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 B8 B 8 25 8x36 Vintage Scope
Bausch Lomb Balvar B8 B 8 25 8x36 Vintage Scope
$61.00 (12 Bids)
Time Remaining: 54m

Bausch  Lomb 6 24x40mm AO Rifle Scope Japan Nice
Bausch Lomb 6 24x40mm AO Rifle Scope Japan Nice
$449.99
Time Remaining: 1h 3m
Buy It Now for only: $449.99

Bausch  Lomb 5 15x50mm AO Rifle Scope Elite 3000 Used
Bausch Lomb 5 15x50mm AO Rifle Scope Elite 3000 Used
$319.99
Time Remaining: 3h 11m
Buy It Now for only: $319.99

BAUSCH  LOMB BALVAR 8A 25X8 TAPERED CROSSHAIR EXCELLENT
BAUSCH LOMB BALVAR 8A 25X8 TAPERED CROSSHAIR EXCELLENT
$95.00
Time Remaining: 8h 54m

Bausch  Lomb Elite 25 10x40mm Rifle Scope 4000
Bausch Lomb Elite 25 10x40mm Rifle Scope 4000
$299.99
Time Remaining: 23h 22m
Buy It Now for only: $299.99

VINTAGE 25 X 8 BAUSCH  LOMB BALVAR 8 RIFLE SCOPE GREAT CONDITION W MOUNTS NR
VINTAGE 25 X 8 BAUSCH LOMB BALVAR 8 RIFLE SCOPE GREAT CONDITION W MOUNTS NR
$33.51 (3 Bids)
Time Remaining: 1d 5h 27m

Vintage Bushnell Banner scope 3 9x38 wide angle BDC Bausch  Lomb Japanese optic
Vintage Bushnell Banner scope 3 9x38 wide angle BDC Bausch Lomb Japanese optic
$85.00
Time Remaining: 2d 5h 59m

Bausch  Lomb BALVAR 8 25 8x40mm Rifle Scope
Bausch Lomb BALVAR 8 25 8x40mm Rifle Scope
$99.99
Time Remaining: 2d 19h 21m
Buy It Now for only: $149.99

BUSNELL SCOPECHIEF BAUSCH AND LOMB MADE JAPAN RIFLE SCOPE 3 9x40 BRIGHT DUPLEX
BUSNELL SCOPECHIEF BAUSCH AND LOMB MADE JAPAN RIFLE SCOPE 3 9x40 BRIGHT DUPLEX
$79.99
Time Remaining: 3d 2h 52m

Bushnell Scopechief VI 3 9x40 Japan Prismatic Range Finder BDC Bausch Lomb Optic
Bushnell Scopechief VI 3 9x40 Japan Prismatic Range Finder BDC Bausch Lomb Optic
$240.00
Time Remaining: 3d 10h 30m
Buy It Now for only: $240.00

Bausch  Lomb 66 6000 Steel Scope Rings  Bases Marlin 336
Bausch Lomb 66 6000 Steel Scope Rings Bases Marlin 336
$9.99
Time Remaining: 3d 22h 33m
Buy It Now for only: $16.99

Vintage Bausch  Lomb Balfor B 4x Rifle Scope Refurbished with Redfield Rings
Vintage Bausch Lomb Balfor B 4x Rifle Scope Refurbished with Redfield Rings
$125.00
Time Remaining: 4d 6h 18m
Buy It Now for only: $163.00

Bausch  Lomb Elite 25 10x40mm Rifle Scope Matte
Bausch Lomb Elite 25 10x40mm Rifle Scope Matte
$289.99
Time Remaining: 4d 8h 21m
Buy It Now for only: $289.99

Bausch  Lomb Elite 3000 15 45x32mm 1 Tube Duplex Reticle Gloss Made in Japan
Bausch Lomb Elite 3000 15 45x32mm 1 Tube Duplex Reticle Gloss Made in Japan
$209.99
Time Remaining: 5d 3h 51m
Buy It Now for only: $209.99

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: 5d 5h 5m

Bausch  Lomb 25 8x36mm Balvar8 model JAPAN BL
Bausch Lomb 25 8x36mm Balvar8 model JAPAN BL
$19.99
Time Remaining: 5d 5h 8m