You've opened Pandora's box Expect answers from all over the spectrum as 'best' is a very subjective concept. My personal recommendations: Colt, Springfield, S&W, in no specific order. All offer exceptional models well below $1k. Whether a Series 70 Colt, an E-Series S&W or a SA Range Officer, you won't be disappointed. Accuracy and reliability, in my experience, are on par across the three makes. The key is to handle each of the models you're interested in before you buy a particular one. Only you can decide which one feels better in your hand - and yes, you will notice differences in feel. By doing that you can also assess things like how frontstrap checkering feels or which sight options work best for you. It really does come down to first-hand experience with each model.
Now for the low end of the scale price wise $4-500 depending on the model I have the Tisas ZigM 1911 your basic no frills 1911 well made good finish sights not the greatest shots hit about 4" below POA runs well with 230gr ball, really just the basic's and my 2 cents. as previously mentioned you're gonna get a lot different opinions on this subject so brace yourself.
UNDER a thousand? There are WAY too many to list here. Some are better than others but most in that price range are not going have any hand fitted parts. My advice would be to up your limit by 100 bux or so and check out the STI Trojan. Considering your stated use (serious range time and fun), and your interest in accuracy and reliability, you simply cannot get "more" 1911 for the money.
I'll take a Kimber TLE over anything mentioned so far, but that's just me. The differences in the best brands are subtle and most people don't shoot enough to understand them anyway. You will be delighted with whatever you buy.
A ton to chose from and I don't think many are going to be bad although you may like some better than others. Go to a well stocked gun store and look at a bunch. Down here ranges rent either SA Range Officers or Ruger SR1911s so renting and trying might be an option for you.