A man has admitted to shooting and killing his son at a rural property in Hawke's Bay, but his lawyer says he should not serve a life sentence.

Dean Cole, 62, pleaded guilty in the High Court at Wellington today to murdering 42-year-old Blair Cole, in Mohaka last October.

He will be sentenced in Gisborne in March.

But his lawyer, Susan Hughes, QC, told Justice Robert Dobson she would be asking for a sentence less than life imprisonment.

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Life imprisonment with a non-parole period of 10 years is the minimum penalty for murder, unless such a sentence can be shown to be manifestly unjust.

Hughes said submissions would be made on a number of matters.

Blair Cole was found with a gunshot wound after emergency services were called to the rural home on October 12.