I agree with you, I would go one ton. As to specific truck, arguments about which manufacturer is better range far and wide and might best be answered on an owners’ forum specific to the model in which you have an interest.
As to F350s, I don’t think you can find a good low miles gasser model with the current 6.2 engine in your p[rice range, but the V10 which preceded it was a beast and if I were going Ford in your price range, that is the engine I would be on the lookout for. You won’t get the fancy new transmission which is a pip when shifted manually in the hills, but you can manage without it.
Personally I have never found inspecting a used truck to be any different than inspecting a used car and there is a ton of information already available on the Internet about that.
Steve and Andra
2012 F350 6.2 gasser SRW LB
Fab Fours front and rear in case we run into a rhino
2019 Northstar Laredo SC