Removing heavy rust ? ? >

Digging a new flower bed in the back of our 82-year-old apartment building, we found ourselves unearthing a very old small landfill with all sorts of interesting items.
Among them is what appears to be a toy pistol, or possibly even a real pistol. But it is totally covered with heavy, heavy mud and rust.
I boiled this in salt, then salt and vinegar, but nothing gets it off.
Any ideas welcome.
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The usual thing is reverse electrolosys.
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muriatic acid will do the trick. try it at about 5 percent solution first. let it soak for a few hours and see if the crusty stuff has softened. With a stronger solution, you can actually see the iron oxide fizzing, but don't get carried away with the solution strength. It eats away the substrate metal too, just more slowly. If the metal is zinc based like many old toy guns, you probably won't be able to salvage much.
Bill

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Thanks Bill -- I'll try that.

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