Some 90% of the mid-cap funds we sifted didn't make our cut, but those that did followed a range of strategies to above-average gains.

In running the broker-sold

(CVGRX) - Get Report

Calamos Growth fund since its 1990 launch, John Calamos has used quantitative models to dig up small- and mid-cap stocks with solid growth prospects and attractive price tags. He has quietly topped his average peer in each of the past six years, and his fund tops all other mid-cap growth offerings over the past five and 10 years.

The team of managers behind the no-load

(VALSX) - Get Report

Value Line Special Situations fund uses that firm's proprietary ratings systems and its own research to pick stocks that are underappreciated due to industry or company changes. That's led to a sprawling 300-stock portfolio, but the fund has also beaten its average competitor in each of the past six years.

Saul Pannell, manager of the

(ITHAX) - Get Report

Hartford Capital Appreciation fund since its 1996 start, looks near and far for stocks in which he sees a 25% gain due to solid earnings, modest valuations or both. He has topped 97% of his peers and the

S&P 500

over the past five years, but has less than half his fund in mid-cap stocks. That should discourage those looking for a pure mid-cap investment.

The broker-sold

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Prudential US Emerging Growth and the no-load

(ALMRX) - Get Report

Alger MidCap funds tend to stash half their assets in health care and tech stocks, and aren't shy about trading among them, which might scare off some tax-conscious types. You can't say that tactic hasn't worked with these funds, however, as both have topped most of their peers over the past five years. Susan Hirsch has run the Prudential fund since its 1996 launch, while Dan Chung took over the Alger portfolio in the wake of September's terrorist attacks.

Two no-load, mid-cap funds that met our criteria, but barely missed the top-five, are the

(RPMGX) - Get Report

T. Rowe Price Mid-Cap Growth and the

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RS MidCap Opportunities funds.

Both funds have topped their average peer over the past one, three and five years, with below-average volatility, thanks to price-conscious approaches. In running the T. Rowe Price fund since its 1992 start, Brian Berghuis has spread his bets widely, shopping for stocks with solid earnings growth and a reasonable price tag. John Wallace, manager of RS MidCap Opportunities since its 1995 launch, also pays strict attention to valuations and is quick to dump positions when they sag or hit his price targets.

Click on these links to check out the other funds we dug up:

Large-cap growth funds

Small-cap growth funds

Ian McDonald writes daily for TheStreet.com. In keeping with TSC's editorial policy, he doesn't own or short individual stocks. He also doesn't invest in hedge funds or other private investment partnerships. He invites you to send your feedback to

imcdonald@thestreet.com, but he cannot give specific financial advice.