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  Loumb 6 24X Rifle Scope
Bausch Loumb 6 24X Rifle Scope
$127.50 (5 Bids)
Time Remaining: 10h 32m
Bausch  Lomb 4 12x40mm AO Rifle Scope Elite Japan Gloss
Bausch Lomb 4 12x40mm AO Rifle Scope Elite Japan Gloss
$299.99
Time Remaining: 11h 6m
Buy It Now for only: $299.99
Bausch  Lomb 3 9x40mm Rifle Scope Japan Vintage
Bausch Lomb 3 9x40mm Rifle Scope Japan Vintage
$199.99
Time Remaining: 11h 42m
Buy It Now for only: $199.99
BAUSCH  LOMB SHOOTING SPORTS OPTICS CATALOG PAGES 40
BAUSCH LOMB SHOOTING SPORTS OPTICS CATALOG PAGES 40
$10.00
Time Remaining: 12h 18m
Buy It Now for only: $10.00
Vintage Bausch  Lomb BALvar 8A Rifle Scope CPC Style Reticle
Vintage Bausch Lomb BALvar 8A Rifle Scope CPC Style Reticle
$49.99 (1 Bid)
Time Remaining: 13h 55m
Bausch  Lomb 6 24x40mm Rifle Scope Vintage Minty
Bausch Lomb 6 24x40mm Rifle Scope Vintage Minty
$449.99
Time Remaining: 17h 30m
Buy It Now for only: $449.99
Vintage Bausch  lomb BALvar 8 Rifle Scope 25 to 8 power 1955 1963
Vintage Bausch lomb BALvar 8 Rifle Scope 25 to 8 power 1955 1963
$55.00 (1 Bid)
Time Remaining: 1d 11h 35m
BAUSCH AND LOMB BALTURA scope with POST reticle rings and KUHARSKY SACO S mount
BAUSCH AND LOMB BALTURA scope with POST reticle rings and KUHARSKY SACO S mount
$49.99
Time Remaining: 1d 14h 6m
Bausch  Lomb 3 9x40mm Rifle Scope BALVAR
Bausch Lomb 3 9x40mm Rifle Scope BALVAR
$189.99
Time Remaining: 1d 16h 13m
Buy It Now for only: $189.99
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: 2d 10h 27m
Buy It Now for only: $7.90
SCOPE FOR RIFLE 25X8X40 BAUSCHLOMB BALVAR 8A WITH MOUNTS
SCOPE FOR RIFLE 25X8X40 BAUSCHLOMB BALVAR 8A WITH MOUNTS
$38.00 (3 Bids)
Time Remaining: 2d 14h 35m
Bausch  Lomb Balvar 2 4 X Rifle Scope
Bausch Lomb Balvar 2 4 X Rifle Scope
$45.00
Time Remaining: 2d 14h 37m
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
$9.99
Time Remaining: 2d 15h 53m
Buy It Now for only: $9.99
Bausch And Lomb Elite 4000 6 24x40 Scope
Bausch And Lomb Elite 4000 6 24x40 Scope
$274.99
Time Remaining: 2d 18h 9m
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: 3d 7h 21m
Buy It Now for only: $199.99
Bausch  Lomb Elite 25 10x40mm Rifle Scope 4000
Bausch Lomb Elite 25 10x40mm Rifle Scope 4000
$319.99
Time Remaining: 3d 13h 48m
Buy It Now for only: $319.99