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Most of the ones in the first 100 were in the 20-30 year range, with call provisions, many insured, with yields as high as 5% plus,

If a bond has call provisions, you should mentally lower its yield a bit when comparing with noncallable bonds. The longer term the bond, and the more call dates there are, the more the yield should be lowered.

the end result would be a somewhat lower yield than the fund, but without having interest rate risk worries

Are you talking about interest rate risk to principal, or payment amount risk to the payment stream you receive, or reinvestment risk as to what you're going to do with the coupon payments?$

Me, I mark-to-market, so I do consider there to be interest rate risk to principal when buying individual bonds.
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