Pioneer Strategic Income ( PSRAX) began changing course late last year. After steering away from risky bonds, the fund started buying the kind of junk issues that were clobbered as the credit crisis unfolded. "We bought a lot of high-yield bonds at the end of 2008 because they were getting cheaper and cheaper," fund manager Kenneth Taubes says. Pioneer isn't alone these days. After taking shelter in Treasuries and other high-quality securities, some bond managers are beginning to take on more risk. The managers figure that with the economy stabilizing, it pays to buy corporates and other bonds that offer higher yields. Funds with strong long-term records that are taking more risk include Artio Total Return Bond ( BJBGX) and Osterweis Strategic Income ( OSTIX). To be sure, not all funds are joining the charge into riskier corporate bonds. Most plain-vanilla bond funds stay broadly diversified and never place big bets on any one sector of the bond market. Such funds can make sensible long-term holdings. Because they stay diversified, their performance will never depart much from the averages. But some investors may prefer more flexible funds -- including those that are moving into riskier issues. The flexible funds have the freedom to shift gears, emphasizing junk bonds one year and Treasuries the next. By changing holdings, some flexible funds managed to outperform the averages last year. A solid flexible fund is Pioneer Strategic Income, which returned 0.7% during the 12 months ending June 26, outdoing 86% of competitors in the multisector bond category. The fund typically holds a mix of high-quality and junk issues. Beginning in 2007, Taubes started shifting to high-quality bonds. That reduced losses during the downturn of 2008.