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:


 


Balfor 8A rifle scope by Bausch  Lomb tapered crosshairs
Balfor 8A rifle scope by Bausch Lomb tapered crosshairs
$65.50 (24 Bids)
Time Remaining: 1h 15m

BAUSCH  LOMB BALVAR 8A 25X8 TAPERED CROSSHAIR EXCELLENT
BAUSCH LOMB BALVAR 8A 25X8 TAPERED CROSSHAIR EXCELLENT
$95.00
Time Remaining: 1d 12h 57m

Bushnell Bausch  Lomb lens cleaning kit 2 complete new scopes cameras optics
Bushnell Bausch Lomb lens cleaning kit 2 complete new scopes cameras optics
$4.99
Time Remaining: 1d 21h 24m

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 21h 35m

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
$249.99
Time Remaining: 1d 21h 45m

VINTAGE BAUSCH AND LOMB BALVAR 4X SCOPE W CROSS RETICLE
VINTAGE BAUSCH AND LOMB BALVAR 4X SCOPE W CROSS RETICLE
$20.00 (4 Bids)
Time Remaining: 1d 23h 26m

Bausch  Lomb scope rings and base Browning Safari FN 14
Bausch Lomb scope rings and base Browning Safari FN 14
$10.00 (9 Bids)
Time Remaining: 1d 23h 39m

Vintage Bushnell Banner 3 9X32 Bausch and Lomb BL Japan Rifle Scope T204380
Vintage Bushnell Banner 3 9X32 Bausch and Lomb BL Japan Rifle Scope T204380
$95.00
Time Remaining: 2d 2h 2m
Buy It Now for only: $95.00

Vintage Bushnell sportview 22 riflescope Bausch and Lomb 3x 7x20mm
Vintage Bushnell sportview 22 riflescope Bausch and Lomb 3x 7x20mm
$29.99 (1 Bid)
Time Remaining: 2d 6h 38m

VINTAGE BAUSCH  LOMB EXTERNAL ADJUST SCOPE MOUNT BASES 98 MAUSER
VINTAGE BAUSCH LOMB EXTERNAL ADJUST SCOPE MOUNT BASES 98 MAUSER
$20.00
Time Remaining: 2d 13h 42m

Vintage BAUSCH  LOMB Rifle Sight Scope BALVAR 8 Box Only + 2 Allen Wrenches
Vintage BAUSCH LOMB Rifle Sight Scope BALVAR 8 Box Only + 2 Allen Wrenches
$15.00
Time Remaining: 3d 37m
Buy It Now for only: $15.00

Vintage Bausch  Lomb Balvar 8A 2X to 8X variable power rifle scope rings mount
Vintage Bausch Lomb Balvar 8A 2X to 8X variable power rifle scope rings mount
$249.99
Time Remaining: 3d 21h 28m
Buy It Now for only: $249.99

Vintage Bushnell Banner scope 3 9x38 wide angle Bausch  Lomb Japanese Optics
Vintage Bushnell Banner scope 3 9x38 wide angle Bausch Lomb Japanese Optics
$62.50
Time Remaining: 3d 23h 7m
Buy It Now for only: $87.50

Japan Bausch and Lomb BampL Balfor B 4x Rifle Scope
Japan Bausch and Lomb BampL Balfor B 4x Rifle Scope
$149.00
Time Remaining: 4d 1h 42m

Bausch and Lomb Balvar 25 10x40 with Adjustable Objective Gloss
Bausch and Lomb Balvar 25 10x40 with Adjustable Objective Gloss
$299.99 (1 Bid)
Time Remaining: 4d 10h

Bausch  Lomb 6 24x40mm AO Rifle Scope Balvar Japan
Bausch Lomb 6 24x40mm AO Rifle Scope Balvar Japan
$449.99
Time Remaining: 4d 15h 56m
Buy It Now for only: $449.99