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 Balfor A 4X Rifle Scope Rochester NY USA Nice
Bausch Lomb Balfor A 4X Rifle Scope Rochester NY USA Nice
$30.00
Time Remaining: 13h 6m
Bausch  Lomb 6x24 Varmint Target Scope
Bausch Lomb 6x24 Varmint Target Scope
$244.50 (8 Bids)
Time Remaining: 14h 19m
BAUSCH  LOMB Balvar 8 scope with Tapered Crosshairs
BAUSCH LOMB Balvar 8 scope with Tapered Crosshairs
$75.00
Time Remaining: 15h 47m
balvar 8 scope vintage bausch  Lomb BL 25x 8x +FN Mauser mounts
balvar 8 scope vintage bausch Lomb BL 25x 8x +FN Mauser mounts
$75.00
Time Remaining: 1d 8h 30m
Buy It Now for only: $150.00
Bausch  Lomb 6 24x40mm AO Rifle Scope Japan Vintage
Bausch Lomb 6 24x40mm AO Rifle Scope Japan Vintage
$449.99
Time Remaining: 1d 15h 49m
Buy It Now for only: $449.99
Bausch  Lomb Balvar 6x24 Target Rifle Scope Japan
Bausch Lomb Balvar 6x24 Target Rifle Scope Japan
$299.99
Time Remaining: 1d 17h 3m
Bausch and Lomb Balfor fixed 25x Vintage rifle scope made1949 1963 NOS Lot 2
Bausch and Lomb Balfor fixed 25x Vintage rifle scope made1949 1963 NOS Lot 2
$139.00
Time Remaining: 2d 5h 13m
Bausch and Lomb Balvar variable Vintage rifle scope made1949 1963 NOS Lot 4
Bausch and Lomb Balvar variable Vintage rifle scope made1949 1963 NOS Lot 4
$159.00
Time Remaining: 2d 5h 13m
Bausch and Lomb Baltur fixed 25x Vintage rifle scope made1949 1963 NOS Lot 3
Bausch and Lomb Baltur fixed 25x Vintage rifle scope made1949 1963 NOS Lot 3
$139.00
Time Remaining: 2d 5h 13m
Bausch and Lomb Balfor fixed 4x Vintage rifle scope made 1949 1963 exc cond
Bausch and Lomb Balfor fixed 4x Vintage rifle scope made 1949 1963 exc cond
$109.00
Time Remaining: 2d 5h 13m
Vintage Bausch  Lomb Baltur A Rifle Scope
Vintage Bausch Lomb Baltur A Rifle Scope
$95.00
Time Remaining: 2d 10h 21m
Buy It Now for only: $95.00
Bausch Lomb Scope
Bausch Lomb Scope
$195.00
Time Remaining: 3d 7h 39m
Buy It Now for only: $195.00
BAUSCH  LOMB BALvar 8 Scope 25 X 8 WITH DUST COVER
BAUSCH LOMB BALvar 8 Scope 25 X 8 WITH DUST COVER
$92.99
Time Remaining: 3d 16h 47m
Buy It Now for only: $92.99
Bausch  Lomb Baltura 4 Scope post and crosshair very nice shape
Bausch Lomb Baltura 4 Scope post and crosshair very nice shape
$100.00
Time Remaining: 4d 7h 39m
Bausch  Lomb 3 9x40mm Rifle Scope BALVAR
Bausch Lomb 3 9x40mm Rifle Scope BALVAR
$199.99
Time Remaining: 4d 9h 50m
Buy It Now for only: $199.99
Bausch  Lomb Elite 3000 5 15x50mm AO Duplex Reticle Matte Nice
Bausch Lomb Elite 3000 5 15x50mm AO Duplex Reticle Matte Nice
$399.99
Time Remaining: 4d 20h 41m
Buy It Now for only: $399.99