#1
Hey, would you run your distortion pedals through your FX loop or would you run them between the guitar and amp? Just wondering which generally sounds best.
#3
Depends on the pedal. If it's a preamp pedal, you might get better results in the effects loop. There's no rules to this stuff. Just do what sounds good to you. Some pedals that are generally in the front sound great in the loop and some pedals that are usually found in the loop sound heavenly in front.
#4
Rule of thumb is that you do not want to run anything that will boost the pre-amp side. Most distortion pedals add boost so its better to run through the input, not loop.
#5
You can try running a distortion pedal plugged in FX return. Meaning guitar to pedal and pedal to loop return. What this does is that the pedal becomes your preamp, bypassing the preamp and EQ of your amp completely.

ESP LTD F-50 + Tonezone
Cort EVL-Z4 + X2N
Cort EVL-K47B

Marshall Valvestate 8100
Randall RG1503
Bugera 333
Peavey Rockmaster preamp

Line6 Pod X3