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:



 


Vintage Bausch  Lomb 2 1 2 X Rifle Scope BALTUR Cat No 614233 w Box Hunting
Vintage Bausch Lomb 2 1 2 X Rifle Scope BALTUR Cat No 614233 w Box Hunting
$69.99
Time Remaining: 3h 15m

Bausch  Lomb Balvar 25 10x40mm Rifle Scope Vintage
Bausch Lomb Balvar 25 10x40mm Rifle Scope Vintage
$239.99
Time Remaining: 8h 11m
Buy It Now for only: $239.99

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: 11h 55m
Buy It Now for only: $209.99

Vintage Bushnell Bausch  Lomb Sportsman 4x32MM Rifle Scope Unused
Vintage Bushnell Bausch Lomb Sportsman 4x32MM Rifle Scope Unused
$10.45 (2 Bids)
Time Remaining: 14h 42m

VINTAGE BAUSCH  LOMB BALVAR 5 RIFLE SCOPE 25 X 5X IN BOX VERY NICE
VINTAGE BAUSCH LOMB BALVAR 5 RIFLE SCOPE 25 X 5X IN BOX VERY NICE
$159.99
Time Remaining: 1d 10h 15m
Buy It Now for only: $159.99

VINTAGE BAUSCH  LOMB BALVAR 8A RIFLE SCOPE 25 X 8X MAGNIFICATION NICE
VINTAGE BAUSCH LOMB BALVAR 8A RIFLE SCOPE 25 X 8X MAGNIFICATION NICE
$149.99
Time Remaining: 1d 10h 15m
Buy It Now for only: $149.99

Bausch  Lomb Elite 25 10x40mm Rifle Scope Matte
Bausch Lomb Elite 25 10x40mm Rifle Scope Matte
$299.99
Time Remaining: 1d 12h 1m
Buy It Now for only: $299.99

Bausch  Lomb 4 12x40mm AO Rifle Scope Elite Japan Gloss
Bausch Lomb 4 12x40mm AO Rifle Scope Elite Japan Gloss
$299.99
Time Remaining: 2d 9h 11m
Buy It Now for only: $299.99

Bausch  Lomb Balsix 6x Scope with Sako 222 short action mount
Bausch Lomb Balsix 6x Scope with Sako 222 short action mount
$100.00
Time Remaining: 2d 11h 55m

Bausch  Lomb Balsix 6x Scope with Winchester model 70 mount
Bausch Lomb Balsix 6x Scope with Winchester model 70 mount
$100.00
Time Remaining: 2d 11h 57m

Bausch  Lomb 3 9x50mm Rifle Scope Elite 3000 Japan
Bausch Lomb 3 9x50mm Rifle Scope Elite 3000 Japan
$239.99
Time Remaining: 3d 7h 51m
Buy It Now for only: $239.99

Bausch Lomb Elite 3000 3 9x40 Rifle Scope GLOSS Japan Duplex Bushnell
Bausch Lomb Elite 3000 3 9x40 Rifle Scope GLOSS Japan Duplex Bushnell
$99.99
Time Remaining: 3d 15h 53m
Buy It Now for only: $139.99

Bausch  Lomb Rifle Scope Case
Bausch Lomb Rifle Scope Case
$35.00
Time Remaining: 4d 2h 55m
Buy It Now for only: $50.00

Bausch  Lomb Elite 3000 3X9X40MM 3X9 Gloss Rifle Scope Japan 4 Plex
Bausch Lomb Elite 3000 3X9X40MM 3X9 Gloss Rifle Scope Japan 4 Plex
$84.95
Time Remaining: 4d 16h 12m

Vissing lens covers for Bausch  Lomb Balfor 4x A hunting rifle scope gun parts
Vissing lens covers for Bausch Lomb Balfor 4x A hunting rifle scope gun parts
$1.00
Time Remaining: 5d 56m

Bausch  Lomb Balvar 8A Rifle Scope w Mounting Hardware 25 8
Bausch Lomb Balvar 8A Rifle Scope w Mounting Hardware 25 8
$69.99
Time Remaining: 5d 12h 50m