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I've generally found that if the rustiness applies to the entire nail, then 1) you can tell b/c the head has worked its way out and 2) it means that there are moisture problems (leaks or whatnot) that need to be addressed or you can R&R all the nails you want but still end up with the same problem before too long.

For typical rusty nail heads only (where the head just ends up getting exposed) I generally run around with a cordless rotary tool and grinder head. Ground the head, spot prime, slap a generous coating of a quality caulk over them and then go with it. I figure that for just plain head rust it's about getting them sealed up from moisture.
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