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 4 12x40mm AO Rifle Scope Scopechief Japan Gloss
Bausch Lomb 4 12x40mm AO Rifle Scope Scopechief Japan Gloss
$299.99
Time Remaining: 1h 49m
Buy It Now for only: $299.99
Bausch  Lomb 4x32mm Rifle Scope BALFOR B Duplex
Bausch Lomb 4x32mm Rifle Scope BALFOR B Duplex
$129.99
Time Remaining: 8h 37m
Buy It Now for only: $129.99
Vintage BAUSCH  LOMB BALTUR A 25X RIFLE SCOPE Rings  Mounts REMINGTON 721
Vintage BAUSCH LOMB BALTUR A 25X RIFLE SCOPE Rings Mounts REMINGTON 721
$35.00 (6 Bids)
Time Remaining: 1d 4h 3m
Bausch  Lomb Balvar 25 10x40mm Rifle Scope Vintage Minty
Bausch Lomb Balvar 25 10x40mm Rifle Scope Vintage Minty
$349.99
Time Remaining: 2d 25m
Buy It Now for only: $349.99
Vintage Bausch  Lomb Balfor B 4x Hunting Rifle Scope Japan FREE SHIPPING
Vintage Bausch Lomb Balfor B 4x Hunting Rifle Scope Japan FREE SHIPPING
$74.99
Time Remaining: 2d 1h 59m
Bausch  Lomb 4x40mm Rifle Scope
Bausch Lomb 4x40mm Rifle Scope
$199.99
Time Remaining: 2d 3h 42m
Buy It Now for only: $199.99
Bausch  Lomb 5 15 x 50 Waterproof Rifle Scope
Bausch Lomb 5 15 x 50 Waterproof Rifle Scope
$175.00 (1 Bid)
Time Remaining: 2d 6h 16m
Bausch  Lomb Balvar 25 10x40mm Rifle Scope Vintage Gloss
Bausch Lomb Balvar 25 10x40mm Rifle Scope Vintage Gloss
$299.99
Time Remaining: 2d 23h 16m
Buy It Now for only: $299.99
Bausch  Lomb 3 9x40mm Rifle Scope ScopeChief
Bausch Lomb 3 9x40mm Rifle Scope ScopeChief
$199.99
Time Remaining: 3d 2h 4m
Buy It Now for only: $199.99
Bausch and Lomb Balvar 6x24 vintage scope
Bausch and Lomb Balvar 6x24 vintage scope
$749.00
Time Remaining: 3d 4h 8m
Buy It Now for only: $749.00
Bausch  Lomb Elite 3000 3x9 rifle scope
Bausch Lomb Elite 3000 3x9 rifle scope
$195.00
Time Remaining: 4d 57m
Bausch  Lomb Elite 3000 30 3950G Rifle Scope 3 9x50mm JAPAN made Nice
Bausch Lomb Elite 3000 30 3950G Rifle Scope 3 9x50mm JAPAN made Nice
$165.00
Time Remaining: 4d 5h 58m
Buy It Now for only: $165.00
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
$159.99
Time Remaining: 4d 6h 6m
Buy It Now for only: $159.99
BAUSCH  LOMB BALVAR SCOPE 25 4 DOT RETICULE
BAUSCH LOMB BALVAR SCOPE 25 4 DOT RETICULE
$50.00
Time Remaining: 4d 21h 25m
Bausch  Lomb 4x32mm Hunting Scope BALFOR B CPC
Bausch Lomb 4x32mm Hunting Scope BALFOR B CPC
$149.99
Time Remaining: 4d 22h 56m
Buy It Now for only: $149.99
Bausch  Lomb Elite 4000 6 24x40mm AO gloss black rifle scope
Bausch Lomb Elite 4000 6 24x40mm AO gloss black rifle scope
$154.99 (2 Bids)
Time Remaining: 5d 6h 23m