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 3 9x50mm Rifle Scope Elite 3000 European
Bausch Lomb 3 9x50mm Rifle Scope Elite 3000 European
$249.99
Time Remaining: 12h 21m
Buy It Now for only: $249.99
2 VINTAGE BAUSCH  LOMB BALVAR SCOPES W ISSUES 18 14X READ FOR EXPLANATIONS
2 VINTAGE BAUSCH LOMB BALVAR SCOPES W ISSUES 18 14X READ FOR EXPLANATIONS
$11.50 (4 Bids)
Time Remaining: 22h 23m
Bausch  Lomb 25 8x36mm Rifle Scope BALVAR 8 B CPC Reticle
Bausch Lomb 25 8x36mm Rifle Scope BALVAR 8 B CPC Reticle
$199.99
Time Remaining: 1d 10h 8m
Buy It Now for only: $199.99
Vintage Bausch  Lomb Balfor A Rifle Scope With See Thru Rings
Vintage Bausch Lomb Balfor A Rifle Scope With See Thru Rings
$60.50
Time Remaining: 1d 14h 37m
Vintage Bausch  Lomb Winchester Model 70 Scope Mount Man Cave Decor Shooting
Vintage Bausch Lomb Winchester Model 70 Scope Mount Man Cave Decor Shooting
$10.18
Time Remaining: 1d 15h 20m
Buy It Now for only: $10.18
Bausch  Lomb 3 8x32 Rifle Scope
Bausch Lomb 3 8x32 Rifle Scope
$195.00
Time Remaining: 1d 16h 20m
Bausch  Lomb Balfor A Rifle Scope Post Reticle
Bausch Lomb Balfor A Rifle Scope Post Reticle
$100.00
Time Remaining: 1d 16h 31m
Bausch  Lomb Elite 25 10x40mm Rifle Scope 4000
Bausch Lomb Elite 25 10x40mm Rifle Scope 4000
$319.99
Time Remaining: 1d 16h 35m
Buy It Now for only: $319.99
Hunting scope BauschLomb Balfor A Rifle Scope Post reticle
Hunting scope BauschLomb Balfor A Rifle Scope Post reticle
$100.00
Time Remaining: 1d 18h 38m
Buy It Now for only: $130.00
BauschLomb BALVAR 8 25 8x36mm Rifle Scope w BauschLomb Ring Mount no Base
BauschLomb BALVAR 8 25 8x36mm Rifle Scope w BauschLomb Ring Mount no Base
$120.00
Time Remaining: 1d 23h 4m
Bausch  Lomb 4x32mm Rifle Scope BALFOR
Bausch Lomb 4x32mm Rifle Scope BALFOR
$50.00
Time Remaining: 2d 59m
Buy It Now for only: $70.00
Bausch  Lomb Elite 3000 30mm 15 6x42mm riflescope German 4 reticle Matte
Bausch Lomb Elite 3000 30mm 15 6x42mm riflescope German 4 reticle Matte
$98.00 (3 Bids)
Time Remaining: 2d 21h 16m
BAUSCH  LOMB Balvar 3x9x40 GLOSS BLACK HUNTING RIFLE SCOPE 64 03940
BAUSCH LOMB Balvar 3x9x40 GLOSS BLACK HUNTING RIFLE SCOPE 64 03940
$179.00
Time Remaining: 3d 11h 40m
Buy It Now for only: $179.00
Bausch  Lomb Balvar 25 10x40mm Rifle Scope Vintage
Bausch Lomb Balvar 25 10x40mm Rifle Scope Vintage
$299.99
Time Remaining: 3d 15h 11m
Buy It Now for only: $299.99
Bausch  Lomb plastic scope cap new part 835 Inside Diameter
Bausch Lomb plastic scope cap new part 835 Inside Diameter
$7.90
Time Remaining: 4d 12h 4m
Buy It Now for only: $7.90
Bausch  Lomb Belvar 8 25 8 x 44 Tapered Reticle Great Quality w Mount
Bausch Lomb Belvar 8 25 8 x 44 Tapered Reticle Great Quality w Mount
$199.00
Time Remaining: 4d 12h 58m
Buy It Now for only: $199.00