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:



 


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
$279.95
Time Remaining: 5h 27m
Buy It Now for only: $279.95

Vintage Bausch  Lomb Rifle Scope Model YT5328 BAL SIX 6X
Vintage Bausch Lomb Rifle Scope Model YT5328 BAL SIX 6X
$39.95
Time Remaining: 17h 24m

Vintage scope mount Win Model 70 Bausch  Lomb
Vintage scope mount Win Model 70 Bausch Lomb
$29.00 (1 Bid)
Time Remaining: 20h 4m

Vintage Bausch  Lomb scope mount
Vintage Bausch Lomb scope mount
$19.00 (1 Bid)
Time Remaining: 20h 8m

Bausch  Lomb 4 12x40mm AO Rifle Scope Elite Japan Gloss
Bausch Lomb 4 12x40mm AO Rifle Scope Elite Japan Gloss
$299.99
Time Remaining: 1d 14h 32m
Buy It Now for only: $299.99

Bausch  Lomb elite 3000 riflescope
Bausch Lomb elite 3000 riflescope
$200.00
Time Remaining: 1d 15h 35m
Buy It Now for only: $275.00

Vintage Weaver K 25 El Paso TEX Scope with Vintage Bausch Lomb Plunger Rings an
Vintage Weaver K 25 El Paso TEX Scope with Vintage Bausch Lomb Plunger Rings an
$89.00
Time Remaining: 1d 17h 4m

Bausch  Lomb Elite 3000 3 9 X 50mm Rifle Hunting Scope Works Nice FREE SHIP USA
Bausch Lomb Elite 3000 3 9 X 50mm Rifle Hunting Scope Works Nice FREE SHIP USA
$113.97
Time Remaining: 2d 16h 55m

Bausch and Lomb Balfor Model A 4x scope made in the USA 414125
Bausch and Lomb Balfor Model A 4x scope made in the USA 414125
$45.00
Time Remaining: 2d 22h 24m

Bushnell Banner 25x20 1 Tube Gloss Made in Japan By Bausch  Lomb
Bushnell Banner 25x20 1 Tube Gloss Made in Japan By Bausch Lomb
$40.00
Time Remaining: 2d 22h 44m
Buy It Now for only: $59.00

Vintage Bushnell Banner 3 9x38 wide angle BDC Bausch  Lomb Japanese optics nice
Vintage Bushnell Banner 3 9x38 wide angle BDC Bausch Lomb Japanese optics nice
$99.99
Time Remaining: 2d 22h 48m

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 22h 50m

Bausch  Lomb Bushnell 4200 Elite 25X10X40MM Silver Rifle Scope
Bausch Lomb Bushnell 4200 Elite 25X10X40MM Silver Rifle Scope
$137.50 (12 Bids)
Time Remaining: 3d 54m

Bausch  Lomb Bushnell 3000 Elite 3X9X40MM Gloss Rifle Scope
Bausch Lomb Bushnell 3000 Elite 3X9X40MM Gloss Rifle Scope
$41.00 (8 Bids)
Time Remaining: 3d 54m

Bausch  Lomb Balvar DW2494 Rifle Scope
Bausch Lomb Balvar DW2494 Rifle Scope
$19.50 (1 Bid)
Time Remaining: 3d 17h 23m

Bausch  Lomb Baltur A and FN Mauser Mounts and Rings Rifle Scope
Bausch Lomb Baltur A and FN Mauser Mounts and Rings Rifle Scope
$59.50 (1 Bid)
Time Remaining: 3d 17h 32m