Google Answers Logo
View Question
Q: Flicking Bottlecaps into a Dead-Box ( Answered 4 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: Flicking Bottlecaps into a Dead-Box
Category: Sports and Recreation > Games
Asked by: stuckfly-ga
List Price: $20.00
Posted: 20 Jul 2005 14:46 PDT
Expires: 19 Aug 2005 14:46 PDT
Question ID: 545965
What is the proper technique for flicking bottlecaps to play dead-box
(aka bottlecaps)?

Dead-box is/was a street game in which players tried to flick
bottlecaps into a square area drawn on the ground with sixteen little
numbered boxes arranged around the inside of the box line, and one big
box called the dead-box, which was in the middle.  It's the flicking
thing I'm after.  My dad could launch a bottlecap hard and accurate
enough to kill bugs across a room.  They hummed from the spinning and
they stung if they hit you, even after ricocheting off things.  But he
did it so fast I could never get the method, he never revealed the trick
to anyone as far as I know, and he ain't sayin' anything from six feet

All I know is you point your elbow at the target with your arm bent,
and fire the bottlecap using your thumb and I don't know what fingers
in a finger-snapping kind of motion, but I can't get it to work better
than simply throwing them... :-(
Subject: Re: Flicking Bottlecaps into a Dead-Box
Answered By: tutuzdad-ga on 20 Jul 2005 16:44 PDT
Rated:4 out of 5 stars
Dear stuckfly-ga;

Thank you for allowing me an opportunity to answer your interesting
question. The game you are talking about was sometimes called ?Dead
Box? but also (more frequently perhaps) called ?Skulls?, ?Skullsies?,
?Skully? (or ?Scully?) or "Skellzies and a host of other names. The
?dead box? or ?dead zone? was the number 13 on the board.

Here?s a diagram of a board on which the game is played:


Here?s how it worked (or at least one variation of it):

?A skullsies game board was painted permanently onto the black asphalt
smack dab in the middle of the street.  It was around five to eight
feet square with smaller numbered squares at the corners and at the
sides, and a smaller square in the middle.  the numbers ran one
through thirteen, (thirteen being the dead zone as it was called). 
the boxes were about four inches square.  I never knew who painted the
board on our block.  It always seemed to be there!

The game was played by flicking bottle caps into the numbered squares.
 two to six players were needed for the game.  I normally played with
a friend of mine each Saturday morning.  We had the street to
ourselves.  The surface was asphalt.  It had to be smoothes for the
bottle caps to slide properly.    The center box was called the
skullsies or skull, the dead zone.

Players took turns shooting their bottle caps, eliminating opponents
by hitting their caps out of the boxes.  You had to progress one
numbered box at a time by landing your cap inside the box. until you
reached the ultimate goal of number thirteen - the skull in the middle
of the board.  Then you had to reverse - that is - go back to each
numbered square till you reached one again!  Many kids melted crayons
or wax and filled their caps to give them more weight and better
firepower when flicked.?


Most kids really just flicked them like one would flick a marble or paper football:


There is no ?official? way to flick a cap ? any way you can get it
there without kicking it is fair ? but I am familiar with the
particular flicking form you are referring to (it was really a more
show-offy, pretentious method of throwing the caps than anything

It?s a bit difficult to see in this picture but the young lady on the
left is poised to ?flick? a cap. Note her posture. She also has the
typical grip on the bottle cap. Her fingers are in the same position
as one might prepare to ?snap?.


The bottle cap is sitting top-up between the thumb and middle finger.
Some people prefer to hold the cap so that the overhang is inside
(nearest the face) while others prefer to hold the cap so that the
overhang is outside (away from the face). [note: the woman in the
photo prefers her overhang to favor the outside]

Point your elbow at the target and aim down your forearm. It isn?t a
perfect science but it?s fairly accurate if you are an experienced
shooter. Once you have acquired the target and you are ready to fire,
slightly but suddenly drop your elbow and snap your fingers. Viola! If
done correctly it flies away like a supercharged serrated frisbee.

It does take some practice but this is how it is dine. I?ve seen
people flick a bottle cap hard enough to hurt someone and straight
enough to hit just about anything within the 20 foot or so maximum
efective range.

Believe it or not, there is an entire website devoted to this
nostalgic game, where exery little detail that has probably ever been
known about it has been discussed at least once:


Written for by Hugh M. McNally


Here you will find more people who have more methods of throwing than
you probably care to meet. Suffice it to say though that the method
you are talking about is merely a finger snap while holding the cap.
Keep trying ? you?ll eventually fire one off and when you finally do,
you?ll instantly become an expert.

I hope you find that my research exceeds your expectations. If you
have any questions about my research please post a clarification
request prior to rating the answer. Otherwise, I welcome your rating
and your final comments and I look forward to working with you again
in the near future. Thank you for bringing your question to us.

Best regards;
Tutuzdad ? Google Answers Researcher


Defined above



Google ://


Bottle caps

Snapping fingers





Dead box
stuckfly-ga rated this answer:4 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $5.00
I'd give you 5 stars for all the information about the game, but I
asked mainly about the cap launching trick.  You did answer; it's just
I was hoping for a step-by-step closeup pictorial by a seasoned
launcher of bottlecaps the show-offy way (as you rightfully put it).

Once I read your wording about dropping the arm I got a memory dump
from my brain, which suffers from Alzheimer's or something...memories
get fogged and mixed up pretty badly.  First, my dad is alive, my wife
corrected me on that.  Second, it was my brother who fired caps at me.
 Third, it wasn't for playing scully or any other game (no idea how I
knew about the game).

Fourth: I got a clear memory of him firing one across a street at a
dog.  He didn't just drop his forearm; he whipped his arm from elbow
to fingers, like whippersnapping a towel, and snapped his fingers at
the end of the whipping action.  The effect was impressive, but it'll
take a lot of practice (and ice for the elbow!)  Anyway, I tried your
steps and got much better results.  Then I tried snapping my arm and
got a clumsy but powerful result, and nearly threw my shoulder out. 
Guess I'm satisfied!  If not for your answer I'd never have recalled

Many thanks with a small tip.  ...btw, Tad is cute :-)

There are no comments at this time.

Important Disclaimer: Answers and comments provided on Google Answers are general information, and are not intended to substitute for informed professional medical, psychiatric, psychological, tax, legal, investment, accounting, or other professional advice. Google does not endorse, and expressly disclaims liability for any product, manufacturer, distributor, service or service provider mentioned or any opinion expressed in answers or comments. Please read carefully the Google Answers Terms of Service.

If you feel that you have found inappropriate content, please let us know by emailing us at with the question ID listed above. Thank you.
Search Google Answers for
Google Answers  

Google Home - Answers FAQ - Terms of Service - Privacy Policy