with no meat in it imo (lack of heat sink). I set mine at 275*ish by letting it get to 250*-260* and then closing my ball valve down some. Once it stabilizes (hopefully 270*-280*) I put my meat on (I always shut it all the way down (2-5 mins) prior to minimise spiking) I then put it back to my previous setting. Watch the temps for a bit. Make an adjustment as needed. 30-40 mins later, then let it ride from there normally. After 2 hours I'll use a stick to bang against the basket to clear ash and adjust as needed from there. I don't see constant swings but will see it change in longer periods of time as the fire moves around or ash starts to build up. Once you get to know your pit well it'll get predictable and repetitive. I'd smoke a nekid Fattie and then a pork butt to season and get to know your pit starting out as there forgiving to learn on.
Oregon Ducks Ugly Drum Smoker! - Smokey Joe Gold with Mini U.D.S. mod