If I try something like that and it doesn't work could I mail off another without being forever shunned? I'm sure I have more ?'s but let's start with that.
Legal? No. From stories I've heard, people have had breakers/leakers opened and repackaged by shippers. Other times, the package disappears and is never seen again. Rarely, a package will be returned and/or a nasty about shipping alcohol will be included. Do NOT use USPS. Some people do, but that would be the most likely route to actually get busted. I do the same as BahHumBrew. I use an online FedEx account and drop off at FedEx/Kinko's. No muss, no fuss. Package well and you will have no worries. There is a post somewhere with packing info, but I'm too lazy to look for it.
Growlers? Hand Filled bottles? I'd say unless they are spelled out as allowed in the guidelines, no. Growlers take up a lot of space and are heavier. Variety is the idea of BoB. Also, a box may end up sitting on someone's porch for a few days. Less than ideal conditions for a growler. In any BoB I ever start, there will be no hand-filled bottles. I don't care what CP filler or Beer Gun you use.
Homebrew? Again, unless it is spelled out in the guidelines, no. If you choose to send homebrew, it should be above and beyond the minimum beer requirement.
Rules? The rules for each BoB are set by the BoB master (most likely, me). There can be themes, but I usually stick to an amount in $ or ounces. BoBs normally go as a chain, meaning a person receives and then picks and ships to another participant. This keeps up the suspense, but can mean a long wait for the person who started it. The last BoB was Shotgun style. The BoB master came up with a list of who ships to who and let each person know who they were shipping to. The idea is that everyone ships at once.
If one/some of the bottles you send break/leak, you are expected to replace it.
Do a little research to make sure the beer you are sending is not available in the recipient's state. I was in a big chain trade where I received 5 boxes (~160 lbs) of beer. 75% of it was available at a store a few blocks from my house. There is a list for breweries available in NC here:http://beermapping.com/forum/index.php?topic=52.0
With a chain BoB, the only person who can really get screwed is the originator, as he is the first to ship. And he may have to wait a few months for a box of beer to land on his doorstep. That's why we aren't on Bob 29 by now, I suspect.
If you choose to break the chain, remember that we now have your address. Always good to have left coasters. If you can deal with all those rules, you're in. We've had no problems (crosses fingers) with bad traders on this site yet. But they do exist.