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 Balvar 25 10x40mm Rifle Scope Vintage
Bausch Lomb Balvar 25 10x40mm Rifle Scope Vintage
$299.99
Time Remaining: 35m
Buy It Now for only: $299.99
Bausch  Lomb 6 24x40mm AO Rifle Scope Balvar Japan Minty
Bausch Lomb 6 24x40mm AO Rifle Scope Balvar Japan Minty
$449.99
Time Remaining: 8h 35m
Buy It Now for only: $449.99
NICE Balvar 8a rifle scope with tapered crosshairs Bausch  Lomb
NICE Balvar 8a rifle scope with tapered crosshairs Bausch Lomb
$26.00 (4 Bids)
Time Remaining: 13h 42m
Bausch  Lomb Balvar 8 rifle scope with tapered crosshairs
Bausch Lomb Balvar 8 rifle scope with tapered crosshairs
$21.00 (4 Bids)
Time Remaining: 13h 47m
Vintage Bausch  Lomb Balfour A Rifle Scope
Vintage Bausch Lomb Balfour A Rifle Scope
$65.00
Time Remaining: 1d 10h 30m
Buy It Now for only: $65.00
Vintage Bushnell Bausch  Lomb Scopechief VI Rifle Scope 4 12x40 PR  BDC
Vintage Bushnell Bausch Lomb Scopechief VI Rifle Scope 4 12x40 PR BDC
$300.00
Time Remaining: 1d 10h 48m
Buy It Now for only: $300.00
BAUSCH  LOMB BALVER 8B 25 8X36mm RIFLE SCOPE GLOSSY BLACK CROSSHAIR RETICLE
BAUSCH LOMB BALVER 8B 25 8X36mm RIFLE SCOPE GLOSSY BLACK CROSSHAIR RETICLE
$189.00
Time Remaining: 1d 12h 15m
Buy It Now for only: $189.00
Bausch  Lomb 4 12x40mm AO Rifle Scope Elite Japan
Bausch Lomb 4 12x40mm AO Rifle Scope Elite Japan
$299.99
Time Remaining: 2d 2h 3m
Buy It Now for only: $299.99
Bausch  Lomb 25 8x36mm Rifle Scope BALVAR 8 B Nice
Bausch Lomb 25 8x36mm Rifle Scope BALVAR 8 B Nice
$199.99
Time Remaining: 2d 2h 50m
Buy It Now for only: $199.99
Bausch  Lomb Rainguard 25 10X40mm Hunting Rifle Scope Black Duplex Reticle
Bausch Lomb Rainguard 25 10X40mm Hunting Rifle Scope Black Duplex Reticle
$90.00 (6 Bids)
Time Remaining: 2d 11h 23m
Bausch  Lomb Elite 3000 3 9X50mm Hunting Rifle Scope Matte Black Duplex Reticle
Bausch Lomb Elite 3000 3 9X50mm Hunting Rifle Scope Matte Black Duplex Reticle
$56.00 (16 Bids)
Time Remaining: 2d 11h 59m
Vintage Bausch  Lomb BALfor 4x Fixed Metal Rifle Scope Nice Cond
Vintage Bausch Lomb BALfor 4x Fixed Metal Rifle Scope Nice Cond
$36.00 (2 Bids)
Time Remaining: 2d 12h 49m
Bausch  Lomb 3 9x40mm Rifle Scope BALVAR
Bausch Lomb 3 9x40mm Rifle Scope BALVAR
$199.99
Time Remaining: 3d 5h 31m
Buy It Now for only: $199.99
Bausch  Lomb Baltur A Rifle Scope
Bausch Lomb Baltur A Rifle Scope
$50.00 (1 Bid)
Time Remaining: 3d 10h 13m
Bausch  Lomb Balvar Rifle Scope
Bausch Lomb Balvar Rifle Scope
$49.99
Time Remaining: 4d 10h 29m
BAUSCH  LOMB ELITE 4000 25 10X40 40 2104G GLOSS BLACK HUNTING RIFLE SCOPE
BAUSCH LOMB ELITE 4000 25 10X40 40 2104G GLOSS BLACK HUNTING RIFLE SCOPE
$229.99
Time Remaining: 5d 1h 54m
Buy It Now for only: $229.99