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 4 12x40mm AO Rifle Scope Elite Japan Gloss
Bausch Lomb 4 12x40mm AO Rifle Scope Elite Japan Gloss
$299.99
Time Remaining: 1h 25m
Buy It Now for only: $299.99

VINTAGE BAUSCH  LOMB BALVAR 5 HUNTING SCOPE  BASE USA NO RESERVE SWEET
VINTAGE BAUSCH LOMB BALVAR 5 HUNTING SCOPE BASE USA NO RESERVE SWEET
$73.24 (32 Bids)
Time Remaining: 3h 12m

Bausch  Lomb 3 9x50mm Rifle Scope Elite 3000 Japan
Bausch Lomb 3 9x50mm Rifle Scope Elite 3000 Japan
$239.99
Time Remaining: 1d 5m
Buy It Now for only: $239.99

Bausch  Lomb Balva 8A Rifle Scope Clear Optics 25 8 USA
Bausch Lomb Balva 8A Rifle Scope Clear Optics 25 8 USA
$20.74 (2 Bids)
Time Remaining: 1d 1h 23m

VINTAGE BAUSCH  LOMB BALTURA SCOPE W CROSS POST RETICLE EXCEL CONDITION
VINTAGE BAUSCH LOMB BALTURA SCOPE W CROSS POST RETICLE EXCEL CONDITION
$59.00
Time Remaining: 1d 19h 41m

BAUSCH  LOMB 12 X 32 SCOPE
BAUSCH LOMB 12 X 32 SCOPE
$76.00 (22 Bids)
Time Remaining: 2d 3h 59m

Vintage Bausch  Lomb 15 6 x 20 Rifle Scope Japan
Vintage Bausch Lomb 15 6 x 20 Rifle Scope Japan
$36.00 (2 Bids)
Time Remaining: 2d 4h 11m

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: 2d 6h 56m

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: 2d 7h 10m

BAUSCH  LOMB BALTURA RIFLE SCOPE CROSS POST RETICLE FIXED 25X BALTUR A USA
BAUSCH LOMB BALTURA RIFLE SCOPE CROSS POST RETICLE FIXED 25X BALTUR A USA
$40.00 (13 Bids)
Time Remaining: 2d 7h 16m

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
$269.95
Time Remaining: 2d 7h 49m
Buy It Now for only: $269.95

Bausch  Lomb Balvar rifle scope model 8A made in USA lot3443
Bausch Lomb Balvar rifle scope model 8A made in USA lot3443
$95.00
Time Remaining: 2d 11h 3m
Buy It Now for only: $95.00

VINTAGE BAUSCH  LOMB BALVAR 5 RIFLE SCOPE 25 X 5X IN BOX VERY NICE
VINTAGE BAUSCH LOMB BALVAR 5 RIFLE SCOPE 25 X 5X IN BOX VERY NICE
$149.99
Time Remaining: 3d 5h 53m
Buy It Now for only: $149.99

VINTAGE BAUSCH  LOMB BALVAR 8A RIFLE SCOPE 25 X 8X MAGNIFICATION NICE
VINTAGE BAUSCH LOMB BALVAR 8A RIFLE SCOPE 25 X 8X MAGNIFICATION NICE
$139.99
Time Remaining: 3d 5h 53m
Buy It Now for only: $139.99

BAUSCH  LOMB BALFOR B 4X POST  CROSSHAIR EXCELLENT
BAUSCH LOMB BALFOR B 4X POST CROSSHAIR EXCELLENT
$149.95
Time Remaining: 3d 7h 30m
Buy It Now for only: $149.95

Bausch and Lomb Balvar 8B scope
Bausch and Lomb Balvar 8B scope
$65.00 (1 Bid)
Time Remaining: 4d 1h 51m