nope, i managed to rise 2 ranks to Baron in one night.
part or all of the solution was to focus purely on one Imperial faction's missions, then i moved to another system and did the same thing there for another Imperial faction, then moved once again (only because neither of the first two systems sold Impure Clappers)
e.g. in one system there was about 3 sub-factions allied with the Empire, but i ignored all missions except those for Emperor's Pride, and same deal in the next system
-- Fly safely, shoot straight, kill quickly, land softly --