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 and lomb elite 4000 6 24x40 rifle scope
Bausch and lomb elite 4000 6 24x40 rifle scope
$389.99
Time Remaining: 1h 8m
Buy It Now for only: $389.99
Bausch  Lomb 4x32mm Hunting Scope BALFOR Pre 64 Winchester 70 rings and mount
Bausch Lomb 4x32mm Hunting Scope BALFOR Pre 64 Winchester 70 rings and mount
$129.99
Time Remaining: 3h 57m
Buy It Now for only: $129.99
Bausch  Lomb 4 12x40mm AO Rifle Scope Elite Japan Gloss
Bausch Lomb 4 12x40mm AO Rifle Scope Elite Japan Gloss
$299.99
Time Remaining: 1d 22h 36m
Buy It Now for only: $299.99
For Bausch  Lomb plastic scope cap new part 835 Inside Diameter
For Bausch Lomb plastic scope cap new part 835 Inside Diameter
$7.90
Time Remaining: 1d 22h 39m
Buy It Now for only: $7.90
BAUSCH  LOMB BALFOR A VINTAGE 4X Tapered Crosshair Scope MINT
BAUSCH LOMB BALFOR A VINTAGE 4X Tapered Crosshair Scope MINT
$48.77 (1 Bid)
Time Remaining: 2d 4h 5m
BALVAR 8A BAUSCH  LOMB HUNTING RIFLE SCOPE
BALVAR 8A BAUSCH LOMB HUNTING RIFLE SCOPE
$61.00 (8 Bids)
Time Remaining: 2d 6h 45m
VINTAGE BAUSCH  LOMB BALFOR 4X SCOPE WITH STITH MOUNT
VINTAGE BAUSCH LOMB BALFOR 4X SCOPE WITH STITH MOUNT
$55.00
Time Remaining: 3d 6h 13m
Buy It Now for only: $55.00
Vintage Bausch and Lomb FN Mauser Scope Mount Original Box Only 61 42 74
Vintage Bausch and Lomb FN Mauser Scope Mount Original Box Only 61 42 74
$6.00
Time Remaining: 4d 5h 3m
Buy It Now for only: $6.00
Vintage Bushnell ScopeCheif VI BDC 3 9x40 Japan Bausch Lomb Optics Rifle Scope
Vintage Bushnell ScopeCheif VI BDC 3 9x40 Japan Bausch Lomb Optics Rifle Scope
$114.60
Time Remaining: 5d 5h 16m
Bausch  Lomb Bushnell Sportview 74 1403 4X32 Rifle Scope in Box
Bausch Lomb Bushnell Sportview 74 1403 4X32 Rifle Scope in Box
$18.49 (5 Bids)
Time Remaining: 5d 6h 5m
Bausch  Lomb Elite 3000 5 15x50
Bausch Lomb Elite 3000 5 15x50
$299.99
Time Remaining: 5d 20h 17m
Buy It Now for only: $299.99
2 Vintage Rifle Scopes WEAVER K 4 and BAUSCH + LOMB BALVAR w Tip Off Mount
2 Vintage Rifle Scopes WEAVER K 4 and BAUSCH + LOMB BALVAR w Tip Off Mount
$20.00 (1 Bid)
Time Remaining: 5d 23h 18m
BAUSCH  LOMB BALsix 6X SCOPE WEAVER ADJUSTABLE RINGS FINE CROSSHAIR ADJ FOCUS
BAUSCH LOMB BALsix 6X SCOPE WEAVER ADJUSTABLE RINGS FINE CROSSHAIR ADJ FOCUS
$49.95 (1 Bid)
Time Remaining: 6d 19h 36m
Vintage Banner by Bushnell 3X 9X32 mm Made in Japan by BauschLomb
Vintage Banner by Bushnell 3X 9X32 mm Made in Japan by BauschLomb
$39.99
Time Remaining: 7d 1h 36m
Buy It Now for only: $39.99
Bausch  Lomb Elite 4000 4 16x50 AO Riflescope 40 4165m
Bausch Lomb Elite 4000 4 16x50 AO Riflescope 40 4165m
$349.99
Time Remaining: 8d 2h 40m
Buy It Now for only: $349.99
VINTAGE BAUSCH  LOMB BALFOR 4X SCOPE Including MOUNTS
VINTAGE BAUSCH LOMB BALFOR 4X SCOPE Including MOUNTS
$50.00
Time Remaining: 9d 9h 20m
Buy It Now for only: $200.00