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).

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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
Bausch Lomb Balfor A Scope
$79.95
Time Remaining: 12h 16m

Bausch  Lomb BL BALFUR B 4 X Rifle Scope
Bausch Lomb BL BALFUR B 4 X Rifle Scope
$70.00
Time Remaining: 1d 3h 50m

Bausch  Lomb balvar 8 Hunting Rifle Scope
Bausch Lomb balvar 8 Hunting Rifle Scope
$12.95 (1 Bid)
Time Remaining: 1d 8h 24m

Bushnell Scopechief VI 3 9x40 BDC PRISMATIC RARE Scope Bausch  LOMB Japan Made
Bushnell Scopechief VI 3 9x40 BDC PRISMATIC RARE Scope Bausch LOMB Japan Made
$249.95
Time Remaining: 1d 10h 15m
Buy It Now for only: $249.95

Bausch And Lomb Balvar 8 Rifle Scope 25 X 8 Vintage
Bausch And Lomb Balvar 8 Rifle Scope 25 X 8 Vintage
$60.00
Time Remaining: 1d 12h 50m

Vintage Bausch and Lomb Balvar 8A 25 X 8 Scope with Tapered Reticle
Vintage Bausch and Lomb Balvar 8A 25 X 8 Scope with Tapered Reticle
$60.00 (1 Bid)
Time Remaining: 1d 12h 51m

Bausch  Lomb 25X8 BALvar 8 Hunting Rifle Scope w Duplex Cross Hair Reticle
Bausch Lomb 25X8 BALvar 8 Hunting Rifle Scope w Duplex Cross Hair Reticle
$61.00 (10 Bids)
Time Remaining: 1d 13h 58m

Bausch  Lomb Elite 3000 3 9x40 Vintage Rifle Scope JAPAN 30 3940G
Bausch Lomb Elite 3000 3 9x40 Vintage Rifle Scope JAPAN 30 3940G
$56.00 (9 Bids)
Time Remaining: 1d 14h 2m

Vintage Bushnell Banner scope 3 9x32 BDC gloss black duplex+ Bausch
Vintage Bushnell Banner scope 3 9x32 BDC gloss black duplex+ Bausch
$59.99
Time Remaining: 1d 14h 3m

Vintage Bushnell Banner scope 3 9x38 wide angle BDC Bausch  Lomb Japanese optic
Vintage Bushnell Banner scope 3 9x38 wide angle BDC Bausch Lomb Japanese optic
$99.99
Time Remaining: 1d 14h 4m

Vintage Bushnell Custom M 4x32 Bausch  Lomb Japanese optics serviced w mount
Vintage Bushnell Custom M 4x32 Bausch Lomb Japanese optics serviced w mount
$59.99
Time Remaining: 1d 14h 4m

Vintage rare Bausch  Lomb Bushnell Scope Chief Triple Tested 10x42 A O Lee Dot
Vintage rare Bausch Lomb Bushnell Scope Chief Triple Tested 10x42 A O Lee Dot
$299.99
Time Remaining: 1d 14h 37m

Bausch  Lomb scope rings and base for Sako Forrester 08
Bausch Lomb scope rings and base for Sako Forrester 08
$1.25 (2 Bids)
Time Remaining: 1d 14h 50m

Vintage Bausch  Lomb 2 1 2 X Rifle Scope BALTUR Cat No 614233 w Box Hunting
Vintage Bausch Lomb 2 1 2 X Rifle Scope BALTUR Cat No 614233 w Box Hunting
$69.99
Time Remaining: 2d 2h 23m

Bausch  Lomb Balvar 25 10x40mm Rifle Scope Vintage
Bausch Lomb Balvar 25 10x40mm Rifle Scope Vintage
$239.99
Time Remaining: 2d 7h 18m
Buy It Now for only: $239.99

Bausch  Lomb Elite 3000 15 45x32mm 1 Tube Duplex Reticle Gloss Made in Japan
Bausch Lomb Elite 3000 15 45x32mm 1 Tube Duplex Reticle Gloss Made in Japan
$209.99
Time Remaining: 2d 11h 3m
Buy It Now for only: $209.99