Has anyone tried the heavy duty green 3M cleaning pads to remove rust from blued surfaces? They have to be less abrasive than steel wool or even brass.
No they don't. Some of the pads are quite abrasive. There are different grades and the grading system varies by manufacturer.
The nice thing about steel wool is that 0000 steel wool is pretty much the same everywhere. Use it with plenty of light oil and if you have the slightest understanding of what the phrase "gentle rubbing" means, you won't scratch the bluing.