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 4x32mm Rifle Scope BALFOR B DOT
Bausch Lomb 4x32mm Rifle Scope BALFOR B DOT
$169.99
Time Remaining: 1h 33m
Buy It Now for only: $169.99

Bausch  Lomb 6 24x40mm AO Rifle Scope Japan Vintage
Bausch Lomb 6 24x40mm AO Rifle Scope Japan Vintage
$449.99
Time Remaining: 6h 9m
Buy It Now for only: $449.99

Vintage Japanese Bushnell Scopechief V 4x32mm Lite Site Bausch Lomb Optice
Vintage Japanese Bushnell Scopechief V 4x32mm Lite Site Bausch Lomb Optice
$30.00 (1 Bid)
Time Remaining: 12h 3m

Bausch Lomb BalVar 8 A with plunger rings
Bausch Lomb BalVar 8 A with plunger rings
$95.00
Time Remaining: 20h 42m

Bausch  Lomb Balvar B8 B 8 25 8x36 Vintage Scope
Bausch Lomb Balvar B8 B 8 25 8x36 Vintage Scope
$104.49 (4 Bids)
Time Remaining: 1d 10h 40m

BAUSCH  LOMB 36X TARGET SCOPE NIB 64 3640D BUSHNELL LEUPOLD
BAUSCH LOMB 36X TARGET SCOPE NIB 64 3640D BUSHNELL LEUPOLD
$500.00
Time Remaining: 2d 49m
Buy It Now for only: $650.00

Vintage Bushnell Banner 4 12x40 AOBDC Rifle scope Japan by BAUSCH
Vintage Bushnell Banner 4 12x40 AOBDC Rifle scope Japan by BAUSCH
$175.00
Time Remaining: 2d 2h 16m
Buy It Now for only: $175.00

Bausch and Lomb 8A 2 1 2 X 8 CUSTOM RIFLE SCOPE TAPERED CROSSHAIR
Bausch and Lomb 8A 2 1 2 X 8 CUSTOM RIFLE SCOPE TAPERED CROSSHAIR
$40.95 (2 Bids)
Time Remaining: 2d 3h 56m

Bausch  Lomb 6 24x40mm AO Rifle Scope Balvar Gloss Japan
Bausch Lomb 6 24x40mm AO Rifle Scope Balvar Gloss Japan
$399.99
Time Remaining: 2d 4h 59m
Buy It Now for only: $399.99

Bausch  Lomb 6 24x40mm AO Rifle Scope Japan Nice
Bausch Lomb 6 24x40mm AO Rifle Scope Japan Nice
$449.99
Time Remaining: 2d 5h 35m
Buy It Now for only: $449.99

Bausch  Lomb Balvar 8A Rifle Scope w Mounting Hardware 25 8
Bausch Lomb Balvar 8A Rifle Scope w Mounting Hardware 25 8
$26.00 (2 Bids)
Time Remaining: 2d 7h 42m

Bausch  Lomb 5 15x50mm AO Rifle Scope Elite 3000 Used
Bausch Lomb 5 15x50mm AO Rifle Scope Elite 3000 Used
$319.99
Time Remaining: 2d 7h 43m
Buy It Now for only: $319.99

Bausch and Lomb Balvar 8 25x8 Rifle Scope with BL Winchester Model 70 Mounts
Bausch and Lomb Balvar 8 25x8 Rifle Scope with BL Winchester Model 70 Mounts
$69.00
Time Remaining: 2d 10h 49m

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
$299.99
Time Remaining: 2d 11h 32m

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 12h 53m

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
$240.00
Time Remaining: 2d 14h 49m
Buy It Now for only: $240.00