Bausch and Lomb Scopes

When people hear the name Bausch and Lomb, they typically think contacts and sunglasses, instead of rifle scopes. However, in the mid 1960's, Bausch and Lomb did venture into the sporting optics market and produce a number of rifle scopes.

Bausch and Lomb was founded in Rochester, NY in 1853 by John Bausch and Henry Lomb. Bausch was an optician, while Lomb was the financial backer of the company. When the company first started, they manufactured a high end (for that time period) line of monocles and eye glass frames.  By the end of the 20th century, Bausch and Lomb was producing eyeglasses, microscopes and binoculars, as well as projectors, and camera lenses.

bausch-and-lomb-scope

During WW1 and WW2, the demand for optical based military equipment reached an all time high for B&L as military products accounted for almost 70% of all the products they sold. Once the wars were over, Bausch and Lomb saw the optics market change so they changes as well.

In 1962, Bausch and Lomb marketed their first series of rifle scopes, called the Balfour. BAL was an abbreviation for Bausch and Lomb and "four" was the power of the scope. This scope was a success, which led to the introduction of other B&L models, including a very popular variable model called the Balvar (var meaning variable). Many people commonly think that the scope series was a "Balvar" and didn't realize that it was a combination of the abbreviation and the scope settings. Most of the Balvar models were a variable 2.5 to 8 power scope.

In 1968, Bausch and Lomb released their 2nd generation of scopes known as the "B" series. This series was a continuation of the early BAL models with a "B" appended to the name such as a Balvar 8B. The "B" series did well, leading B&L to release a 3rd generation of scopes known as the Elite 3000 and Elite 4000 series.

In 1973, Bausch & Lomb decided to move away from the sports optics field and more towards the medical optical field, so they sold licensing rights of their scope line to Bushnell, who changed the scope model names, but continued to market under the B&L name. Bausch and Lomb scopes of this time period were still manufactured in the Rochester plant, and were still called the Elite series.

In 2004, the licensing agreement ended and Bausch and Lomb elected not to renew the arraignment so Bushnell could no longer use the B&L name. Bushnell moved production of the rifle scope line to a plant in Japan and renamed the line the Bushnell Elite series (which is still produced today).

bausch-and-lomb-target-scope

There are still a large number of very nice B&L scopes from the 1960's and 1970's still floating around today. The B&L elite target models of the late 90's are still highly prized by benchrest and target shooters for their clarity and performance. The older BAL models were very well made scopes for that time period and would have been the equivalent of a high end Leupold today, costing over $100 in the late 1960's.

Here are some really nice Bausch and Lomb rifle scopes that are still for sale:

Bausch  Lomb 3 9x40mm Rifle Scope BALVAR
Bausch Lomb 3 9x40mm Rifle Scope BALVAR
$199.99
Time Remaining: 12h 53m
Buy It Now for only: $199.99
BAUSCH  LOMB BALVAR 25 X 8 X 36MM DUPLEX RETICLE MINTY
BAUSCH LOMB BALVAR 25 X 8 X 36MM DUPLEX RETICLE MINTY
$170.00
Time Remaining: 13h 7m
Buy It Now for only: $170.00
Bausch and Lomb Balvar CT3850 rifle scope with lens caps
Bausch and Lomb Balvar CT3850 rifle scope with lens caps
$38.00
Time Remaining: 1d 18h 37m
VINTAGE BAUSCH  LOMB BALFOR 4X SCOPE WITH WINCHESTER 70 MOUNTS PRE 64 BL
VINTAGE BAUSCH LOMB BALFOR 4X SCOPE WITH WINCHESTER 70 MOUNTS PRE 64 BL
$69.99
Time Remaining: 1d 18h 51m
BAUSCH  LOMB ELITE 3000 3 9X40 GLOSS BLACK HUNTING RIFLE SCOPE
BAUSCH LOMB ELITE 3000 3 9X40 GLOSS BLACK HUNTING RIFLE SCOPE
$89.50 (1 Bid)
Time Remaining: 1d 20h 49m
Vintage Bausch  Lomb Balvar 8A rifle scope 25 8x rifle scope crosshair
Vintage Bausch Lomb Balvar 8A rifle scope 25 8x rifle scope crosshair
$49.99 (2 Bids)
Time Remaining: 1d 21h 29m
Bausch  Lomb Balvar 25 10x40mm Rifle Scope Vintage Gloss
Bausch Lomb Balvar 25 10x40mm Rifle Scope Vintage Gloss
$289.99
Time Remaining: 2d 6h 45m
Buy It Now for only: $289.99
Bausch  Lomb Elite 3000 2 7x32mm Duplex Reticle Matte Nice
Bausch Lomb Elite 3000 2 7x32mm Duplex Reticle Matte Nice
$189.99
Time Remaining: 2d 8h 19m
Buy It Now for only: $189.99
Bausch  Lomb Balfor B 4x32 Fine Crosshair Rifle Scope
Bausch Lomb Balfor B 4x32 Fine Crosshair Rifle Scope
$129.99
Time Remaining: 2d 13h 43m
Buy It Now for only: $129.99
Bausch  Lomb 3 9x40mm Rifle Scope Japan Vintage
Bausch Lomb 3 9x40mm Rifle Scope Japan Vintage
$199.99
Time Remaining: 2d 14h 1m
Buy It Now for only: $199.99
Bausch  Lomb Elite 4000 25X 10X x 40 Rifle Scope P N 40 2104G
Bausch Lomb Elite 4000 25X 10X x 40 Rifle Scope P N 40 2104G
$395.00
Time Remaining: 2d 21h 17m
Buy It Now for only: $395.00
Bausch  Lomb Elite 4200 25X 10X x 40 Rifle Scope P N 42 2104S
Bausch Lomb Elite 4200 25X 10X x 40 Rifle Scope P N 42 2104S
$429.00
Time Remaining: 2d 21h 19m
Buy It Now for only: $429.00
Bausch  Lomb 4x32mm Rifle Scope BALFOR B CPC
Bausch Lomb 4x32mm Rifle Scope BALFOR B CPC
$149.99
Time Remaining: 3d 7h 3m
Buy It Now for only: $149.99
Bausch  Lomb BALVAR Model 8 RIFLE SCOPE 25 8 Power
Bausch Lomb BALVAR Model 8 RIFLE SCOPE 25 8 Power
$85.00 (1 Bid)
Time Remaining: 3d 11h 11m
Bausch  Lomb Elite 4000 4 16x50 Riflescope
Bausch Lomb Elite 4000 4 16x50 Riflescope
$349.00
Time Remaining: 3d 15h 5m
Bausch  Lomb 4x32mm Hunting Scope BALFOR Pre 64 Winchester 70 rings and mount
Bausch Lomb 4x32mm Hunting Scope BALFOR Pre 64 Winchester 70 rings and mount
$129.99
Time Remaining: 3d 17h 39m
Buy It Now for only: $129.99