Shotguns are used for clay target shooting and to hunt small animals such as rabbits. They are the only firearms allowed for hunting game birds on the wing. There are a number of pellets in a 12-gauge cartridge that spread out when they leave the muzzle.

Different sized animals require different sized shot to ensure effective pellet penetration for a humane kill. Hunters must not use a shot gun with a gauge greater than 12 gauge to hunt game birds.

Some recommended shot sizes are:

  • 7, 8 and 9 for smaller birds
  • 4, 5 and 6 for rabbit
  • 3 and 2 for foxes
  • buckshot, or a single solid slug, for pigs
  • duck hunters cannot use or possess toxic shot in Victoria whilst out in the hunting area.

Recommended non-toxic shot sizes for Australian game birds can be found at 

The size of the shot for clay target shooting depends on the competition.

Please contact the Game Management Authority at for more information.