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 6 24x40mm AO Rifle Scope Japan Brand New Never Mounted Mint
Bausch Lomb 6 24x40mm AO Rifle Scope Japan Brand New Never Mounted Mint
$430.00
Time Remaining: 11h 27m
Bausch  Lomb 4x32mm Hunting Scope BALFOR B CPC
Bausch Lomb 4x32mm Hunting Scope BALFOR B CPC
$149.99
Time Remaining: 12h 4m
Buy It Now for only: $149.99
Bausch and Lomb Balvar Rochester NY 25 8 Model 70 Winchester
Bausch and Lomb Balvar Rochester NY 25 8 Model 70 Winchester
$43.50 (1 Bid)
Time Remaining: 17h 56m
Bausch and Lomb Balvar Rochester NY 2 1 4 4 Winchester Model 70
Bausch and Lomb Balvar Rochester NY 2 1 4 4 Winchester Model 70
$46.50 (1 Bid)
Time Remaining: 18h 4m
Bausch  Lomb BALVAR 8A Scope with kuharsky mount for Browning Auto
Bausch Lomb BALVAR 8A Scope with kuharsky mount for Browning Auto
$100.00 (1 Bid)
Time Remaining: 19h 40m
Bausch  Lomb Balvar 8 25X8 Vintage Rifle Scope with mount and lens protector
Bausch Lomb Balvar 8 25X8 Vintage Rifle Scope with mount and lens protector
$75.00
Time Remaining: 1d 2h 16m
Bausch and Lomb 25 x 5 Scope With Mounts
Bausch and Lomb 25 x 5 Scope With Mounts
$130.00
Time Remaining: 1d 18h 48m
Buy It Now for only: $130.00
Bausch  Lomb Baltur A fix 25 Power Scope w B  L rings and bases
Bausch Lomb Baltur A fix 25 Power Scope w B L rings and bases
$195.00
Time Remaining: 2d 19m
Bausch  Lomb 25 10 Scope Matt Finish with Rainguard
Bausch Lomb 25 10 Scope Matt Finish with Rainguard
$150.00 (1 Bid)
Time Remaining: 2d 8h 18m
Bausch  Lomb 25 8x36mm Rifle Scope BALVAR 8 B CPC Reticle
Bausch Lomb 25 8x36mm Rifle Scope BALVAR 8 B CPC Reticle
$199.99
Time Remaining: 2d 15h 37m
Buy It Now for only: $199.99
Bausch  Lomb 4x32mm Hunting Scope BALFOR B
Bausch Lomb 4x32mm Hunting Scope BALFOR B
$119.99
Time Remaining: 2d 22h 31m
Buy It Now for only: $119.99
Bausch  Lomb Balvar KW1073 Variable Power Rifle Scope
Bausch Lomb Balvar KW1073 Variable Power Rifle Scope
$35.50 (3 Bids)
Time Remaining: 3d 29m
Vintage Bausch  Lomb Baltur A Rifle Scope
Vintage Bausch Lomb Baltur A Rifle Scope
$21.00 (2 Bids)
Time Remaining: 3d 18h 1m
Bausch  Lomb Balvar 8A Scope and Mounts Remington 760 BL
Bausch Lomb Balvar 8A Scope and Mounts Remington 760 BL
$85.00
Time Remaining: 3d 20h 19m
Bausch  Lomb Balvar 8A Scope and Mounts Winchester 88 100
Bausch Lomb Balvar 8A Scope and Mounts Winchester 88 100
$85.00
Time Remaining: 3d 20h 20m
Bausch  Lomb Bushnell 4x40 Scopechief rifle scope 63 0440
Bausch Lomb Bushnell 4x40 Scopechief rifle scope 63 0440
$51.00 (2 Bids)
Time Remaining: 4d 35m