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:

Vintage Original Bausch  Lomb Balfor 4 X Rifle Scope Fine Cross Hair Gun Part
Vintage Original Bausch Lomb Balfor 4 X Rifle Scope Fine Cross Hair Gun Part
$49.99
Time Remaining: 14h 57m
Buy It Now for only: $49.99
VINTAGE BAUSCH  LOMB BALVAR 5 25x 5x RIFLE SCOPE
VINTAGE BAUSCH LOMB BALVAR 5 25x 5x RIFLE SCOPE
$165.00
Time Remaining: 15h 51m
Buy It Now for only: $165.00
NOS Vtg Bausch  Lomb Balfor A Remington 788 SA Rifle Scope Mount
NOS Vtg Bausch Lomb Balfor A Remington 788 SA Rifle Scope Mount
$149.99
Time Remaining: 1d 18h 25m
Buy It Now for only: $149.99
Bausch  Lomb BL 12 32x40mm 12 32 40mm Target Varmint Rifle Scope in Box NICE
Bausch Lomb BL 12 32x40mm 12 32 40mm Target Varmint Rifle Scope in Box NICE
$450.00
Time Remaining: 1d 19h 22m
Bausch  Lomb 3 9x40mm Rifle Scope BALVAR Matte
Bausch Lomb 3 9x40mm Rifle Scope BALVAR Matte
$199.99
Time Remaining: 2d 15h 46m
Buy It Now for only: $199.99
BAUSCH LOMB VINTAGE 25X  8X BALVAR 8A RIFLE SCOPE
BAUSCH LOMB VINTAGE 25X 8X BALVAR 8A RIFLE SCOPE
$21.50 (4 Bids)
Time Remaining: 2d 18h 47m
VINTAGE BAUSCH  LOMB BALVAR 5 25x 5x RIFLE SCOPE
VINTAGE BAUSCH LOMB BALVAR 5 25x 5x RIFLE SCOPE
$110.00
Time Remaining: 2d 19h 20m
BAUSCH  LOMB BALVAR 4 SCOPE 25x4 Crosshair Post
BAUSCH LOMB BALVAR 4 SCOPE 25x4 Crosshair Post
$49.95 (1 Bid)
Time Remaining: 2d 19h 39m
Bausch and Lomb Balfor B 4x Scope NEVER OPENED
Bausch and Lomb Balfor B 4x Scope NEVER OPENED
$150.00
Time Remaining: 3d 12h 34m
Bushnell Elite 4200 426244M Rifle Scope Bausch  Lomb
Bushnell Elite 4200 426244M Rifle Scope Bausch Lomb
$255.00 (2 Bids)
Time Remaining: 3d 14h 3m
Bausch  Lomb Baltur 2 1 2 Power Post Crosshair Sniper Reticle Rifle Scope W Box
Bausch Lomb Baltur 2 1 2 Power Post Crosshair Sniper Reticle Rifle Scope W Box
$99.99
Time Remaining: 3d 15h 7m
TASCO SCOPE BAUSCH  LOMB SCOPE BASES
TASCO SCOPE BAUSCH LOMB SCOPE BASES
$50.00
Time Remaining: 4d 17h 48m
Vintage BauschLomb Pat Pending Balfor 4X RIFLE SCOPE REDFIELD 70 A BASERINGS
Vintage BauschLomb Pat Pending Balfor 4X RIFLE SCOPE REDFIELD 70 A BASERINGS
$29.00 (1 Bid)
Time Remaining: 4d 17h 54m
Vintage Bausch  Lomb 20X Spotting Scope A Freeland Base
Vintage Bausch Lomb 20X Spotting Scope A Freeland Base
$200.00
Time Remaining: 5d 10h 37m
Bausch  Lomb 6 24x40mm AO Rifle Scope Balvar Japan
Bausch Lomb 6 24x40mm AO Rifle Scope Balvar Japan
$449.99
Time Remaining: 5d 12h 17m
Buy It Now for only: $449.99
Bausch Lomb Vintage 25X  8X BALVAR 8B Rifle Scope
Bausch Lomb Vintage 25X 8X BALVAR 8B Rifle Scope
$44.44
Time Remaining: 5d 14h 58m
Buy It Now for only: $99.00