My Dad, my buddy and I all shoot 168gr Barnes TSX bullets. My buddy and I shoot .300 win mags, and Dad a 30-06. Between this season and last season we have shot 8 deer, and 2 elk, and every animal except for one elk the bullets have passed right thru, and the animals pretty much dropped in there tracks. We recovered one bullet and it weighed 167.2 gr.
As for the pencil effect that you speak of, we shot 2 mule deer, one at 50 yards right in the boiler room, and there was about a 3/4" hole in and out, and the deer went about 10 steps, and the other one was about 150 yards on the run, and also shot in the boiler room, and there was a 1 1/2" dia in hole, and about a 3/4" exit hole, with no heart or lungs left, and this deer went about 20 steps, and every other animal was a thru and thru.
I for one do not mind paying the extra money for this premium bullet, because the bullets performs just awesome, even with the thru and thru.
The three of us have found our bullet of choice, because the bullet works just great.