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:

Bausch  Lomb 6 24x40mm AO Rifle Scope Balvar Japan
Bausch Lomb 6 24x40mm AO Rifle Scope Balvar Japan
$449.99
Time Remaining: 20h 51m
Buy It Now for only: $449.99
Vintage Bausch  Lomb Balvar 8A Rifle Scope
Vintage Bausch Lomb Balvar 8A Rifle Scope
$100.00 (14 Bids)
Time Remaining: 20h 57m
Bausch  Lomb Balfor A Rifle Scope
Bausch Lomb Balfor A Rifle Scope
$69.95
Time Remaining: 1d 3h 36m
Bausch  Lomb 4x32mm Rifle Scope BALFOR B
Bausch Lomb 4x32mm Rifle Scope BALFOR B
$129.99
Time Remaining: 1d 3h 39m
Buy It Now for only: $129.99
Vintage Balvar 8 25 8x fine + scope Bausch  Lomb clear clean view just service
Vintage Balvar 8 25 8x fine + scope Bausch Lomb clear clean view just service
$149.99
Time Remaining: 1d 10h 48m
Buy It Now for only: $149.99
Bausch  Lomb Scopechief 3x9x40
Bausch Lomb Scopechief 3x9x40
$61.00 (3 Bids)
Time Remaining: 2d 26m
Bausch  Lomb Elite 4000 6 24x40mm Rifle Scope Adjustable Objective
Bausch Lomb Elite 4000 6 24x40mm Rifle Scope Adjustable Objective
$207.50 (8 Bids)
Time Remaining: 2d 39m
Bausch  Lomb Balfor 8 scope 25x8 tapered crosshairs
Bausch Lomb Balfor 8 scope 25x8 tapered crosshairs
$15.50 (5 Bids)
Time Remaining: 2d 3h 7m
Bausch  Lomb Balvar 12 32x40mm Matte Black Rifle Scope NO RESERVE
Bausch Lomb Balvar 12 32x40mm Matte Black Rifle Scope NO RESERVE
$250.00
Time Remaining: 2d 22h 2m
Bausch  Lomb Baltur A 2 1 2 power Scope  Very Nice fine cross hairs
Bausch Lomb Baltur A 2 1 2 power Scope Very Nice fine cross hairs
$79.95
Time Remaining: 2d 23h 11m
Buy It Now for only: $79.95
Bausch  Lomb Baltur 2 1 2 X scope w plunger style rings Sniper post reticle
Bausch Lomb Baltur 2 1 2 X scope w plunger style rings Sniper post reticle
$79.95
Time Remaining: 2d 23h 13m
Buy It Now for only: $79.95
Vtg Bausch  Lomb Rifle Scope 4x40
Vtg Bausch Lomb Rifle Scope 4x40
$89.99
Time Remaining: 2d 23h 23m
Vintage Bausch  Lomb Scope Mounts Winchester Model 70
Vintage Bausch Lomb Scope Mounts Winchester Model 70
$19.99 (1 Bid)
Time Remaining: 3d 3h 22m
Bausch  Lomb Bushnell 3x9x38 Wide Angle Prismatic Rangefinder BDC Scope Japan
Bausch Lomb Bushnell 3x9x38 Wide Angle Prismatic Rangefinder BDC Scope Japan
$79.99
Time Remaining: 3d 3h 32m
Bausch  Lomb 3 9x40mm Rifle Scope BALVAR
Bausch Lomb 3 9x40mm Rifle Scope BALVAR
$199.99
Time Remaining: 3d 22h 43m
Buy It Now for only: $199.99
Bausch  Lomb BL BALFOR B 4X Rifle Scope
Bausch Lomb BL BALFOR B 4X Rifle Scope
$45.00 (1 Bid)
Time Remaining: 3d 23h 44m