Last week, we checked in with profiles of two funds that last-minute types might consider as this year's April 17 IRA contribution deadline looms. One, Vanguard 500 (VFINX) is a no-brainer solution. It's a dirt cheap way to track the S&P 500, but it's hardly the best choice for a tax-favored account. Thanks to a minuscule rate of portfolio turnover, Vanguard 500 is pretty tax-efficient as is.

The other fund is a recommendation from the Fool's Champion Funds service, one with a storied performance history. It opened for business in September 1997, and between October of that year and the close of this past February, it gained more than 390%. The fund sports a triple-digit turnover rate to boot, and while high-turnover funds aren't typically worth their expense ratios, this pick is far from typical: Over that same stretch of time, it blasted past the S&P by nearly 319 percentage points. (You can sneak a peek at that pick and all our others by clicking here.)

Forewarned, however, is forearmed: Terrific (and IRA-ready) though this fund is, it's a speed demon, one with a concentrated portfolio and a manager who isn't afraid to stuff gobs of money into just a few select sectors.

Looking for a smoother ride?
If you're after something that strikes a milder profile, we've got you covered -- even at this late hour.

As with our previous compare-and-contrast exercise, you could always opt for a relatively buttoned-down index pick, the iShares Russell 1000 Value (IWD) exchange-traded fund (ETF), for example. This puppy specializes in low price-to-earnings (P/E) stalwarts such as JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM), Chevron (NYSE:CVX), and ExxonMobil (NYSE:XOM), each of which clocks in with a P/E ratio below that of the broader market. The similarly discounted likes of American International Group (NYSE:AIG), Dow Chemical (NYSE:DOW), and Merrill Lynch (NYSE:MER) are in the ETF's mix as well, and while you'll have to pony up a brokerage commission to buy and sell it, the expense ratio here is just 0.20%.

That's a reasonable price to pay, but remember: With index funds, the best you can hope for is performance that lags your pick's benchmark by about the amount of its price tag. And as with the Vanguard fund, this ETF isn't the savviest choice for those who want to take maximum advantage of an IRA's tax-favored treatment.

Get active
In the Champion Funds investing service, we've singled out a clutch of top-notch funds that, like the iShares ETF, focus on large-cap fare. One pick that I think is especially worth mulling for your IRA, though, focuses primarily on mid-cap stocks. Large caps are part of the plan here, too, with Anheuser-Busch (NYSE:BUD) meshing well with the team's strict valuation criteria: Though the company is a long-haul overachiever -- not to mention a veritable cash machine -- its stock currently trades at a substantial discount to that of its average industry rival.

And speaking of the squad's valuation discipline, the management team here isn't afraid to trim or eliminate positions as holdings enjoy what the pros like to call "multiple expansion." Not for nothing, that is, does this fund sport a triple-digit turnover rate as well.

The Foolish bottom line   
That, of course, makes the fund best suited for tax-favored accounts, such as IRAs. Because your investments there grow on a tax-free basis, reserving your IRA for those vehicles that aren't as tax-efficient as index picks, just makes Foolish common sense. If you'd like to see the funds that have made the Championship grade, you're in luck: The current issue of Champion Funds spills the beans on not just one but five -- count 'em! -- five funds that could do the trick. Just click here to get started. There's no obligation to subscribe, and remember: This year's contribution deadline is just a week away!

Shannon Zimmerman runs point on the Fool's Champion Funds newsletter service and co-advises Motley Fool Green Light with his pal Dayana Yochim. At the time of publication, he didn't own any of the securities mentioned above. JPMorgan and Dow Chemical are Motley Fool Income Investor recommendations. Anheuser-Busch is an Inside Value pick. The Fool has a strict disclosure policy.