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 Balfor A scope cross hair reticle
Bausch Lomb Balfor A scope cross hair reticle
$21.50 (2 Bids)
Time Remaining: 1h 16m
Bausch  Lomb 4 12x40mm AO Rifle Scope Elite Japan
Bausch Lomb 4 12x40mm AO Rifle Scope Elite Japan
$299.99
Time Remaining: 1d 1m
Buy It Now for only: $299.99
Bausch  Lomb 3 9x50mm Rifle Scope Elite 3000 Gloss 30 3950 G FE1015080
Bausch Lomb 3 9x50mm Rifle Scope Elite 3000 Gloss 30 3950 G FE1015080
$189.99
Time Remaining: 1d 2h 28m
Bausch  Lomb Optic BALvar4 25 4X Scope Crosshair Reticle BL Vintage
Bausch Lomb Optic BALvar4 25 4X Scope Crosshair Reticle BL Vintage
$29.99
Time Remaining: 1d 4h 53m
Buy It Now for only: $55.00
VINTAGE BAUSCH  LOMB BALFOR A SCOPE
VINTAGE BAUSCH LOMB BALFOR A SCOPE
$24.99 (1 Bid)
Time Remaining: 1d 7h 41m
Vintage Bausch  Lomb 4x32mm Rifle Scope BALFOR B 4X Top of the Line 1960s BL
Vintage Bausch Lomb 4x32mm Rifle Scope BALFOR B 4X Top of the Line 1960s BL
$90.00
Time Remaining: 1d 8h 39m
Buy It Now for only: $90.00
Vintage Bausch Lomb Balvar 8A 25 8X Rifle Scope with Kuharsky Base Remington LA
Vintage Bausch Lomb Balvar 8A 25 8X Rifle Scope with Kuharsky Base Remington LA
$91.00 (9 Bids)
Time Remaining: 1d 9h 20m
Bausch  Lomb Baltur A Scope SC11
Bausch Lomb Baltur A Scope SC11
$64.99
Time Remaining: 1d 10h 21m
BAUSCH  LOMB BALVAR 25 X 8 X 36MM DUPLEX RETICLE MINTY
BAUSCH LOMB BALVAR 25 X 8 X 36MM DUPLEX RETICLE MINTY
$179.99
Time Remaining: 1d 13h 24m
Buy It Now for only: $179.99
Bausch  Lomb Rifle Sight Scope Balvar 8 Cat  61 42 13 Original Box And Papers
Bausch Lomb Rifle Sight Scope Balvar 8 Cat 61 42 13 Original Box And Papers
$94.00 (9 Bids)
Time Remaining: 2d 54m
Bausch  Lomb 3 9x40mm Rifle Scope BALVAR
Bausch Lomb 3 9x40mm Rifle Scope BALVAR
$199.99
Time Remaining: 2d 3h 28m
Buy It Now for only: $199.99
bausch  lomb made in USA balvar 8 28 8 power
bausch lomb made in USA balvar 8 28 8 power
$50.00
Time Remaining: 2d 6h 59m
Buy It Now for only: $95.00
VINTAGE BAUSCHLOMB BALVAR RIFLE SCOPE 25 8X x 40mm TAPERED CROSSHAIRS
VINTAGE BAUSCHLOMB BALVAR RIFLE SCOPE 25 8X x 40mm TAPERED CROSSHAIRS
$110.75
Time Remaining: 3d 3h 3m
Buy It Now for only: $110.75
Bausch  Lomb Balvar 25 10x40mm Rifle Scope Vintage Gloss
Bausch Lomb Balvar 25 10x40mm Rifle Scope Vintage Gloss
$289.99
Time Remaining: 3d 21h 19m
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: 3d 22h 53m
Buy It Now for only: $189.99
Bausch  Lomb 4x32mm Rifle Scope BALFOR B CPC
Bausch Lomb 4x32mm Rifle Scope BALFOR B CPC
$169.99
Time Remaining: 3d 23h 3m
Buy It Now for only: $169.99